This is how parents in Wakefield, Pontefract and Castleford can request weekly Covid tests as students return to school

Wakefield school pupils and their families are being offered the chance to apply for twice weekly Covid tests, as thousands of staff and students prepare to return to the classroom.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 2:33 pm

Schools across the district have been closed to the majority of students since the start of the third national lockdown in January, but all pupils will be allowed to return to school from Monday.

As part of the return, students, teachers and those in their households and support bubbles will be entitled to twice-weekly lateral flow tests.

Wakefield school pupils and their families are being offered the chance to apply for twice weekly Covid tests, as thousands of staff and students prepare to return to the classroom. Photos: Getty Images/JPI Media
Wakefield school pupils and their families are being offered the chance to apply for twice weekly Covid tests, as thousands of staff and students prepare to return to the classroom. Photos: Getty Images/JPI Media

These tests are taken at home, and give results in just a few minutes, without the need to be sent off to a lab.

As part of the testing effort, parents, carers and family members can now book appointments for tests or request a home testing kit.

Councillor Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming every child back to schools across the district.

"Schools and parents have done a fantastic job supporting home education for many in the last few months, but a return to face to face learning for all means that our children are better able to learn, develop and grow. It is vital that we provide them with the best education.

“Our schools have followed strict Government guidelines and deployed a range of protective measure to reduce risks and keep children and young people safe. While the vaccination programme has been very successful so far, we still need to do all we can in our efforts to beat the virus.

"Parents and pupils can do their bit in reducing infection rates by testing their children twice weekly at home, social distancing, wearing a face mask where possible and regularly washing their hands.

“Let’s keep going and do all we can to suppress Covid-19. There’s a long road ahead of us, but by working together, we can do it.”

Secondary school students and teachers will be entitled to take up to two tests a week, regardless of whether or not they have coronavirus symptoms, as part of an effort to limit the spread of the virus in schools.

The first three tests will be supervised by staff at school, before students are issued home testing kits for future tests, to limit the disruption to lessons.

People who live or are in a support bubble with students or teachers are also entitled to request a home testing kit, or book a supervised lateral flow test at one of three sites.

Supervised tests will be available at Kinsley & Fitzwilliam Community Centre, Holywell Lane Day Centre in Castleford and Wakefield Market Hall from Monday, and must be booked in advance here.

Alternatively, tests can be ordered to be collected from sites in Wakefield and Castleford, with Wakefield Council promising they would expand the network of collection points soon.

With one in three of those with COVID-19 not showing any symptoms, Wakefield Council reminds parents not to gather at school gates and follow social distancing rules when dropping off and collecting children to avoid catching or spreading the virus. Parents should also ensure that they regularly wash and sanitise their hands for 20 seconds.

It is important that children and young people can all safely get to school or college. There are many ways they can travel to school. The Council encourages residents to walk, cycle, or scoot if they can and if they live within a short distance of two miles or less. This will help to reduce pressure on the public transport network for those who need it most.

While the new Government roadmap suggests there is light at the end of the tunnel, Covid-19 infection rates are still high across the district. Residents are reminded that it is even more important that they do not become complacent with the easing of restrictions and must continue to follow guidance.