Children in England are now returning to school, after months of enforced home-schooling.

However, there will be some major changes to the normal school experience.

How will testing work in schools?

Students in England will be tested for Covid-19 three times in the first two weeks of school. After that they will be given two tests each week to use at home.

These will be lateral flow tests, which involve taking a swab of the nose and throat. The sample is then inserted into a tube of liquid and gives a result within 30 minutes.

Testing is voluntary and children will only be tested in school if a parent or carer has given consent. Pupils will not be stopped from returning to school if they do not agree to be tested, or are unable to take a test.

Staff or pupils who test positive should self-isolate. If the test is done at home, they should also book a second test at a local test centre to confirm the result.

You should not send your child to school or college if they:

  • Have Covid-19 symptoms, or live with someone who has symptoms
  • Have tested positive themselves, or live with someone who has tested positive
  • Are a close contact of someone who has Covid-19
  • Are required to self-isolate for travel-related reasons

All primary and secondary school staff are also being offered twice-weekly rapid tests, and parents and carers can also get a twice-weekly test.

The prime minister has said schools are safe and the risk to children is small, but testing staff and pupils will offer “greater reassurance”.

All teaching staff as well as senior phase pupils (S4 and above) will be offered home tests twice a week in Scotland.

All school staff in Wales will also be offered twice-weekly rapid tests.

Students and teachers at special schools in Northern Ireland are being offered weekly tests. An announcement regarding other schools is expected within the coming days.

Reference: BBC