The Government has recently announced that all secondary and college aged students will be offered tests to make the return to Erdington Academy safer for everyone. 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 individuals, we can now do this at Erdington Academy by students carrying out tests at home twice every week, 3-4 days apart.
Tests are free of charge and students will receive tests in a box with an instruction leaflet on how to take the test and report the results. Preferably the test would be in the morning before going into school. However, we understand that for some people this may be challenging. Therefore, tests can be taken the evening before if needed. You must report all positive test results to both NHS Test and Trace and to school.
Testing students at home
Students will be given a home test kits on the 18th March when the students have completed their third onsite test. We would like students to take their tests on Sundays and Thursday.
Taking the test
Students should take the test twice a week and should continue throughout school holidays. A leaflet with instructions on how to do the test is included with the test kit. There is also a useful NHS video to show how to take the test here.
Help and support is available online, 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. All test kit waste can be disposed of in a normal bin (household waste).
Home self-testing does not replace symptomatic testing. If anyone has symptoms of COVID-19, they should self- isolate immediately, book a PCR test at a local test site and follow national guidelines.
What should you do after taking the test?
If anyone tests positive, the individual, their household and anyone in a support bubble they may be part of should self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance for 10 days.
The result of each test, be that positive, negative or void, needs to be reported using the NHS Test & Trace self-report website: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result, or by calling the telephone number given in the test kit instruction leaflet if you do not have access to the internet.
You will also need to tell the school the result of positive tests. Please report this is the normal way for an absence.
If the result is positive, keep your child at home. The school will contact you to establish any close contacts. If anyone tests positive with the self-testing kit at home, they should order a confirmatory PCR test at a local testing site to confirm the result.
If the result of the test at home is unclear (void), a second test should be done.
If the result of the test at home is negative, students can continue to come to school as normal. A negative result does not guarantee that someone is not carrying the virus. Students should continue to follow social distancing, and other measures to reduce transmission, such as wearing a face covering where appropriate, regularly washing hands and observing social distancing.
If anyone in your household gets symptoms of the virus they should follow national guidelines on self-isolation and testing.
Why take part
Taking part in testing is voluntary and all students will be able to attend school whether they take part in testing or not, however we would recommend that everybody participates to help ensure and support the safety and peace of mind for the whole school community.
Please find attached some frequently asked questions and if you have any unanswered questions or concerns about home testing please contact Mr Bartlett at the Academy.
Thank you for your support.
Mr S Mallett
Head of Academy
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. Participation in home testing is optional and consent is given by opting to take part. Please also refer to the home self-testing privacy notice on the ATLP website https://atlp.org.uk/files/2021/03/5.-Privacy-Notice-Home-Testing-Staff-and-Students.pdf.
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.
§ Students aged 11 must be tested by an adult and the adult must report the result.
My child has already tested positive for COVID-19. Do they still need to do the tests at home?
If someone has recently (within 90 days) had a positive PCR test for COVID-19, they are likely to have developed some immunity. Individuals are exempt from testing by both PCR and LFD within 90 days of a positive PCR test, unless they develop new symptoms.
If individuals choose to take an LFD test after the isolation period and they test positive, they will still be required to self-isolate for 10 days, or longer if symptomatic. Individuals are still required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive case, even if this is within the 90 day window.
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 the school.
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?
Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests are used in the home testing kits.
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.
There is more information available about testing for households and bubbles of students.