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New Covid testing rules for secondary schools in Wales

NEW coronavirus testing rules have been announced for secondary school and college students in Wales.

From Monday, students will be asked to take daily lateral flow tests for a week if someone in their household tests positive for Covid-19.

Previously, under-18s have not had to self-isolate if a close contact tested positive for the virus.

The new policy means affected pupils will be expected to take seven lateral flow tests in addition to PCR tests on day two and day eight, if someone they live with has coronavirus.

Announcing the new policy today, Welsh education minister Jeremy Miles said the change would provide “additional reassurance” to pupils, teachers and families.

He said the previous policy may have “caused some uncertainty” in schools, with pupils not knowing when they should get tested or self-isolate. 

“I recognise that some schools and parents have been confused and concerned that pupils can attend school or college if they are a household contact as long as they are asymptomatic,” the education minister said in a statement.

“I have listened to these concerns and considered what additional assurance can be provided while also enabling learners to continue to attend school.”

But the new policy is an “expectation” that pupils will get tested, rather than a compulsory measure.

Speaking at today’s coronavirus press conference, Mr Miles said the tests would give a “daily snapshot which enables [students] to make the right judgements”.

He said he apreciated “how important for their wellbeing it is for them to be in school…with their friends”.

Other changes announced by the Welsh Government today include:

  • No more asymptomatic testing for under-fives. Young children who have symptoms should only have a PCR test if recommended by a doctor or if a parent believes a test is absolutely necessary.
  • Vaccinated staff identified as contacts of a positive case must receive a negative PCR test result before returning to work.

The minister also gave an update on vaccinating teenagers, and everyone aged 12-15 should have received an offer for a jab by the end of the October half-term.

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