NHS Test and Trace
As I hope you are aware, we continue to work hard to keep our school as safe as possible. You may have heard that testing for those without coronavirus symptoms is beginning across the country using new, quicker COVID-19 tests known as lateral flow tests.
Along with the other protective measures we are taking, these tests will help staff and students to remain in school safely. Up to one third of people who have coronavirus experience no symptoms. By testing, we will help to stop the virus spread and help to keep our school open as safely as possible. The test is voluntary, but I would encourage everyone to take it.
We encourage you to provide consent for each of your children separately. I should add that you may refuse to give consent and may also withdraw consent at any time. All tests are voluntary.
Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff. The lateral flow tests are quick and easy to complete, using a swab of one’s tonsils and nasal passage.
Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with staff and students participating, and uploaded to the NHS Test and Trace service – delivering the outcome of the test to the mobile phone number that is provided within the consent process referred to above. Parents and carers of students in Years 7 to 11 will, therefore, have the results sent to their mobile phone as a text message. Students in Years 12 and 13 (plus all staff) will have their results sent to their personal mobile phone number.
We understand that these tests work. The tests have lower sensitivity (than PCR tests) but they are better at picking up cases when a person has higher viral load, hence the need to test frequently.
Testing will be offered free of charge. To process the test, we will register all participating students.
What if a student tests positive?
If the result is positive, then your son or daughter will be told, isolated and picked up by you and begin a period of isolation lasting ten days. In addition, their entire household will be required to isolate for ten days, along with any of their close contacts. In such cases, we shall call you at the same time that you receive that notification ping.
Students and staff who test positive using the lateral flow devices are no longer required to complete a PCR confirmatory test.
What happens if the test is negative?
Students and staff who test negative will be able to stay in school and resume their activities as normal. A student in Years 7 to 11 will only be told when they test positive on a lateral flow test. This means that if a student (or member of staff) is not approached by a member of staff within an hour of the test they can safely assume that the test was negative. Staff, students in Years 12 and 13, and parents and carers of students in Years 7 to 11, will also receive the NHS Test and Trace text message as well.
A small number of students may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason.
What if my child develops symptoms?
This testing programme at school/college is for people with no symptoms (asymptomatic). If your child develops symptoms at any time (such as a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste) they must immediately self-isolate, and book a test by calling 119 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or 0300 303 2713 (Scotland) or visiting www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
We will support our staff and students throughout, but please contact us if you need this information in any other language or format.
If you do have any questions or concerns regarding the Rapid Testing process please contact me using my direct email: [email protected].