Teachers have raised strong concerns about the government’s plans to mass test secondary students, warning that school resumption will be delayed, Covid will not catch asymptomatic carriers, and will spread a false sense of security among teens.
On Monday, the government will reveal that it wants to use the controversial side-flow test to check secondary students up to three times for Covid-19 before allowing schools to return to classrooms in the UK on March 8, Observer said. I understand.
Millions of students have to test themselves twice a week at home under the supervision of their parents to catch asymptomatic cases before spreading the disease to others at school.
However, the NEU Teachers Union says that many school leaders are not entirely sure that lateral flow tests are sensitive and accurate enough to catch benign cases among asymptomatic young people, who generally have a lower viral load than adults.
Mary Bousted, union co-secretary general, said that principal teachers are facing enormous logistical challenges in setting up mass testing in schools and are concerned that it will be time-consuming and pointless. The idea that you could do three tests on March 8 and start with one big bang is impossible, she said.
At an average secondary school with about 1,000 students, teachers estimate that it can take two to three weeks to perform 3,000 tests.
School leaders who have already set up lateral flow testing regimes for vulnerable children and descendants of key workers are not sure that they are fit for purpose, Bousted said.
According to the latest NHS tests and trace numbers, only 0.31% of the lateral flow tests conducted in the week ending February 10th found positive cases so low that the false positive rate of these tests is actually less than 0.32%.
School leaders say they’re doing this test and they don’t get positive results. Their accuracy is very questionable in mass testing. They are not sensitive to small viral loads, and secondary students are much more likely to be asymptomatic. [than older people]. So they will miss many positive examples.
Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty says all students are against the plan to return on March 8. Photo: Justin Tallis/PA
She said performing these inaccurate tests could be dangerous and could give asymptomatic students who tested negatively a completely false sense of safety.
If you did a side flow test that gave you a false negative, it’s too easy to imagine that many teens will have confidence that they are not infected with the virus and act accordingly.
The danger is that these students start not practicing social distancing, hand washing, and other protective measures. Lateral flow tests simply do not eradicate the virus in schools. School leaders do not have a worthy trust.
She also warned that all teenage students are very unlikely to follow instructions to take home exams twice a week after returning to school, and that schools will find it difficult to implement.
How you spy on this is a nightmare. I have taught teens for a long time, and I love them, but they have a very clear view of their body space.
Some people will flatly refuse to stick a cotton swab to their neck or nose, and they feel that parents don’t have much motivation to sweat if their children don’t take the exam. Or you can say that the child took it when the parent did not receive it.
On Friday, nine educational unions, including the NEU, urged a gradual phasing of children in the UK, warning that not given enough time to assess the impact of school openings on transmission rates could trigger another surge in Covid. infection.
Professor Chris Whitty, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, is also very dissatisfied with the idea that on March 8th, 10 million children and faculty all return to school.
Jules White, founder of the grassroots principals group Worth Less?, said principal teachers are determined to open schools as soon as possible. But we need to be trusted to make the right decisions for our community.
This includes the ability to start with a jet lag, and depending on the local infection rate, rota can be used to help children more effectively and socially distant from the classroom. We want as many kids back to school as they are safe for kids and staff.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education said: We know that schools, parents and students need clarity in their plans as soon as possible. This is why we give you 2 weeks notice so we can prepare.
The Prime Minister plans to reopen on February 22nd, and students will return as early as March 8.
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