Headteachers are calling for the government to allow secondary schools to move all teaching online for pupils undergoing mass coronavirus testing in London, Kent and Essex.

The National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) and the Association of College Leaders have written a joint letter to education minister Gavin Williamson, urging him to shut the doors of secondary schools and colleges whose pupils are being tested this week and to roll out the mass testing of students to other high infection areas in England.

The unions say the move would reduce the danger of infection transmission by these pupils in classrooms and on public transport, while avoiding a logistical nightmare for teachers and further disruption to children’s education. “We can’t simply ask already overburdened school staff to administer these tests, because it will just stop the education effort in schools,” said NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman.

The Observer also understands that the government is considering mass testing of primary school children. The Department for Education said it would not be commenting on this matter: “It hasn’t been confirmed and therefore is speculation”:

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