We are working to keep John Port Spencer Academy 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 and students will not be prevented from attending school if they do not wish to have the test unless they are a close contact of a positive case.
We will be testing secondary school age students who want to participate from week commencing 11th January 2021. Attached is an instructional leaflet which includes information about the testing process.
Parents – If you haven’t already done so, please complete this Google form regarding consent for the testing: COVID-19 Consent Form.
If you wish for your child to be tested, you will also need to understand that as part of testing we process their personal data.
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 can oversee the swab process. Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with students participating. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed if a test is positive.
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 student tests positive?
Participating students who test positive will be informed about their results individually. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be notified. Parents/guardians will need to make arrangements to collect their child if they test positive for COVID-19. 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). John Port Spencer 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, 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 you will have to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.
What happens if the test is negative?
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 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/college 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. 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 John Port Spencer 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 or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
We will support our students throughout, but please contact us if you have any questions about the testing within schools.
John Port Spencer Academy