As you know the government has asked that schools carry out mass testing of students and staff for those without coronavirus symptoms using the quick Covid-19 tests known as ‘lateral flow tests’. Initially, this was to begin in January but with the current lockdown, this has been delayed. However, we are now in the position to begin training and the gradual launch of onsite testing for staff and the keyworker/vulnerable students that we have onsite.
Once the academy reopens, along with the other protective measures we are taking, these tests will help staff and students to remain in the academy 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 academy open as safely as possible. The test is voluntary, but I would encourage all parents to give their consent for their child to have the test.
Details of when testing will take place for students will be shared nearer the time.
I enclose an instructional leaflet with some more information.
Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff. The ‘lateral flow’ tests are quick and easy using a swab of the nose and throat. For under 18s, staff can oversee the swab process (testing of course will be free of charge).
Where participants are under 16, results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with parents/carers.
Please do read the information attached and the further information available on the Leigh Academies Trust website https://sites.google.com/latrust.org.uk/covid-19-parent-portal and then complete the consent form on behalf of your child via the following link click here (one per student).
Frequently Asked Questions
What if a student tests positive?
Participating staff and students who test positive will be informed about their results individually. Where participants are under 16, parents/carers will also be notified. Guidance on safe travel and additional precautions will be provided along with test results.
Students 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). The Leigh Academy will be able to provide these PCR test kits to perform at home or you can go to www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119 to book a follow-up test. If ordering a PCR test yourselves, you 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 you 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 the academy and resume their activities as normal. Students 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 of students may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason.
What if a close contact at the academy tests positive?
A close contact of someone in the academy who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to return to the academy if they agree to be tested once a day for 7 days and the test is negative. 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 the academy who will still need to self-isolate. Further details will be provided at the time, but if you would prefer to self-isolate instead of doing daily testing, you can.
What if my child develops symptoms?
This testing programme at the academy is for people with no symptoms. If your child 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 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or 0300 303 2713 (Scotland) or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
We will support our staff and students throughout, but please contact us if you need this information in any other language or format or if you have any questions. You can call the office on 01322 620400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.