NT Covid Testing Centre
As you know, we are working hard 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 everyone is encouraged to take it. *
*12/01/21- Due to the high levels of cases in the Newquay area we currently require anyone physically in the school building to consent to testing in order to keep everyone as safe as possible.
How will it work?
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 will oversee the swab process and there will be extra support for students with an EHCP or who have an anxiety about the testing.
Results take around half an hour from testing. If it does return a positive result that will be shared individually with the staff or students participating. Where participants are under 18, parents or legal guardians will also be informed.
Following the initial test, your child will then require a second test within 3-5 days. This will be done the following week in school.
Do the tests actually work?
In validation studies conducted by Oxford University and Public Health England, these tests 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 student tests positive?
Participating staff and students who test positive will be informed about their results individually. Where participants are under 18, parents or legal guardians will also be notified. Guidance on safe travel and additional precautions will be provided along with test results. You may also be notified via the NHS Track and Trace App.
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). We 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 students 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?
We work on a “no news is good news” basis. If the person tested hears nothing, then they can safely assume the test has come back negative. That is only the result at the time though, so everyone should continue taking safe measures (Hands, Face, Space).
Students will be able to stay in school and resume their activities as normal. A student will only be told if they test positive on a ‘lateral flow’ test, so if you do not hear anything 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 school tests positive?
A close contact of someone in school who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to return to school if they agree to be tested once a day for 7 days and the test is negative. This is called Serial Testing. 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 school 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 school 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.
I’m feeling really anxious what can I do?
This is all new, strange and can feel scary for all of us. The safety precautions such as staff wearing PPE can feel intimidating. It is completely normal and likely that everyone will feel anxious about this on some level. The testing is safe, quick and does not hurt. We don’t want anyone feeling stressed by this. If you would like further support, please talk to a member of staff or the Pastoral Hub and they can guide you through the process step by step and let you know what options might be available to you to make it feel more comfortable.
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 main office or email firstname.lastname@example.org