Lateral flow device asymptomatic testing in school settings

A programme of asymptomatic testing is underway for all staff in pre-school settings, primary schools and post primary schools, as well as pupils in years 12-14. The tests will be carried out using Lateral Flow Devices (LFD).


It is estimated that around one third of people with COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms so they could be spreading the infection without even realising they are infected.


Asymptomatic testing is an extremely important and effective way of helping ensure that those who may have the virus but do not know can take the appropriate actions to reduce the spread of coronavirus and keep others safe.


Asymptomatic testing has the potential to be a very effective additional tool to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools and beyond.


Full details on the programme of asymptomatic testing for schools can be found at


  • Participation in the LFD schools testing programme is voluntary.

  • LFD testing for school staff and pupils will be carried out twice weekly three to four days apart.

  • Results are logged via a portal on the DHSC website.

  • A negative LFD test result does not enable an individual to drop their guard and people should not change their behaviours.

  • If a positive LFD test result is detected then the individual must book a PCR test as soon as possible to confirm the result and they and their household must self-isolate. You can report a positive lateral flow test here.

  • If the PCR test result is positive the individual and their household and all other close contacts must complete a full 10 days of self-isolation. You can report a positive PCR test here.

  • Once confirmed positive, the identification of close contacts within the school bubble will commence.

  • The PHA’s contact tracing team, may already have commenced the process of identifying and contacting individuals outside of the school setting who are close contacts.

  • If the PCR test is negative, the individual and their household can end the isolation period and return to school as normal.

  • The LFD testing programme is for asymptomatic individuals only. If a person has symptoms, the need to follow the existing public health advice, isolate with their household, book a PCR test in the normal way and engage with contact tracing service when required