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From Monday, 8 March, schools and colleges in Bedford Borough will be open for all students.

The government has confirmed that twice-weekly testing using rapid lateral flow tests will be available for free to all households with primary, secondary school and college aged children and young people, including their childcare and support bubbles.

This will help to find more COVID-19 cases, break chains of transmission and help keep educational settings as safe as possible.

A negative rapid test does not completely rule out infection, and social distancing and infection prevention measures (e.g. Hands – Face – Space) should continue.

If you do test positive following a lateral flow test, you must follow self-isolating guidelines and arrange for a standard PCR test.

These tests do not replace the standard PCR test and anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms (high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste) must arrange a test.

These can be booked online or by calling 119.

Cllr Louise Jackson, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said:

“Around one in three people with COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms, so we must all continue to remember Hands – Face – Space. Regular rapid testing of household members is another way we can help to ensure our schools and colleges remain as safe as possible for students and staff.”

Rapid test kits for home use can be collected from some local testing sites. Most collection points are open from 1.30pm to 7pm and although you do not need to make an appointment, please do not visit a collection point outside opening hours, as it may be used to test people with coronavirus symptoms outside these times.

You can find out where collection points are by using the search tool.

For those who are unable to collect the rapid test kits, a limited number are available to order online

The full guidance for households and support bubbles of school pupils and staff, now eligible for twice-weekly rapid testing is available here.