Asymptomatic tests to reduce the risk of COVID-19.
High school students are advised to take COVID-19 tests at home before returning to school in order to limit the spread of Omicron.
People without symptoms should do a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test the day before or the morning of return to class after the party break. After that, the tests should be done twice a week.
All LFD test results – positive, negative or void – must be recorded through the online portal.
Staff in schools and early learning and child care facilities should follow the same advice.
Anyone who receives a positive LFD test result, those with symptoms, or those identified as close contacts should immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test.
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:
“Our top priority is to keep schools safe and open and to minimize further disruption to learning. To achieve this, we need the help of the entire school community. Passing lateral flow tests before returning to school and continuing to test regularly will help prevent virus outbreaks.
“We are grateful to the schools for their continued efforts to emphasize the importance of asymptomatic testing. Parents of high school students can also help by encouraging their children to make testing part of their weekly routine and, most importantly, to report all results online, whether positive, negative, or void.
“The safety guidelines for schools were updated in December in light of Omicron and it is crucial that all mitigation measures are strictly followed. These include physical distancing, one-way systems, and the correct use of face covers.
“By regularly testing and monitoring mitigation measures, students and staff can all play their part in keeping themselves, their families and schools safe.”
Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Gregor Smith said:
“With Omicron spreading so rapidly, it is vital that we do all we can to limit its transmission. Rapid lateral flow tests help us find infectious cases that might otherwise have been missed, as about one in three people with COVID-19 do not have classic symptoms.
“This is why it is really important that high school students and staff in schools, early years and child care take lateral flow tests before returning to the classroom and back to the classroom after the break, and that they continue to test regularly throughout the quarter.
“They should also take LFD tests before meeting other people outside of school or ELC settings.
“Students and staff eligible for vaccination should receive their vaccines and, where appropriate, booster shots as soon as possible to benefit from better protection against the virus.
“People aged 12 to 15 are offered a second dose of vaccine starting this week and I urge them to accept the offer. Walk-in sessions will be available for this age group starting today (January 3, 2022), while those who have already received a date for their second jag can call a helpline to advance their go and get virus protection sooner. “
LFD tests should only be used if you are free of symptoms.
You should not use an LFD test if you:
- have symptoms – you should self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test
- You have been asked to self-isolate because you are in close contact with a positive case. You must isolate yourself and book a PCR test
All LFD test results must be recorded via the online digital reporting portal
If you receive a positive LFD test result, you should self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test.
If parents or students have not yet received LFD kits from their schools, there are a number of ways they can be consulted before returning to school. Information on access to test kits
Walk-in immunization sessions will be available for 12-15 year olds from January 3, 2022. Those who have already received an appointment can report this by calling 0800 030 8013. The NHS Inform and NHS websites local health board will provide more details. hence walk-in sessions are available in each area.
Following the advice of the JCVI, this age group can receive their second vaccine from 12 weeks after their first dose.
Anyone under 18 who has ever tested positive for COVID must wait 12 weeks after infection to receive their second dose
Tips for reducing the risk of COVID in schools
Advice on reducing the risk of COVID in ELC services
Tips for reducing the risk of COVID in school-aged child care
Tips for reducing COVID in child care