Schools were given a number of coronavirus tests before they started back to help keep them open, but now they have “run out.”
Schools are struggling with the lack of testing for pupils and teaching staff have warned the situation is becoming “increasingly out of control.”
Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union has called on the government to prioritise schools with coronavirus tests.
Dr Roach warned that the “number is growing” of pupils being told to self-isolate and in one local authority there are around 600 pupils in isolation.
Kate Green, shadow education secretary told Sky News Kay Burley coronavirus tests have now “run out.”
She said that 85% of the population were unable to access a test yesterday, and school children are having to be sent home.
Green warned, “What we’re seeing at the moment is whole classes or year groups being sent home because one child has symptoms.
“This keeps happening again and again in our schools.
“Schools were supplied with a small number of tests, but I was told overnight by one school nurse that those tests have run out, so children are having to be sent home.
“It’s a total mess. The whole country is being let down by this incompetent government.”
Dr Roach wrote a letter to the Schools Minister Nick Gibb warning him that children that have been sent home with Covid symptoms are “facing uncertainty” over when or where they can get tested.
He further warned that some school children and teaching staff who form a “bubble” are not being isolated despite multiple suspected infections.
Dr Roach said, “This is putting at risk the health and safety of others within the school and within the local community.”
NASUWT members are “expressing serious concerns about the failure” of the testing system and the impact on schools.
Dr Roach added, “In particular, areas where additional local restrictions have been introduced due to the increase in the R-number are now unable to cope with demand for tests.
“Teachers, support staff and children and young people are unable to access tests where they have Covid-19 symptoms.
“Employers are struggling to deal with the implications and consequences.”
In his letter to the Schools Minister he further warned Gibb that some 600 pupils in Bury are self-isolating and Salford council has been inundated for tests.
Dr Roach said: “Schools appear to be seeking to do their utmost to carry on.
“However, we have reports that schools are unable to cope with a situation that is becoming increasingly out of control.”