Families with children at school or college will be able to test themselves for coronavirus from home twice a week, as part of their school’s plans to reopen safely in the UK starting March 8.
The government said on Sunday that regardless of whether anyone has symptoms or not, free tests will be provided to those who are in students’ homes as well as childcare or support balloons.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the rapid tests will be ordered and collected from local sites or administered through workplace testing programs. Middle school and college students will be tested twice a week with lateral flow tests and will take three initial tests at school before they start taking them at home.
DHSC said families with young people who cannot study at university are not included in the plans. Twice a week tests will also be offered to adults working in schools, such as bus drivers and after-school club leaders.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson said testing family members “will provide another layer of assurance to parents and education staff that schools are as safe as possible.”
Health minister Matt Hancock said: “Regular testing of primary and secondary school children at home and childcare support balloons are another tool we offer to help keep schools safe. We know that one in three people with Covid-19 does not have any symptoms, so targeted, regular testing will mean keeping more positive cases out of schools and colleges. “
The DHSC said the tests will be available from March 1.