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Schools: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 9th April 2020.

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Photo of Angela Rayner Angela Rayner Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Party Chair, Labour Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, will covid-19 testing be available for school staff who present with symptoms.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

We are extremely grateful for the work schools, childcare providers and local authorities have been doing since our announcement on the closure of schools and other educational and childcare settings. We are committed to ensuring that school staff are issued with the right guidance and support to keep them safe. We are in regular contact with the teacher and head teacher unions.

Currently the NHS is rightly prioritising COVID-19 tests for those caring for hospital patients with pneumonia or acute respiratory illness while continuing to investigate outbreaks. Most adults in good health who develop symptoms will fully recover and the Chief Medical Officer has advised that it is not necessary for them to be tested. However, school staff with symptoms of COVID-19 should, just as anyone displaying symptoms, self-isolate for at least seven days to reduce the spread in the community. The Government’s latest stay at home guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection.

On 18 March, the Government made an announcement with regard to increasing the number of people tested for COVID-19 to 25,000 hospital patients a day, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/testing-for-coronavirus-covid-19-will-increase-to-25-000-a-day.

On 27 March, the Government launched a new drive on coronavirus tests for frontline NHS staff and more information is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-new-drive-on-coronavirus-tests-for-frontline-nhs-staff.

Our health service and care staff are key in our fight against the virus. Frontline NHS staff who have symptoms of coronavirus or who have a family member with symptoms will be the first tested for coronavirus as the testing programme is developed. More on this developing programme can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-new-drive-on-coronavirus-tests-for-frontline-nhs-staff.

We are working closely with other Government departments to secure tests for other critical workers, including in our education system.

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