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If parents require additional information regarding the processes of mass-testing, please read the following information about testing, or download the Q&A with parents and PowerPoint below:
Mass Testing is quite simple. Test as regularly as possible for safety and confidence. Staff can do their jobs and pupils can attend school knowing that there is no one currently infected/infectious. It also provides assurances that we are not infecting those most vulnerable in our school community and in our own homes.
All staff now get twice weekly home tests. Staff test on a Monday and a Thursday.
Pupils were being sent home testing kits every few weeks, (when school receives a delivery) so that tests can also be done on a Monday and a Thursday. Mass testing in school is extremely time-consuming and takes time and resource away from teaching and learning. School asks all parents to consider using the home testing kits instead. Where home-testing is not possible, parents need to identify the reasons for this in a letter to school. School will continue to operate limited testing facilities on site. For parents, this will usually include:
- Parents with a physical or other need that limits their ability to support with home testing.
- Pupils who are under a Child Protection Plan or similar, or are currently in foster care.
- Situations where home-testing will damage the parent-pupil relationship significantly.
Mass testing in all circumstances is done through Lateral Flow tests. Swabs of the throat and nose are taken and input in to a handheld testing machine which gives a simple positive or negative result in 30 minutes.
This differs to a PCR test, which need to be sent off to a laboratory and results can take 24-48 hours to come back, sometimes longer.
The results from Lateral Flow tests are very similar to the PCR tests, however they are not as sensitive. This means that you need to test more regularly to have the same level of confidence in the results.
Testing will only work as a supportive measure if we keep some of our other Covid-19 safeguards in place. Pupils should expect other systems of control, e.g. social distancing, to remain a part of school life for some time.