Free Covid-19 home testing kits are available to all families and households with early years, primary, secondary school and college-aged children and young people, including childcare and support bubbles, as well as adults working in the school community.
Families are encouraged to test themselves at home twice-weekly in order to identify Covid-19 cases quickly and break the chain of transmission.
Tests are either delivered to your home or you can collect them from a local testing site. You do not need an appointment. Go to the rapid lateral flow test section of the Gov.UK website to find your nearest collection centre.
This comes in addition to twice weekly tests provided to all school staff and secondary and college pupils – whose tests are arranged directly through the school or college.
Unlike the PCR tests used for people with symptoms, the LFTs are for people who do not have any symptoms. Whilst the results have not been found to be as accurate as PCR tests, they do help find cases of covid in people who do not have symptoms.
The tests provide a result within 30 minutes and are an extra covid measure, alongside social distancing, handwashing and wearing face coverings.
Helen Christmas, public health lead for children and families said: “We are keen to stress that this is one of a number of tools which help to prevent the spread of coronavirus. What we have seen is that the LFTs can detect cases in people with no symptoms, however we also know from use of LFTs trialled in Liverpool, that sometimes the tests provide a negative result in people who do have the virus.
“We encourage people to make use of the tests, but even with a negative result to continue to social distance, wash hands and wear face coverings. We don’t people to become complacent after a negative test, as these tests do not find every covid infection.”
Anyone who gets a positive result from an LFT should isolate straight away, along with the whole household. If they took the LFT at home, they should then book a PCR test to confirm the result.
Anyone who has the main covid symptoms, even after a negative LFT test, must stay at home and book a PCR test.