Pupils: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 22nd September 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that pupils are able to swiftly access covid-19 tests so that they can return to their education setting.

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

All pupils are eligible to be tested if they display symptoms of COVID-19 and should get tested in this scenario. A negative test result will enable pupils to get back into childcare or education once they feel well enough.

Testing capacity is the highest it has ever been and hundreds of thousands of people are being tested every day, but there is currently a significant demand for tests. It is vital that pupils and school staff only get a test if they develop symptoms of COVID-19. The NHS Test and Trace system is fully up and running, but it must stay focused on testing those with true symptoms of COVID-19.

The Government are upscaling testing capacity even further to 500,000 tests a day by the end of October. To support this, the Government has announced the addition of new lighthouse laboratories in Newport and Charnwood to the national lab network, and work is ongoing on plans to expand the UK’s laboratory capacity even further over the coming months.

All schools and colleges have been provided with an initial supply of ten test kits to be used in the exceptional circumstance that an individual becomes symptomatic on site and may have significant personal barriers to accessing testing elsewhere. Schools and colleges can order additional test kits online if they have run out or are running out of test kits.

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