Hundreds of UK Schools Shut over Covid Testing Fiasco

Headteachers in the UK have warned that 740 schools have been forced to shut or send pupils home ALREADY because of the Covid testing fiasco.

BRITAIN’S Covid-19 testing fiasco has left thousands of children unable to return to school as no tests are available in any of the country’s top 10 Covid-19 hotspots, it emerged last night. Head of Oasis Academies Trust, Steve Chalke, made the worrying claim as Boris Johnson faced mounting pressure to get a grip over widespread lack of access to swabs.

In total, three unions representing headteachers and governors have written to the Prime Minister urging him ‘take charge’ of government efforts to ramp up testing capacity. They say the inability of pupils and staff to get a swab have put some heads in an ‘impossible situation’ after grappling with symptomatic pupils and staff struggling to access tests.

In a matter of days, thousands of students were sent home to self-isolate as clusters of Covid outbreaks appeared in schools across the UK.

Mr Johnson has declared the return of lessons a ‘national priority’ and the Department for Education earlier this week reported that 99.9 per cent of schools have reopened.  However, Mr Chalke cautioned that ‘sending them [children] back is not the same thing as staying in school.’

The government is tackling a backlog of 185,000 swabs, sending thousands of samples abroad to be processed, adding to delays to get results. The shortage applies to all three tests available – home testing kits, drive-through sites and walk-ins. Other areas affected include Salford, Bradford, Darwen, Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside and Pendle.

It comes as the World Health Organisation recorded a record one-day rise in the number of Covid-19 cases – with 307,930 confirmed infections in 24 hours.


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Tony Winterburn

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