NEW guidelines for secondary school and college pupils have been revealed.

From Monday, learners in secondary schools and colleges will be 'advised' to take daily lateral flow tests for seven days if someone in their household tests positive for the virus.

Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said at Tuesday's Welsh Government press briefing that young people are "at least risk of harm from the virus" and he knows "how important for their wellbeing it is for them to be in school…with their friends".

Currently, under-18s do not need to self-isolate if a close contact tests positive for Covid-19.

But Mr Miles says this current policy has "caused some uncertainty" and the tests will give a "daily snapshot which enables students to make the right judgements".

The minister is also asking staff at secondary schools, colleges and universities to take weekly lateral flow tests to make sure they are not infected.

In a written statement, the minister added: "I want to do all I can to minimise disruption to education and childcare. I recognise that some schools and parents have been confused and concerned that pupils can attend school or college if they are a household contact as long as they are asymptomatic. I have listened to these concerns and considered what additional assurance can be provided while also enabling learners to continue to attend school.

"I am amending our advice and guidance to learners in secondary schools and colleges who are under 18 and have a household member who has tested positive for COVID-19. It will be recommended that in addition to PCR tests on Day 2 and Day 8 they should undertake daily lateral flow every day for seven days. This should start on the day a household contact is confirmed positive from a lateral flow or PCR test result. Where appropriate we want to reduce the testing of children without symptoms but due to the increase in prevalence and the concerns expressed about household contacts it is vital that we do all we can to keep children in school.

"The changes will formally come into effect from Monday 11 October. Any learners in secondary school or college who are under 18 and confirmed as a household contact should start using lateral flow tests for 7 days immediately to help provide further reassurance that they are not infectious to others."

There are changes for families with younger children too. The level of PCR testing being undertaken of children under 5 years of age which has increased fivefold since the beginning of August.

Mr Miles said: "Following advice from our testing advisory group I have agreed that we will no longer recommend that children under 5 years of age take COViD-19 tests without symptoms. Where children under 5 do have symptoms we would not routinely recommend tests unless directed to do so by a doctor or if parents believe a test is absolutely necessary and in the best interests of the child."

Vaccinated staff working in special schools who are identified as a contact, household or otherwise, will, subject to a risk assessment, be required to receive a negative PCR test before attending work and then undertake daily lateral flow tests.

Mr Miles said: "I have also considered the role of testing in relation to pupils who are potentially more vulnerable and the adults working with them.

"While the vast majority of children in special schools are no longer considered vulnerable to COVID-19 it is recognised there is a much higher proportion of children and young people with clinical risks."

Finally, he said, the vaccination programme for 12-15 year olds has started and those that want it are encouraged to come forward as soon as they are offered it.