Back to school with twice weekly tests!

Sandwell’s secondary school students will be asked to take Covid-19 tests as they return to school for the Autumn term.

Government rules state that all secondary students should take two on-site rapid Covid-19 tests, three to five days apart, on their return to school for the autumn term. The rules were set out as some students may have mixed with lots of other people during the summer break. As schools may stagger the return to school and begin the testing prior to the start of the new year, students and their parents are advised to check for details on their own school’s website.

They, along with all school staff including primary school staff, will then be urged to take two rapid Covid-19 tests per week until the end of September, when the government will look at the rules again.

Students aged sixteen and over are also now eligible to get their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine so are encouraged to do so as soon as possible, but we will also be offering vaccinations at various educational sites.

Councillor Karen Simms, Sandwell’s Cabinet Member for Best Start in Life said: "It’s really important children return to school to get the best education and best start in life. I would like to thank parents for doing their bit by ensuring students continue their twice weekly testing. I would also like to thank in particular all the school staff who worked so tirelessly last year and continue to do their utmost to provide our children with a safe and welcoming environment allows them to fulfil their potential.” Dr Lisa McNally, Sandwell’s Director of Public Health said: “We haven’t beaten Covid-19 yet, so it’s really important that everyone does their bit. School students and their parents can help by taking regular tests so that if there are any outbreaks in schools we can put in measures as quickly as possible to deal with them. Our public health team will work closely with all Sandwell schools so that they can provide a safe learning environment. “Ultimately the best protection is to get vaccinated so I would urge anyone over 16 that has not yet had it to come forward.

You should still also regularly wash your hands and wear a face covering when you are in crowded indoor places or on public transport.” Staff and pupils who test positive to a rapid test should isolate and book a PCR test.

If the PCR test is taken within two days of the positive rapid test, is negative and don’t have any Covid symptoms, they can return to school. People are not required to self-isolate if they live with someone with Covid-19 and are under the age of 18 and a half, or are fully vaccinated or cannot have the vaccine for medical reasons. They will though be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and advised to take a PCR test.

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