The Covid-19 testing letter every parent in Sheffield will be sent from NHS Test and Trace

Children should only be tested for coronavirus if they have the three key symptoms of the disease, a new letter sent to all parents and guardians in Sheffield has made clear.

Friday, 25th September 2020, 7:39 am

All parents and guardians in Sheffield have this week been sent a letter from NHS Test and Trace warning of the dangers of inappropriate testing.

The letter says that tests should only be booked for children with the three main symptoms of Covid-19; a high temperature, a continuous cough and a loss or change of taste and/or smell.

Symptoms that do not require Covid-19 tests are listed as runny noses, sneezing or feeling generally unwell as these are not normally associated with coronavirus.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

A medical worker takes a swab to test for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 from a visitor to a drive-in testing facility (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images).

Of the three coronavirus symptoms, the high temperature is described as one which makes the child feel hot to the touch on the chest or back.

The cough, meanwhile, is one that causes the child to cough a lot for more than an hour or have three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours.

And the loss or change in the child’s sense of smell or taste is described as a noticeable loss of smell or taste or things smelling and tasting different to normal.

The letter also says that while only people with symptoms need to get a test, all those in the household need to isolate while waiting for the results.

If the person with symptoms’ test comes back positive, other members of their household should continue isolating for 14 days and only get a test if they develop coronavirus symptoms.

And if a pupil in a class or bubble tests positive for coronavirus, anyone who is advised to isolate does not require a test unless they subsequently develop symptoms.

The letter adds that no one else in the same class or bubble as the symptomatic person needs to take any action unless advised by the school and that schools have detailed guidance and access to a Department for Education and Public Health England helpline for advice and support.

And it says anyone who has been in contact with someone who has tested positive must stay at home for 14 days as it can take several days following contact with an infected person before an individual develops symptoms or the virus can be detected.

It says: “One important part of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of pupils, parents and our communities is testing for coronavirus.

“We all have a duty to make sure that the right people have access to get tested at the right time.

“Every time a test is used inappropriately, a person with Covid-19 symptoms may miss out on getting tested.”

“It is vital for children’s learning and future opportunities that they are able to return to school and college. It is therefore vitally important that all we work together and do our bit to make this possible.”

More guidance to help parents understand when their child can and cannot attend school can be found on the NHS website at

Thank you to all who support local journalism with a digital or print subscription to The Star. The events of 2020 mean trusted, local journalism is more reliant than ever on your support. We couldn't do it without you. Subscribe here so we can keep campaigning on your behalf. Stay safe.