Regular COVID testing available for school students and their families

Households and people in a support or childcare bubble with school pupils, as well as staff members can get now twice-weekly rapid lateral flow tests to help identify COVID cases and reduce transmission.

Twice-weekly testing will also be offered to adults working in the wider school community, including bus drivers and after school club leaders. Secondary school pupils and all school staff (both primary and secondary) will get tested twice a week at their school.

Under the new system, all households with primary and secondary school and college age children, and childcare and support bubbles, will be encouraged to start regular twice-weekly testing from Monday 8 March, with tests available for adults in these household to collect from Monday 1 March. As with student testing, this is encouraged but not mandatory.

NHS Test and Trace has rapidly expanded its network of testing sites and has more than 500 test sites that will provide symptom-free tests to eligible individuals as part of community collect. Residents will be able to order and collect Lateral Flow Tests through a new online home ordering service. The tests will be available to order online or for collection from a local PCR test site, and you can find your closest test site by visiting the site finder at https://find-covid-19-rapid-test-sites.maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/.

A secondary PCR test will be required for positive lateral flow tests which are taken at home, either through at home PCR testing or at a local PCR testing site. You can book this PCR test at gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test. Pupils must report their result to NHS Test and Trace as soon as the test is completed, either online or by telephone, as set out in the home test kit instructions.

Local Test Sites offering the community collect service will have the following operating times:

  • PCR Test Sites will accept customers with bookings for symptomatic PCR tests made via the portal up until midday
  • The Lateral Flow Devices collection window at PCR Test Sites will be between 1.30pm – 7pm

Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, cabinet member for public health, wellbeing and housing, said: “It is fantastic news that schools are opening from Monday 8 March, and this regular testing for school students, staff, their families and close contacts will help this by reducing transmission of the virus.

“This is a step in the right direction to normality and twice-weekly testing for these people going to school is important to help stop the virus spreading and protect your loved ones. This combined with the basics of regular handwashing, social distancing and wearing a face covering where required will help to keep the number of coronavirus cases in Warrington low.

“If you start to develop any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild, it is important that you stay at home and do not go to school until you have had an NHS PCR test. Do not use the rapid lateral flow testing service as this is only for people without symptoms.”

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