SECONDARY school kids are to be tested twice a week under fresh plans to get children back in the classroom from March 8.
In a huge relief to millions of families, the PM said last night that he would push ahead with reopening primaries and secondaries in England on March 8.
Read our UK lockdown live blog for the latest news & updates on Boris’ roadmap…
But secondary schools will be allowed to stagger the return so they can test their pupils.
Young children headed back to school in Scotland and Wales yesterday morning.
And Boris Johnson told the Commons yesterday that his priority was to reunite pupils with their pals and teachers.
He said: “I’ve always said schools would be the last to close and the first to reopen. And, based on our assessment of the data, two weeks from today, pupils and students in all schools and further education settings can safely return to face-to-face teaching.”
Uni students on practical courses, such as medicine, will be back to campus on March 8. All others are stuck with Zoom lectures.
Breakfast and after-school clubs and children’s sport can also start again.
Primary pupils will not have to be tested or wear masks. But all secondary school children must take four tests within the first fortnight of reopening.
These first lateral flow swabs will be done in schools.
Teens will be free to attend class after their first negative test but must self-isolate if positive.
They will then have to swab themselves at home twice a week and inform their school of the result.
Secondary pupils will be allowed to attend lessons as normal after their first negative result.
A similar programme will be in place for students at universities across the country too – with kits on campus.
Primary school staff will continue to take 2 rapid tests each week at home, but primary school pupils don’t need to take tests.
Secondary pupils and teachers will have to wear masks in classrooms “for a limited period of time”.
HOAR understands the policy will be reviewed at Easter and dropped if Covid cases are low.
But teaching unions railed against the plans. Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, fumed: “Boris Johnson has failed to learn the lessons of his previous mistakes.”
Scientists reckon opening all schools will push the Covid R rate up by between ten and 50 per cent.
It is currently between 0.6 and 0.9, meaning the schools reopening could send it above one.