Rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in schools

From January 2021 schools have access to rapid COVID-19 testing (“lateral flow tests”) to help keep staff and students as safe as possible and in education.

  • This approach is known as “serial testing” and will allow students and staff who have been in “close contact” with someone who has tested positive to stay in school if they agree to take a daily test every morning for 7 days.
  • Testing will be done using Lateral Flow Tests, which give results in around 30 minutes (without requiring a laboratory to process the test).
  • If at any point, the student or staff member themselves test positive with a rapid test, they would then take a further PCR test (the “standard” Covid-19 test) and follow self-isolation guidelines.
  • This approach supports rapid testing of asymptomatic staff and students, and is being rolled out across all schools over the Spring Term, starting with secondary schools and colleges.

Consent

Consent will be required for the testing and, if parents do not wish for their child to be tested daily, or their child is unable to be tested for any reason, the usual “self-isolation” rules will apply in line with national guidance (at the time of writing the self-isolation period is 10 days).

Parents will be sent a link to our electronic Consent Form using Parenthub either via the Parenthub App, email or text message.

Guidance

The government has provided schools with guidance on setting up testing stations and conducting the tests. This document is linked below if you wish to read the detail, and the key information pages for parents and students reproduced above this.

https://cdn.realsmart.co.uk/031201613c0b3b7ec715619af1c08c47/uploads/2021/01/26132733/Covid-testing-info.pdf

Covid-19 National Testing Programme: Schools & Colleges Handbook