Free rapid testing – for people without symptoms of Covid-19 – is available through the Department for Education to all school staff, all secondary school pupils and all families and households of primary, secondary school and college aged children and young people, including childcare and support bubbles.
Councillor Dr Michael Hardcare, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: "Getting all children back to school next week will bring huge benefits to their education and wellbeing and help them recover from the impact that the pandemic has had on their education.
"Our schools have worked incredibly hard to create safe learning environments for staff and pupils, and the onus is now on us all to do everything to ensure they remain safe in the coming weeks and months.
“Regular testing of staff, secondary school pupils and households and bubbles is a key part of this. We know that 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 don't have any symptoms, and regular testing will mean we will identify positive cases which will help keep the virus out of the classroom.
"By everyone playing their part and getting tested regularly, our educational settings will be able to stay open and we can all move closer to a more normal way of life – so I would implore people to get tested on a regular basis, ideally twice a week.”
There are a number of different ways to get tested. On their return to school, secondary pupils will be asked to take 3 tests in school under the supervision of a trained operator, and then a fourth test themselves using a home test kit. Pupils will then continue taking twice weekly tests using home test kits provided through schools. Teaching and non teaching staff should take twice weekly tests using home test kits, again provided through schools.
Family members and members of childcare or support bubbles of both pupils and staff can either order home test kits online by visiting GOV.UK, collect home test kits from a test site or get a test through their employer, if their employer is offering onsite testing.
The easiest way to get a test, however, 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 Bantock Park until this Sunday (7 March) from 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm.
‘Critical workers’ have priority access to rapid testing at the Civic Centre between 8am and 9am, Monday to Friday; Pendeford Library from 7am to 10am and 4pm to 6pm, Monday to Friday; and Bilston Community Centre between 8am and 9am Monday, Thursday and Friday. Workers are asked to bring a form of ID to prove eligibility.
More information on rapid testing for people without symptoms of Covid-19 is available at Coronavirus Testing.
Rapid testing is not available for people who have symptoms of Covid-19, including a fever, a new continuous cough or a change to the sense of taste or smell, or people who have been told to isolate. Anyone with symptoms should immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test by visiting GOV.UK or 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 lockdown restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at COVID Alert.