NHS Test and Trace: COVID-19 lateral flow testing for staff and students
Information and Consent form for lateral flow testing for staff and students
We are working to keep our school as safe as possible. 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 students 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 I would encourage everyone to take it.
We will be testing all staff and students who want to participate from week commencing 1 September 2021. I include further information on the testing process below.
If you child is happy to participate in the process and be tested, please respond accordingly. The test will be carried out by the school nurse and other trained staff, or they can choose to do it themselves under supervision. The ‘lateral flow’ tests are quick and easy using a swab of the nose and throat.
Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with staff and students if there is an abnormal result. 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.
What if a member of staff of student 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.
The individual who tests positive 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). They can go to www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119 to book a follow-up test. If ordering a PCR test themselves, they should choose to visit a drive-through test site if possible, as it is faster than requesting a home test.
During this time while they wait 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 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. Staff and students will only be told if they test positive on a ‘lateral flow’ test, so if they do not hear they can assume it was negative. A small number of individuals 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?
If a staff member who has been fully vaccinated comes into contact with someone who has tested positive with COVID-19 West Heath School require them to take a PCR test as soon as possible and await a negative result before returning onsite. Upon their return we ask that staff perform a lateral flow test for the next 7 days and upload the results on both the WHS and NHS websites.
If a non-vaccinated staff member comes into contact with someone who has tested positive, they will be required to self-isolate for 10 days.
West Heath School students below the age of 18 years and 6 months who come into contact with someone who has tested positive with COVID-19 will be advised take a PCR test as soon as possible but can continue to attend school unless they test positive. Students will be asked to perform a lateral flow test for the next 7 days and upload the results on both the WHS and NHS websites.
Please complete the West Heath School - Lateral Flow Consent Form by clicking on this link: Lateral Flow Consent Form