Covid-19: Whole families with schoolchildren to be offered home tests twice weekly

28 February 2021, 06:44 | Updated: 28 February 2021, 09:58

Schoolchildren and their families will be offered Covid-19 home testing kits
Schoolchildren and their families will be offered Covid-19 home testing kits. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Whole families with children in school or college will be offered home-based Covid-19 tests twice a week.

Under plans for schools to safely reopen in England from March 8, free tests will be provided to pupils' households as well as those in their childcare or support bubbles.

The kits will be provided regardless of whether anyone has symptoms, the Government said on Sunday.

Read more: Opening all schools on 8 March ‘reckless’, NERVTAG scientist tells LBC

The rapid tests will be ordered and collected from local sites or administered through workplace testing programmes, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

Secondary and college pupils will be tested with lateral flow tests twice a week, receiving three initial tests at school before they start taking them at home.

Families with college-aged teenagers who are not studying are not included in the plans, the DHSC said.

The twice-weekly tests will also be offered to adults working with schools, such as bus drivers and after school club leaders.

Read more: Labour urges Gavin Williamson to set out a 'credible' plan to reopen schools

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said testing family members "will provide yet another layer of reassurance to parents and education staff that schools are as safe as possible".

Two home testing kits will be given to school children each week
Two home testing kits will be given to school children each week. Picture: PA Images

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Regular testing of households and childcare support bubbles of primary and secondary school children is another tool we are making available to help keep schools safe.

"We know that one in three people with Covid-19 don't have any symptoms, so targeted, regular testing will mean more positive cases are kept out of schools and colleges."

His department said the tests will be available from March 1 - a week before school are set to fully reopen.