The armed forces are to be drafted in to help with mass testing of thousands of schools and college students, and will ensure that testing systems are ready for when pupils return in January.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that 1,500 military personnel will form local response teams who will also provide phone advice to schools needing guidance on the testing process.
The guidance will be done “predominantly through webinars and individual meetings,” and they will also provide in-person support at short notice.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said, “The UK armed forces are stepping up once again this holiday.
“They’ll share considerable experience of testing across the country and the successful school pilots conducted this autumn.
“We are grateful for the professionalism and commitment they and our colleagues in teaching are showing to get students back into the classroom and on with their education.”
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “It is a true cross-government effort to make sure secondary schools and colleges have the support, guidance, materials and funding they need to offer rapid testing to their staff and students from the start of term.
“I am grateful to the armed forces personnel, and all the school and college staff, leaders and volunteers working to put testing in place.
“This will help break chains of transmission, fight the virus, and help deliver the national priority of keeping education open for all.”