Covid-19 in UK: Students back to school after 2 months of closure
British children returned to school on Monday after a two-month closure, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying he aimed to get the country “ moving closer to a sense of normality.”
As part of the plan, millions of high school and college students coming back to UK classrooms will be tested for the first few weeks. Authorities want to quickly detect and isolate asymptomatic cases in order to avoid sending entire schools home.
“We are being cautious in our approach so that we do not undo the progress we have made so far,” Johnson said as he urged people to get vaccinated.
High schools and colleges could reopen in phases to allow for testing. The UK government has distributed nearly 57 million rapid “lateral flow” test kits to schools across the country, but there are concerns about the accuracy of the tests, which may result in pupils being forced to self-isolate unnecessarily.
But Susan Hopkins, a director at Public Health England, told the BBC that evidence from testing over the past eight weeks suggested less than 1 in 1,000 tests resulted in a false positive.
Britain has had Europe’s deadliest outbreak, with nearly 125,000 Covid-19 deaths.