Lack of lateral flow tests in schools putting staff and children at risk, says UNISON

Education / Thu 20th Jan 2022 at 11:07am

NEARLY a third (32%) of school ​support ​and nursery staff say their employers are unable to provide them with enough lateral flow tests to do ​the recommended twice-weekly checks, says UNISON today (Thursday).

A survey of more than 2,300 school support staff – ​including teaching assistants, ​administrators and cleaners – revealed they ​were unable to follow government guidance ​for tw​ice-weekly tests ​as their school did not have an adequate supply of kits. That means many were going into school not knowing if they carried the virus, says UNISON.

The findings are released ​the day after the government announced the lifting of requirements for face coverings in ​schools.

In primary schools, ​more than a third (37%) ​said they were without sufficient ​lateral flow kits. ​In early years settings​, it was half (51%). Of those unable to get hold of enough tests at work, ​more than six in ten (63%) said they couldn’t get tests locally or online either.

Some staff who responded to the survey said ​because deliveries to their schools ​and nurseries had been delayed, ​they had tried to source their own​, but often ended up with none.

Workers described having to visit ​multiple pharmacies to collect boxes of tests or making repeated attempts to order them online ​so they might comply ​with the twice-weekly requirement.

UNISON head of education Mike Short said: “Without regular testing for staff, it’s really difficult for schools to minimise Covid disruption.

“Schools ​and nurseries up and down the country have been struggling with high absence rates, and a poor supply of tests only make​s things worse.

“The government needs to look urgently at what is happening. Despite ministers’ guarantees that there were no shortages of tests, the reality on the ground is that staff don’t have enough.

“Given the current high rates of infection, the decision to remove face masks in schools is reckless. It’s vital ​that staff are provided with tests ​to try to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.”

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5 Comments for Lack of lateral flow tests in schools putting staff and children at risk, says UNISON:

2022-01-20 19:28:37

I think the figures are a lot higher than being reported as people have struggled to get lateral flow tests so no one in school can test daily when there’s a positive case in the class. The government have made their own rules all the way through.. let’s protect children’s education by keeping schools open.. but failing to deliver on testing to keep school staff, children and their parents safe! All they care about is the economy. While kids are at school, parents can work and be taxed.

2022-01-20 20:06:50

Scaremongering keeps the sheep following! Time to end pointless flow tests and learn to live with what is, nothing more than the flu.

2022-01-20 20:24:40

Carlos, you a teacher? Carer or frontline medic'? Schools are brilliant spreaders, as teachers know children spread many viruses extremely efficiently and although children themselves may not suffer the maths of distribution is clear. 1 child can infect 24 others in a class plus these can infect 80 % of a year group eg 80 out of 100 every infected child takes the virus home etc etc : a teacher can interact in lessons alone with 150 different children a day, probably 500 a week so they have a high risk of becoming infected. Take out a dozen teachers a day and the government encourages combining classes to make groups of 90 students. Not good for learning. Blended learning needs to be developed and a major investment made to make the education system resilient especially for when the inevitable next pandemic or wave arrives.

2022-01-20 21:42:39

novoman.....your views are a Prime example of what I posted.

2022-01-22 14:08:23

Why should schools have to provide them for staff anyway? Anyone can go onto GOV.UK and order a pack of 7 tests (3 weeks worth if testing twice a week) and have them delivered within a couple of days. I work in hospitality and have to test 5 times a week (before each shift) and my employer does not provide these tests (and nor would I expect them to).......

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