Cornwall Council is reminding all secondary aged children in Cornwall to carry out a COVID test before they return to school next week.
Asymptomatic testing was introduced by the Department for Education when schools returned in March to try and reduce infections.
Public Health Consultant Brian O’Neill said: “Schools are big places, with lots and lots of people and potentially lots of contacts; so, it is a great place to spread infection without realising.
“There are lots of things in place to minimise this, not any of them perfect on their own but when combined they work together to keep environments as safe as possible: Testing, washing hands , giving space and face coverings where appropriate are all really good tools.
“Evidence has shown us that a third of COVID cases are asymptomatic, which means they won’t have any symptoms at all. It is really important young people get back into testing twice a week, especially before returning to school after the Easter holidays.”
School staff and children from year 7 upwards can use lateral flow tests, which involve taking a swab of the nose and throat. The sample is put in a tube of liquid and gives a result within 30 minutes.
Testing is voluntary and children will only be tested if a parent or carer gives consent. Pupils will not be stopped from returning to school if they do not take part.
Staff or pupils who test positive should self-isolate. If the test is done at home, they should also book a second test at a local test centre to confirm the result.
Brian continued: “Testing is not a silver bullet and we know it is voluntary, but as lockdown restrictions ease, we need to do all we can to keep COVID infections as low as possible. And if you test positive, it is important you self-isolate and notify your school.”
Part of the package to keep schools safe is also about parents of school age children testing twice weekly to prevent infection getting to school.
Nationally, everyone over the age of 18 who has no Covid-19 symptoms is now being urged to take twice-weekly rapid tests with Lateral Flow Devices (LFD).
The test kits are easy to use and require people to simply swab their nose and throat and then wait 30 minutes for a result, which they register with NHS Test & Trace through an app or website.
One in three people with the virus show no symptoms meaning they go about their daily lives unaware they are spreading it.
There are a number of ways people can access rapid testing in Cornwall:
- Drive-through sites in Camborne, St Austell or Liskeard – book here: https://getatest.vdt.app/cc
- Collection sites. Find your nearest one here: https://find-covid-19-rapid-test-sites.maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/
- Collection from pharmacies. Check here to see if there is one in your area here: https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/
- If you can’t make use of these options, you can order tests to be delivered to your home here: gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
Anyone who tests positive with an LFT must self-isolate immediately and arrange to have a confirmatory PCR test by visiting www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or calling 119.