Members of households, childcare or support bubbles of school staff and pupils are being told to get a Covid test twice a week when classrooms reopen on Monday.

Schools across England will welcome back pupils following months of remote learning on March 8, in the first step of Boris Johnson’s road map out of lockdown.

This week, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found school are not at a higher risk of Covid-19 infection than other working-age adults in their local communities.

Around 14.99% of school staff tested positive for coronavirus antibodies in December, which indicate a past infection, lower than the estimate of 18.22% for working-age adults, according to a small study of schools.

But as pupils in England are set to return to class, the government is asking anyone who lives with pupils or school staff to regularly test for coronavirus to help keep infection rates under control.

Wiltshire Times: Schools return in England on March 8. (PA)Schools return in England on March 8. (PA)

Advice on the government website reads: “About 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not have symptoms but can still pass it on to others.

“Regular testing of people without symptoms is important to help stop the virus spreading and protect your loved ones.

“As lockdown restrictions gradually ease we all need to play our part to help protect each other.”

A number of people in England will have access to regular rapid lateral flow testing as schools reopen.

They include:

  • secondary school pupils
  • primary and secondary school staff
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary-age pupils
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary staff

Primary pupils will not be required to regularly test at this time.

If you are displaying coronavirus symptoms you are not advised to take a lateral flow test, they should instead arrange to have a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

While waiting home self-sampling kit, a test site appointment or a test result people are told to remain at home and self-isolate.

What is a rapid lateral flow test?

Lateral flow tests are a fast and easy way to test people who are not displaying symptoms and will detect proteins (antigens) that are present when a person has Covid-19.

They are practical, easy to interpret, can be used in a wide range of settings and will give results within 30 minutes making them ideal for widespread use in the community.

What testing involves and what to do if you test positive

You will be asked to:

  • take a test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days apart)
  • report every result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day you take the test

Report your test result online or by calling 119.

If anyone tests positive or gets coronavirus symptoms, they should tell the school and:

  • self-isolate immediately
  • get a PCR test to confirm the result
  • follow the stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection

A negative result means the test did not find signs of coronavirus. But this does not guarantee you do not have coronavirus, so you should keep following all coronavirus advice including:

  • regular handwashing
  • social distancing
  • wearing a face covering where recommended

How to get a rapid lateral flow test

Wiltshire Times: Covid-19 test (PA)Covid-19 test (PA)

From this week, if you are a member of a household, childcare bubble or support bubble of staff or a pupil you can get a twice-weekly lateral flow test.

There are four ways to get a test:

  1. Through your employer – your workplace may offer rapid lateral flow test, it is worth contacting your employer your find out.
  2. Test site – You can be tested at a local rapid lateral flow test site, where you will swab yourself under the supervision of a trained operator. You may need to book an appointment. Find your nearest site here.
  3. Collect test kits - You can collect 2 packs of home test kits at a local collection point. Each pack contains 7 tests. Anyone 18 or over can collect. Most collection points are open from 1.30pm to 7pm. You can check online if the location is open or busy before you go.
  4. Order home test kits online - If you cannot get tested at your workplace, or are unable to go to a test site or collect test kits, you can order a home test kit online. If you can get a test through other means you are advised not to order online to free up home delivery for those who need it most. Order here.

For more information on rapid lateral flow testing, visit the government website.