Please click here to see the guidance on what parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Returning to primary school: what parents need to know

Asymptomatic testing information for parents and adults in households with children at school or college

NHS Test and Trace announced earlier this week, that all adults in households with school and college age children without symptoms can now access regular rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing.

Test kits can either be collected or ordered online, as set out below. You should not give test kits to parents, carers or household members and should not order more test kits for this purpose. Secondary school and college students will continue to access testing through their school or college.

Undertaking regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing helps reduce transmission of the virus. Parents and other adults in households with children at school or college, who do not have symptoms, can now access regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing. This includes childcare and support bubbles.

Tests are fast, easy and completely free. There are different ways for a household, childcare or support bubble to collect their test to take at home, twice-weekly:

  • through your employer, if they offer testing to employees
  • by collecting a home test kit from a local test site – anyone aged 18 or over can collect 2 packs of 7 tests
  • by ordering a home test kit online – please do not order online if you can access testing through other routes, this frees up home delivery for those who need it most

If you have any queries about the tests, and you live in England, please call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines). Lines are open every day from 7am to 11pm.

Children of primary school age (and below) without symptoms are not being asked to take a test.

Testing is voluntary, but strongly recommended to all who are eligible. Alongside the vaccine, washing hands, wearing face coverings, and maintaining social distancing, rapid testing plays a vital role in reducing transmission rates. Getting into the habit of regular testing as part of our everyday lives will help us all to play our part and do what we can to protect each other.


Rapid coronavirus testing

As you may be aware, the Government announced that every secondary school and college in England, including special schools and alternative provision, will have access to rapid coronavirus testing from January to help keep staff and pupils as safe as possible while ensuring education settings can remain open.

Information and guidance

Further information is available in DfE’s press notice and guidance on asymptomatic testing in schools and colleges.

A handbook for schools and colleges developed by NHS Test and Trace is available online, here. The website also contains a consent form template and leaflet for communicating with parents, pupils, students and stakeholders and asking for consent.

You may also find the following resources helpful:

  • DfE blog for parents answering some key questions around the announcement
  • blog from Luke Magee, Principal of Wye School, Ashford, Kent which has been part of the COVID-19 mass testing pilot during November and December 2020

Further information on the additional announcement made on the staggered rollout of coronavirus testing for secondary schools and colleges from January is available via DfE’s press notice here.