Information for parents and guardians

We have produced two fact sheets that will help parents and guardians to support their children taking part in saliva testing. The first is a general fact sheet, entitled ‘About the programme’. The second is entitled ‘Supporting your child with saliva testing’.

‘About the programme’ fact sheet ‘Supporting your child with saliva testing’ fact sheet
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Keeping students engaged and informed is a key part of the programme. We have provided educational resources for schools and colleges to use with students, for example in tutor time. There are resources for primary, secondary and college aged students, as well as specialist resources for students with special educational needs and disability (SEND). Your child’s school/college will provide them with information, such as how to provide a sample, what happens to their saliva in the lab and why testing is important. To access these resources, please visit LifeLab online.

Providing the first sample

  • Your child’s teacher will tell your child when to provide their first sample.
  • Your child will be given a saliva collection kit containing sample tubes, two different size plastic bags and an absorbent swab; some kits also have a leak detector strip.
  • You should also be issued with a sheet of barcode labels. One needs to be applied vertically on each sample tube.
  • Find out more about how to provide a sample.

Weekly testing

  • Your child should provide their sample on the same day every week
  • On the day before their teacher may remind them to do it when they wake up the next day
  • Please keep your child’s saliva collection kit and labels somewhere safe so they don’t get lost
  • If you do lose the kit your child should tell their teacher and collect a spare one from school/college. If you lose the labels, please contact the customer services team. They will be able to order another set for you.

Returning saliva samples

  • Your child’s teacher will tell your child where to drop off their samples at school/college
  • Please remind your child to make sure the barcode is attached vertically to the tube and the saliva sample is secured inside both plastic bags provided, together with an absorbent swab, and a leak detector strip (if your kit has one).
  • Your child should take their sample to school/college with them on the day they have been told to by their teacher. There will be a large plastic box for your child to deposit their sample on the way into the school or college building.
  • Please ask your child to place their sample in the box carefully, without touching anyone else’s bag. If for any reason your child is absent from school/college on the day of their sample, don’t worry, they can provide a sample on the next collection day – your school/college can advise when this is.

Test results

  • Your child’s results will be sent to you by a text message and email from the NHS within 24-48 hours.
  • The named parents/guardians of children who test positive for COVID-19 will be contacted within 24 hours by a healthcare professional who will provide advice and support.
  • The parent/guardians will also be contacted by email, text or phone by the NHS Test and Trace service. Find out more about test results.
  • Nominated leadership within your child’s school or college will also be informed of positive test results, for the purposes of initiating contact tracing. Read more about this in the programme's privacy notice.

If your child needs to self-isolate

If your child needs to self-isolate following the results of a COVID-19 test and cannot attend school/college, you will need to tell the school/college in the usual way you report absences.

More information

You will receive a regular newsletter from the programme, which includes the latest facts and figures, plus more information about the science behind the test.