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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-asymptomatic-testing-for-staff-in-primary-schools-and-nurseries/rapid-asymptomatic-coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-staff-in-primary-schools-school-based-nurseries-and-maintained-nursery-schools
Testing for primary, school-based nursery and maintained nursery school staff
Following the launch of rapid asymptomatic coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in secondary schools and colleges on 4 January, staff in primary, school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools are also being offered the opportunity to take part in regular asymptomatic testing.
It remains imperative that the system of controls continues to be rigorously applied to enable the safest possible environment. The testing programme is an important addition to supporting leaders to maintain the continuity of education through the pandemic.
All primary schools, school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools will start to receive deliveries of home testing kits to offer to all their staff from 18 January.
Primary, school-based nursery and maintained nursery staff will be supplied with lateral flow device (LFD) test kits to self-swab. Staff will be asked to take their test kits home and carry out the test twice a week. The LFD test will give a result in around 30 minutes. Staff must report their result to NHS Test and Trace as soon as the test is completed either online or by telephone as per the instructions in the home test kit. Staff should also share their result with their school or nursery to help with contact tracing.
Testing is not mandatory for staff and staff do not need to provide proof of a negative test result to attend school or nursery in person, although participation in testing is strongly encouraged.
Staff with a positive LFD test result will need to self-isolate in line with the stay-at-home guidance. They will also need to arrange a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the result. Staff with a negative LFD test result can continue to attend school or nursery and use protective measures.
The asymptomatic testing programme does not replace the current testing policy for those with symptoms. Anyone with symptoms (even if they recently had a negative LFD test result), should still self-isolate immediately according to government guidelines.
Those with symptoms are also expected to order a test online or visit a test site to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to check if they have the virus.
Report test kit and delivery issues
Primary schools, school-based nurseries, and maintained nursery schools, can report problems relating to test kits and delivery issues using the rapid testing contact form.
You’ll need to enter your school’s unique reference number (URN) to use this form.
Get daily updates and access to further testing guidance and materials
A link has been shared with primary schools, school-based nurseries, and maintained nursery schools, to access guidance and support materials. If you do not think you have access to this document sharing platform please contact the helpline.
DfE coronavirus helpline
Telephone 0800 046 8687
If you have a query about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to schools and other educational establishments, and children's social care, in England contact our helpline.
Helpline opening hours
Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm
If you work in a school or college, have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the helpline.