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Daily testing instead of isolation for school and college student contacts of COVID-19 cases – results of a study

Scientists at the University of Oxford have carried out a study to investigate whether daily testing of secondary school students who were in contact with someone with COVID-19 was as effective in controlling school transmission as the current 10-day contact isolation policy.                         

201 secondary schools and colleges of further education were randomised into two groups – in one, the schools continued a standard policy of routine mass testing, and isolation for 10 days for close contacts of positive cases.  In the other, the schools invited close contacts of positive cases to come to school and take lateral flow tests in a supervised school testing site over 7 days.  Those who chose to do so were released from isolation to attend school or college if they tested negative for COVID-19.

The study aimed to find out whether there were differences in the number of contacts in each group testing positive, and what this means for the impact on transmission in schools.

Journalists dialled in to this briefing to hear from the scientists about their study and its findings.

Please note this data will be a preprint, so it is early work that has not yet been through peer-review and is not published in a journal.


Speakers included:

Prof Tim Peto, Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford, and Principal Investigator

Dr Bernadette Young, Clinical Lecturer in Infectious Diseases, University of Oxford

Dr David Eyre, Associate Professor and Infectious Disease Clinician in the Big Data Institute, University of Oxford


This Briefing was accompanied by an SMC Roundup of Comments.

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