I hope that you are well and that your child enjoyed the screen free day on Friday. I hear that many pupils have made good progress on their St David’s Pilgrimage by now. Keep going!
It has been great having year 11 back in school today and we are looking forward to seeing year 13 tomorrow and year 10 and 12 by the end of the week. Please remember that all the arrangements for returning to school can be seen in a previous blog. Some pupils are in school today with no packed lunches.
Today’s blog is all about the Lateral Flow Tests
As they return to school, year 10-13 pupils will receive a blue box which contains Lateral Flow Tests on their first day back. Year 11 will return home with their tests in their bags today.
The Welsh Government has recently announced that a free and voluntary programme of asymptomatic COVID-19 testing will be available in education and childcare settings across Wales. This offer is available to all staff and learners in years 10-13 and all college learners. These are Welsh Government arrangements, because older secondary school pupils are more likely to carry the virus, without any symptoms.
The tests in the blue boxes are:
- for Bro Edern year 10-13 pupils only
- for pupils who do NOT have COVID-19 symptoms = asymptomatic
- for pupils who have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days
Along with the primary infection control measures we have implemented, such as social distancing and good hand hygiene, testing will allow us to provide some additional reassurance to the wider school/college community.
For more information, these FAQ documents have been supplied to us:
What is the point of these tests?
Up to one in three people who have COVID-19 have the virus without symptoms, therefore they could be transmitting the virus unknowingly. Part of controlling the spread of the virus requires identifying those infectious individuals who aren’t showing and symptoms and asking them to self-isolate. Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests, which are the tests in the blue box have been widely and successfully used to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals. The speed and convenience of LFD tests supports detection of the virus in asymptomatic individuals who would not otherwise be tested. They are clinically approved and are crucial in the fight against the virus.
As the tests are more sensitive with higher viral loads, there is a risk of returning a negative result when viral loads are low (e.g. in the early stages of infection). This is why it is recommended that two LFD tests from the blue box are taken 3 to 4 days apart, on a Sunday and Wednesday, or a Monday and Thursday to enhance detection by picking up any cases which were not detected during the first test and to catch any new infections.
If you test positive using a LFD from the blue box, it is likely that you are infectious and you must self-isolate immediately and book and take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test (official COVID test with the authorities) within 24 hours of your positive LFD test result from the blue box. Contact tracing will be triggered following a positive LFD and your close contacts will be required to self-isolate until you receive your PCR test result, if the PCR test result is positive you and your close contacts will have to self-isolate.
A negative LFD result should not be read as a means to relax or ignore social distancing or other virus prevention measures intended to reduce transmission – LFD is an additional tool that contributes to reducing risk.
If you do not intend to test your child, you will need to return the box to Bro Edern straight away, the day after receiving it. It must be unopened. You can see what is in the box by watching the video below and by reading the instructions here:
How do the tests work?
If you agree to take part, a consent form will need to be completed (see below for link). Tests should be take 3 to 4 days apart and ideally the tests should be taken as close to coming into school/college as possible. The LFDs supplied do not require laboratory processing and can provide a quick result in around 30 minutes. Comprehensive guidance on self-testing is contained in the ‘Instructions for Use’ leaflet which comes with the test kit.
Once the test has been conducted each test result must be logged online at www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result.
You should inform the school immediately if the test result is positive by emailing COVID@ysgolbroedern.cardiff.sch.uk
Please watch this video, to see how the tests work:
Purpose of Testing
It is important to highlight that the purposes of the testing policy in education and childcare in Wales is to complement the primary control measures (such as social distancing and mask wearing) that have already been put in place to enable face to face learning / care to continue and to:
- Rapidly identify those who are regularly on site during learning/care hours, who are unknowingly carrying the virus and ask them to self-isolate to reduce disruption to face to face education / care.
- Complement symptomatic results data with asymptomatic results data to provide a picture of infection rates as marker for the effectiveness, and implementation of, primary control measures and to assist in the early identification of clusters. In addition to a range of other data and public health advice this information can be used to inform national policy decisions.
The testing policy for education and childcare should not be viewed as a ‘test to enable’ or ‘test to return’ to face to face learning i.e. it is not a condition of coming on to the site or accessing learning/care. Additionally, this testing offer is entirely voluntary.
Consent / Privacy
All individuals wishing to take part should familiarise themselves with the testing process and privacy notice, if you choose to participate, you are committing to self-administer the test and provide results for all tests (negative or positive).
Here is the permission form for the tests. Please would you fill in this for each child in years 10-13?
With our primary protective measures and testing, we will help to reduce the spread of the virus. I am therefore strongly encouraging all staff to take the tests. However, anyone who chooses not to participate should still attend school/college if they are not displaying symptoms.
People who decline to participate in this testing programme should follow the usual national guidelines on self-isolation and anyone should get tested if they show symptoms.
Together, we are working hard to protect the whole Bro Edern Family, and these tests are the latest step in our campaign to keep everyone safe. Please contact your child’s Head of Year if you have any further enquiries.