How children in Sheffield will be tested for coronavirus when schools return in March

Following the Prime Minister announcing that schools will return on March as part of the ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown, a programme of mass testing will ensue – but what is it and how will be be done?

All students at primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will begin to return to face-to-face education on March 8, as outlined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as part of his ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown yesterday, February 22.

However, to safely return students to the classroom, the Government has stated that they will begin a programme of ‘mass testing’.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said this is to “reassure families and education staff that extra measures are in place”.

All secondary school and college students will take three COVID-19 tests as they return to the classroom, the Government has said

He said: “The testing of staff and students ahead of their return to secondary schools and colleges, alongside strengthened safety measures, should reassure families and education staff that extra measures are in place alongside the existing bubble system, enhanced hygiene and COVID secure precautions.”

Who will be tested and how will it work?

According to Gov.UK, Primary school staff will continue to take two rapid COVID-19 tests each week at home, while all secondary school and college students will take three COVID-19 tests as they return to the classroom at existing school testing facilities.

Schools and colleges will have discretion on how to test students over that week to enable their return to the classroom.

After the initial programme of three tests in school or college, students will be provided with two rapid tests to use each week at home, while secondary school and college staff will also be provided with two tests.

University students on practical courses who need to access specialist facilities and equipment can also return from Monday, March 8.

Twice weekly testing will continue to be available for these students all on campus’.

Face coverings will also continue to be used in classrooms.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We have rolled out rapid testing to schools and universities at great pace to help drive down transmission rates among school age children, college and university students. I am very pleased that regular testing is now supporting the reopening of schools and face-to-face education.”