Millions of kids to get ‘extended Christmas break’ for mass Covid test roll out

Secondary schools may be extending the Christmas break by a week amid a predicted spike of coronavirus over the holidays.

The government is set to announce a staggered return in some schools, which will also help to enable rolling out mass Covid-19 testing, reports state.

School children may be able to get tested in the new term.

It has been reported year 11s and 13s will go back first to resume GCSE's and A-Levels.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is expected to announce the return which will begin on January 4, reports The Telegraph.

One week later by January 11, all students are set to be back in classrooms.

The decision is believed to not effect primary schools.

During the staggered return, pupils and staff may be given the lateral flow test which provides results in 30 minutes – however, the details of how this will be carried out has not been reported.

Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders told The Telegraph: "When schools saw the handbook sent out yesterday and started to get to grips with what it said, it is a huge ask.

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"We are absolutely supportive of the principle of mass testing of staff and pupils, we have been calling for it for months, to keep students safe and to reduce the impact of the virus on education. We think it is absolutely the right thing to be doing."

She also spoke of the difficulty to carry out tests if pupils return on the same day.

She said: "It would feel more sensible to try to do that as a phased approach, to bring in the students in exam years first and others over the course of several days.

"If you think about a large secondary school, say of 2000 students, they don't have unlimited space. They might need to set aside a hall and they have to have enough people physically administer the tests.

"There is a 30-minute wait and you have to keep the student separate while they wait.

"Just in terms of space and logistics, trying to do that with 2,000 students at once just feels impossible. But just doing it on a phased basis, a year group at a time that might be more feasible."

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