Testing

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms (even if they recently had a negative LFD test result), should self-isolate immediately according to government guidelines and arrange for a PCR test as soon as possible.

Do not use the rapid LFD test as this is only for people without symptoms.

Primary and secondary school staff

Staff (including permanent, temporary and voluntary staff) will continue to test with LFDs twice a week at home. These tests are to identify people who are infectious but do not have any COVID-19 symptoms.

Staff with a positive LFD test result will need to self-isolate in line with the stay-at-home guidance. Staff with a negative LFD test result can continue to attend school or nursery and use protective measures.

Primary school pupils

Primary age pupils will not be tested with LFDs.

Secondary schools pupils

Secondary schools should set up an asymptomatic testing site (ATS) for testing pupils as they return to school.

Secondary school pupils will be asked to do 4 LFD tests when they return to school: 3 tests at school, 3 to 5 days apart, and then a fourth test at home using a home test kit. Pupils will then continue taking twice-weekly tests using home LFD test kits provided by their school.

Pupils should return to face-to-face education following their first negative test result.

Pupils must report their result to NHS Test and Trace as soon as the test is completed, as set out in the home test kit instruction, and share their result with the school.

Schools should retain a small on-site ATS on site so they can offer testing to pupils who are unable or unwilling to test themselves at home.

Testing remains voluntary but strongly encouraged.

Identifying close contacts

Schools must send home those people who have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 with a PCR or LFD test, advising them to self-isolate immediately and for the next 10 full days counting from the day after contact with the individual who tested positive.

A close contact means anyone who has had any of the following types of contact with a positive case:

  • face-to-face contact including being coughed on or having a face-to-face conversation within 1 metre
  • been within 1 metre for 1 minute or longer without face-to-face contact
  • sexual contacts
  • been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day)
  • travelled in the same vehicle or a plane.

Key points:

  • Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate immediately and arrange for a PCR test.
  • Rapid LFDs test are only for people without symptoms (asymptomatic).
  • Staff or students with a positive LFD or PCR test result will need to self-isolate and their close contacts identified.
  • Notify the Health Protection Team if you get a positive LFD or PCR test.
  • If someone has been advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or because they've been identified by the school as a close contact, they should isolate as advised and return to school when their isolation period is over. A negative LFD or PCR result does not mean they can return to school because they could still develop COVID-19 within the remaining days. If they develop symptoms during their isolation period they should get a PCR test.
  • You should not request evidence of negative test results or other medical evidence before admitting children or welcoming them back after a period of self-isolation.
  • A negative result means the test did not find signs of COVID-19. But this does not guarantee that people do not have COVID-19, so they should keep following all advice including regular handwashing, social distancing, and wearing a face covering where recommended.