The Government is now offering families and household bubbles with children, twice weekly lateral flow (rapid) tests. This includes households with a child or young person returning to or continuing to attend school or college. This is specially for people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19.
These tests are also available to childminders and adults in childcare and support bubbles with households that qualify for testing. Adults working in the wider school community, including bus drivers and after school club leaders are also eligible.
Parents, carers, guardians and adults within childcare and support bubbles are encouraged to make use of this new system to help identify more cases of COVID-19 where people do not have symptoms (‘asymptomatic’ testing) and break chains of transmission in communities.
Children returning to or continuing in secondary schools or further education colleges, as well as school staff in all education settings, will be offered lateral flow (rapid) tests through a separate scheme organised by schools, from 8 March.
Christina Gray, Director for Public Health said: “This testing opportunity for households and those with child care responsibilities is being implemented nationally by the Department of Health and Social Care to identify infection and prompt action to prevent chains of transmission, particularly as our schools re-open from Monday 8 March.
“This additional testing offer is specifically for adults in a household, childcare or support bubble with children and young people who are returning to full-time education, or adults working in wider school community settings. Children, young people and teachers will be tested regularly through their school and do not need to take another test through this new programme.
‘’There will be a number of Community Collect sites where these tests can be collected. Where possible, we urge people to walk to these local collection points if they decide to take up the offer of regular lateral flow tests. Please wear a face covering at all times, including going to and from the testing site. There is an exception for children under the age of three.”
Three existing Local Testing Sites are operating as a Community Collect sites for households to collect lateral flow tests after 1:30pm each day:
- Hengrove Leisure Park, BS14 0HR
- Netham Park, BS59RU
- Victoria Rooms Car Park, BS8 1EG
Between 1:30pm and 7pm only, these three testing sites will be open for people to turn up and collect test kits to be taken at home. Once tests have been completed, they should be disposed of in a clinical waste bag provided in usual household waste. Please do not attend these pick-up points before 1:30pm, as these three testing sites will continue to operate as symptomatic testing sites.
The Council are working on extending the number of Community Collect sites for tests and are awaiting Government approval for this plan.
Eligible households can also order test kits online to deliver to their home through the national GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
Councillor Anna Keen, Cabinet Lead for Education and Skills, said: “Much like the regular testing on offer for Higher Education students, this additional testing system is optional, but I encourage all eligible households, parents, carers and guardians to please take up this offer to keep our communities safe.
“I understand that people will be feeling anxious with the wider re-opening of schools and further education colleges next week, but rest assured that we are working closely with school leaders and teachers to ensure all appropriate safety measures are in place.”
Any lateral flow (rapid) test which is taken at home which is positive needs a further confirmatory test to be taken either through at home PCR testing or at a local testing site, these can be booked through the national testing portal via nhs.uk/coronavirus or by ringing 119.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should continue to self-isolate immediately and book a test via nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.