STAFF and pupils will be undergo regular covid-testing when schools reopen on March 8.

Bolton Council confirmed that lateral flow testing was now in place for secondary and primary schools.

At primary school, school staff will undergo regular quick fire tests, while at secondary school, all pupils and staff will be tested.

The tests are not compulsory and anyone showing coronavirus symptoms will still have to follow government guidelines.

A council report stated: "In the most recent school term covering November to December 2020, children aged 11-15 years had seen the largest number of cases, which had gradually reduced over the

2 months. In recent weeks, there had been a rise in cases in children aged 0-4 years, with most recent cases being found in young people aged 16-19 years."

It added lateral flow testing was in place for schools.

Around 15 per cent of children have been attending schools, but all children are required to go back on March 8, prompting calls for all school staff to be vaccinated.

Andrea Egan, Bolton Unison Branch Secretary and member of Unison’s National Executive said: “School staff have been working really hard throughout the pandemic of the last 12 months.

"They have faced immense challenges but they have managed to keep schools open and safe for children of key workers and children with specific needs. Everyone wants to see all young people back at school or at college. Our view is that it must be done safely, it must be done gradually and it must be done on the basis of scientific evidence.

"We have all seen encouraging news about the vaccine and a reduction in the numbers of deaths, but we still have a long way to go.

"Infection rates are still quite high in many areas, including Bolton.

"In schools and colleges staff and students work closely together, that’s why it’s essential that all school and college staff can access Covid vaccinations as an absolute priority. We do need to move forward not backwards, but it’s really important that we move forward safely for everyone”.