All homes with school-aged children to get two Covid tests per week

Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a PCP Covid-19 test kit during a visit to SureScreen Diagnostics

Households with school and college aged children will be offered twice weekly coronavirus tests. - Credit: PA

Families and households with children at primary school, secondary school and college will be able to get tested for coronavirus twice a week, the government has announced. 

In his plan for easing lockdown, the Prime Minister announced secondary school and college students will get tested twice weekly — primary school pupils are not required to be tested as regularly due to the low levels of transmission between younger children.

But now the government is announcing that rapid lateral flow tests will be available for free to all families and households with primary, secondary school and college-aged children and young people, including childcare and support bubbles.

Twice-weekly testing will also be offered to adults working in the wider school community, including bus drivers and after school club leaders.

A spokesman for the department of health and social care said the tests would be available to collect from all of the current testing sites in Suffolk while a website to order tests for home delivery will be launching.

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Matt Hancock, West Suffolk MP and health and social care secretary, said: "Regular testing of households and childcare support bubbles of primary and secondary school children is another tool we are making available to help keep schools safe. We know that one in three people with Covid-19 don’t have any symptoms, so targeted, regular testing will mean more positive cases are kept out of schools and colleges.

“As we continue to roll out the vaccine, testing offers us a way forward. Sustained and repeated testing for people without symptoms has a critical role to play as sections of society are reopened by driving down transmission rates.

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“By everyone playing their part and getting tested regularly, vital public services, workplaces and educational settings can stay open and running, and we can move closer to a more normal way of life."

Gavin Williamson, education secretary, said: “We are getting all children back in the classroom from March 8, because it will bring huge benefits to their education and wellbeing, and is a hugely important step in helping them recover from the impact of the pandemic.

“Testing family members will provide yet another layer of reassurance to parents and education staff that schools are as safe as possible, building on the massive increase in testing for secondary school and college students, and strengthened requirements around face coverings in areas where social distancing cannot be maintained.”

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