A BOLTON school carried out mass Covid testing yesterday to help combat the new Omicron variant.

Teachers, support teachers, and cleaners, from Turton School, all pitched in to test students as they returned.

In order to carry out the operation smoothly, Years 8 and 9 were tested in the morning and left soon after, so that teachers could help assist the rest of the students.

Years 7,10,11,12, and 13 were then tested in the afternoon and were able to continue lessons if they tested negative.

After the testing exercise, all lessons returned as normal, and pupils will be expected to test themselves at home twice a week.

Headteacher Sam Gorse said: “We couldn’t have done this without the goodwill and support of the staff.

“It is working well, and has helped us pick up 16 positive cases in the first hour of carrying this out.”

Once positive tests are identified, students parents’ will be informed, and they will be sent home.

Masks are also now compulsory in classes and communal areas in schools across the UK to help reduce the risk of transmission as much as possible.

Miss Gorse said: “It’s hard work teaching with masks, and for the children too.

“Before Christmas you only had to wear masks in the corridors, but now it’s all the time in classrooms.

“The kids have behaved really well and never complained. They have just got on with it.

“Our parents have also been really supportive with everything put in place.”

Exceptions are made for those who are exempt from mask wearing, or those who suffer from health issues.

Although Miss Gorse is in support of the new rules, she said that it can be difficult for the children when learning because they may not feel comfortable speaking as much, and it’s hard for expressions to be read.

However she is confident that they will continue to get through the challenge.

School business manager, Leonie Hathaway, said: “It has been quite nice to see how well everybody has come together, and everyone has been quite happy to volunteer.”

The school also still has an online learning system in place for those isolating or absent.

Government guidance is expected to be reviewed once again on Wednesday, January 26.