School Covid-19 tests: managing them with your child

Government guidance recommends that children in secondary schools get tested for Covid-19. Testing is not recommended for primary-aged children. But every school will have its own rules.

You can help your family understand the process and reassure your child.

Covid testing mum explains to son

Help your child understand

Talk to your child about how they’re feeling about any possible tests.

  • Speak to younger children about ‘germs’ to help them understand why testing happens. You could try reading books to help with this conversation. For example, ‘Coronavirus’ by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
  • Be honest with your child. Tell them if they will need regular testing. Or let them know if they’re likely to see testing happening. Explain how the test helps to keep them and their friends safe.
  • If tests are happening at school, find out when. Check someone is available to collect your child if they test positive. Make your child aware that they may need to take another test if their result is positive.
  • Keep checking in with your child. Make sure they know that they can talk to you about anything. Some children may be worried about being in school. Remind them of the things in place at their school to keep them safe.
  • If your child is feeling anxious, you could try some activities to help reassure them.

Keep up to date with your school

  • Schools will send children with symptoms home from school. If this happens, the school may ask you to get your child tested at a centre.
  • Check what your school’s plans are for testing. Is testing happening on-site, or at home? Do they want tests taken on specific days? How should you share any results?
  • If you’re doing home testing, find out if you’ll be collecting tests from school or the NHS. Make sure you keep your supply topped up.
  • Schools will update parents with any changes. Read all emails or letters from your child’s school to understand the latest news.
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