TWO Southampton MPs are hoping school pupils will continue to take regular Covid tests.

President of The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s, Dr Camilla Kingdon, is calling for mass testing in education settings to be stopped.

She told The Daily Telegraph that children should not have to “carry the burden” of the pandemic.

But Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen, and Alan Whitehead, who represents the Test constituency, believe testing is the best way forward.

'I think that there are many teachers and parents that would be nervous about scrapping regular testing, particularly as cases are so high at the moment," Mr Whitehead told the Echo.

Daily Echo: Alan Whitehead

"However the best thing that can be done to stop disruption to the education of young people is for all of those who are eligible to get the vaccine to do so."

In secondary schools, the current system sees students take lateral flow tests twice a week.

Royston Smith MP said: "In order to keep schools open and not disrupt children’s education we need a mechanism to ensure they are as safe as possible.

Daily Echo: Southampton City Council leader Royston Smith and HMS Astute

"I understand the inconvenience this is causing but the alternatives of closures and sending home bubbles is far more disruptive."

In order to curb the spread of the virus after a rise in infections, schools have started increasing measures even though they have been told by ministers that they are not needed anymore.

Southampton schools have seen a huge boom in Covid cases since the start of the academic year.

City council figures show that 533 cases were confirmed in educational settings between October 11 and 17.

Just before the summer holidays began in August, just 96 had been reported.

City Cllr James Baillie, the council's education specialist, said: “As cases of the virus rise across the city, testing of pupils and staff who attend schools and colleges is more important than ever and continues to play a vital role in breaking chains of transmission and limiting the spread of the virus.

“While it’s true that education settings are under a degree of pressure owing to staff absences, the vast majority of teaching across the city is continuing with minimal interruption.

"Everyone can play their part in keeping school communities safe by continuing to test in line with national guidance, having their vaccination if eligible, and self-isolating when required to do so.”