There has been much discussion about the use Lateral Flow Tests in schools and we have prepared information in relation to school staff administering the tests.
The Education Secretary has now announced that, as from 18th January, staff in primary schools will be eligible for weekly testing. Whilst increased testing is welcome, GMB is concerned that a false sense of security could be obtained from a negative test result, leading to reduced compliance with control measures such as social distancing and the need for ventilation.
We are also aware that some schools are now encouraging staff identified as a close contact of a positive case, to use Lateral Flow Tests for a period of 7 days, to replace the 10 day self-isolation period. GMB is most concerned by this and has raised the matter with DfE.
If you are identified as a close contact, you can still self-isolate for 10 days and you cannot be forced to attend work. Lateral Flow Tests are not compulsory- you have to consent – and therefore you cannot be made to take a test every day for 7 days in place of self-isolation.
You may interested in the following article Mass testing to be rolled out in primaries despite warnings (schoolsweek.c15.01.21 School ono.uk) which looks at this issue.
GMB London has prepared a short survey to get a broad picture of what school- based members are experiencing and how you are feeling. We would really appreciate it if you would take a couple of minutes to complete our online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Schools_B1117_Jan01. What is happening in your school and what is happening to you at work matters and by completing our survey, you are helping to make sure the experiences and thoughts of school support staff are heard and understood.
On Tuesday 26th January at 5pm, GMB London is holding an online meeting for all school support staff members. This ‘Questions & Answers’ meeting will also look at how health and safety issues surrounding COVID-19 can be addressed in schools. If you wish to attend please use the link below to register
If you have a colleague who is not in a Trade Union, they can join GMB online at www.gmb.org.uk/join-online. Thank you for taking the time to complete our survey- we look forward to hearing from you and look forward to seeing you on the 26th.
With kind regards,
Lisa Bangs, GMB London Region Organiser — Schools and Academies
Follow us on Twitter: @schoolsgmblon
Please do not ‘Reply’ to this email.
Posted: 25th January 2021