Testing is a key component of the Government's road map out of lockdown, the first step of which was the reopening of schools to all pupils this week.
Secondary school and college students will be given a rapid test twice a week, initially in school and then at home. Primary school pupils won't be offered rapid testing at school because of the lower levels of transmission between younger children, but can access testing at a local test site and – like everyone else – must get a PCR test if they develop symptoms of the virus.
In addition to this, twice weekly rapid testing is now being encouraged for all households with primary, secondary school and college aged students, and any members of their childcare and support bubbles. Staff working in early years’ settings, including childminders are also encouraged to access testing. Tests can be undertaken at a local site or collected from a site to be completed at home.
Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Rapid testing is helping to uncover hidden cases of the virus and break chains of transmission, stopping outbreaks before they occur.
"I would encourage all eligible households to take up the offer of twice weekly rapid testing – it’s quick and painless, will help keep your school Covid-secure and will, ultimately, save lives."
Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, added: " As with testing for secondary pupils, testing for families and households is not mandatory – but it is strongly encouraged. By taking part, you will help ensure local schools are able to remain open to all pupils and that we can avoid another protracted period of home learning for our children and young people.”
Families, households and members of childcare or support bubbles of either pupils or staff can find their local collection site at COVID Test Finder. Anyone unable to access a local site can order home test kits online at GOV.UK.
However, the easiest way to get a test, particularly if you would like assistance, is by visiting one of Wolverhampton's 6 rapid test centres. These are:
- The Civic Centre, St Peter's Square, Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm and Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm
- The Jamia Masjid Bilal, Newhampton Road West, 10am to 6.30pm daily
- Pendeford Library, Monday to Friday, 7am to 6pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm
- The Hub at Ashmore Park, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10am to 6pm
- St Joseph’s Church, Willenhall Road, Monday to Friday, 2pm to 6pm
- Bilston Community Centre, Prouds Lane, Thursday, Friday and Monday, 8am to 4pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm
There is also a mobile rapid testing unit which will be at various locations around the city over the coming weeks, including at Low Hill Community Centre from 8am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm until this Sunday (14 March).
Rapid testing detects cases quickly – in under 30 minutes – meaning positive cases can isolate immediately. More information is available at Coronavirus Testing.
Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 should book a PCR test online at GOV.UK or by calling 119.
The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own Coronavirus pages. Information about the vaccine can be found at Covid-19 Vaccine. Further details of the restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at COVID Alert.