PCR Tests For Student and Staff Direct Contacts Axed

Children and young people in Jersey who are direct contacts of positive Covid cases in nurseries, schools, or colleges will no longer have to take PCR tests from Thursday 25 November.

3 to 18-year-olds, and education staff, will be asked to use lateral flow tests at home for ten days instead.

Children under the age of 3 will only be asked to take five lateral flows over a ten-day period.

The new measures have been announced to ease the rising Covid pressures and to prevent class disruption by multiple direct contacts having to go for PCR tests several times a week.

Anyone who gets a positive lateral flow should get it confirmed with a PCR and stay off school until getting a negative result.

Staff or students who are identified as direct contacts outside of schools, colleges, and nurseries still have to get a PCR test.

Children and Education Minister Deputy Scott Wickenden says the new rules should alleviate disruption.

“Ministers fully appreciate and value the hard work and dedication across the early years, school and college community during these difficult times and are fully aware of the challenges that all our staff have faced and continue to face.

“These new measures are vital due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in schools, colleges and nurseries and the disruption being caused to students and staff who are direct contacts. We saw the impact school closures had on children and young people’s mental health, which is why we must do all we can to keep education settings and nurseries open and support them during another critically challenging period.”

Deputy Richard Renouf said in the States Assembly yesterday (23 November) that children are having to attend PCR tests too regularly, because of the number of times they're being identified as direct contacts of classmates.

He's called on islanders to take up the lateral flow testing.

“Our COVID Winter Strategy sees a focus on Islanders taking personal responsibility for keeping the community safe and managing their own risk-based decisions. It also sees our testing strategy shift to increased use of LFT tests within the home testing programme. 

“We are asking that students, parents and staff members make the right decision to participate in the 10-day testing programme and report your results each day. With the removal of the requirement for a PCR test, is vital all direct contacts participate honestly in the LFT programme.

"Only by doing so we will protect our children, young people and valued education staff members who are working hard to keep our children and young people in school and nursery."

Free LFT kits will be available from nurseries, schools and colleges for students and staff members from today (Thursday 25 November).

Students and members of staff who are currently booked in for a PCR test after being identified as a direct contact in an education setting do not need to attend their appointment.

They're being asked to call the coronavirus helpline or email cancelpcrtest@gov.je to cancel.

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