ALL SECONDARY pupils in Scotland will be offered a test twice a week when they return to classrooms full time after the Easter holidays.

New guidance published by the Scottish Government also stresses that face coverings should “now be worn by staff and young people in secondary schools”, including S1 to S3 pupils when they are in classrooms, communal areas and “when moving about the school”.

The guidance also states that following work with the UK Department of Health and Social Care, asymptomatic testing currently available to older secondary pupils and staff will be extended to all secondary pupils from after the Easter holidays.

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The new guidance document published by the Scottish Government states it will be possible “to provide secondary schools with additional test kits to allow them to extend the offer of twice-weekly at-home lateral flow testing to all secondary pupils after the Easter break”.

Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney announced the extension of testing to all secondary pupils and pointed to the new guidance that “all staff and all secondary school pupils should wear face coverings in classrooms, in communal areas and when moving about the school”.

He added: “The guidance also highlights the importance of two-metre physical distancing during the phased return.

“We currently expect, subject to our progress in suppressing the virus and further scientific advice, that all secondary school pupils will return to full-time in-person learning after the Easter holidays”.

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Mr Swinney said that all school staff and the small number of secondary pupils who have returned to schools are already offered the testing kits but said “we are also working with partners to extend the offer of testing to staff and premises for pre-school learning and childcare”, adding that “we expect to manage this from later this month”.

He added: “When children return for their Easter break, we will provide secondary schools with additional test kits. This will allow schools to offer twice weekly lateral flow testing kits for all secondary school pupils including those in S1 to S3.

“Guidance will re-emphasis that staff and pupils who test positive must self-isolate.”

Mr Swinney warned that the lateral flow tests being used can be more sensitive that PCR tests, stressing that “everyone who tests positive using a lateral flow device has a confirmatory PCR test to reduce the risk of false positive results”.

He added: “Testing will continue to be voluntary, and no-one will be excluded from education if they do not wish to test. However, I would strongly encourage staff and pupils to participate to help reduce risks for the whole school community.”