Asymptomatic Testing in Education settings | What, Why and When?

Key messages

  • Regular testing in mainstream education and childcare settings is no longer advised.
  • Staff and students of secondary age in: SEND settings, alternative provision settings, and SEND units within mainstream settings, or equivalent in further education colleges, should continue twice-weekly testing, due to increased risk.
  • Asymptomatic testing does not replace current guidance for those with symptoms.

Anyone with symptoms, should book a free NHS test and follow the latest government guidance.

Asymptomatic testing guidelines

It is now recognised that the risks of severe illness from COVID-19 in most children and most fully vaccinated adults are very low, with the successful vaccination programme achieving a high rate of take-up. As part of the government’s ‘Living with Covid-19 Plan’ the requirement of asymptomatic testing in mainstream education settings is now being removed.

Public health advice is that regular testing in mainstream education and childcare settings is no longer advised.

Who should continue to take part in regular asymptomatic testing?

Specialist SEND settings, Alternative Provision (AP) settings and SEND Units in mainstream settings/equivalent identifiable SEND cohorts in FE Colleges – Staff, students, and pupils in year 7 and above in these settings should continue to test twice a week, 3-4 days apart.

Staff and students within identifiable SEND cohorts in FE colleges should discuss whether regular testing is appropriate with their Local Authority, local Health Protection Team or Director of Public Health.

Please not that in the event of an outbreak, this guidance may be extended to staff, students and pupils in year 7 and above, and updates will be provided in the case of such an event.

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