COVID-19 Testing in NI Schools

Information on the Covid19 Testing programmes currently in use in schools in Northern Ireland.

The aim of testing is to find people who do not have symptoms of Covid-19, but who may still be spreading the virus.  They can then be isolated along with their contacts, therefore reducing the risk of transmission of Covid in the school setting, and the wider community.

Testing is voluntary however all staff and students are encouraged to participate.

Testing is to be carried out at home.


Two separate testing programmes are being offered:

  • LAMP Testing (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) - for Special Schools only;
  • Lateral Flow Device Testing - for pupils in Years 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14, and all staff in funded pre-school settings, nursery schools, primary schools, post-primary schools and EOTAS units.

Testing in Special Schools (LAMP Test)

  • This test is offered to all staff and pupils attending special schools in Northern Ireland that do not have symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • The test is offered weekly.
  • The test uses saliva rather than the usual nose and throat swab as children in special school may not be able to tolerate regular nose and throat swabs. This method of testing using saliva is also be used for staff.  The saliva samples are transported to Queen’s University Laboratories and tested using the direct LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) method. Results are made available to school principals later the same day and participants informed if they tested positive. 
  • This testing programme is voluntary and all staff and students have been encouraged to participate.

More detailed information on how testing in special schools in Northern Ireland works see our Special Schools Covid-19 Lamp Testing Guide.

Lateral Flow Device Testing

  • For pupils in Years 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14, and all staff in funded pre-school settings, nursery schools, primary schools, post-primary schools and EOTAS units.
  • The test is offered twice weekly.
  • Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Testing is a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but who may still be spreading the virus.
  • The tests are easy to use and give results in 30 minutes. Those who test positive must immediately self-isolate to avoid passing the virus on to others and book a PCR test to confirm the result. 
  • This testing programme is voluntary and all staff and students in years 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 have been encouraged to participate.

More detailed information on how testing in schools in Northern Ireland works see our Covid 19 Lateral Flow Testing for Educational Settings across NI guide. 

Last updated: 27/08/2021