Covid Scotland: Headteachers urge pupils to take Covid tests ahead of return to school
Head teachers in East Lothian are asking secondary pupils to take a Covid test this week as they try to avoid a chaotic start to the new term.
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Letters to parents and carers are being sent out urging them to take action now to ensure their child is Covid free before returning to class next Wednesday.
The call for pupils to take lateral flow tests, which can be done at home using a free kit, is aimed at stopping the return sparking any outbreaks in schools.
Concern over the high number of students being sent home when schools first returned after lockdown has already seen a relaxation of self isolation rules ahead of the new term starting this month.
Secondary pupils who are identified as close contacts of someone with Covid will need to take a PCR test but if it comes back negative will not need to self-isolate.
Many measures in place at the end of last term remain in place in secondary schools in East Lothian, with no social distancing required but face masks still to be worn.
Lateral flow test kits can be ordered from www.gov.uk or picked up from pharmacies or testing centres where tests are also available.
Haddington’s Knox Academy headteacher Susan Cook sent a letter to families today appealing for the early tests.
She said: “Following a request from public health officials and Scottish Government, East Lothian Council is asking that all secondary pupils restart twice-weekly (at home) Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing in the week before they return.
“Ideally, your young person should take their second weekly test either in the morning before they leave for their first day of school or the evening before.
“It is really important that results are recorded online, whether positive, negative or void. Full details of how to record their results are included in the test kits. This helps public health experts understand what levels of COVID-19 are, and can inform policy on things like mitigations in schools.”
She added: “Testing can help reduce the risks of COVID-19 outbreaks in schools. This, in turn, can help reduce the likelihood that staff or children and young people will have to self-isolate.”
Students were provided with test kits ahead of the summer break and encouraged to report any positive tests to the council for its records.