Covid-19 testing for school aged children
It is important to safeguard the health of staff and students where face-to-face education occurs. Up to one-third of people who have coronavirus do not have symptoms. By quickly identifying and containing these cases, we can reduce the spread of transmission.
- Rapid lateral flow devices (LFDs) have been made available to staff and pupils of secondary schools and colleges to test for coronavirus (Covid-19).
- Pre-school children and primary aged pupils do not need to be tested.
Testing is voluntary, however, all eligible pupils and students who attend secondary schools are strongly encouraged to test twice weekly. Your child's school will provide testing kits to take home to self-swab. Full instructions on how to do this are included in the testing kits.
LFDs produce a result in 30 minutes. Test results must be reported to help with contact tracing. You can do this online at Gov.uk: Report a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test result or by telephoning 119 between 7.00am and 11.00pm. You will need the QR code or the ID number of the test when reporting.
- Students aged 18 and over should self-test and report the result, with assistance if needed.
- Young people aged 12-17 should self-test and report with adult supervision - the adult may conduct the test if necessary.
- Children aged 11 attending a secondary school should be tested by an adult.
Families of school aged children can access their own LFD testing
Tests given to pupils and students must not be used by anyone else. Families of school aged children can access their own LFD testing:
- Book a LFD test at a local LFD testing site or contact County Durham Together Community Hub on 03000 260 260 if you have no internet access. Find your nearest site at County Durham Maps: Test and Trace.
- Collection from your nearest community collect site or pharmacy.
- Order a home LFD test kit online to be delivered to your home.
If a test is negative, then your child can attend school and continue to follow any social distancing restrictions the school have put in place.
If a test is positive, you must self isolate immediately, along with close contacts and other household members, in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance.
All positive results from rapid tests, need to be confirmed with a PCR test. You can book a PCR test online or by calling 119.
Whilst awaiting the PCR result, pupils and students and close contacts should continue to self-isolate. If the PCR test is negative, students can return to school or college, and close contacts and other household members can stop self-isolating.
The asymptomatic testing programme does not replace current testing policy for those with symptoms. Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus (even if they recently had a negative LFD test result), should still self-isolate immediately according to government guidelines.