Covid-19: When to take a lateral flow test and when to take a PCR test?

When to take a lateral flow test and when to take a PCR test?

Lateral flow tests are important in identifying asymptomatic cases of COVID19 infection, they are not designed or suitable for those who have coronavirus symptoms. It is very important that children, young people or adults who are do have any symptoms of COVID19 undertake a PCR test and NOT a lateral flow test. PCR tests can be booked online to take place via a testing site, or a test delivered to your home at

The rules of self-isolation if you are symptomatic still apply. They are an essential contribution to infection control measures and risk assessments that schools are required to implement to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus. The availability of rapid lateral flow testing had not changed this requirement. Anyone not isolating and seeking a PCR test if they have symptoms, even if they have a negative lateral flow test, is knowingly putting other people at risk. 

It is essential at this critical stage of the national roadmap that we all comply with these requirements.

The symptoms of covid-19 are all or any of the following:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

We appreciate that your concern is to return your children to school as soon as possible and that lateral flow tests are the quickest type of test, but they are the not the right test to be used if your child has symptoms. We must ensure the right processes are followed, for the safety of our whole school community.

Thank you for your support with this.

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