Parents will be asked to test their children for Covid-19 twice a week in Boris Johnson’s plan to re-open schools, it has been reported.
Secondary school pupils will have to take rapid, lateral flow tests administered by their families at home under the plan for a phased return to the classroom.
Officials are reportedly set to meet teaching union leaders next week to finalise plans for at-home testing.
According to the Daily Telegraph, school staff will only be expected to administer a single test of all pupils when they return.
Schools are expected to re-open from March 8.
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But secondary schools will be allowed to stagger the return of year groups to allow staff to test pupils on arrival, according to reports.
It could take some larger schools up to two weeks to get all pupils back to lessons, according to education sources cited by the
It was also reported on Wednesday that face coverings would be made compulsory for secondary school pupils outside of lessons.
The new plan for parents to vaccinate their children will raise fears that families will not know how to use the tests properly, meaning results could be unreliable.
In December, the Mirror reported similar tests were “not working well” at detecting Covid-19 in people without symptoms, after a study by Liverpool University found they had correctly detected just 48% of cases.
The Prime Minister is expected to set out his roadmap for ending lockdown, including the reopening of schools, on February 22.
He is understood to be expecting updated evidence of jabs’ affect on hospital admissions and deaths to be with him by the end of Friday, ahead of setting out his “road map” next week.
But it was unclear whether the early data would include vaccines’ effect on transmission, with the results of two key Public Health England (PHE) studies possibly not available until next month.
Mr Johnson has stressed that any easing of restrictions needs to be in stages and in an “irreversible” way as he was urged to focus on the evidence rather than deadlines when lifting restrictions.