Bexley Council say they have plans in place to Covid test all secondary school students across the borough and their parents or main carers, as they return to school today, March 8.

School children across the country are returning to classrooms this morning, and the Government has stressed that extensive testing is a critical part of their plans.

According to the Department for Education, all secondary school pupils will need to take four no-symptoms Covid-19 rapid tests in total on their return to school, with three taken under supervision and the fourth using a home testing kit.

And Bexley Council say they have been working with headteachers to get in touch with parents directly and inform them of the testing plans, whilst public testing facilities are "a lot busier than usual" today due to the extra demand.

Around 20,000 secondary school pupils will need to be tested multiple times in the next week, involving a minimum of 60,000 no symptom rapid tests.

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The council said that the three initial tests will be taken in schools that have testing facilities in place, with the tests supplied by the DfE.

But to help secondary schools with the testing, the rapid testing centre at Bexleyheath's Civic Offices will be available for Post 16 pupils where schools have signed up.

"The aim is to reduce the spread of the virus by identifying people who have no symptoms of the virus to stop them from unknowingly passing the virus to others."

The no-symptom rapid tests are a simple swab test that pupils and parents or carers can administer themselves, giving results within 45 minutes. Anyone testing positive will need to take a PCR/lab test and isolate immediately.

Bexley Council also tweeted earlier today warning that "the rapid testing centre at Civic Offices will be a lot busier than usual during the next few weeks as pupils from schools in the area will be getting tested."

Last week, Greenwich Council said testing would be "critical in schools remaining safe," with all school staff to receive regular testing provided for by schools.

Parents and carers in the support bubble for secondary school pupils also need to take regular no symptom rapid tests. They can collect home testing kits from the four sites below from 1.30pm–8pm from Friday 5 March onwards. Please note that you cannot collect testing kits from these sites in the mornings.

The council added that primary school pupils do not need to be tested. Staff in primary schools will be given rapid tests by their schools.

If you have Covid-19 symptoms you should not take a no symptoms rapid test. You should isolate and book a NHS test or call 119 free of charge.