Update on Testing in College
Dear Parents and Carers
This is just a quick update to say thank you very much for all your support around the rapid testing programme using Lateral Flow (LFD) tests that we have been undertaking in school over the past week or so.
Firstly, thank you for completing and returning the testing consent form. We have received these for 98% of our students which is incredible. Thank you also to those who have consented to the testing. In excess of 95% of students are being tested and your commitment to keeping our community as safe as possible is really reassuring and very much appreciated
By the end of Friday we will have completed in excess of 4000 tests and all students who opted in will have been tested twice by our 30 or so community and staff volunteers who have worked tirelessly every day in our Centre. Thanks again to them and our students who have coped brilliantly well with the unusual experience of being tested.
During this time there have been two positive tests recorded (both tests were checked by one of our parents who is a GP and working with us in the Centre). For one the students had only just returned and so this had a limited impact on others, however for the other they had been in school and so we were also required to send their close contacts home to self-isolate. We are really truly sorry about having to do that especially when students have only just come back to school.
We have been asked if parents can get a laboratory based (PCR) test to check it is correct if you receive positive rapid test. Unfortunately, the Government has made it clear that this is not possible for tests completed in school. I have included their guidance below which makes the position clear.
The guidance following an LFD test conducted at home does differ from this. Students will move to home testing from the 17th March and we will be issuing information about this tomorrow, and the test for home testing next week.
Once we have completed all three tests on students on Wednesday 17th March. We will then continue with a small testing facility for any student who cannot complete the tests at home again more information on this tomorrow.
Thank you again for all your support.
Advice from the Department of Education
Students in secondary schools and colleges are currently testing on site – 3 tests, each 3 to 5 days apart – using Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs) as part of the rapid asymptomatic testing programme. Robust evaluations from PHE and the University of Oxford show that LFD tests are accurate, reliable and successfully identify those with coronavirus (COVID-19) who could pass on the virus without realising. The tests have extremely low rates of false positives. LFD tests taken on test sites, such as on school and college grounds, do not need a confirmatory PCR test. This is because these tests are done in a controlled environment and trained staff read the results.
If a pupil or student received a supervised school-based LFD test, as part of the rapid asymptomatic testing programme, and it was positive then they and other members of their household must self-isolate. PCR testing is not advised if you have received a positive result from an LFD test at a school or college test site. If a parent was to do this and it returned a negative result, the policy remains that the pupil or student, their close contacts, and other members of their household must still self-isolate.