Commenting on new advice sent to schools today ahead of further relaxing of safety measures from 1 April, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:  

"Measures are being relaxed at a time when Covid-19 cases are surging in schools and colleges. This makes no sense. We have repeatedly urged the Government to continue with free testing across society, including in all education settings, but these calls have been ignored.     

"Not only will schools no longer be able to access supplies of test kits but they are even being advised to not even hand out existing stock to staff or pupils from 1 April. With exams looming this is very poor timing. Schools needs clarity but instead the DfE is saying that adults ‘with symptoms of a respiratory infection and with a high temperature’ should ‘try to stay at home’, until they no longer have a high temperature, with no reference to other symptoms, including a cough.  Children who are ‘unwell and have a high temperature’ should stay at home until they no longer have a high temperature. Adults who do test positive are being advised to ‘try to stay at home’ for five days and children for three days. This confusing guidance is a recipe for even more chaos and will make managing cases and preventing disruption even harder than it already is."