Lateral Flow Testing
COVID-19 Asymptomatic Testing for Staff & Students
As you are aware, the Prime Minister has announced that a new national lockdown will come into force at 00:01 on Wednesday 6 January. Despite these tightened restrictions, as in the summer, vulnerable children and the children of critical workers can still attend school and I am pleased you have taken advantage of this opportunity.
The government have informed us that the coronavirus (COVID-19) testing programme should be continued to enable weekly testing for staff and daily close contact testing for those staff and pupils attending secondary schools. As your child is in school, there is the opportunity for testing to take place in school next week.
Mass asymptomatic testing programme
Every secondary school in England now has access to rapid coronavirus testing (known as ‘lateral flow tests’) to help keep staff and students as safe as possible and in education. We received all our tests and additional PPE on Monday as promised. The press release available via the link below gives a further overview of the planned testing programme in schools
We are positive about the potential for the mass asymptomatic testing of students and staff in schools as a way of reducing the spread of the virus and enabling fewer students and staff to have to self-isolate. Our hope is that every child in school is tested.
The components of mass asymptomatic testing
There are three main components of the rapid coronavirus asymptomatic testing programme in schools:
- Test as many secondary students as possible: When returning to their school students will be offered two ‘lateral flow tests’ spaced three to five days apart.
- Carry out weekly testing of school staff: Staff will be offered one ‘lateral flow test’ starting in January and on an on-going weekly basis.
- Carry out daily contact testing of students and staff who are close contacts of a positive case: Those identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive will be provided with daily testing for seven days. If they test negative on a daily basis, they can continue to attend school without having to self isolate.
Further information & guidance
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.
The following leaflet provides a brief summary of ‘lateral flow testing’.
Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff. The ‘lateral flow’ tests are quick and easy using a swab of your nose and throat. For under 18s, staff can oversee the swab process. The leaflet below gives a summary of how the test is conducted.
Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with those participating. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed.
The following leaflet provides information on what to do if a student tests positive for COVID-19 on a lateral flow device test and also some information on serial contact testing of close contacts.
Further information from the DfE on results of ‘lateral flow tests’ can be accessed via this link.
In validation studies conducted by Oxford University and Public Health England, these ‘lateral flow tests’ were shown to be as accurate in identifying a case as a PCR test.
Testing will be offered free of charge.
Students will not be required to have had a ‘lateral flow test’ as a condition of being allowed to return to school.
Consent Form & Privacy Statement
We hope that all our families, will engage with the mass asymptomatic testing programme. In order for your son/daughter to take part, we require consent. No tests will be administered without consent.
To provide consent for lateral flow testing, please follow the link below. There is further information on this registration form and a detailed explanation of exactly who can consent and what you are consenting to. Please note that you will need to complete a separate consent form for each of your children.
Please also read our privacy statement which explains how personal data will be processed and stored.
The link below provides some answers to frequently asked questions on data protection in relation to COVID testing in schools.
Setting up this rapid testing programme, even for reduced numbers, is still an exceptionally complex and challenging operation. We thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding. Once we have received consent, our intention is to begin testing from Monday 11th January.
Many thanks for your continued support.
We continue to hold in our thoughts and prayers all those affected by this pandemic.