COVID-19 Testing for Families guidance

New Government guidance for Covid-19 testing for families, households and support bubbles with primary, secondary and college-age children or staff has been issued.

To support the NHS finding every case of Covid-19 as quickly and easily as possible, families, households and support bubbles with primary, secondary or college-age children or staff can now access regular testing.

As previously announced, secondary school and college students will be tested twice a week from March 8, receiving three initial tests at school or college before transitioning to twice weekly home testing. Primary school children will not be regularly asymptomatically tested due to low levels of transmission between younger aged children, but will continue to need to come forward for tests if they have symptoms.

Twice-weekly testing, using rapid lateral flow tests, will also now be given for free to all families and households with primary, secondary and college-aged children and young people or employees, including childcare and support bubbles, to help find more COVID-19 cases and break chains of transmission.

Twice-weekly testing is already provided to all teachers and will now also be offered to adults working in the wider school community, including bus drivers and after school club leaders.

Schools and colleges will not be providing test kits to families or administer the family testing process and this is encouraged but not mandatory. The tests are available for adults in these households from March 1.

You can get a twice-weekly test:

  • through your employer if they offer testing to employees
  • at a local test site – find your nearest site
  • by collecting a home test kit from a test site – please check in advance if you need to book an appointment.
  • by ordering a home test kit online or by calling 119.

Twice weekly testing involves taking a test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days apart) and reporting every result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day you take the test, online here or by calling 119.

About a third of people with coronavirus show no symptoms and potentially spread it without knowing, so targeted, regular testing will mean more positive cases within households are found and prevented from entering school or college.

Testing families, households and support bubbles is an additional tool, working with other protective measures that are in place in schools to help protect staff and students, including social distancing, handwashing and face covering. Rapid testing detects cases quickly – in under 30 minutes – meaning positive cases can isolate immediately.

We hope you have found this information useful. The latest Coronavirus information for schools in the Cabot Learning Federation can be found on our Covid-19 hub

If you have any specific concerns or questions about your child returning to school from March 8, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s academy directly.