The National Education Union (NEU) has called for education staff to be tested for coronavirus as they head into schools to teach ‘vulnerable’ and key worker’s children across the Island and country.
Schools shut from Friday in a bid to tackle the spread of the virus with only vulnerable children and those of key workers going to school.
The Isle of Wight Council says ‘practically all’ schools will be open.
Now, as the number of people tested in the country for the virus nears 80,000, the NEU has said it should be made an urgent priority for education staff to be tested.
Peter Shreeve, assistant district secretary of the NEU, said:
“It is absolutely crucial for the efficient and safe functioning of the education service that Covid-19 testing is introduced for those working in schools.
“If all education staff with symptoms are forced to self-isolate, together with those staff who are ‘vulnerable’ to the disease such as those with diabetes and other conditions, there simply won’t be enough education staff available for work on school sites.
“The threat of diminishing staffing levels will occur in education. Staff need to know whether or not they have the virus so they know whether they can safely come into work and offer crucial support to families of key workers.”
The government recently announced it was increasing testing from around 10,000 tests carried out in a day to 25,000 within 4 weeks, with NHS hospitals receiving more testing equipments.
However, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) was has said people will only be tested if they are showing symptoms.
A spokesperson for the DHSC said:
“With a focus on ensuring the highest priority cases are tested first, officials are working to rapidly increase the number of tests that can be conducted by Public Health England and the NHS in laboratories, with the expected surge in capacity ready within just four weeks.”
Public Health England has said those with symptoms would be following existing guidance.