From Monday 11th January Patcham High School will start to offer lateral Flow testing to staff and pupils.
Government guidance is that secondary schools should now offer:
- Testing of vulnerable children and children of critical workers who are on school and college sites
- Weekly testing of staff who are on school and college sites
Who is being tested and why?
Testing is important because staff, students and pupils without symptoms could be carrying the virus and may spread it to others. Up to a third of individuals who test positive for COVID-19 have no symptoms at all and can therefore spread the virus unknowingly. That is why the testing those without symptoms is vital. Identifying those individuals will save lives.
Testing staff and students will support schools and colleges to operate as safely as possible.
New, simple and quick tests, known as Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests, enable us to rapidly test pupils, students and staff, without the need for a laboratory. Secondary schools and colleges have been provided with these test kits to conduct the testing.
Testing – quick, safe and easy
Staff, pupils and students will be tested using a validated Lateral Flow Device.
Swabbing and processing of these tests will be conducted at a dedicated testing site in the school, with results available in around 30-45 minutes.
Lateral flow tests are very accurate, which means that only a very small proportion of people who do not have coronavirus will receive a positive result (false positive). The tests have lower sensitivity, but they are better at picking up cases when a person has higher viral load, and more contagious, hence the need to test in schools.
When used in combination with other measures such as washing hands regularly and social distancing, these tests further reduce the risk of transmission. We must not relax any of these measures – the testing programme is in addition to them.
Lateral flow devices do not require a laboratory to process the test. The devices are designed to be intuitive and require less training to operate.
Pupils will be required to self-swab. They will be supported through the process and given guidance by test assistants, who are all members of staff, that pupils will know. We recognise that self-swabbing may cause distress for some children and young people, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). If you have concerns regarding the process please contact Ms Merriman via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NHS guidance on Lateral Flow Testing
Consent and Registration
Prior to taking the test staff and pupils will need to complete a consent form. An online version of the form can be found here.
On the day of the test staff and pupils will also need to register their details on the NHS website. Pupils will need to know:
- Their home address
- A parent / carer mobile phone number (so the results can be sent to you)
- A parent / carer email address (so the results can be sent to you)
If a staff member or pupil tests negative they will be notified of this result via text or email, depending on what has been submitted to the NHS website during registration.
If a staff member or pupils tests positive they will be notified of this result via text or email, depending on what has been submitted to the NHS website during registration. Parents will also receive a phone call from a member of the school senior leadership team.
If a staff member or pupil tests positive the will be required to leave the school site. They will also need to follow the national guidance:
- Take a confirmatory PCR test at a testing centre
- Complete 10 days self-isolation (unless the PCR result returns negative)
If a staff or pupil tests positive on both the LFD and PCR test then members of their household should also follow national guidance and self-isolate for 10 days.