As you will be aware from previous letters we have been testing for those without coronavirus symptoms using new, quicker COVID-19 tests known as lateral flow devices.
This letter is to help give you more information about the testing programme in our GFM schools.
Plan for testing
By the end of this week we will have tested all pupils and students who have consented to undertake a lateral flow test. The first test was supervised by trained staff and volunteers. Pupils have generally responded very well to the lateral flow tests that are quick and easy to undertake, using a swab of the nose and throat. Results (which take around half an hour from testing) have been shared directly with the individual participant. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also have been informed.
In order to minimise the disruption to teaching and learning, from this week the majority of pupils in GFM secondary schools and students in the Sixth Form will complete further lateral flow tests using home testing kits. Your child will bring home the test kits today along with this letter. They should have enough test kits to complete two tests a week until the Easter break.
Pupils will be given full instructions and shown a training video in their tutor groups. Any pupils who cannot complete a test at home – or would simply prefer to complete a second or third ‘assisted test’ in school can book a slot using a form on their school’s website. Two smaller scale Asymptomatic Testing Centres (ATC) will be at both the Bay House and Brune Park school sites. This will additionally enable us to undertake sampling of pupil ‘bubbles’ if this becomes necessary.
How do the home testing kits work?
It’s a simple swab test you can do at home using a Lateral Flow Device (LFD). It takes around 30 minutes to find out if you are potentially infectious. The test detects viral proteins that are present when someone has Covid-19. Research from Public Health England and Oxford University shows that they pick up the vast majority of people in the most infectious stage of the disease. With up to 1 in 3 people who have the virus showing no symptoms – they could be spreading it without knowing.
Testing should take place twice a week, every three – five days, ideally in the morning. If your child tests negative, they can continue to go to school. They should still strictly follow all other current government guidelines and avoid all unnecessary contact. If they, or anyone in your household or bubble tests positive, you should all self-isolate immediately. Then the person who has tested positive should also take a confirmatory PCR test and follow latest government guidance.
For more information visit gov.uk/guidance/understanding-lateral-flow-antigen-testing
What if staff or pupils/students have been in close contact with someone in school who tests positive?
The staff member or pupil/student will be notified that they are a close contact by the school and will need to self-isolate for 10 days in line with Government guidance.
Reporting your test
You should report your results online straight away, even if your result is negative or void. It’s easy to do at: gov.uk/report-covid19-result. Results can also be reported via telephone
by calling 119 (free from mobiles and landlines). Lines are open every day, 7am to 11pm. If you have tested positive, you can also check to see if you are eligible for the £500 Test and
Trace Support Payment.
You will also need to report your test results to the your child’s school. This can be done using the Google Form on the link below or on your child’s year group Google Classroom:
What if my child develops symptoms?
This home testing programme is for people with no symptoms. If your child develops symptoms at any time (including 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.