Essex primary school children should test if there is a Covid case in their class

Essex primary school children should test if there is a Covid case in their class

Primary school children in Essex are now advised to get a PCR test if another child in their class has Covid-19. They should get a PCR test even if they do not have symptoms.

We have asked all primary schools in Essex to introduce this new measure to help keep Covid-19 in check. Cases among schoolchildren in Essex are rising, so it is in addition to current Department of Education guidance for schools. It will allow children to test, and self-isolate if needed, more quickly. This will help schools manage potential outbreaks and reduce disruption to education.

Primary school children should also continue to get a PCR test if they have been contacted by Test and Trace or if they develop symptoms of Covid-19.

How to get a PCR test for a primary school child

Visit GOV.UK to get a PCR test for your child. You should select these options in the online form:

  • When asked ‘Is the person who needs a test an essential worker?’, select ‘No’
  • When asked ‘Does the person who needs a test currently have any coronavirus symptoms?’, select ‘Yes’ or ‘No’
  • When asked ‘Has the person been asked to get a follow-up test?’, select ‘No’
  • When asked ‘Is the person who needs a test part of a trial or government pilot project?’, select ‘None of the above’
  • When asked ‘Why are you asking for the test?’, select ‘I’ve been in contact with someone who’s tested positive for coronavirus’ then choose:
    • ‘I found out in another way’ if you have been informed by the school
    • ‘Contact tracers told me to get a test’ if you have been contacted by NHS Track and Trace

Alternatively, you can call 119 between 7am and 11pm to arrange a PCR test for your primary school child.

When should a primary school child self-isolate?

Primary school children do not need to self-isolate while they are waiting for their PCR test or their result. They can continue to attend school.

They only need to self-isolate if their PCR test result is positive, or if they develop any of the main Covid-19 symptoms. These symptoms are a new continuous cough, a high temperature or loss of smell or taste.

Testing for secondary school pupils

Secondary school pupils should self-test (using lateral flow tests) twice a week. This will help identify potential outbreaks in schools and help keep case numbers as low as possible.

You can order online or collect self-tests from libraries and pharmacies across Essex.

If your child’s self-test is positive, you should book a confirmatory PCR test. They should self-isolate while they wait for their PCR test and for the result.

‘Help minimise disruption to children’s education by keeping up with Covid testing regime’

Dr Mike Gogarty, Director for Public Health in Essex, said: “Since children returned to their classrooms in September, we’ve inevitably seen a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases amongst young people. This rise is being seen across the country and while rates are relatively low, we cannot ignore this increase. Therefore, it is essential everyone continues to be cautious and takes sensible steps, such as testing regularly.

“Testing is free, quick, easy, and is a key line of defence against the spread of Covid-19. This is why we’re working with schools to encourage the continuation of a robust testing regime amongst both primary and secondary school pupils.

“The more we can minimise the number of Covid-19 cases in schools the less disruption there is to young people’s education and the greater effect on limiting the virus’ spread amongst the wider community.”

Our Education team sent information to primary schools informing them of the new guidance earlier this week. The guidance has been recommended by experts in Essex to help reduce the spread of infection in schools. Reducing the spread of infection keeps disruption to young people’s education to a minimum and helps schools continue to operate as normally as possible.

Find out more about when and how to get tested for Covid-19.

Last updated 7 October 2021