Update on schools/childcare asymptomatic testing programme

Created on: 17 May 2021 | Last modified: 15 Jul 2021

  • Testing continues to play an important role, in and out of schools/settings, in the fight against COVID-19. Staff should continue to test themselves and report results, and are asked to encourage young people in secondary schools to do likewise.

    Testing and self-isolating can help limit the likelihood of the virus getting into schools/settings, and help mitigate the impacts if/when it does. Vaccinated staff and pupils should continue to test in line with NHS advice.
  • Ensure that all test results, whether positive, negative or void, are reported using the digital portal or telephone service (119). Reporting test results can be done from mobiles, online or by phone, and should be completed straightaway.

    Reporting not only supports contact tracing in the event of a positive case, but assists the collective understanding of rates of infection in communities and schools/settings across the country. If we only record positive results, the level of COVID-19 cases in schools/communities may look worse than they really are.

    Health professionals can use the information provided by the testing programme to spot patterns and outbreaks more quickly and accurately, and ensure better targeting of responsive and preventative action, helping reduce the risk of future lockdowns.
  • Please ensure that, if you have a positive LFD result, you self-isolate immediately, report it and book a confirmatory PCR test. Self-isolation is vital to help limit the potential spread of the virus in your school/setting and wider community.

    Taking a PCR test is really important - PCR tests are more accurate than LFD tests, and can help identify whether your positive result is incorrect (a false positive). If the PCR test is negative, in most cases you and your contacts will be able to end self-isolation subject to further advice from Test and Protect.

    There is support available to households who have to self-isolate and who need help. This includes: the Self-Isolation Support Grant which provides £500 to those who earn less than the real living wage and have to self-isolate.

    Practical support is also available, including food or essential medicine deliveries, through the local self-isolation assistance service. You can either contact your local authority directly or contact the Coronavirus National Assistance helpline – available at 0800 111 4000, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, to find out more.

    Schools are maintaining their remote learning offers for students who have to self-isolate, to ensure as little disruption to their learning as possible. Schools can also make full use of the flexibility permitted by the Alternative Certification Model.
  • Please report any faulty test kits, to help ensure the testing programme remains safe and effective. Individual users can do so by calling 119 or by using the MHRA Yellow Card reporting system if there have been adverse incidents as a result of problems with test kits. Schools and local authorities can do so by calling the NSS Helpline on 0800 028 2816 or emailing nss.Covid19TestingSupport@nhs.scot.

  • There is now guidance available in a range of different formats. These include: (i) information aimed at secondary school pupils, developed with Young Scot; (ii) a How To Test video with BSL and subtitles; and (iii) Instructions for Use in languages other than English.