Schools support surge testing by encouraging pupils to take PCR tests

Published Monday 14 June 2021 at 15:04

Schools across Blackburn with Darwen have pledged their support to the current surge testing that’s underway across the borough.

As Covid case rates have risen in recent weeks, increased testing has been taking place in neighbourhoods where rates are highest.

Residents have been asked to take Covid tests using PCR test kits, which are sent off for lab analysis to help identify cases of the Delta variant of concern.

Now the borough’s schools will support these efforts by encouraging their pupils to take PCR tests.

In secondary schools, pupils will either be tested at school, or given PCR kits to complete and register at home and return to school the next day.

For primary schools, when a class bubble closes because of a positive Covid case, the entire bubble, plus their close family contacts, will be given PCR test kits to test themselves at home.

The PCR tests in schools are not mandatory and no child will be tested without their parents’ or guardians’ consent.

Pupils only need to take one PCR test each, and we urge those who test positive to self-isolate with everyone in their home to stop the spread of the virus.

Coun Julie Gunn, Executive Member for Children, Young People & Education, said:

We are continuing to see large numbers of Covid cases in our schools, colleges and childcare settings, particularly in the 12 to 18 year old age group.

By extending surge testing to our schools, we hope to find the young people who have no symptoms but are carrying the Delta variant, which we know is more easily passed on.

If we can find and isolate these cases, we can drive down transmission of the virus in our schools.

Over the last 15 months, our children have lost enough days of their education and we want to work together with parents, guardians and pupils themselves to keep everyone safe, and prevent more school bubbles from closing.

We’re very grateful to leaders of all schools in Blackburn with Darwen who have all agreed to implement surge testing, to support our efforts to take control of virus rates.

Prof Dominic Harrison, Blackburn with Darwen’s Director of Public Health, said:

We know that the Delta variant is more infectious which is why it has been classified as a Variant of Concern.

Public Health England is currently working to understand this variant better, and surge testing in places like Blackburn with Darwen, other parts of Lancashire and Greater Manchester supports that.

Positive results from PCR tests are sent off for laboratory analysis and genomic sequencing to identify the variant, which can tell us a lot about how widespread it is in our communities.

We do need our young people to continue taking two lateral flow tests, or rapid tests, every week. This is helping to isolate positive cases and keep more of our children in education.

Anyone who lives, works or studies in Blackburn with Darwen can get a PCR test through surge testing:

At mobile testing units:

  • Corporation Park gatehouse, off Preston New Road – open 7 days from 10am to 3pm, until Sun 27 June
  • Pleasington playing fields – open weekdays from 10am to 3pm until Sun 27 June
  • Darwen Market Square – open Mon-Sat from 10am to 4pm, until Sun 27 June
  • Ewood Park, outside Darwen End – open 7 days from 10am to 5pm, until Sun 27 June
  • Sajedeen Mosque, Plane Tree Road, Blackburn – open Mon-Thur and Sat & Sun 12pm to 6pm, until Sun 27 June

By collecting PCR kits from these community hubs:

  • Revidge Fold United Reformed Church (Mon to Fri 8am–6.30pm and Sat & Sun 10am–4pm)
  • West Park Lodge, Corporation Park (off West Park Road) (Mon to Fri 8am–6.30pm and Sat & Sun 10am–4pm)
  • Bangor Street Community Centre (Mon to Fri 8am–6.30pm and Sat & Sun 10am–4pm)
  • Witton Park Arena (Mon to Fri 8am–6.30pm and Sat & Sun 10am–4pm)
  • Shadsworth Children’s Centre (Mon to Fri 8am–6pm and Sat & Sun 10am–4pm)

For more information about surge testing in Blackburn with Darwen, visit

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