The Principal’s Letter about Lateral Flow Testing
12th January 2021
NHS Test and Trace: COVID-19 testing for staff and pupils
We are working to keep Co-op Academy Walkden 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 pupils 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. The testing team will be led by outside experts and supported by school staff.
We aim to be testing all staff and pupils who want to participate from 18th January 2021.
If you are happy for your child to be tested, please click on the link below and complete the form in full (one for each pupil). By completing this form online, you are consenting to your child being tested in lieu of completing the consent form (see p3 of this letter). Please see the school website for the school’s Privacy Notice in regards to testing, along with a FAQ on data protection. In line with DfE guidance and to allow us to set this up for next week, please complete this as soon as possible and by Friday 15th January at the latest. If you are unable to click on the link, please complete the attached form and return to school. The link can also be found on the school website.
The ‘lateral flow’ tests are quick and easy. Those taking the test will be asked to take a swab of their throat and nose. This will be supervised by trained staff. Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with staff and pupils participating. If positive, parents or legal guardians will also be informed.
When will my child be tested?
All keyworker pupils will be tested once a week on the following days:
- Year 7: Monday
- Year 8: Tuesday
- Year 9: Wednesday
- Year 10: Thursday
- Year 11: Friday
What if a pupil tests positive?
Participating staff and pupils who test positive will be informed about their results individually. Parents or legal guardians will also be notified. Guidance on safe travel and additional precautions will be provided along with test results. Pupils will need to take a further ‘PCR test’ (similar to those done in local and regional testing sites) on the same day (or as soon as possible). You can go to www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119 to book a follow-up test. If ordering a PCR test yourselves, they should choose to visit a drive-through test site if possible, as it is faster than requesting a home test. During this time while they wait for the PCR result (via text / email), they will need to self-isolate.
If the PCR test returns a positive result you will have to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace. You must inform the school of the result by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens if the test is negative?
They will be able to stay in school and resume their activities as normal. A pupil will only be told if they test positive on a ‘lateral flow’ test, so if you do not hear, you can assume it was negative. A small number of pupils may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason.
What if a close contact at school tests positive?
A close contact of someone in school who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to return to school if they agree to be tested once a day for 7 days and the test is negative. If
they do not want to take the test, they will need to self-isolate for 10 days as per the national guidelines. This does not apply to household members or close contacts outside of school who will still need to self-isolate. Further details will be provided at the time, but if you would prefer to self-isolate instead of doing daily testing, you can.
What if my child develops symptoms?
This testing programme at school is for people with no symptoms. 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 https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
Once again, thank you for your support during this difficult time.
Co-op Academy Walkden