Northern Ireland news

Principals given home testing kits clarity

Graham Gault from NAHT

PRINCIPALS have been reassured that no one will be expected to wait after school hours to take delivery of Covid-19 tests.

Schools will this week receive home testing kits to be handed out to parents of children with symptoms.

All schools and FE colleges, regardless of size, are to receive an initial supply of 10.

If a young person displays symptoms, schools are advised to make contact with their parents or carer to arrange for their collection and book a test. This will usually take place either at one of the four testing centres in Belfast, Craigavon, Enniskillen or Derry or through mobile units.

A home kit will only be offered to individuals in the exceptional circumstance that they may have barriers to accessing testing elsewhere.

No tests are to be undertaken in schools and colleges themselves.

Schools received an email on Saturday from the Department of Health and Social Care in England.

It said the kits would arrive by 8pm on Monday, after schools closed, that they must be accepted and that someone had to be available to take delivery.

The Department of Education said the automated email was "regrettable".

The NAHT union has since clarified the situation with its members.

Its Northern Ireland president Graham Gault said "school leaders will not be required to wait outside of school hours to accept testing kits".

"If kits arrive you are free to turn them away," he added.

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Northern Ireland news