Schools (COVID-19 information)

Updated 26.05.21

Contract tracing

Education and childcare settings are no longer required to conduct routine contact tracing when a child/pupil/student or member of staff tests positive for Covid.

As with positive cases in other settings, such as workplaces, NHS Test and Trace will work with the positive case or, in the case of children, the parents, carers or guardian of the positive case to identify close contacts.

NHS Test and Trace has expertise in supporting people to identify close contacts. Positive PCR test results are automatically recorded in the national NHS Test & Trace system.

In addition, parents, carers and guardians, as well as staff, should also contact their education and childcare settings to report a positive Covid result.

More information on the Test & Trace process and self-isolation rules.

The contact tracing rules will change from 16 August. Anyone under 18 who is identified as a close contact of a positive Covid case will not have to self-isolate. Instead they must take a PCR test as soon as possible. Only if they test positive will they have to self-isolate for 10 days, and work with NHS Test & Trace to identify their close contacts.

A letter to parents, carers and guardians with more detail on reporting positive cases to education and childcare settings and self-isolation is available.

Attendance at school, colleges and clubs

All schools and colleges have returned along with some out-of-school settings (before/after school clubs) and wraparound childcare providers.

Please speak to your provider for more information about what is available.

Further information.

Face coverings

Schools in Blackburn with Darwen have been asked to continue the use of face coverings in school. Please read more information here: You school will contact you directly.

Face coverings are required at all times on public and school transport except for children under the age of 11 or those children with an exemption.

It is really important that face coverings are worn correctly. Schools and colleges will let you and your child know their process for making sure face coverings are put on, removed, stored and disposed of properly.

Some pupils, students and adults may be exempt from wearing face coverings. These exemptions will apply in early years, schools and colleges, so any requirement to wear a face covering does not apply to someone who:

  • cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical impairment or disability, illness or mental health difficulties
  • is with a person who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate.
Testing and self-isolating

Testing for pupils

All secondary school and college pupils are given home test kits and will be asked to regularly test themselves twice a week at home and report results to NHS Test and Trace, as well as their school or college. The home test kits will include instructions for testing and reporting results. Schools and colleges will retain their own small testing sites so that pupils who are unable to test themselves at home can still participate.

If your child is aged 11 and attending a secondary school, you or another adult should conduct the test. If your child is aged 12 to 17 they will need adult supervision to self-test and report. You or another adult may conduct the test if necessary. Students aged 18 and over should self-test and report the result, with assistance if needed.

The government is not asking for primary school pupils to be tested at this time.


If your child tests positive, they will need to:

  • self-isolate in line with the stay-at-home guidance (if they test positive at school, you should arrange for them to be collected)
  • have a further test (a lab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test) to confirm the result. You can arrange a test on GOV.UK

Testing is voluntary and your child will not be tested unless they (if they are aged over 18) or you (or another parent/carer) have given informed consent. We strongly encourage you and your child to take part, to help us break chains of transmission and manage the virus. Your child will not be stopped from returning to school or college if you or they choose not to be tested, and will return to face-to-face education in line with their school or college’s arrangements.

Anyone with symptoms, whether they are involved in this programme or not, should book a free NHS PCR test via GOV.UK and follow government self-isolation guidance until the results of their test are known. If you have any questions about the asymptomatic testing programme please speak to your school or college.

Testing for households and bubbles of nursery, school, college pupils and staff

The following people can have access to regular rapid lateral flow testing once nurseries, schools and colleges reopen:

  • Nursery, primary school, secondary school and college staff
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of nursery, primary, secondary and college pupils
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of nursery, primary, secondary and college staff

These tests are designed for people without symptoms. If you have Covid-19 symptoms please book a PCR test here.

Nursery, primary school, secondary school and college staff

Teaching and non-teaching staff of nurseries, primary schools, secondary schools and colleges should take twice-weekly tests using a home test kit provided by their place of work. This includes permanent, temporary and voluntary staff.

Your nursery/school/college will give you further details about this.

Members of households, childcare or support bubbles of nursery, school and college staff and pupils

If you’re a member of a household, childcare bubble or support bubble of staff or a pupil you can get a twice-weekly test:

  • through your employer if they offer testing to employees
  • at a local test site
  • by collecting a home test kit from a test site
  • by ordering a home test kit online

Get a test through your employer

Your workplace may offer rapid lateral flow testing to you. Contact your employer to find out more.

Take a test at a rapid lateral flow test site

You can take a rapid lateral flow test at a local site. Testing at these sites is assisted, which means you will swab yourself under the supervision of a trained operator. You may need to book an appointment.

Find your nearest rapid lateral flow test site.

Collect test kits

You can collect up to 2 home test kits at a local collection point. Each kit contains 7 tests.

Anyone 18 or over can collect. You can check online if the location is busy before you go.

Find your nearest home test kit collection point.

Order home test kits online

If you cannot get tested at your workplace, or are unable to go to a test site or collect test kits, you can order a home test kit online.

Do not order online if you can get a test through other methods. This frees up home delivery for those who need it most.

Order rapid lateral flow home test kits


You will be asked to:

  • take a test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days apart)
  • report every result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day you take the test

Report your test result online or by calling 119.

If anyone tests positive or gets coronavirus symptoms, they should tell the school and:

Please note that lateral flow testing is not required within 90 days of a positive result. Individuals and workplaces who choose to continue lateral flow testing within 90 days of a positive test can still access support from the Council’s Public Health and Outbreak Management teams (


Colleges, primary and secondary schools remain open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until 8th March 2021. For those children still attending schools, the schools will be in touch directly regarding transport arrangements.

From the 8th March 2021 the Government advise the following:

Sharing school journeys

Please try not to share a car with anyone who is outside of your household or social bubble as per government guidance. Further information.

Travelling to school on public transport

Where possible, children and young people are being encouraged to walk or cycle to school. This remains the safest way to get to school. It may also be possible for some families to drive their children to and from school in their own cars, but we would ask you to park safely with consideration for the school community and local residents.

Where it is not possible for your child to use any of these ways to travel to school, many schools will have staggered their start and finish times so that the build-up of pupils on public transport during peak times can be reduced. Your child’s school will let you know of any relevant changes.

Face coverings are required at all times on public transport except for children under the age of 11.

Travelling to school on dedicated school transport

Local authorities, schools and transport providers will do all that is reasonably practicable to maximise social distancing where possible and minimise the risk of transmission. The schools will be in touch directly regarding transport arrangements.

In school

If another child in the same class tests positive for COVID-19

If your child has been in close contact during the previous 48 hours with the child who has tested positive, you will either be informed by your child’s school that your child must stay at home (self-isolate) for 10 days, or you will be contacted by someone from the NHS Test and Trace service who will talk you through any actions you need to take. Find out more information on testing and tracing.

If there are COVID-19 cases at my child’s school

If a school has a confirmed COVID-19 case among pupils or staff or if they see an increase in pupil or staff absence due to suspected COVID-19, they will contact the local health protection team. This team will advise the school if additional action is needed, but it is unlikely that the whole school will need to be closed.

Pupil and family wellbeing


Gatherings above the limit of 6 people or 2 households indoors, or above 30 outdoors can take place for the following purposes:

  • for education, registered childcare, and supervised activities for children - see further information on education and childcare
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
  • to place or facilitate the placing of a child or children in the care of another by social services

Someone in our household has COVID-19 symptoms; what should we do?

COVID-19 symptoms include a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss or change of taste or smell. If your child or anyone in their household develops symptoms, it is essential you isolate immediately, get tested and inform the school, so they can take necessary steps. Do not send your child to school or to any out of school setting/club whilst you are waiting for the results. COVID-19 tests are available online or by calling 119. Find out more information on testing and tracing.

Foreign travel

If your child has arrived in the UK from travelling abroad, they may need to quarantine or self-isolate for ten days after their return to the UK. Please check the latest international travel advice before you travel.


Statement by the Chief Medical Officer regarding return to school

Returning to school in September 2020. A letter to parents.

School transport guidance and guidelines.

Children can carry this letter if they want to show they are exempt from wearing a face covering, either for a medical or personal reason.