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As a school we have been completing asymptomatic testing on students and staff in accordance with government expectations. The response to this has been fantastic, and is helping us to keep students and staff as safe as possible.
Once students have had the opportunity to complete three supervised tests on the school site they will switch to testing on themselves at home.
We hope that we have provided some reassurance and support for students through the initial tests in school, so that they feel comfortable and equipped to complete their tests at home.
We strongly recommend that they take part in home testing to help keep themselves and others safe. Tests are free of charge, and all students will be offered home testing kits. The process is voluntary. Guidance suggests tests should be completed every 3-5 days.
Completing the Test
Home testing is an entirely voluntary process. There is no need to give consent to participate in home testing, and students do not need to have completed testing on site to qualify.
Ideally they will need to:
- Test twice a week, 3-5 days apart. The best time for this is in the morning, but please remember that it will take 30 minutes to process a result;
- Continue to follow social distancing guidelines irrespective of a negative test result.
There is an instructional video which explains in detail how to complete the test. The test kit will also be issued with an instruction manual.
There is no need to keep used test equipment. After the test result has been reported, you can put it in your normal bin (household waste).
Results of the Test
If the result is positive the entire household, plus any support bubbles you may be part of, must isolate immediately, and should book a confirmatory PCR test as soon as possible.
This can be done here: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
Once this has been completed you should then follow government guidance depending on the result of that test.
Negative or void tests
If the test is unclear or void you should complete another test.
A negative result does not guarantee that you are not carrying the virus. So, you should continue to follow social distancing, and other measures to reduce transmission such as wearing a face mask and regularly washing your hands and observing social distancing.
Reporting your Results
The results of the test, whatever they are, must be reported to NHS Test and Trace via the following website: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result
All results, even negative or void, also need to be reported to the school.
We have created a Google Form where results can be uploaded: https://forms.gle/ymVrEDxZxvvWpHsr9
If your test result is positive please also notify the school using the mss-covidemergency@swale.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my child take the test themselves?
Students aged 18 and over should do the test themselves and report the result, with help if they need it.
Secondary school students aged between 11 and 18 should do the test themselves with adult supervision. The adult may help the student to take the test if they need support.
What happens if there is something wrong with the test kit?
If there is an issue with the test kit, for example something is missing, please report it by calling 119 and please also tell the [school/college].
If an accident or injury happens whilst using the test kit, please seek medical care by calling 111 (or 999 if it is an emergency). Please also report what happened using this website: https://coronavirus-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/
Who is the test kit for?
Test kits are only for the use of the student they have been issued to, and we have to keep a log of this. They must not therefore be used by others in your household, and we are only allowed to issue kits to students and staff of the school. The government has announced that “members of households, childcare or support bubbles of school staff and pupils are also now eligible for twice weekly testing. Households will be able to access testing through 4 different routes:
- Through your employer if they offer testing to employees;
- At a local test site (not all are currently offering this service);
- By collecting a home test kit from a test site;
- By ordering a home test kit online.
This link will take you to the latest government information regarding testing at home: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rapid-lateral-flow-testing-for-households-and-bubbles-of-school-pupils-and-staff
What type of tests will be used?
We will be sending home Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests. They are a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but who may still be spreading the virus.
The tests are easy to use and give results in 30 minutes.
Are LFD tests accurate?
Lateral Flow Devices identify people who are likely to be infectious. These individuals tend to spread the virus to many people and so identifying them through this test is important.
These tests have been widely and successfully used to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals and are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The speed and convenience of the tests supports the detection of the virus in asymptomatic individuals, who would not otherwise have got tested.
The tests are highly specific, with low chance of false positives. They are also very sensitive and are able to identify the majority of the most infectious yet asymptomatic individuals. Extensive evaluation has been carried out on the tests and it shows that they are both accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community for screening and surveillance purposes.
It is important to remember that these tests are only an aid to help stop the spread of the virus and you should continue to follow other guidance such as on wearing face coverings and social distancing.
What does it mean if my child has a positive result?
If your child has a positive antigen LFD test result they, their household and any support bubbles they are part of should self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance for 10 days. You need to report your result to both NHS Test & Trace and the school.
You will also need to book a confirmatory PCR test.
You can book a test here.
What does it mean if my child has a negative result?
A negative result does not guarantee that your child is not carrying the virus. So, you should continue to follow social distancing, and other measures to reduce transmission such as wearing a face mask and regularly washing your hands.
What if my child has a void result?
If the result of the test is unclear (void), they should do another one. If the next test is also void, your child should take a PCR test. You can book a test here.
All test results need to be reported to both NHS Test & Trace and school.
What if my child cannot tolerate a swab down their throat?
A child or young person may find it difficult to take a throat swab due, for example, to their having difficulty in understanding instructions, needing to keep their mouth open during the period of swabbing or they are having a strong gag reflex. In such cases, where a combined nose and throat swab is not possible, a nose swab from both nostrils can be taken. Similarly, if reason a nasal swab is not feasible, a throat swab alone will suffice.
How will personal information and test results be shared?
When your child takes an LFD test, you need to report the result. This is so that their test result can be traced, which means that you need to share some information about your child.
You need to tell the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC):
● your child’s name
● your child’s test result
● the reference number on the test Kit
You will also need to tell your child’s school or college their test result.
Under UK law, your child’s school or college can collect and store test result data because it is in the ‘public interest’.
Schools and colleges will only share information with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) if the test kits used are found to be faulty. If this happens, DHSC will use our information to contact people who used the faulty tests, so that they can be tested again.
When you report test results online, you are sharing information with DHSC. They may share the information with your GP, local government, NHS, and Public Health England. This is so that they can offer your family health services and guidance if your child needs to self-isolate. They might also use your child’s data anonymously (without their name or contact information) to research COVID-19, and improve our understanding of the virus.