Commenting on the refusal of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to formally approve the Government’s plan for daily testing in schools, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"The regulator’s decision has hopefully ruled out the Department for Education’s reckless wish to keep close contacts of positive cases in the classroom instead of ensuring they self-isolate as they should do. We would now welcome discussions with DfE on a programme which is aimed at mass testing solely for identification of asymptomatic cases which would otherwise be missed, rather than at circumventing the self-isolation rules.
"We have always supported the idea of mass testing in schools as a means to facilitate safe on-site learning, but this has to be consistent with scientific understanding. The DfE used a study into daily lateral flow testing arrangements (1) that were not the same as those proposed for schools. It was obvious from the start that the Department was twisting the science to justify its preferred policy of avoiding necessary self-isolation, risking an increase in the number of cases, not a reduction."