Asymptomatic testing in schools update
26 Jan 2021
Updated 8 February
Primary school testing
Bi-weekly testing of primary school staff on site to commence this week.
The school nursing service will provide virtual training for primary schools at 4pm each day which will augment the national training material.
In relation to contract tracing after a LFT in primary schools, the Ealing position has now changed and is now in line with the updated DfE guidance (see below)
If a primary school staff member has a positive LFT at home, they should inform the school immediately and close contacts should be identified and sent home to self-isolate, without waiting for the result of a PCR test. The staff member’s household should also self-isolate and follow the stay at home guidance. The staff member is still required to book a confirmatory PCR test- If the PCR test is negative, close contacts and household members can stop their self-isolation. If the PCR test is positive, then they should continue to follow the stay at home guidance.
This advice will continue to be reviewed in line with the local prevalence rates of COVID-19.
A note about void tests: As the LA is offering school nursing support, we recommend staff who report two void tests to be encouraged to attend the next school nursing training session to review technique with the school nurse before considering the PCR option as per the national FAQs.
National changes to secondary school testing
- Bi-weekly testing recommended for all secondary school staff on site
High schools should test their staff twice weekly and test high school pupils twice upon return to school (3/4 days apart). Pupils do not need to be tested every week.
- Pause in serial testing of close contacts
On 20 January PHE and Test and Trace recommended that daily contact testing in schools for close contacts is paused, as the balance between the risks and benefits are unclear in light of the UK variant. Read the full statement
- National changes to the guidance on requiring confirmatory PCR for all assisted lateral flow testing sites, including secondary school testing sites
From 27 January there will no longer be a requirement for confirmatory PCR if anyone tests positive at a secondary school testing site. This is due to the increased prevalence of infection resulting in false positives being rare. PHE will continue to review this national guidance according to the epidemiology. The person will need to isolate (along with household members) and contact tracing/isolation of school contacts will take place straight away.
Please report to LA any positive LFT tests and any positive PCR tests.
- All through schools and middle schools (incl. SEND schools) will be covered by the secondary testing programme
- School nurse virtual training for secondary schools will run at 4pm on Wednesdays only. If you have any queries about this training please email Yugesh Wadhwa firstname.lastname@example.org
Those living in the South African Variant Area (W7 and W13)
NHS Test and Trace has asked for those residents (W7 and W13 area) above the age of 16 who test positive for Covid-19 using a LFT, that they must now also book a PCR test through the national portal. This is so that they can get a PCR test at Gurnell Leisure Centre or another nearby site which will allow for the monitoring of the incidence of the South African variant within the local community.
Lateral flow following positive PCR
LFTs are not recommended for students or staff who have had a positive COVID-19 PCR test within 90 days. However, if staff choose to do this, a positive LFT should still be treated as such.
National guidance has been updated: Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection
Testing after your isolation period has ended
If you have tested positive by PCR for COVID-19, you will probably have developed some immunity to the disease. However, it cannot be guaranteed that everyone will develop immunity, or how long it will last. It is possible for PCR tests to remain positive for sometime after COVID-19 infection.
Anyone who has previously received a positive COVID-19 PCR test result should not be re-tested within 90 days of that test, unless they develop any new symptoms of COVID-19.
If, however, you do have an LFD antigen test within 90 days of a previous positive COVID-19 PCR test, for example as part of a workplace or community testing programme, and the result of this test is positive, you and your household should self-isolate and follow the steps in this guidance again.
If it is more than 90 days since you tested positive by PCR for COVID-19, and you have new symptoms of COVID-19, or a positive LFD antigen or PCR test, follow the steps in this guidance again.