Riverside Primary School in Hereford is taking part in a new national government study to assess and monitor the prevalence of Covid-19 among pre-school, primary and secondary school pupils and teachers.

On the launch of the study, which will initially collect data from up to 100 schools from across England, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "A critical pillar of our Covid-19 testing strategy is surveillance – testing samples of the population to gain a deeper understanding of the spread of Covid-19, especially in those who may not have symptoms.

"This study will help us better understand how common asymptomatic and mild cases of Covid-19 are so that we can support parents, pupils and teachers and support staff, and inform our ongoing response to this new virus.

"Generally, children have been shown to be asymptomatic. This surveillance study will seek to better understand rates of transmission in children and adults within schools over the coming months by swab testing to see if they have the virus."


Pupils and staff at Riverside Primary School will be tested weekly until the end of the summer term for Covid-19. Results will be returned within 72 hours with plans in place if there are any positive test results.

Emma Shearer, Headteacher of Riverside Primary School said: "We were pleased to be asked for our school to participate in this study. Research programmes of this kind are crucial in helping us to understand more about this new virus. We feel very supported by our school community who see the value in this and are willing to take part. Swabbing is entirely voluntary and children and staff can change their mind at any time.

"The study involves a simple, non-invasive nose swab each week. This is not the same as the nose and throat swabs used in different testing centres. Children taking part have received at Covid-19 Warrior certificate."

Herefordshire Council has been working closely with Public Health England to support the school to take part, and parents, staff and governors have been consulted as part of the process and preparation.

Karen Wright, Director of Public Health in Herefordshire added: "This is an important part of efforts to understand the current pattern of infection within children and young people and support plans for the opening of schools wider to pupils in September.

"We expect that this additional testing will identify cases of Covid-19 that would have otherwise not been reported. Some people can carry the virus but not have symptoms, so this will enable us to develop a greater understanding of community transmission."