All secondary students with parental consent will be tested as they return from the Christmas holiday.
Students will then be tested if they come into contact with a positive case. They can continue to come to school if they agreed to be tested daily for seven days following last contact with a positive case (over the weekend they will need to self-isolate). Staff will be tested weekly.
Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with students participating. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed.
My child’s test is positive
Should a student or staff member receive a positive test, they will need to take a further ‘PCR test’ (similar to those done in local testing sites) on the same day. You should call 119 to book a follow-up test. Once they have had the further test, they will need to self-isolate while the await the result. If the PCR test returns a positive result they will have to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.
My child’s test is negative
Should a student or staff member receive a negative test, they will be able to stay in school and resume their activities as normal. A student 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 may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason.
A close contact of someone in school who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to return immediately if they agree to be tested once a day for 7 days and the test is negative (they would need to self-isolate over the weekend during the 7 days).
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 your young person would prefer to self-isolate instead of doing daily testing, they can.
This testing programme at school is for people with no symptoms. If your young person 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.
Studies conducted by Oxford University and Public Health England, show that the tests are accurate in identifying a case. 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 are urging all families to agree to this safe and quick test when they return to school, and if they should come into contact with a confirmed case. If you do not give your permission, your young person should attend school as normal and continue to follow all other safety precautions. Should they come into contact with a confirmed case, they will be required to self-isolate for 10 days.