School principals should ask all pupils in a class where there are a number of Covid cases to take a lateral flow test.
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That is according to updated guidance to schools from the Education Authority (EA) and Public Health Agency (PHA).
The updated guidance said that principals did not need to contact the PHA before introducing "extended testing".
The new guidance applies to pupils in both primary and post-primary schools.
In a joint letter to principals, the EA and PHA said that the Omicron variant had "led to a steep increase in Covid-19 case numbers in Northern Ireland and this is now impacting on all of society including schools".
'Very high community transmission'
The letter continued: "Evidence shows, however, that Omicron, whilst more transmissible than previous variants, is also generally less severe in its effects with a reduced risk of serious illness and hospitalisation.
"As with Delta, the Omicron variant also presents in the vast majority of children as a mild, self-limiting illness."
An accompanying letter from the PHA said: "With the very high community transmission we are experiencing, we expect to see more cases associated with a school or community setting and this does not necessarily reflect transmission in the class or school."
All school staff and post-primary pupils had previously been advised to take twice-weekly lateral flow tests.
But the updated guidance from the EA and PHA said primary school children should also be asked to take a lateral flow test at home if they are asymptomatic but in a class where there are a number of positive cases.