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False positive covid results in the UK punishing students returning to schools

False positive covid results in the UK punishing students returning to schools

Rapid Covid tests have become problematic for students returning for in-person classes after numerous false-positive results.

Students who test positive with incorrect results are also being unfairly punished and being asked to isolate themselves. Reports also showed that a follow-up lab-based PCR test was finding the students were negative from Covid.

False-positive Covid results

However, even after testing negative through a PCR test, students were not allowed to return back to school and they were required to continue with their isolation. The government has insisted that on-the-spot Covid test results would be used in determining whether students were allowed back to school or not.

This has led to many parents saying that the false-positive results were ruining what would have been a smooth transition to in-person classes. 

With over four million high school students returning to school and being subjected to the test, the Royal Statistical Society indicated that due to low infection rates, most of the positive cases this week were more likely to be wrong than right. 

One such parent is  Rachael Stewart, from Oxfordshire who indicated that her son tested positive for Covid after the on-spot test. However, after taking the more accurate PCR test, she found out that her son had no Covid. 

Stewart indicated that because of the false-positive test, her son and his two younger sisters have been asked to continue their isolation. Even after proving that they were not Covid positive, they were asked to continue with the isolation because that was the policy.

Stewart’s case is no different and across the UK, many parents have expressed their disappointment with the Covid results and the requirements that they must isolate even after proving they are negative.

Parents’ concerns were echoed by experts such as Sunil Bhopal who indicated that the government’s policy about testing was flawed. Bhopal criticized the government for not prioritizing students enough, adding that it was painful to watch as children were being put last during the pandemic.

Although research shows that the false-positive rate for the rapid tests was as low as 0.1 percent, four million students taking the test meant that tens of thousands would end up with fault results that would end up interrupting their transition to in-person classes.


Kelvin Maina

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