Scottish Government denies claim that covid test in schools 'required' as it is says testing 'strongly encouraged' but 'not mandatory'

After a Government document stated school pupils in Scotland will be ‘required’ to take a covid test before class, a Scottish Government spokesperson has since said that, although regular testing is ‘strongly encouraged’, it will ‘not be mandatory.’

The news comes as the minutes of the Government’ education recovery group of June 10 state that pupils will be required to do lateral flow tests a week before returning to school after the summer break.

In a section covering the “contingency planning working group”, the minute stated requests had been made for an “alternative approach” to contact tracing for the start of the summer break.

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It stated: “A decision to either ease or maintain mitigations would then be made once the new term had started and we had greater levels of clarity regarding the state of the virus. This decision would be based on the assessment of the public health position in the wider society."

The Scottish Government has denied the claim in a government document that covid testing will be 'required' in schools in Scotland as it says testing will remain voluntary (Photo: John Devlin).

“Pupils will be required to do Lateral Flow Tests the week prior to returning. “

“The paper received positive feedback.

"It was agreed that this was the optimal approach under the circumstances and one that will give the maximum level of certainty possible at this juncture to aid planning within schools and local authorities.”

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However, the Scottish Government has since told the Daily Record the document was ‘poorly worded’ and the minute was ‘not accurate.’

Clarifying the situation, a Scottish Government spokesperson said that the covid testing programme will remain voluntary.

They said:“The Education Recovery Group is continuing to monitor the latest data and public health advice as they plan for the new school year.

"Asymptomatic testing is one of a range of mitigations used against the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

"We will continue to strongly encourage staff and secondary pupils to take part in regular testing, including in the days immediately prior to return, although the programme will remain voluntary. Testing will not be mandatory.

"Updated guidance on mitigations will be provided to local authorities and schools in advance of the new term.”

Regular testing testing in schools began earlier this year in Scotland as high school pupils and teachers were offered free lateral flow tests.

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