Welsh Government announce two COVID tests needed before staff and some pupils can return to school

The Welsh Government have announced a raft of measures that they are asking pupils and school staff to follow before the start of the new school year.

To minimise the risk of COVID spreading in schools, people are being urged to get the vaccine if one has been offered. This includes children aged over 16, who are now eligible for the Pfizer COVID jab.

Any staff or learner with symptoms of Covid-19 – however mild – should stay at home and book a PCR test at their closest test site.

Staff in primary schools – and staff and learners in secondary schools and colleges – without symptoms should take two lateral flow tests (LFTs), three days apart during the week leading up to their first day back. If the test is positive they should self-isolate, and book a PCR test.

Going into the new term, staff in primary schools and staff and learners in secondary schools and colleges not showing symptoms should continue to take regular rapid lateral flow tests twice a week, and report the results online.

Children in years 7 and above should continue to wear face coverings on school and college transport.

Staff and learners should use any LFTs they have in their household first, or order tests online for free, or collect them from community collection points or pharmacies. Schools will provide LFTs during term time.

The Welsh Government say that taking the tests regularly – especially at times when cases are higher – increases the chance of identifying infectious staff or learners before they leave the house to go to school, and unknowingly spread the virus to their friends or family.

Regular testing they say will also help reduce transmission in our communities, protect the most vulnerable and reduce disruption to-face-to face education.

Jeremy Miles MS

Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said: “Earlier in the summer, I wanted to ensure that at the start of the 2021/22 school year, we could keep learners and staff safe, and lessen the possible disruptions posed by Covid-19.

“By now, all of our workforce will either have received or been offered a vaccine. We have also offered the vaccine to all of Wales 16 and 17 year olds, and will offer it to clinically vulnerable 12 to 15 year olds.

“This means the risks posed by Covid are much lower – but we still need people to follow some rules, to make sure we don’t risk the level of disruption of day-to-day learning that we saw during the pandemic.”

The Minister added: “I’d like to thank everyone across Wales for their efforts in helping us to get to this point. And by continuing to follow these measures, we can all look forward to starting a safer and more stable year, in which schools and colleges will be the safest place learners can be.”

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