Information for parents and guardians

Keeping students engaged and informed is a key part of the programme. We have provided educational resources for schools and colleges to use with students, for example in tutor time. Your child’s school/college will provide them with information, such as how to carry out the test, what happens to their saliva in the lab and why testing is important.

Taking the first test

  • Your child’s teacher will tell your child when to take their first test.
  • Your child will be given a simple test pack, containing sample pots, clear plastic bags and absorbent material, as well as instructions, to take home the night before their first test. This pack also includes a sheet of barcode labels to stick on your child’s sample pots.
  • Find out more about how to take the saliva test.

Weekly testing

  • Your child should take their test on the same day every week
  • On the day before their test each week, their teacher will remind them to do it when they wake up the next day
  • Please keep your child’s test pack and labels somewhere safe so they don’t get lost
  • If you do lose the pack your child should tell their teacher and collect a spare pack from school/college. If you lose the labels, please contact the customer services team. They will be able to order another set for you.

Returning saliva samples

  • Your child’s teacher will tell your child where to drop off their samples at school/college
  • Please remind your child to make sure the barcode is attached vertically to the pot and the saliva sample is secured inside both plastic bags provided, as shown in the instructions.
  • Your child should take their sample to school/college with them on the day they have been told to by their teacher. There will be a large plastic box for your child to put their sample into on their way into the school/college building.
  • Please ask your child to place their sample in the box carefully, without touching anyone else’s bag. If for any reason your child is absent from school/college on the day of their test, don’t worry, they can take a test on the next testing day.

Test results

  • Your child’s results will be sent to you by a text message and email from the NHS within 24-48 hours.
  • The named parents/guardians of children who test positive for COVID-19 will be contacted within 24 hours by a healthcare professional who will provide advice and support.
  • The parent/guardians will also be contacted by email, text or phone by the NHS Test and Trace service. Find out more about test results.
  • Nominated leadership within your child’s school or college will also be informed of positive test results, for the purposes of initiating contact tracing. Read more about this in the programme's privacy notice.

If your child needs to self-isolate

If your child needs to self-isolate following the results of a COVID-19 test and cannot attend school/college, you will need to tell the school/college in the usual way you report absences.

More information

You will receive a regular newsletter from the programme, which includes the latest facts and figures, plus more information about the science behind the test. Read the latest (6th) newsletter.