Asking parents to do Covid tests on children for school would be "difficult," the union says

Ask parents to regularly test children for Coronavirus would be "troubled," said the chairman of the UK's largest teachers' union.

It comes amid reports the government might propose twice a week testing at home for secondary school students as part of school return plans.

Health Secretary Helen Whately said it was "in the works" to evaluate how tests can aid return schools – which the government wants to open further from March 8th.

Dr. However, Mary Bousted, joint secretary general of the National Education Union (NEW), cautioned against the possibility of asking parents to do quick coronavirus tests on children twice a week.

"Again, I think this is troublesome too, because I think there has been a great parental reaction to the idea of ​​having to dab their kids in the nose or throat," she said.

"And of course many parents will probably not want to know whether their child has Covid because they are asymptomatic and this has an impact on their ability to work."

She added, "I think that's a big question, and if the government is going to ask that question to parents – and if they are going to ask schools about tests – it really has to be very clear about what science is about that is based, because otherwise it will be difficult to realize. "

The telegraph Earlier this week it was reported that under government plans, parents may be asked to test their children with rapid tests twice a week as schools reopen to more students.

When asked about the report, Ms. Whately said, "I will not go into it."

She told BBC Radio 4 today Program: "Work is underway on how tests can help schools return."

Tobi Brown, a mother of two, said The independent She would love to have her daughter and son tested at home twice a week. "If we can get kids back to school through tests, I'm all for it," she said.

Another mother, Kerry Ganly, said while testing her two children for coronavirus "would the morning rush be more stressful," she would happily do so twice a week if it means schools could safely re-admit students .

“In the past 12 months, my children have not only missed their education, but also socialized with children of their own age, played music and sports – which they both love – that I would welcome Covid tests in school children. " She said The independent.

Geoff Barton of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said mass secondary school Covid testing "is logistically extremely challenging".

"We accept that some initial tests need to be done in schools to detect asymptomatic cases and this would require a phased approach due to the large number of students involved," said the union general secretary.

“After that, we firmly believe that regular testing is best done at home using home test kits to reduce the enormous logistical burden on schools that run test centers.

All schools and colleges should offer coronavirus testing to employees twice a week, as per current government guidelines.

Last week the government said the prime minister would make plans for schools to fully reopen next week, saying "regular testing will give parents, students and staff further reassurance that schools are safe".

Staff, as well as secondary and college students, would be offered coronavirus tests on their return, the government added.

Represent unions school College staff and school principals said they were "increasingly concerned" that the government might opt ​​for this plan, as they raised concerns it could lead to a surge in coronavirus cases and affect student disruption.

An Education Department spokesman said, “We know schools, parents and students need clarification on the plans as soon as possible. We have therefore committed ourselves to giving them two weeks to prepare.

"The Prime Minister will make plans to reopen the schools on February 22nd, and students will not return until March 8th at the earliest."

Additional coverage by the Press Association

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