To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what covid-19 testing and isolating system will be in operation in schools and colleges from September 2021.
Following the summer holidays, asymptomatic testing will resume in the autumn term for staff and pupils in secondary schools and colleges. Schools and colleges should offer pupils two lateral flow device tests at an on-site asymptomatic test site three to five days apart. Schools and colleges may start this testing up to three days before the start of term and can stagger the return of pupils during the first week of term to accommodate this. Following the first two on-site tests, pupils should continue to test twice weekly at home until the end of September, when this will be reviewed.
Staff across all schools and colleges should also test regularly at home until the end of September, at which point this will be reviewed in line with public health advice.
From Step 4 of the roadmap, schools and colleges will no longer be expected to undertake contact tracing. Close contacts will be identified via NHS Test and Trace. As with positive cases in any other setting, NHS Test and Trace will work with the positive case or, depending on the age of the contact, their family, to identify close contacts. From 16 August, unless they test positive, children under the age of 18 years old and those who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact. Instead, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed that they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Self-isolation will continue for those who have tested positive for COVID-19.