Specialist testing has been rolled out in Essex after an Omicron variant Covid case in the region was “linked” to a primary school.
An investigation into the spread of the variant was also taking place at a school in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire Councy Council said.
The government said on Saturday that cases of the new variant, said to have been first identified in South Africa, were found in Brentwood, in Essex, and Nottingham.
This morning, Essex County Council announced that following contact tracing it has been confirmed there is a “link” to Larchwood Primary School, in Pilgrim’s Hatch.
Precautionary action such as targeted testing has been introduced to prevent the spread, a statement from the council and school said this morning.
This includes making “specialist” testing available for all pupils and school staff. One class at the school has also moved to remote learning.
The statement adds: “The UK Health and Security Agency, Department of Health and Social Care, Larchwood Primary School and colleagues from Essex County Council and Brentwood Council have worked together to take necessary precautionary action to prevent the spread.
“We appreciate that this is an unsettling time for parents, pupils and the school community but we take the time to remind everyone that this is a precautionary measure.”
Nottinghamshire County Council said investigations into the spread of the variant were taking place at a school in West Bridgford, the BBC reports.
Targeted testing at the school will now take place.
Jonathan Gribbin, Nottinghamshire’s director of public health, did not name the school but said parents had been informed.
“As part of our investigations into the confirmed case of Omicron in the Nottingham area we are also now working with parents of children at a Nottinghamshire school to seek their consent for some targeted testing and that will be something we will do to get a better understanding of how the variant is spreading,” he said.
It comes as new guidance for schools in England was announced yesterday, which included face coverings in communal areas for secondary school pupils and staff in all schools.