Dear Parents March 2021
Update to guidance for parents as at 19 March 2021
The DfE has updated its guidance on what parents need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during Covid-19. This now includes information on returning to boarding school from overseas, including arrangements for pupils to quarantine on arrival in the UK. It also provides additional information to support parents considering elective home education for their child.
The government has also published a collection of guidance providing information for parents and carers of children attending early years settings, schools and colleges during the pandemic. This brings together information and guidance for parents on:
- essential information for the spring term
- Covid testing
- clubs and out-of-school settings
- homeschooling and remote education
- support for children and young people
As always the guidance to schools at present is subject to constant change.
Whilst in school, your daughter will be regularly updated by her form tutor. Please encourage her to share information with you.
Dear Parent / Carer
Home Covid-19 test kits to enable students to self-test twice weekly
Up to one in three people who have COVID-19 can spread the virus without knowing. This is because they have no symptoms. To reduce the spread of the virus, we need to identify those asymptomatic individuals. We can do this in schools if everyone (both students and staff) routinely carries out tests at home twice every week, 3-4 days apart.
The Government has recently announced that all secondary and college aged students will be offered tests to make the return to school safer for everyone.
As you know, we have been running lateral flow tests on site since Monday 8 March. Students (other than those within 90 days of a positive Covid-19 test) will by the end of this week have completed three such tests, supervised by trained staff. Turn out has been very high and girls have taken the process in their stride. They are now more than capable of administering the test themselves. They may in the first instance need the support of an adult in processing the test. The test result needs to be reported both to school and to NHS Test and Trace.
Testing students at home
Students will be able to collect home test kits from the school on the occasion of their third on-site test. (Those students not currently being tested on site because within 90 days of a Covid-19 test may collect home tests from the school hall in the time slot allocated to their Year Group, for use at home when they have passed the 90-day landmark.) The home kits contain three tests. We will issue each girl with two kits this week and then issue a further two (for use over the Easter holiday) in the last week of term.
Girls should take their tests regularly on school nights or early school mornings 3-4 days apart. (Tests shouldn’t be taken on Friday evenings or on Saturdays for obvious reasons.)
Test results (Positive, Negative or Void) need to be reported to:
Tests are free of charge. Students will receive packs of 3 tests in a box with a leaflet on how to take the test and report the results.
Your daughter needs to ensure she has enough time to do the test. Taking the swab takes about 5 minutes, processing another 5+ minutes but then the tests must be left for exactly 30 minutes before the result can be read and reported. (A timer should be set –e.g. on a mobile phone.) Realistically therefore 45 minutes is required to work through the whole process.
Preferably this would be in the morning before going into school but this is probably unrealistic for many. Therefore, tests can be taken the evening before school if needed.
Taking the test (Video tutorial available)
Students should take the test twice a week. We will give students a leaflet with instructions on how to do the test with the kit. There is also a useful video to show you how to take the test here. Help and support is available, including instructions in different languages on how to test and report the results.
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).
What should you do after the test?
If anyone tests positive you, your household, any support bubbles you are part of should self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance for 10 days.
You should order a confirmatory PCR test if you are testing at home (confirmatory PCR tests are not needed if the test was conducted at the Asymptomatic Test Site at WCHS).
If the result of the test is unclear (void), you should do 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 facemask 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.
You need to report each test result
The result of each test needs to be reported using the NHS Test & Trace self-report website: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result.
You will also need to tell the school the result of each test [Student Covid Result - Home test reporting].
Why take part
Taking part in testing is voluntary and all students will be able to attend WCHS whether they take part in testing or not. However, it is in the interest of everyone in the school community, students & their families and staff, that asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 are identified, curtailing the spread of this highly contagious virus.
I strongly encourage all students to take part. Testing at home will allow your child and other students to attend WCHS as safely as possible.
Please contact Mrs Sheila Fonseca, School Business Manager (our COVID Coordinator), if you have any questions or concerns about home testing. CovidCoordinator@woodford.redbridge.sch.uk
Uptake of lateral flow testing on site has been excellent. To date all test results have been negative. I’m grateful to parents for supporting this important initiative and to girls for showing such maturity in participating in the process. Thank you for your ongoing support. In partnership, we can be confident we are doing everything possible to prevent the resurgence of Covid-19 in the WCHS Community.
Ms Jo Pomeroy
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. Please read the Privacy Notice here for information on how personal information and test results are shared.
Once you open the kit you should take and report the results of the tests to NHS Test & Trace and WCHS, regardless of the result (positive, negative, or void).
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.
Students aged 12-17 should do the test themselves with adult supervision. The adult may help the student to take the test if they need support. We suggest that parents / carers report the result although students in this age range may do so themselves.
Students aged 11 must be tested by an adult and the adult must report the result.
Reporting problems or issues with testing
If there is an issue with the test kit, for example, something is missing, please report it by calling 119 and please also tell WCHS.
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/
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.
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 WCHS.
You should order a confirmatory PCR test if you are testing at home (confirmatory PCR tests are not needed if the test was conducted at the Asymptomatic Test Site at WCHS. 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 take another one. If the next test is also void, your child should take a PCR test. You can book a test here.
Do I need to send the test to a lab?
No. The LFDs supplied do not need to be sent to a laboratory to get a result and can give a quick result in around 30 minutes. Guidance on self-testing is contained in the ‘Instructions for Use’ leaflet, which comes with the test kit. There is also a useful video to show you how to take the test here.
How do you report the result?
You must report the test result (whether it is positive, negative or void) using this service. You also need to tell the school the test result. You will receive a text or email from NHS Test & Trace confirming that you have reported your test result.
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 here.