The state secretary for education has confirmed that face-to-face teaching will continue and “the norm” will remain, as he outlined a number of Covid measures for schools.
Nadhim Zahawi said secondary school students are required to wear masks in classrooms and have access to on-site coronavirus testing at school.
A total of 350,000 CO2 monitors were promised as well as a further 7,000 air purifiers in addition to the 1,000 already announced, reports PA.
Mr. Zahawi has also urged former and retired teachers to return to bring additional support with a “lightning bolt” spirit.
In the meantime, 12 to 15 year olds are encouraged to get a full vaccination with two shots, and 16 and 17 year olds are now entitled to a booster dose.
Mr Zahawi outlined the series of measures in a Twitter thread on Sunday and said he wanted to offer “reassurance” before the start of the term.
He said, “Teachers and support staff across the country have made a Herculean effort for the past 18 months and more, and I know we can count on their unwavering support in the coming weeks as we weather this storm.
“I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for all of their efforts to help the children reach their potential.
“As a government, we will do everything in our power to minimize the disruption to schools.”
Health Minister Sajid Javid’s announcement last week that ministers expected to “cut” supplies to the population for two weeks in response to rising demand sparked supply concerns, which have now become demands of the Labor Party and a school principals union Government have made sure that the tests are available to schools.
The Department of Education (DfT) encourages secondary, college, and university students, as well as educational staff, to test themselves twice a week, and has set up a priority route for schools to order kits.
Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of the NAHT School Directors Union, said: “The public’s difficulty in accessing lateral flow tests in recent weeks has made many people nervous that they will not be available to school staff and students when needed.
“If lateral flow tests are to be crucial to enable students and staff to return to school quickly, a ready-made offer must be available for schools in January and throughout the school year.”
The Shadow’s Health Secretary Wes Streeting was a voice calling on the government to make sure the tests were there for those who need them.
He told Sky News, “However, I think the government can and should do two things.
“The first is in testing.
“Students should test twice a week.
“There is a lot of evidence that this didn’t happen right.
“So the message to the government is to set up the tests and make sure that students can test twice a week.
“And my message to parents and students is ‘take the tests’ because the big challenge this month is keeping students studying, avoiding mass absenteeism and of course making sure the staff is good enough to handle the To go to school. “
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