A TEACHING union wants all school staff and pupils to be routinely tested for coronavirus upon the return of school next week.

According to NASUWT, robust safety measures must be in place when schools in Scotland return next week to protect staff and pupils.

The union has also called for Covid-19 infection rates in each local authority to be monitored and for information to be shared by employers on new cases.

Schools will begin to open from August 11, with all pupils due back full-time from August 18.

Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of NASUWT (pictured), said: “Teachers and other staff working in schools want to be assured that when they return to the workplace they will be afforded the same level of protection as staff in other occupations and workplaces.

“The Government and employers need to demonstrate that schools are ready to re-open safely and must not leave the safety of children, teachers and the general public to chance.

“It is important to remember that we remain in a public health emergency and the Scottish Government and employers must do everything they can to ensure that re-opening schools does not lead to an increase in cases of Covid-19.

“This is why routine, widespread, testing systems, coupled with effective information sharing measures, are so important, along with the mitigation and safety measures schools and colleges are being asked to take.”

Jane Peckham, NASUWT’s national official for Scotland, said: “School leaders and staff have been working phenomenally hard in very difficult and uncertain circumstances to ensure that they can safely re-open and many pupils and staff are looking forward to returning to school and college.

“However, many also remain anxious about their health and welfare and the provision of routine Covid-19 testing in schools, along with monitoring systems to ensure the safety of staff and pupils, would go a long way to providing extra reassurance that all steps which can be taken to keep schools safe environment are in place.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We agree

that the health and wellbeing of pupils, students and staff should

be the top priority when it

comes to re-opening schools

and colleges.

“The guidance on preparing for the start of the new school term sets out the approach that must be taken, including a number of health mitigations.

“They include risk assessments, enhanced hygiene measures and Test and Protect.

“In addition, a surveillance programme is being developed for schools where regular testing and survey data will identify symptoms and infections in the school population.

“This will allow regular reporting on incidences of infection and inform the ongoing development of guidance for schools.”