LATERAL FLOW TESTS - HOME KITS
Up to one in three people who have COVID-19 have no symptoms and can spread the virus without knowing. The Government has recently announced that all secondary students will be offered test kits to help identify those individuals, by carrying out tests at home twice every week, 3-4 days apart.
Testing students at home
The school will be issuing 2 packs (containing 3 tests in each box) with a leaflet on how to take the test and report the results (please discard the out of date leaflet in the box and refer to the separate leaflet issued).
Taking the test
Students should take the test twice a week. There is a useful video to show you how to take the test here. Students have the option to take the test in the morning before school, or alternatively, in the evening before school, but no earlier.
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).
Recording the results
If the result of the test is unclear (void) you should do another test.
What if the result is positive?
If a student tests POSITIVE, they must immediately self-isolate, inform the school and order a confirmatory PCR test. If the PCR result is negative, then the student can return to school.
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.
If you or anyone in your household gets symptoms of the virus you should follow national guidelines on self-isolation and testing.
Why take part?
Taking part is voluntary and all students will be able to attend school whether they take part in testing or not.
I am strongly encouraging all students to take part to help keep themselves, their family and their friends safe.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org , our COVID Coordinator, if you have any questions or concerns about home testing.
Thank you for your support.
Some frequently asked questions
Do I need to give consent?
Students and parents do not give written consent to take part in the home testing programme.
Once you open the kit you should take and report the results of the tests to NHS Test & Trace and school, regardless of the result (positive, negative, or void).
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.
How are LFD tests different to PCR tests?
There are 2 main types of test to check if you have coronavirus:
- polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests check for the genetic material (RNA) of the virus in the sample - you send the sample for processing at a lab
- lateral flow device (LFD) tests detect proteins called ‘antigens’ produced by the virus - LFD tests give rapid results, in 30 minutes after taking the test.
Can I or someone else in my household use a test kit sent home from school?
No, however whole families and households with primary school, secondary school, and college age children, including childcare and support bubbles, will be able to test themselves twice every week from home. This testing can be accessed through the following channels:
- get a rapid test at work, through workplace testing. Ask your employer for more information
- attend a test site to get tested where you will be able to see how to take the test or pick up tests to do at home (you can find your nearest test site via the postcode checker www.gov.uk/find-covid-19-lateral-flow-test-site or check your local council website)
- collect tests to do at home, find your nearest collection site COVID Test Finder (test-and-trace.nhs.uk)
If these options are not possible, there will be a supply of rapid tests for order online for people who need them the most. More information can be found on www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
How will personal information and test results be shared?
When your child takes a Lateral Flow 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’. This means that your child’s data helps us to stop the spread of the virus, and to keep your children in school. For example, we will tell your child to self-isolate if they get a positive test result.
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. This will ensure that testing is accurate and helps keep us all safe.
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.
For more information on how personal data is used for testing please see the detailed privacy notice enclosed.