Walsall Academy is taking part in the National strategy for NHS Test and Trace to stem the transmission of Covid-19.
To safeguard the health of the teaching workforce and keep as many staff and students in school and college as possible, the government have made rapid-result coronavirus (COVID-19) tests available to schools. This will help identify asymptomatic cases – which make up a third of all cases – limiting the spread of the virus.
Testing, along with other infection prevention and control measures such as social distancing, can ensure students are given the best chance of face to face education.
With a phased approach beginning in January, testing will be made available to all members of staff and all students in schools and colleges.
From January, rapid-result tests will be provided to schools and colleges, starting with secondary schools and FE colleges, including special schools and alternative provision:
- for the school and college workforce to conduct weekly testing – this will help identify those who are carrying the virus without displaying symptoms, reducing the risk of transmission
- for students as well as the school and college workforce to conduct daily testing for those identified as close contacts of workforce colleagues, students that have tested positive – this ensures that they do not need to isolate and are able to continue to benefit from high quality, face to face education
For every group, testing is voluntary, but those who are eligible for tests are strongly encouraged to participate to reduce the risk of transmission within schools and colleges.
In line with routine infection control practice, close contacts who decide not to be tested daily will need to self-isolate in line with guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
Conducting testing in schools and colleges
Recent pilots have shown how rapid testing can be used effectively and have positive impacts in schools and colleges. The lateral flow tests provided to schools and colleges produce a result in 30 minutes and do not require a laboratory to process.
Schools and colleges should make clear to staff and pupils that a negative test result does not remove the risk of transmission. In some cases, someone who has tested negative may still have the undetected disease and be infectious. It is therefore essential that everyone continues to follow good hygiene and observe social distancing measures whether or not they have been tested.
Anyone who is showing symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) who has a negative result from a rapid test will be required to self-isolate until the result from a lab-based polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test is known.
Our test site will be in the Academy’s Theatre. Students should enter the building via the Theatre external doors and not through the Academy.
Consent is required before any test can be carried out. Please ensure that the student brings the signed consent form with them for the test.
For the initial testing, students will return home after the test (or back to lessons if in school).
If the test is part of the serial testing of close contacts of a positive case in school, the student will go straight to the Theatre when they arrive at the Academy in the morning and wait for the result of their test in the Theatre. If the lateral flow test is negative the student can go to their class.
If the test result is positive, we will contact parents immediately. The student will be isolated in school until they can be collected. They must then have a PCR Covid test to confirm the positive result. If the PCR test result is negative, please inform the Academy immediately. If the test result is positive, the entire household must then isolate for 10 days.
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