Hemel parents asked to test THEMSELVES for COVID-19 to halt spread in schools

Lateral flow tests can be ordered online or collected from locations across Hertfordshire

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 9:17 am

Parents of all schoolchildren in Hertfordshire are being told to test THEMSELVES for Covid-19 twice a week – as part of a package of measures to limit the spread of the virus.

On Monday, March 8, children returned to classrooms across the county, after an easing of restrictions that had included a second period of home-learning for the majority of youngsters.

As part of a package of measures, pupils in secondary schools are being asked to test themselves for Covid-19 twice a week – as well as wearing face masks in communal areas and in classrooms where social distancing isn’t possible.

Parents asked to test THEMSELVES for COVID-19 to halt spread in schools

And now parents of ALL children – who attend a primary or secondary school – are being asked to self-test for the virus too, using ‘lateral flow tests’.

If a parent tests positive for Covid-19 using one of the lateral flow tests they should then inform the educational settings attended by their children – and members of the household should self-isolate

The tests – which involve taking a sample from the back of the throat and the nose using a swab – are used to identify those people who have the virus, but no symptoms.

And – with an estimated one in three people having the virus without symptoms – it is believed the widespread use of the tests could identity cases and stop transmission.

Hertfordshire’s director of public health Jim McManus has written to all parents in the county to remind them of the testing request.

“You have been asked, as parents and carers of children still in education, to take twice weekly lateral flow tests,” he says in the letter.

“This process should help to identify cases and outbreaks more quickly and effectively than before.

“Doing this will help us to work together to reduce the spread of the virus in the community and protect people who are vulnerable.”

And he says: “I would like to encourage all eligible residents to take these regular tests and support your school and wider community to keep safe and well.”

In the letter, Mr McManus also advises parents that when collecting or dropping of their children they ‘leave straight away’ – and that they wear a face covering if they expect the school entrance to be busy.

He warns that play-dates, sleepovers or parties should not be arranged – stressing that ‘bubbles only exist in schools alongside stringent infection control measures’.

And he asks parents to stress to older children that they cannot yet ‘hang out’ with their friends.

Welcoming the return to school, he says: “The return to school for all pupils in good news. We know that being in schools alongside their peers is hugely important to both their education and their health and wellbeing.

“We understand that the past few months of remote leaning has been very challenging and we thank you for the way you have adapted to support home learning.

“We also recognise the hard work and dedication of all schools who have continued to provide face-to-face learning for children considered vulnerable and those of critical workers.”

Children, he stresses, should not be sent to school if they – or anyone in the household – has any symptoms of Covid-19.

The lateral flow tests for parents and carers can be collected from a number of local sites for home use – or they can be ordered online.

To complete the test parents will take a sample from the back of the throat and the nose with a swab – which is then dipped in a solution.

This is then dripped on to the testing devise’s paper pad – and within 30 minutes it will show whether the test is positive, or not.

Lateral flow tests can be ordered online - www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests - or collected from a local test site.

The lateral flow tests can be collected from the following locations:

- Primett Road South Car Park, Stevenage, 1pm - 8pm(7pm on Mondays and Sundays)

- Hertford County Hall Car Park, Hertford, 1pm - 8pm (7pm on Saturdays and Sundays)

- University of Hertfordshire, De Havilland Campus Car Park, 1pm to 8pm (7pm on Sundays)

- Westminster Lodge Car Park, St Albans, 1pm to 8pm (7pm on Saturdays and Sundays)

- King George V Park, Chaffinch Lane, Watford, (1pm to 8pm)

- Borehamwood Civic Centre Car park 1pm to 8pm (7pm on Sundays).