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Testing in schools “critical” to bring down rates, council bosses say

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Twice-weekly testing for children in schools is “critical” in bringing down fast-rising rates of Covid in the borough, council bosses said today.

The testing has been re-introduced this month after it was revealed rates of infections had more than doubled in the past week.

Chiefs urged parents to ignore posts on social media calling on them to boycott the tests – and called on everyone to work together for “one last push” with the planned date for the end of all restrictions on July 19 fast approaching.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of the council, said:

I have been infuriated to read social media posts this week urging parents to boycott the twice weekly testing programme we have re-introduced into schools.
At a time when Covid rates in the borough are on a worrying rise, it is stupid and unhelpful.
Data suggests the rise in cases is sharpest in young people.
Introducing twice weekly testing allows us to quickly identify positive cases and get children to self-isolate.
It means 29 children out of a class of 30 can still be in school, instead of having to send the whole class home which also has a knock-on effect for parents having to self-isolate and miss work. It is critical.
It means we bring the rates down, while hopefully at the same time we don’t have to send home large swathes of pupils when they could be in school learning.
It’s common sense and elected members of the council should be helping to get the message out there, not adding to myths and conspiracy theories. There are enough Covid deniers out there as it is.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:

I am extremely concerned at the latest attempts on social media to destabilise the outstanding work at Dudley Council.
Dismissing and countering the messaging we are trying to get out to people to try and bring down the concerning rise in cases of Covid in the borough is unacceptable and downright irresponsible.
The end date of July 19 is clearly in sight, and we all need to work together for one last push to make sure we are ready to return to some kind of normality.

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