The government has announced that it “expects” asymptomatic testing of further education students to continue for the rest of the autumn term.
In its autumn and winter Covid plan, published today, minsters confirmed the testing regime should continue beyond September, when the policy was due to be reviewed.
The plan said: “Testing in education settings has played an important role in identifying positive cases since the start of this year, helping reduce the spread by removing infected individuals from the classroom or lecture hall.
“In secondary schools, further education and higher education, the government expects that testing for students will continue for the rest of this term.
“This will be a valuable tool in minimising the overall disruption to education, and is particularly helpful for this cohort, given its current lower level of vaccine-based protection.”
Following the publication of the winer pla, the Department for Education confirmed that colleges will need to retain an asymptomatic test site on-site so they can offer testing to students who are unable to test themselves at home.
Current guidance for FE providers, last updated on August 27, told all FE providers, except independent training providers (ITPs) and adult community learning providers (ACLPs), to offer students two on-site lateral flow device tests on their return to site this academic year, three to five days apart.
It added: “Students and staff should then continue to test twice weekly at home until the end of September, when this will be reviewed. ITPs and ACLPs are not required to set up an asymptomatic test site. All tests should be completed at home by staff and students.
“FE providers, except ITPs and ACLPs, should also retain a small asymptomatic test site on-site until further notice so they can offer testing to students who are unable to test themselves at home.”