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Government urged to cut isolation for pupils to five days – ‘Cycle of disruption’

Mum shares major concern over wearing face masks in schools

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Schoolchildren are preparing to return to the classroom this week after the Christmas break. However, concerns have been raised pupils’ education will be interrupted again if large numbers of students and teachers are forced to isolate after testing positive with Covid as the heavily mutated Omicron variant continues to spread.

Molly Kingsley, the co-founder of the parent campaign group Us For Them, was critical of the current testing regime which encourages students to test themselves twice a week at home.

She said: “Testing is perpetuating a cycle of disruption at a moment in time that kids desperately need normality.”

Critics argue the Government should cut the mass testing regime for healthy children.

Ministers recently cut the self-isolation period from ten to seven days for those who have a negative lateral flow test on day six and seven of their isolation.

Some MPs are now urging the Government to go further.

They want the isolation period for asymptomatic children to be cut to five days so as to minimise lost learning.

Robert Halfon, the Tory chairman of the education select committee argued that isolation periods should be cut for students and teachers.

He said: “The most important priority the Government should have is to keep children in school. 

“If that means reducing the quarantine period from seven days to five days so more teachers can be in school, it’s absolutely something they should consider.”

Other Tory MPs backed the proposal with Miriam Cates, the MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge describing mass testing as “ridiculous” when most children don’t suffer from covid symptoms.

Andrew Brigden MP for North West Leicestershire argued forcing children into prolonged isolation was part of an unfair series of restrictions placed upon them during the pandemic.

He said: “The whole issue of the way children have been treated and what they have had to endure throughout the pandemic needs huge consideration.” 

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However, there is no indication at this stage that cutting the isolation period to five days is something that The Department of Education is considering.

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