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COVID-19: Teenagers in Scotland ‘will be asked to self-test at home twice a week’ when schools reopen

Written by on 11 February 2021

Teenagers in Scotland will be given home coronavirus tests twice a week as part of an effort to get schools reopened, according to reports.

They will be asked to perform the tests on themselves or with the help of a parent or guardian before logging their results online, The Telegraph said.

Lateral flow tests, which can give fast results, will be used for the asymptomatic testing.

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The programme is voluntary but Education Secretary John Swinney said students are “encouraged to participate” to help keep schools safe.

The plans have been unveiled ahead of the phased reopening of schools in Scotland after half-term from 22 February.

Initially, preschoolers and some primary pupils will be allowed back, as well as senior students.

Tests will first be offered to all school staff and senior phase pupils, who will be completing work for their national qualifications, and will be delivered to schools from this week.

“The purpose of the programme is to contribute to the reduction of COVID-19 related risks in schools and ELC [early learning and childcare] settings, and in so doing to enhance the confidence of our school/ELC communities,” Mr Swinney said.

“It will do so by helping to identify asymptomatic individuals in school and ELC environments at the earliest opportunity, and asking them and their close contacts to self-isolate, thus minimising the likelihood of them passing on the virus.”

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The SNP previously said it would put in place a testing regime for schools last summer, but this did not happen.

Wales has also said it will start a phased reopening of schools on 22 February, beginning with children aged three to seven.

But some council leaders have said they will not be able to start allowing more age groups back to school unless the COVID-19 situation gets better.

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January: ‘Schools won’t open immediately after half-term’

In England, Boris Johnson would not guarantee that most schoolchildren will return to class on 8 March, the date he previously proposed as the “earliest” students can go back.

He said “we’re going to do everything we can” to get children back in class on 8 March “if we possibly can” but that it was important to keep the epidemic under control.

Northern Ireland has also set the March date as the earliest pupils can return, although cautioned even this may not be possible.