Parents will be asked to test their children for coronavirus twice a week under government plans to reopen schools, according to reports.
Families of secondary school pupils will be given lateral flow tests to administer at home, while schools will oversee mass testing of pupils at the beginning of term.
That’s according to the Telegraph, which reported that unions and ministers are understood to have struck a compromise to allow both home and school testing.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to unveil his roadmap out of Covid lockdown next week, with classrooms set to reopen from March 8.
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), Britain’s largest union for secondary heads, had previously called for pupils to be given home test kits.
Geoff Barton, ASCL general secretary, said: “We think that is a good idea. It reinforces the responsibility for families rather than assuming that bits of the state, like schools, will carry out the tests.”
Union bosses and government officials are reportedly due to thrash out the mass testing plan later on Thursday.
Secondary schools will also be able to stagger the return of different years to allow pupils to be tested when they return, the Telegraph also reported.
This would mean some secondary schools may not be fully reopened for two weeks, sources told the newspaper.
It comes as research from Imperial College London’s React 1 study showed Covid was spreading most rapidly among primary-school age children and young people.