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 at Longfield Academy, these tests will help staff and pupils to remain in school safely. According to government sources, 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 as validation studies conducted by Oxford University and Public Health England, have shown that these tests work and are as accurate in identifying a case as a PCR test (99.68% specificity). The tests have lower sensitivity but they are better at picking up cases when a person has higher viral load, hence the need to test frequently.
We will be testing all staff and pupils who want to participate from week commencing 18 January 2021. Testing will be offered free of charge.
I enclose an instructional leaflet with some more information. Once you have read all the information and you are happy for your child to be tested, please complete our online consent form by following this link:
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. Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with participating staff and pupils. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed. For post 16 pupils, we will be requesting consent via a link in their Google classrooms.
Please do not hesitate to contact the school office via email@example.com should you have any questions about this. Answers to some frequently asked questions and a pdf version of the consent form can be found at: https://sites.google.com/latrust.org.uk/covid-19-parent-portal.
Thank you for your continued support.
Dr F. Donkor
Frequently Asked Questions:
What if a pupil tests positive?
Participating staff and pupils who test positive will be informed about their results individually. Where participants are under 16, 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). We will be able to provide these PCR test kits to perform at home or 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, please choose a drive-through test site if possible, as it is faster than requesting a home test.
During this time while you wait for the PCR result (via text / email) you 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.
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 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 or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.