High school or college age girl in mask working at her desk

Targeted testing for children in high risk areas of England

Children of secondary school and college age in areas of north east London, Kent and Essex, where Covid-19 infection rates have been rising rapidly, are set to be offered targeted testing in efforts to reduce the spike in cases.

Rates in these areas are rising fastest among those aged under 11 to 18 years old, with hundreds of thousands of tests set to be offered.

All staff, students and their families in certain schools and colleges will be urged to get tested, with mobile testing units set to be deployed and home test kits distributed where appropriate.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed almost 1 in 3 people in England show no symptoms of having the virus but are still infectious to others. Large-scale rapid testing can help identify these asymptomatic cases, breaking chains of transmission and driving down infection rates.

Schools and colleges will be provided with information on how to get involved, and parents or carers will be able to apply for tests using the online testing portal. Children under 16 attending a mobile testing unit (MTU) need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The surge testing capacity will be deployed to help identity as many positive cases as possible, especially those who may be asymptomatic and unwittingly transmitting the virus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We want to keep schools and colleges open, because it is right both for education and public health, but in the face of rapidly rising cases we must act to target rising rates in secondary school pupils.

“From our successes in Liverpool and Leicester we know surge testing is safe, and helps us quickly assess where the virus is spreading most and take action to stop it in its tracks.

“I urge every student, parent and teacher in these areas to step forward for testing, irrespective of whether they have symptoms. While COVID-19 may be lower risk to children and young people, it still poses a significant risk to their families and communities. By taking these vital steps, we can get on top of cases and help bring transmission of this virus under control now.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson added: “This additional testing capacity underlines this government’s commitment to ensuring that education is a national priority, because that is in the best interests of students’ progress, development and wellbeing.

“I would encourage everyone eligible to access the testing and I’d like to thank staff for continuing to ensure that schools and colleges have protective measures in place to reduce the risk of transmission.”

NHE May/June 22

NHE May/June 22

Developing a high-quality NHS estate

The new edition of NHE’s e-magazine highlights the latest in cyber security, pharmaceuticals, NHS workforce, NHS Estates, driving innovation in procurement and more with articles from the likes of Brendan Griffin-Ryan, Senior Category Manager, Estates & Facilities, NHS SBS (pg79), West London NHS Trust and Health Education England.


View all videos
National Health Executive Presents

National Health Executive Presents

NHE365 Virtual Events

NHE has created a full calendar of events to address the most important issues that influence the delivery of healthcare services. Over 365 days you'll have the opportunity to hear from a range of highly motivating, informative and inspirational speakers. These speakers will equip you with the knowledge and unique insight to enable you to overcome the challenges that you face.

Finger on the Pulse

Ep 14. Health messaging is a science, Professor Craig Jackson

On Episode 14 of NHE's Finger on the Pulse podcast, we're joined by Professor Craig Jackson, Professor of Occupational Health Psychology
Birmingham City University to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, the health messaging around it and how those in power have missed a trick by overlooking the key role of psychology in informing the public of restrictions, measures and the ever-changing situation

More articles...

View all