Lateral flow device asymptomatic testing in school settings

A programme of COVID-19 testing for people who do not have any symptoms (asymptomatic testing) is in place for all staff in pre-school settings, primary schools and post primary schools, as well as pupils in years 8-14. The tests will be carried out using Lateral Flow Devices (LFD).

Around one of every three people with COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms. This means they could be spreading the infection without knowing they are infected.

Asymptomatic testing helps to make sure that people who may have the virus but do not know can act to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep others safe.

Combining asymptomatic testing with all the other measures in place in schools such as ventilation, distancing, cleaning and wearing masks can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools and in the wider community.

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 a week, three to four days apart.
  • You should report all LFD results on the DHSC website here.
  • If the test is negative you should still follow the public health advice and government guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19
  • If the result is positive then the individual must book a PCR test as soon as possible to confirm the result - Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) - GOV.UK ( They and everyone who lives with them must self-isolate unless they are exempt under the new guidance from the Executive on 16th August Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection - GOV.UK (
  • If the PCR test result is positive, the individual, their household and all other close contacts must complete a full 10 days of self-isolation unless they are exempt under the new guidance from the Executive on 16th August. 
  • Contact tracing to identify close contacts in the school and in the community will be carried out by the Public Health Agency. They will ring from the number 028 9536 8888. Please save this number on your phone so you will recognise it if they need to ring you, and please answer if they call.    
  • If the PCR test is negative, the individual and  anyone else they live with who is isolating can end the isolation period and return to school as normal.

The LFD testing programme is only for people with no symptoms. If a person has symptoms, they should follow the existing public health advice, isolate with their household, book a PCR test in the normal way and follow the advice of the contact tracing service if the PCR is positive.