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Pupils’ Return to Schools: Lateral Flow Testing

Volume 690: debated on Monday 1 March 2021

What assessment he has made of the ability of parents to carry out lateral flow covid-19 testing on their children to support the return of pupils to schools as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased. (912667)

Rapid testing using lateral flow devices will support the return to face-to-face education by helping to identify people who are infectious but do not have any symptoms. For secondary school staff and pupils, we are moving to a home-testing model, which will be rolled out once pupils have had three onsite tests.

The charity Parentkind has expressed concerns about tests being missed or messed up and their limited effectiveness even when used correctly. What happens to those who refuse to take the tests, and when will clear guidance be issued on how to administer the tests and report the results?

I appreciate the hon. Lady’s highlighting this issue, which is an area of concern for us all. That is why there is a process of three asymptomatic tests that are to be rolled out at the start of the term. The guidance on how to do it has already been with schools for quite a considerable period. We are also asking all schools to maintain an asymptomatic testing station onsite, so that if a child has, for some reason, not been able to take a test at home, they can get a test under supervision at school, to make sure that we capture and support all children.