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Antigen Testing for School Children

Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 26/11/2021. Antigen Testing for School ChildrenTags: Parents

From the 29th of November the use of antigen testing in certain circumstances in children who are asymptomatic and part of a classroom pod, where there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be introduced.

The antigen testing is only for asymptomatic children in a pod with a confirmed positive case. Symptomatic children must stay home if they display any symptoms like a new cough, shortness of breath, high temperature, sore throat – read the full list of guidelines here. They should self-isolate at home and a PCR test be booked for them here.

If a parent/guardian has any concerns about their child they should contact their GP, as per normal.

My child is positive for COVID-19, what do I do?

From 29 November 2021, if a parent or guardian receives a positive (detected) PCR COVID-19 test result for their child, they are advised to contact their child’s school principal immediately to let them know. The principal will then tell this parent/guardian, that they will be contacting the parents of the other children in their child’s pod, to give them details of how they can order free antigen tests for their children using a Freephone number. The principal will not share any personal information relating to any other child with parents.

Why introduce Antigen testing?

Antigen tests are potentially an extra measure to help protect against transmission of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Parents/guardians will do the antigen test on their own child at home with full instructions provided with the free antigen test. The test sample does not have to go to a lab and results show within 15 minutes.

Who gets offered an Antigen test in school?

If just one pod is involved, only the children in this pod will be offered antigen tests. If there are two pods with separate confirmed cases of COVID-19, then parents or guardians of children in the whole class will be contacted and provided with the information on how they can request antigen tests.

How do parents obtain Antigen tests if their child is on a pod with a positive confirmed case?

Parents will need to provide their child’s name and home address, which will be provided by the school, together with the school’s roll number when contacting the Freephone number to order the test. These tests will be delivered free of charge directly to the parent or guardian at their home address and the child’s parent can decide if they want to do the tests. The HSE has prepared instructions and a video for parents. Full details will be in the antigen test pack.

When do parents do the Antigen tests with their children?

The HSE advises that parents/guardians should do the following:

  • 1st test: When you receive the antigen test, carry out the test that day.

  • 2nd test: A second test should be taken 2 days after the first.

  • 3rd test: A third test should be taken 2 days from the 2nd test.

Can children in the pod of a confirmed case still attend school?

Asymptomatic child

The children in the pod of the confirmed COVID-19 case can continue to attend school as long as they have no symptoms and they do not have a positive COVID-19 test result (antigen or PCR). If your child has no symptoms but gives a positive result on an antigen test they must self-isolate and parents will need to book a PCR test.

Symptomatic child

If at any time, your child develops symptoms they should isolate at home and you should book a COVID-19 PCR test for them. Do this even if the antigen test has a negative (not detected) result.

What if my child’s Antigen test is positive?

If an antigen test is positive, it is important that your child isolates at home and that you book a COVID-19 PCR test online at the HSE test portal. A QR code will be provided to afford parents the opportunity to upload the result of a test result to inform the HSE.
Antigen testing is a voluntary programme

Participating in antigen testing is a voluntary programme, therefore it is not necessary for parents to share information with the school about whether they have requested antigen tests and undertaken negative tests. Children who are well should continue to go to school whether they participate in antigen testing or not. The decision to do antigen testing with your child is completely up to parents and guardians and will have no impact on your child’s education or experience in school.


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