COVID-19 self-testing kits for students

All students have been offered the opportunity to undertake three Lateral Flow Tests since they returned to on-site learning. The take-up has been incredibly high, well over 95% in all year groups, and it has allowed us to identify a very small number of asymptomatic cases as a result. The manner in which the students have engaged in the testing has been exemplary and is a credit to them.

We are now coming to the point where the students will have completed all three tests by the end of Thursday, 18 March (dependent on their year group) and they can now be offered self-testing kits for use at home. These will be issued to the students who wish to self-test at home after they have completed their third test. Each student will receive two boxes of self-testing kits and a step by step guide to the process.

  • Years 11, 12 and 13: Third Test on Tuesday, 16 March – issue of self-testing kits
  • Year 10 and Year 9: Third Test on Wednesday, 17 March – issue of self-testing kits
  • Year 8 and Year 7: Third Test on Thursday, 18 March – issue of self-testing kits

The kits and booklet the students will be issued with are shown in this picture. Each kit box contains three Lateral Flow Tests, so between the two kits there are enough tests for the students to take two a week for the remainder of this term. We suggest that these are taken on Sunday evening and Wednesday morning.

The blue booklet clearly explains the system of how to take the tests, how these are then processed and how to read the result. The students, having already completed three tests, should now be familiar with the swabbing process, and the final stage of processing the test is quite intuitive and easy to follow.

All the materials required to self-test are contained within the box, and we have additionally attached some FAQs about such things as logging test results.

If you do not want us to issue self-testing kits to a student who has undertaken three in-school tests please contact the Year Group Team as soon as possible. As always, if you have any questions at all about this or any other matter please do not hesitate to contact us at school.


Frequently Asked Questions

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 do this in William Howard School by carrying out tests at home twice every week, 3-4 days apart.

Testing students at home

We would like them to take their tests on Sunday evening and before school on Wednesdays.

Make sure you have enough time to do the test before coming to school. However, we understand that for some people this may be challenging. Therefore, tests can be taken the evening before if needed. You need to report test results to the NHS and to inform the school of any positive tests.

Taking the test

Students should take the test twice a week. All students have a leaflet with instructions on how to do the test with the kit. There is also a useful video to show you how to take the test here.

There is no need to keep used test equipment after the test result has been reported. You can put it in your normal bin (household waste).

This does not replace symptomatic testing. If you have symptoms, you should self-isolate immediately, book a PCR test and follow national guidelines.

What should you do after the test?

If anyone tests positive you, your household, any support bubbles you are part of should self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance for 10 days.

You need to report your result to NHS Test and Trace and any positive tests to us at the school.

You should order a confirmatory PCR test as the test was conducted at home.

If the result of the test is unclear (void) you should do another test.

Negative and void results should be reported to NHS Test & Trace

A negative result does not guarantee that you are not carrying the virus. So you should continue to follow social distancing and other measures to reduce transmission, such as wearing a face mask and regularly washing your hands and observing social distancing.

If you or anyone in your household gets symptoms of the virus you should follow national guidelines on self-isolation and testing.

You need to report each test result

The result of each test needs to be reported using the NHS Test & Trace self-report website: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result.

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.

I am strongly encouraging all students to take part. Testing at home will allow your child and other students to attend school as safely as possible.

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/

Are LFD tests accurate?

Lateral Flow Devices identify people who are likely to be infectious. These  individuals tend to spread the virus to many people, and so identifying them through this test is important.

These tests have been widely and successfully used to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals and are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The speed and convenience of the tests supports the detection of the virus in asymptomatic individuals, who would not otherwise have got tested.

The tests are highly specific, with low chance of false positives. They are also very sensitive and are able to identify the majority of the most infectious yet asymptomatic individuals. Extensive evaluation has been carried out on the tests and it shows that they are both accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community for screening and surveillance purposes.

It is important to remember that these tests are only an aid to help stop the spread of the virus and you should continue to follow other guidance such as wearing face coverings and social distancing.

How are LFD tests different to PCR tests?

There are 2 main types of test to check if you have coronavirus:

  • polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests check for the genetic material (RNA) of the virus in the sample – you send the sample for processing at a lab
  • lateral flow device (LFD) tests detect proteins called ‘antigens’ produced by the virus

LFD tests give rapid results, in 30 minutes, after taking the test.

Do I need to send the test to a lab?

No. The LFDs supplied do not need to be sent to a laboratory to get a result and can give a quick result in around 30 minutes. Guidance on self-testing is contained in the ‘Instructions for Use’ leaflet, which comes with the test kit. There is also a useful video to show you how to take the test here.

How do you report the result?

It is positive, negative or void using this service. You also need to tell the school the test result. You will receive a text or email from NHS Test & Trace confirming that you have reported your test result.

All test results need to be reported to NHS Test & Trace.

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 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

Follow this link for more information available about testing for households and bubbles of students.

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