To read Cheam Academies Network – COVID-19 Testing Privacy Statement please click here
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 devices’. This letter is to help give you more information about the testing programme being introduced in our school.
Up to one third of people who have coronavirus are asymptomatic. By testing we will help to reduce the spread in school and college settings through asymptomatic transmission. I am therefore strongly encouraging those returning to school to be tested.
Plan for testing
We will be offering testing to our students and staff who are currently attending the school, starting by next week at latest. We do, however, encourage you to fill in the consent form (when sent) in preparation for your child’s return even if not currently attending the site.
The intention is that students attending the site will be able to be tested weekly for the remainder of the lock down period. In addition, any staff member or student who has come into contact with positive cases in our school can be tested daily for seven days to allow them to remain in school rather than self-isolate.
For those not attending during lockdown, we will offer testing once the school re-opens subject to government guidance and the availability of tests at that time.
How the tests work
Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff and volunteers. The lateral flow tests are quick and easy to undertake, using a swab of the nose and throat. Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with the individual participant. The school will inform the student of a positive test result. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed. The student may also receive notification from the online NHS system. Tests are free of charge and here is a link to a leaflet with further information.
What if my child tests positive?
If a student tests positive on a lateral flow device, they will be informed immediately by school and will need to take a further ‘PCR test’ to confirm the result. This should be on the same day or as soon as possible afterwards. school will be able to provide these PCR test kits to perform at home.
During the time while waiting for the PCR result (via text/email) they will need to self-isolate.
If the PCR test returns a positive result they will have to continue to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.
What happens if the test is negative?
While a small number of students may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason, students who test negative stay in school and resume their activities as normal.
What if my child has SEND?
For any of our Horizon students or others with SEND, please ensure you log any concerns or sensory issues on the consent form.
What if staff or students have been in close contact with someone in school who tests positive?
The staff member or student will be notified that they are a close contact by the school. If close contacts agree to be tested each day for a maximum period of 7 days, and they test negative every day, they will be allowed to remain in school. There may be instances where close contacts are also contacted by NHS Test and Trace. In this instance they should notify NHS Test and Trace that they are a close contact through school and are participating in daily contact testing.
If individuals do not want to take the tests, they will need to self-isolate as per the national guidelines. The option of daily testing does not apply to household members or close contacts of a positive case outside of school, who will still need to self-isolate.
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 (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.
Where can I find out more about the test?
We have put on the website the information that we have been given by the Government to help roll out testing. This includes:
We hope that this will help answer your questions and give you all the information that you need about the process and the test itself.
We will support our staff and students throughout, but please contact us if you have any questions. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org