A Greater Manchester school is among 10 schools in the country that trials a new COVID-19 test scheme that stops pupils from having to isolate. That means the students who are close contacts of a positive case will remain in the school.
Westhoughton High School in Bolton joined the clinical trial that close contacts of positive cases will remain in the school. It is just one of the few schools in the country that follows the new scheme.
According to current regulation, anyone who has a positive COVID-19 result needs to be isolated for 10 days. Also, anyone identified as a close contact should follow the same isolation. Due to that scheme, dozens of pupils have been sent home in previous weeks.
The government now is trying a new scheme that invites schools and colleges to sign up for a clinically -overseen trial of daily contact testing. With that new method, close contacts are able to remain in school as longs as they agree to be tested daily for seven days. They will stay be isolated when outside of the school but the students will continue their classes in the schools.
Westhoughton headteacher Patrick Ottley-O’Connor and school business manager Ann Butler explained the new scheme and they said they had already realized the benefits of the new system in the first weeks. They said that “This allows them to continue with their education in the school building and it’s been well received by the parents who have opted for their children to take part. The children as well are really pleased.”
“They want to be learning and it’s been a big relief. The week before the trial started we had a bubble burst in Year 10 and 69 students had to isolate, some of them were in tears.”
A government spokesperson talked about the methodology of the new system and said: “Half of the participating schools will act as a control group, following all existing guidance around testing, while the other half will give students that are close contacts of those who test positive the option to take a test each day, and remain in school while their tests are negative.”
“The effectiveness of both policies will be evaluated on an ongoing basis by an independent safety and efficacy monitoring committee.”