Asymptomatic Covid-19 testing in schools
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 tests’.
Along with the other protective measures we are taking, these tests will help staff and students to remain in college safely. Up to one third of people who have coronavirus experience no symptoms. By testing we will help to stop the virus spread and help to keep our college open as safely as possible. The test is voluntary, but we would encourage everyone to take it.
We will be testing staff and students attending college from week commencing Monday 3rd January 2022.
We have attached an instructional leaflet with some more information (see below).
Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff. The ‘lateral flow’ tests are quick and easy using a swab of your nose and throat. For under 18s, staff can oversee the swab process.
Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with staff and students participating. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed.
We know these tests work - in validation studies conducted by Oxford University and Public Health England, they were shown to be as accurate in identifying a case as a PCR test (99.68% specificity). The tests have lower sensitivity but they are better at picking up cases when a person has higher viral load, hence the need to test frequently.
Testing will be offered free of charge.
Children with SEND
We recognise that the self-swabbing part of the test may cause significant concerns for some children and young people with SEND and their families. Some of these concerns may be alleviated by discussing them with college and agreeing strategies to help reduce anxiety and putting in place any reasonable adjustments (if the individual has a disability).
Parents and carers may want to look at the Mass Testing Guidance for Specialist Settings for further information - click here.
How the tests work
Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff and volunteers. The lateral flow devices are easy to undertake, using a swab of your nose and throat. For those who are unable to self-swab please refer to the Mass Testing Guidance for Specialist Settings for further information about options. 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. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed.
Recording your consent
If your child is in Year 12 or 13, then they can provide their own consent. If your child is in Year 10 or 11, then you will need to provide consent on their behalf.
Once you have arrived at the online form, you will be invited to register your consent.
Please register and complete the form, regardless of whether you wish your child to participate in Covid-19 Mass Testing. There is an option to decline your consent.
Testing is not mandatory, and we will not perform testing on any child unless we have received consent from a parent or carer. We will also not perform any testing on a child if they withdraw their consent.
You can withdraw your consent at any point by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 0121 566 6622.
Should you be unable to complete the form, or should there be any technical problems, paper-copies will be available at the school.
As part of this programme, it is necessary for the college to process some additional data for your child. Information concerning this data, how it will be processed, and with whom it will be shared can be read via our website. Please click here to read the privacy notice. Should you require a paper copy of this document, please contact the college.
Thank you again for your continued support and patience during this unprecedented time.