Education: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 16th September 2020.

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Photo of Mary Foy Mary Foy Labour, City of Durham

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance has been issued to education providers in the event that a student’s parents refuse to have them tested for covid-19 when requested to do so.

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

The Government has been clear that all pupils, in all year groups, should return to school or college full-time from the beginning of the autumn term and on 2 July we published guidance to help schools and colleges prepare for this. The guidance can be viewed her: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/education-and-childcare.

All schools and colleges will be provided with a small number of home testing kits that they can give directly to parents/carers collecting a child who has developed symptoms at school, or staff or students who have developed symptoms at school or college, where they think providing one will significantly increase the likelihood of them getting tested.

We have also issued guidance explaining what parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term. This guidance explains that it is important for parents to engage with the NHS Test and Trace process and can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-in-the-autumn-term.

In the majority of cases, schools and parents will be in agreement that a child with symptoms should not attend school, given the potential risk to others. In the event that a parent or guardian insists on a child attending school, schools can take the decision to refuse the child if in their reasonable judgement it is necessary to protect their pupils and staff from possible infection COVID-19. Any such decision would need to be carefully considered in light of all the circumstances and the current public health advice.

Further guidance is available on testing and tracing for COVID-19 here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/.

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