Students urged to test for COVID-19 before end of half term

The UK Health Security Agency in the East of England and ministers are calling on young people to make sure they take a rapid COVID-19 test before returning to school after the half term.


COVID-19 cases among 10-19 year olds are currently the highest of any age group, with a weekly rate of 1201 per 100,000 population.


Rapid testing is a quick, easy and reliable way to detect asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 among those that are most infectious. Identifying positive cases through rapid lateral flow tests will mean that we can ensure those with infection do not return to school where they could pass it on to others. Anyone who has symptoms should isolate and get a PCR test as quickly as possible.


Alongside testing and vaccination, there are other important measures children and their families can take to protect against the spread of COVID-19. Make sure to ventilate spaces by opening windows when meeting indoors, keep washing your hands regularly and thoroughly and wear face coverings in crowded enclosed spaces.


After COVID-19 vaccines, rapid testing and appropriate isolation is one of the most important ways to break chains of transmission and prevent the spread of the virus, especially as we enter the winter months.


Many families already have rapid tests at home already that could be used. They can also be collected from your local pharmacy. The Government recommends that schools ask pupils and staff to test twice a week, and that families continue this during the holidays.


Taking a rapid test before going back to school will help prevent hidden COVID-19 cases from entering the classroom and ensure that children can continue to learn free from disruption.


Dr David Edwards, Acting Regional Deputy Director, UK Health Security Agency East of England said:


“It is vital that children and young people take COVID-19 tests before they go back to school and college after the half term break and I urge parents to encourage their children to do this as part of us all tackling the spread of the virus. 


“I’d like to thank children and young people, their parents, their teachers and everyone who is working so hard to help stop the spread of the virus. We have come a long way in this pandemic, but it is important that we remain vigilant and do all we can to stop the spread of the virus.”