Students Home Testing
A Copy of the email sent home to parents and carers
NHS Test and Trace: COVID-19 Lateral Flow Testing for Students
Dear Parents, Carers and Students,
As you are aware, we have been conducting mass testing of students in college since the 5th March using Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests in anticipation of students returning to face to face lessons from the start of this week. The LFD tests are used to detect carriers of Coronavirus who are asymptomatic. 97% of our student body have take part in the testing in addition to staff conducting their test from home. This, along with the other protective measures we are taking, has contributed to a safe return for students and staff. We would like to thank students, parents and carers for their support and for the way students have conducted themselves when being tested. Our volunteers (of which there are over 30 a day) have commented on how calm and polite our students are, a credit to the college, we completely agree.
From Thursday 18th March we will move students on from testing in college to testing at home. They will be using the same tests (LFD) and process that they have experience for their 3 tests in college. However, they will now be processing the tests themselves, or with help from someone at home. Up to one third of people who have coronavirus are asymptomatic. By testing regularly, we will help to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in college and our community through asymptomatic transmission. We are therefore strongly encouraging students and staff to continue testing at home. We are also encouraging any members of our students’ families who live in the same household to also start LFD testing at home.
Testing using lateral flow device (LFD) tests
LFD tests have been widely and successfully used to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals. No test is perfect, but the speed and convenience of LFD tests supports detection of the virus in asymptomatic individuals who would not otherwise be tested. They are clinically approved and are crucial in the fight against the virus. As the tests are more sensitive with higher viral loads, there is a risk of returning a negative result when viral loads are low (for example, in the early stages of infection). This is why Public Health England recommends two LFD tests 3 to 5 days apart (or 3 to 4 days for home testing), to enhance detection by picking up any cases which were not detected during the first test and to catch any new infections.
If you test positive using an LFD, it is likely that you are infectious at that moment, whereas people testing positive on a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or lab-processed test could be in the less infectious early or late stages of disease. This means that by using the lateral flow test we can identify people with a high viral load who are the most likely to spread the virus further. A negative LFD result should not be read as a means to relax or ignore social distancing or other virus prevention measures intended to reduce transmission – LFD is an additional tool that contributes to reducing risk.
Testing of students
All students will issued with their LFD home testing kit early next week. Tests are free of charge and will be provided by the college. It is important that tests assigned to students are not used by anyone else. Students will be shown the attached presentation in tutor time to instruct them on how to conduct the test. The presentation also includes a short film demonstrating the test in full.
Students should test every 3 to 5 days (starting from when they had their last test in college). They will be issued with enough tests to last until the end of term. We are awaiting more guidance from the Government about testing during the Easter holidays and into next term.
Once the test is complete, the results then need to be recorded on both the college and Government NHS Test and Trace system. Instructions on how to report to the NHS website are included in the testing box. Please use these links and remember to report to both.
Reporting link to NHS Test and Trace - https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result
Reporting link to Exmouth Community College - https://www.exmouthcollege.devon.sch.uk/contact-us/students
If any student is unable to perform the test at home please contact our First Aid Leader who will arrange a time for them to be tested in our small testing site in college. Andrea.firstname.lastname@example.org
If the result of the home test is positive please report it immediately to email@example.com as well as logging it on the NHS Test and Trace and college website. We will then identify any close contacts using our well established process in college.
As the test will have been conducted at home, students are then able to book a PCR test at a walk/drive through site (our nearest is Sowton Exeter – if they have space) or by post if students are unable to travel to the test site. If the PCR test comes back negative, the student is then able to return to college. Book a PCR test here Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Testing of Households
Families who live within the same household as and support bubbles of school aged children are now about to be tested for free using the LFD tests. If you would like to take part in the testing, which again we strongly encourage, please collect your test kit from the Lateral Flow test site on the Maer carpark between 1pm – 8pm weekdays or weekends. The tests issued by college are for student use only.
Consent / Privacy
Once you have understood the testing process and have read the privacy notice (attached), if you choose to participate, you are committing to self-administer the test and report your results (whether positive, negative or void) via the NHS Test & Trace digital platform and to college.
Testing does remain voluntary. Students who decide not to participate can still attend college if not symptomatic. If they begin to show symptoms, they should get tested and follow the usual national guidelines on self-isolation.
We will support our students throughout this process so pleased do let us know if you have any questions.