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Covid-19 Testing and Vaccines - A joint letter to parents from the Secretaries of State for Education and for Health and Social Care

A joint letter to parents of secondary school and college students in England on Covid-
19 testing and vaccines from the Secretaries of State for Education and for Health and

Social Care


(An original PDF of this document can be downloaded by clicking here)

(A link to the Department of Education regarding this letter can be found here)


11th October 2021


We know that children and young people have been hugely affected by the pandemic, both in
terms of their education and their ability to socialise and participate in activities that benefit
them outside of formal education.
We want to thank you as parents and guardians of secondary school and college students for
your support over the last eighteen months. We know this time has been difficult for many of
you, as well as for the young people you care for.
As students return to the classroom, we would ask for your continued support to make sure
your children are able to stay in face-to-face learning, by encouraging them to:
• test themselves for COVID-19 twice a week, and more frequently if they are specifically
asked to do so. This way, we can find individuals who have the virus but are not
showing symptoms, and stop them from passing it on to others.
• come forward for the COVID-19 vaccine. This is one of the best things young people
can do to protect themselves and those around them.
We know that students have missed a lot of time in school and college since the pandemic
started and that there is no substitute for face-to-face learning. Keeping students in the
classroom in the coming months is, therefore, a Government priority, both for their immediate
and longer-term wellbeing.
We know that some of you will be concerned about the health risks to the young people you
care for. We want to reassure you that the evidence shows that young people remain at very
low risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
However, we need to continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Young people who get ill
will need to miss school or college, and may spread it to others. That is why we are
encouraging you all to support your children to get vaccinated and to continue to test regularly.
This will help to detect cases early, reduce spread, and keep students in education.
Vaccines are our best defence against COVID-19. They help protect young people, and
benefit those around them. Vaccination makes people less likely to catch the virus and less
likely to pass it on.

The COVID-19 vaccination programme for children aged 12-15 years has now started.
Thousands of young people across the country have already taken the opportunity to receive
their vaccines. If your child is 12-15 years old, a consent form and information leaflet from the
NHS will be sent home allowing you to provide consent for your child to receive their
vaccination at school.
We remind you that 16- and 17-year-olds can book their vaccination through the National
Booking Service or find a convenient walk-in site. Please do help your 16- and 17-year-olds to
book a vaccination if they have not already done so. We would also encourage you to book a
vaccination for yourself if you have not done so already, or if you have missed a second dose.
We ask that you support and encourage your children to test twice a week at home, every
week, with Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests. This will help us reduce the transmission of
COVID-19 among our children. Please report and upload test results online, even if they are
negative or void, as this allows us to understand the virus and take additional action when
In addition to regular twice-weekly testing:
• Children displaying the symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate and get a PCR test.
• Children who receive a positive LFD result should isolate and book a PCR test to
confirm their result.
• Children who are identified as a close contact by NHS Test and Trace should take a
PCR test and continue to go to school while they wait for their result.
• In response to potential outbreaks, your school, college or local health team may
advise additional testing. For example, if your child is identified as close contact, they
may be asked to take daily LFDs, while they wait for their PCR result. In this scenario,
they should continue to attend school as long as their LFD results remain negative.
Additionally, please encourage your child to follow guidance on wearing face coverings in
crowded spaces with people they don't know well, for example on school transport.
We know that many of you will have questions or concerns about this, and we understand that.
The NHS website ( is an excellent source of advice, which we hope will be able to
answer many of your questions about testing or vaccination. If not, you can call the 119
service who should be able to help with questions on testing. When you get a vaccination
consent form for your child, it will include details of how you can ask further questions of your
local teams.


Thank you again for your support.