Covid 19 Testing FAQs
What tests are being conducted in schools?
Every secondary school and college in England, as well as special schools and alternative provision, will have access to rapid coronavirus testing from January to help keep staff and students as safe as possible and in education. This will involve testing staff and pupils for Covid-19 to help stop the spread of the virus as it is thought that between one in three who have coronavirus never show any symptoms but that does not mean they are not infectious. Testing helps identify those individuals who have the virus but are displaying no symptoms and would otherwise not be tested. It is a means of controlling the infection levels.
Why are the tests being done in schools?
As, in the main, children are largely unaffected by Covid-19, they are more likely to present no symptoms whilst carrying the virus. Therefore, even with social distancing and ‘class bubbles’ the infection rate in schools has seen a significant rise. By conducting regular tests within secondary schools, we can identify individuals who are infectious and break the infection cycle.
What does the test involve?
The tests being undertaken in schools are called Lateral Flow Tests. These are fast and efficient way for detecting the presence of the Covid-19 virus and can produce results within 30 minutes of the test being taken. They require swabs to be taken from the throat and nose.
Whom are the tests for?
The tests are for both pupils from Years 7-11 and all staff members.
How does the lateral flow test work?
The Lateral Flow Test requires swabs to be taken from the throat and nose. These swabs are then tested on site in school, using a fluid which will break the swab findings down and react if the virus is detected. Students and staff will have to swab themselves and the testing procedure will be conducted by our senior leadership team who have had training in conducting this. Each pupil/staff member will be provided prior to the test with a unique barcode in which you need to register for the test online prior to the test date. The barcode is then attached to your sample which is then sent off to NHS Track and Trace within 30-45 minutes of your test being taken. You will be notified by email/text message of your result and if positive, further guidance on what steps need to be taken.
How often will staff and students be tested?
Staff and students who take the test will be tested each week on a Monday.
Is taking the test mandatory?
No, the test is not mandatory and every pupil must have a consent form completed and signed prior to the test being taken. If you have not received a consent form, please download one from our website or call the school office to request a copy.
How will I/my child receive the results and how long will I wait for the results?
The test results take around 30 minutes and you will receive notification of the test result as soon as the staff have processed the swab and sent the data off to the NHS. You should receive notification within hours of your swab test but as this is a new process, we cannot guarantee an accurate timescale at the moment but it will be the same day. You will receive the test results via an email address or mobile phone (or both) which you must register when you book in for the test.
What happens if my child/a member of staff has a positive test?
If your child/a member of staff tests positive for Covid-19 with the lateral flow test, they will be informed by the NHS to self-isolate for 10 days and their household will also have to self-isolate for 10 days from the date of the positive test. If your child presents symptoms within the 10 days of self-isolation, they will need to begin a new 10 days of isolation from the first day of the onset of symptoms.
What happens if a close contact of my child tests positive but my child has tested negative?
If your child or a member of staff has tested negative in their weekly tests but they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive (apart from their own household), they can still come into school for their education but must take a lateral flow test for 7 consecutive days to remain in education.
What happens if a member of our household tests positive but my child has tested negative?
If a member of your household tests positive for Covid-19, then you and your household must isolate for 14 days from either the onset of your symptoms of the result of your positive test. Your child cannot come into school whilst isolating and home learning will be available.
Coronavirus Self-Isolation Guidance
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
new continuous cough and/or
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection
if you have symptoms, stay at home for 10 days
if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
(See ending isolation section below for more information)
this action will help protect others in your community while you are infectious
plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home
ask your employer, friends and family to help you get the things you need to stay at home
stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home if possible
sleep alone, if possible
wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
stay away from vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, as much as possible
you do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999
Who this guidance is for
This advice is intended for people with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), including those with a diagnosis of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, who must remain at home until they are well.
Why staying at home is very important
Staying at home while you have coronavirus (COVID-19) helps to protect your friends, colleagues and the wider community. It will also help to control the spread of the virus.
We realise that staying at home may be difficult or frustrating, but there are things that you can do to help make it easier. These include:
plan ahead and think about what you will need to be able to stay at home for the full 10 days
talk to your employer, friends and family to ask for their help to access the things you will need
think about and plan how you can get access to food and other supplies such as medications that you will need during this period
ask friends or family to drop off anything you need or order supplies online. Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for you to collect
make sure that you keep in touch with friends and family over the phone or through social media
think about things you can do during your time at home. People who have successfully completed a period of staying at home have kept themselves busy with activities such as cooking, reading, online learning and watching films
when you are feeling better, remember that physical exercise can be good for your wellbeing. Look for online classes or courses to help you take light exercise in your home
While you are staying at home, make sure you do the following things:
Stay at home
You should remain in your home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis. You cannot go for a walk.
You will need to ask friends or relatives if you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication. Alternatively, you can order medication by phone or online. You can also order your shopping online. Make sure you tell delivery drivers to leave items outside for collection if you order online. The delivery driver should not come into your home.
At home, try as best you can to separate yourself from the people you live with
Aim to stay in a well-ventilated room with a window that can be opened. Try to keep the window open as much as possible to enable ventilation and airflow as this will help to keep clean air moving through your room.
Try to separate yourself from other people in your home and keep the door closed. If you cannot stay in a separate room aim to keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from the other people in your house. This can be particularly difficult for those with small children, people with other caring responsibilities or those living in studio apartments or flats. Try to keep yourself separated from other people as much as possible, and make sure everyone regularly follows the steps in this guidance (cleaning your hands, not touching your face and cleaning surfaces for example).
Use your own toothbrushes, eating and drinking utensils (including cups and glasses in the bathroom and bedroom), dishes, towels, washcloths or bed linen.
Do not share food and drinks.
If you have a garden, it is fine to use it as long as you keep 2 metres away from other members of your household. If possible they should use the outside area separately, if possible.
Use of shared spaces if you live with others
Minimise the time you spend in shared spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens and sitting rooms as much as possible and keep shared spaces well ventilated.
Aim to keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from people you live with and sleep in a different bed where possible. If you can, use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. Make sure you use separate towels from other people in your house, both for drying yourself after bathing or showering and for hand-hygiene purposes. Ask your family or the people you live with to remember to use their own towels.
If you do share toilet and bathroom, it is important that you clean them after you have used them every time (for example, wiping surfaces you have come into contact with). Another tip is to consider drawing up a rota for bathing, with you using the facilities last, before thoroughly cleaning the bath, sink and toilet yourself.
If you share a kitchen with others, avoid using it while others are present. Take your meals back to your room to eat. If you have one, use a dishwasher to clean and dry your used crockery and cutlery. If this is not possible, wash them using your usual washing up liquid and warm water and dry them thoroughly, remembering to use a separate tea towel.
We understand that it will be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others at home. You should do your very best to follow this guidance and everyone in your household should regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face and clean frequently touched surfaces.
If you live alone with children
Keep following this advice to the best of your ability, however we are aware that not all these measures will be possible.
What we have seen so far is that children with COVID-19 appear to be less severely affected. It is nevertheless important to do your best to follow this guidance.
If a child develops symptoms, they need to stay at home for 10 days from the onset of their symptoms.
If you live with an older, vulnerable or pregnant person
If you provide care to an elderly, vulnerable or pregnant person, follow this advice to the best of your ability.
What you can do to help yourself get better
Drink water to keep yourself hydrated; you should drink enough during the day so your urine (pee) is a pale clear colour. You can use over-the-counter medications, such as paracetamol, to help with some of your symptoms. Use these according to the instructions on the packet or label and do not exceed the recommended dose.
If you need to seek medical advice
Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening. If it’s not an emergency, contact NHS 111 online.
If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.
If it is an emergency and you need to call an ambulance, dial 999 and inform the call handler or operator that you have coronavirus (COVID-19).
All routine medical and dental appointments should usually be cancelled while you are sick and staying at home. If you are concerned or have been asked to attend in person within the period you are home isolating, discuss this with your medical contact first (for example, your GP, local hospital or outpatient service), using the number they have provided. If your concerns are related to COVID-19 contact NHS 111 online.
Wash hands often
Cleaning your hands frequently throughout the day by washing with soap and water for 20 seconds or using hand sanitiser will help protect you and the people you live with. This step is one of the most effective ways of reducing the risk of infection to you and to other people.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze.
Do not have visitors in your home
Do not invite or allow social visitors, such as friends and family, to enter your home. If you want to speak to someone who is not a member of your household, use the phone or social media.
Looking after your wellbeing while staying at home
We know that staying at home for a prolonged period of time can be difficult, frustrating and lonely for some people and that you may feel low. It’s important to remember to take care of your mind as well as your body and to get support if and when you need it. Stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media. There are also sources of support and information that can help.
Think about things you can do during your time at home. People who have successfully completed a period of staying at home have kept themselves busy with activities such as cooking, reading, online learning and watching films. If you feel well enough you can take part in light exercise within your home or garden.
You should remain at home until 10 days after the onset of your symptoms and arrange a test. After a negative test result, you can return to your normal routine.
If you or your child have any further concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school office.