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Covid testing for school age children, young people and families

Increased testing measures are in place to support the return of pupils to schools and colleges. Older children, members of their household and support bubbles, and all school staff will have access to regular coronavirus tests. This test is called a lateral flow tests (LFT) or lateral flow device (LFD).

Regular coronavirus testing of people without symptoms is important to help stop the virus spreading and protect your loved ones. 

Even with regular testing and negative results - you should keep following all coronavirus advice including:

  • regular handwashing
  • social distancing
  • wearing a face covering where recommended

Primary school children are not being provided with lateral flow tests at this time. 

However, if your child has any of the coronavirus symptoms you must book a PCR test.

If your child does not have any symptoms but you feel that they require a lateral flow test, you can access this at a local rapid test centre.

Upon returning to school, your child will be asked to take their:

  • first two lateral flow device (LFD) tests at their place of study under the supervision of a trained operator
  • third LFD test at home when they've been supervised for the first two tests.  Test kits will be provided by the school.  

After this, your child will be asked to continue to take twice-weekly LFD tests using a home test kit provided by their school and report their result to NHS Test and Trace as soon as the test is completed.

Your child's school will contact you direct to provide more information. We ask that you give permission to your child's school to allow schools to undertake the tests and reduce the spread of the virus.

If your child has coronavirus symptoms or has had a positive result using home test - you must book a PCR test

Regular testing is also being offered to families and support bubbles of school aged children (and staff).

The best way to do this is at one of our rapid test sites (these are only for people without symptoms - if you have symptoms you must isolate and book a PCR test).

You can also collect tests from these sites to do at home, (you will need to create an NHS account to upload your results). As well as local test sites you can get tests from a number of places: your employer if they offer testing to employees or by ordering a home test kit online if you cannot get them through any other way. Tests are available in packs of 7 and you can get up to 2 packs of tests on one go.

Remember - regular testing is essential so that we can isolate positive cases and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

All teaching and non-teaching staff of primary and secondary schools are able to take twice-weekly tests using a home lateral flow device test kit provided by their school.

This includes permanent, temporary and voluntary school staff.

Adults living in the same household of school staff can also access the tests.

If the lateral flow device (LFD) test is taken at home and is positive, you must:

If the LFD test is taken at school or at a test centre and is positive, you must:
  • Self isolate immediately
  • Inform your child's school, college or early years provider, where applicable
Always follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection

If the lateral flow device (LFD) test is taken at home and is negative:

No further action is required and you can continue to go to school or college.

However, if your child has any of the coronavirus symptoms you must book a PCR test and stay home till you have received the results. All those in the household will need to immediately self-isolate until the test results are received.

Lateral flow test (LFT) or lateral flow device (LFD) are taken by people without coronavirus symptoms to see if any virus is present. 

The LFD test are self administered, easy to use and give results in 30 minutes.

A PCR test is taken by people who have symptoms or have a positive LFD test result.

The test is checked and analysis by a lab and test results are issued to by text.

PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction.

Both test types are carried out in the same way by a swab to the back of the throat and then to the nostrils.