Asymptomatic Covid-19 Testing in School
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, these tests will help staff and pupils 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 we would encourage everyone to take it.
We will be testing pupils who have given consent in years 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 from 8th March 2021.
Primary School students will not be participating in Covid-19 asymptomatic testing.
We have attached an instructional leaflet with some more information (see below).
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.
Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with staff and pupils participating. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed.
We know these tests work - in validation studies conducted by Oxford University and Public Health England, they were shown to be 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.
Testing will be offered free of charge.
Children with SEND
We recognise that the self-swabbing part of the test may cause significant concerns for some children and young people with SEND and their families. Some of these concerns may be alleviated by discussing them with school and agreeing strategies to help reduce anxiety and putting in place any reasonable adjustments (if the individual has a disability).
Parents and carers may want to look at the Mass Testing Guidance for Specialist Settings for further information - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings/mass-asymptomatic-testing-in-specialist-settings
How the tests work
Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff and volunteers. The lateral flow devices are easy to undertake, using a swab of your nose and throat. For those who are unable to self-swab please refer to the Mass Testing Guidance for Specialist Settings for further information about options. Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with the individual participant. The school will inform the pupil of a positive test result. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed.
Recording your consent
We are using the Covid-19 SchoolScreen application to record consents and test results. If your child is in Year 12 or 13, then they can provide their own consent. If your child is in Year 7, 8, 9, 10, or 11, then you will need to provide consent on their behalf.
All families will need to submit their consent electronically via our Covid-19 SchoolScreen App. To do this, please click one of the following links:
Children in Years 7 – 11
Children in Years 12 - 13
Once you have arrived at the website, you will be invited to register your consent.
Please register and complete the form, regardless of whether you wish your child to participate in Covid-19 Mass Testing. There is an option to decline your consent.
Testing is not mandatory, and we will not perform testing on any child unless we have received written consent from a parent or carer. We will also not perform any testing on a child if they withdraw their consent.
You can withdraw your consent at any point by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 0121 566 6600. You will also be able to log in to the consent website and update your preferences at any stage.
Should you be unable to complete the form, or should there be any technical problems, paper-copies will be available at the school.
As part of this programme, it is necessary for the school to process some additional data for your child. Information concerning this data, how it will be processed, and with whom it will be shared can be read via our website. Please click here to read the privacy notice. Should you require a paper copy of this document, please contact the school.
Thank you again for your continued support and patience during this unprecedented time.