A Labour candidate for the Holyrood election has indicated that mass testing in schools across Scotland could help determine the effect of Covid-19 on pupil achievement and wellbeing.
Barry Black, an education researcher who will run for election in the northeast region of Scotland next year, proposed that one primary and one secondary school in each borough should participate.
This would provide a clearer understanding of prevalence in each region, he said, which would make it possible to see more clearly the effect on results before decisions are taken on whether to conduct the tests.
Mr. Black said enrollment rates were more impacted by the pandemic in schools in deprived areas.
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He also called on teachers and school staff to make it a high priority for Covid 19 vaccinations.
“We need much more data and understanding about the spread of Covid in Scottish schools,”We need much more data and understanding of Covid’s spread in Scottish schools.
My research has shown that, relative to previous years, more young people in Scotland’s most deprived areas have recently been dropping out on school because they need to separate themselves.
“Voluntary mass testing at one primary and one secondary school in each local authority would allow us to know the current prevalence of the virus in schools so we can make better use of resources and make evidence-based decisions in the interests of health, safety and education.”
He added, “It is becoming increasingly difficult to see how next year, given the wide variation in attendance rates across the country, an equitable examination diet will be possible.”
“The educational effect of Covid is not equal. The most disadvantaged students would be the most disadvantaged.
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“Teachers and school staff deserve to know the risk in their work environment, and testing like this could be a key tool in making that happen,” he said.
“They are on the front line during this pandemic, providing the most important services – they deserve every bit of protection.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said, “The safety of all pupils is our absolute priority.” That is why we have comprehensive steps in place to protect our school community, established with the support of our Education Recovery Committee, which includes union members.
‘Compared to other groups of employees of similar age, recent ONS data show no distinction between positivity rates for teachers and other school staff.’
Just 0.9 percent of overall absenteeism as of December 1 is due to students who have had a Covid 19-related disease. Of all students, this reflects about 0.09 percent.
“There is currently no direct evidence that transmission within schools is a significant contributor to the increase in infection rates among children,” he said.
We do have arrangements in place so that school staff members who are concerned that they are at risk of infection may request testing, whether they have symptoms or not.
“There is an improved school surveillance program, which involves the creation of a surveillance survey to sample S4 to S6 pupils and secondary school staff in Scotland.
Every month, staff and pupils involved in the survey will take part in a Covid-19 swab exam.
A global, voluntary survey of education workers in schools or early learning and childcare environments would help assess if the coronavirus was likely to have been tested by those tested.
“With the return of the school semester in January, a series of school pilots will also begin, with the goal of establishing a sustained program of asymptomatic testing among school personnel.”