NHS Test and Trace: COVID-19 testing for Staff and Students
You may have heard that testing for those without coronavirus symptoms is beginning across the country using new, quicker COVID-19 tests known as ‘lateral flow devices’. This letter is to help give you more information about the testing programme in our secondary schools at The Apollo Partnership Trust.
Up to one third of people who have coronavirus are asymptomatic. By testing we will help to reduce the spread in school and college settings through asymptomatic transmission. I am therefore strongly encouraging those returning to The Newbridge School and/or The Castle Rock School to be tested.
Plan for testing
We will be looking to test all staff and any secondary school students who are in school in early January.
In addition, any staff member or student who has come into contact with positive cases in our schools can be tested daily for five school days to allow them to remain in school.
How the tests work
Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff and volunteers. The lateral flow tests are quick and easy to undertake, using a swab of the nose and throat. Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with the individual participant.
The school will inform the student of a positive test result. Parents or legal guardians will also be informed. For students under the age of 16 years and in Key Stages 3 or 4, the parent / legal guardian will also receive a text/email notification of a positive or negative result from the online NHS system. Student over the age of 16 years and in Key Stage 5 will receive the text/email notification of a positive or negative result from the online NHS system. Tests are free of charge.
What if my child tests positive?
If a student tests positive on a lateral flow device, they will be informed immediately by their school and will need to take a further ‘PCR test’ to confirm the result. This should be on the same day or as soon as possible afterwards.
Their school will be able to provide these PCR test kits to perform at home.
During the time while waiting for the PCR result (via text/email) they will need to self-isolate.
If the PCR test returns a positive result they will have to continue to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.
What happens if the test is negative?
While a small number of students may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason, students who test negative will be able to stay in school and resume their activities as normal.
Where participants are under 16 years and in Key Stage 3 or 4, parents or legal guardians will be informed of negative test results via text/email. Students over the age of 16 years and in Key Stage 5, will be informed of negative test results via text/email.
The text/emails are generated by online NHS system.
What if staff or students have been in close contact with someone in school who tests positive?
The staff member or student will be notified that they are a close contact by the school. If close contacts agree to be tested each day for a maximum period of 5 school days, and they test negative every day, they will be allowed to remain in school. There may be instances where close contacts are also contacted by NHS Test and Trace. In this instance they should notify NHS Test and Trace that they are a close contact through school and are participating in daily (school day) contact testing.
What if my child develops symptoms?
This testing programme at school is for people with no symptoms. If your child develops symptoms at any time (including a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste) they must immediately self-isolate, and book a test by calling 119 or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
What happens next?
If your child is attending the physical school setting, the lateral flow testing programme can be provided with consent. The Privacy Notice with details about the data collected, held and shared can be found in on our website.
To provide consent
For The Newbridge School
- Parents / legal guardians of students under the age of 16 years and in Key Stages 3 or 4, must provide the consent
For The Castle Rock School
- Parents / legal guardians of students under the age of 16 years and in Key Stages 3 or 4 must provide the consent
- Students aged 16 years+ and in Key Stage 5, must provide the consent, having discussed this with parent(s) / legal guardian(s)
We will support our staff and students throughout, but please contact us if you have any questions. You can contact the COVID-19 Lateral Flow Testing Co-Ordinator at the relevant school:
- The Newbridge School – Mrs Thornton by emailing email@example.com and
- The Castle Rock School – Mrs Evans by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In order to stop the spread of the virus, the key factors are ‘Hands, Face, Space’ and then regular testing with vaccination as soon as possible. As CEO of the Trust I feel it our civic responsibility to carry out the tests to help protect our students, our staff and our local community.
Thank you for your continued support.
CEO Apollo Partnership Trust
Executive Secondary Headteacher, The Newbridge School and The Castle Rock School