Mass Covid testing blitz launches on Monday with 32million tests being sent to kids in the post to help schools reopen

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FROM Monday, 32 million Covid tests will be sent to kids in the post in a bid to get students back in classrooms.

As part of the government's surge in testing, children will be tested with lateral flow tests twice a week.

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Nearly half of parents think schools are unsafe

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Nearly half of parents think schools are unsafeCredit: PA:Press Association

The testing kits can be ordered online or collected from 500 local sites with the aim to keep the virus out of schools, reported The Times.

The mass testing is set to reassure parents who are nervous about sending their children back to schools, as one in five say they refuse to send their children back in March.

Gavin Williamson, the education secretary has given head teachers the green light to open classrooms from Monday to begin mass testing.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders said school testing was a bad idea and could result in schools morphing into MASH-style field hospitals.

He told the BBC: “We shouldn’t expect that on the 8th all pupils will be back in.”

Steve Chalke, the chief executive of Oasis, one of the largest academy trusts, with 52 schools, feared that disruption would mean children getting only one or two weeks of learning before the Easter holidays.

Focaldata has taken a poll and found that 41 percent of parents think schools are unsafe for their children and 57 per cent think it could lead to a surge in Covid numbers.

BACK TO SCHOOL

In another poll, 61 percent of people think that schools should return only after teachers have been tested and vaccinated.

Barnaby Lenon, chief executive of the Independent Schools Council, said some public schools had chosen not to open before the Easter break but would continue teaching pupils online. 

“I understand why a school might not want to reopen fully. There are only two weeks of term left, and they are getting on well with online teaching,” he said.

The Sun revealed that militant teachers were planning to hatch a last-minute strike plot to disrupt the full re-opening of schools, we can reveal.

Hard-line union activist Martin Powell-Davies is backing industrial action ballots on the eve of all kids returning to class.

In a rallying call, he says school chiefs will be “failing in their responsibilities” on health and safety grounds by opening their doors if Covid cases don’t drop dramatically.

The executive body of the 450,000-strong National Education Union has been called on to back his plans.

Powell-Davies, who is campaigning to be deputy general secretary, believes there should be a phased transition to a full re-opening.

He is demanding class sizes of just 50 per cent and that school openings are triggered only once there are falling local infection rates.

He said: “If those decisions are not met then employers will be failing in their duties. They will be creating a serious and imminent risk in not taking action to prevent it.

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“They may do that, we can’t fail our responsibilities.

“That’s why if those rates and those steps are not met then we have to say we ballot across the employer so that if a spike does occur by Easter, we will be there with an industrial action ballot ready to protect our members and our communities.”

Powell-Davies will take part in a virtual meeting today with one of the union’s campaigning factions.

Gavin Williamson has given the green light for schools to begin mass testing

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Gavin Williamson has given the green light for schools to begin mass testingCredit: Reuters
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