16th March 2021
For Year 10 and 11 Parents/Carers only:
NHS Test, Trace, Protect: COVID-19 Rapid Lateral Flow Self-Test
The Welsh Government has recently announced that a free and voluntary programme of asymptomatic COVID-19 testing will be available in education and childcare settings across Wales. This offer is available to all staff, and pupils in years 10-11.
Along with the primary infection control measures we have implemented, such as social distancing and good hand hygiene, testing will allow us to provide some additional reassurance to the wider school community.
Up to one in three people who have COVID-19 have the virus without symptoms so could be transmitting the virus unknowingly. Part of controlling the spread of the virus requires identifying those infectious individuals who are not showing symptoms and asking them to self-isolate. Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests have been widely and successfully used to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals. 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 (e.g. in the early stages of infection). This is why it is recommended that two LFD tests are taken 3 to 4 days apart, on a Monday morning and a Thursday morning or regular 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 a LFD, it is likely that you are infectious and you must self-isolate immediately and book a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 24 hours of your positive LFD test result. Contact tracing will be triggered following a positive LFD test and your close contacts will be required to self-isolate until you receive your PCR test result. If the PCR test result is positive you and your close contacts will have to self-isolate.
Please be aware that if the PCR test is taken after the 24-hour window and is negative the individual and their contacts must remain in self-isolation as the period between the two tests is assessed as being too long and the person may still be infectious, but the virus will no longer detected by the test.
If a person does not take up a follow up PCR test they will be required to self-isolate for 10 days.
A negative LFD result should not be viewed as a signal 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.
How the tests work
If you agree to take part, a consent form will need to be completed and returned. The school will then supply your child with two LFD test kits, in the first instance on Friday 19th March. Each LFD kit contains three separate tests; therefore, this should be sufficient to test for three school weeks. The tests are not intended to be used during the holiday periods. Tests should be taken 3 to 4 days apart and ideally the tests should be taken as close to coming into school as possible, ideally Monday and Thursday mornings, in a normal school week. If the school week begins on a Tuesday (e.g. Tuesday 13th April or Tuesday 4th May – due to a planning/preparation day and bank holiday Monday respectively) then tests should be taken on Tuesday and Friday mornings. The LFDs supplied do not require laboratory processing and can provide a quick result in around 30 minutes. Comprehensive guidance on self-testing is contained in the ‘Instructions for Use’ leaflet which comes with the test kit.
Once the test has been conducted each test result must be logged online at: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result
Alternatively, test results can be recorded by phoning 119.
Purpose of testing
It is important to highlight that the purposes of the testing policy in education and childcare in Wales is to complement the primary control measures (such as social distancing and mask wearing) that have already been put in place to enable face to face learning to continue and to:
– Rapidly identify those who are regularly on-site during school hours, who are unknowingly carrying the virus and ask them to self-isolate to reduce disruption to face to face learning.
– Complement symptomatic results data with asymptomatic results data to provide a picture of infection rates as a marker for the effectiveness, and implementation of, primary control measures and to assist in the early identification of clusters. In addition to a range of other data and public health advice this information can be used to inform national policy decisions.
The testing policy for education and childcare should not be viewed as a ‘test to enable’ or ‘test to return’ to face to face learning i.e. it is not a condition of coming on to the school site to access face to face learning. Additionally, this testing offer is entirely voluntary.
All individuals wishing to take part should familiarise themselves with the testing process and privacy notice (see school website). If you choose to participate, you are committing to self-administer the test and provide results for all tests (negative or positive) on the government website, see link above. In addition, you must report any positive results to the school immediately.
With our primary protective measures and testing, we will help to reduce the spread of the virus. I am therefore encouraging all staff to take the tests. However, anyone who chooses not to participate should still attend school if they are not displaying symptoms.
People who decline to participate in this testing programme should follow the usual national guidelines on self-isolation and anyone should get tested if they show symptoms.
Please click on the link below to give consent, the LFD kits will be distributed in school to those pupils who have been given consent: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=Ug4_TzS3ZEGUCRtgHRR5k7wqOpnqG6ZMgYgx4IvAJHFUQjc5MUU0NFdCQ09HMzhEN1JPMDNBR0s4Wi4u
We are hoping to distribute the first LFD test kits to pupils on Friday 19th March. Please contact the school if you have any questions or require additional information.
Mr. G. Rees