Home Testing

Dear Parents / Carers

I hope that you and your families remain safe and well.

We have now provided all our young people with two opportunities to be tested for Covid-19.  So far, we have completed 2,484 tests in the Academy, so thank you for your support with this.  Once students have completed their 3 tests we will no longer offer Covid-19 testing in the Academy and government guidance states that pupils continue to test themselves twice a week at home, with support from their parents/carers.

We will issue / have issued home testing kits and as pupils have completed testing they are aware of how to swab themselves, so they should already be fairly competent with this process.  With the testing kits there is also a leaflet which provides a simple step-by-step guide of how to complete the Lateral Flow Tests.  There is also a video that has been prepared by the government on YouTube.

We will also be providing testing kits to any young people who have yet to be tested in Academy. As with all testing, this process is entirely optional but I would encourage you all to take part, so that we can continue to identify asymptomatic cases and break the chains of transmission.  The above video clip will also help students who have yet to have a test.

The guidance is that pupils should continue to test themselves twice a week at home with 3-4 days between each test.  Can you please support us with this and ensure that your son/daughter continues to participate in the regular mass testing programme.  We are also required to collect information about the take up of testing across our Academy community.  You will also need to report the outcome of the test to the NHS Test and Trace, as per the guidance in the leaflet. Testing is also key over the Easter Holidays and on return to the Academy on the 19th April.

What if your son/daughter tests positive?

Firstly, and most importantly, do not send them to the Academy.  Please contact us and explain that you have returned a positive result from a lateral flow test.  The guidance is then that the entire household must isolate, and you must book a PCR test for your son/daughter. If the PCR test also returns a positive result, the entire household must continue to isolate as per government guidance.  If the PCR test returns a negative result, please contact us and your son/ daughter will be able to return to the Academy as normal.

Testing for parents/carers and other family members

The use of lateral flow tests to test all secondary age pupils twice a week, is part of the government’s strategy to support mass testing and to reduce the spread of the virus. To support this process further, the NHS is also offering parents/carers the opportunity to order their own supply of lateral flow tests.  If you would like to join in and support the mass testing programme, please use the link below to arrange for your home testing kits to be delivered or available for collection.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rapid-lateral-flow-testing-for-households-and-bubbles-of-school-pupils-and-staff

What if someone in your household has Covid-19 symptoms?

Please continue to follow the current guidance in relation to self-isolation if anyone in your household develops Covid-19 symptoms.  The Lateral Flow Tests do not replace government guidance about booking a PCR test and the entire household isolating until a negative test is returned.  As a reminder:

The main symptoms of Coronavirus are:

  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature),
  • new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual),
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

Please do not send your son/daughter to the Academy if they are displaying any of the symptoms above. Even if you think it is just a cold, it is better to keep them off for a day to make sure, rather than us potentially having to send a cohort of children home to isolate for 10 days later.

Please do not send your son/daughter to the Academy if anyone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19.  If this is the case, your entire household should be isolating.

Please do not send your son/daughter to the Academy if they have been identified as a close ‘contact’ of a COVID-19 case by Public Health England.  If this is the case, they need to self-isolate for 10 days.

Please keep us updated – if your son/daughter is unwell or having a test or even if a family member is.  The more we know, the more we can prepare.

Please make sure that your son/daughter arrives at the Academy with a face mask.

I appreciate that supporting testing of pupils at home is yet another ask of you as parents and carers, but hopefully this approach to mass testing across the Academy community and the country, will help us to return to what we would consider ‘normal’ in the near future.

Yours sincerely

Phill Quirk
Headteacher