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Lateral Flow Testing Letter

14th January 2020

NHS Test and Trace: COVID-19 testing for staff and learners 

Dear Parent/Carers,

We are working to keep staff and learners at Beacon Hill Academy as safe as possible. You may have heard that testing for those without coronavirus symptoms is beginning across the country using new, quicker COVID-19 tests known as ‘lateral flow tests’.

There are two types of testing, these are listed below:

Stage 1: Mass Testing

The first stage will involve all learners and staff having two tests over a three-day interval. We anticipate this will happen towards the return date of school. (dates and times will be issued in due course following government advise).

Stage 2: Serial Testing

Once the initial round of mass testing has been completed, the academy will then revert to ‘serial testing’. This means that if staff or learners are tracked and traced as having come into close contact with a positive case then they will be able to have a daily test (for 7 consecutive days) on site at Beacon Hill Academy. As you will appreciate this should help to avoid a situation whereby learners or staff need to self-isolate unnecessarily and therefore avoid any further disruption to their education.

Along with the other protective measures we are taking, these tests will help staff and learners to remain in school safely. Up to one third of people who have coronavirus experience no symptoms. By testing we will help to stop the virus spread and help to keep our academy open as safely as possible. The test is voluntary, but as a school we would like to encourage as many learners as possible to participate in testing to minimise disruption to learning.

Our vision is to test all staff and learners before they return to school and we will communicate with you how and when this will take place over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, we need to ensure that we have consent from all parents. If you are happy for your child to be tested, please fill in the consent form by clicking on the attached link which will take you to the BHA Registration Form: BHA COVID-19 TESTING CONSENT FORM

Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff. The ‘lateral flow’ tests are quick and easy using a swab of your nose and throat. For under 18s, staff can oversee the swab process.

Where positive results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with staff and learners participating. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed.

We know these tests work - in validation studies conducted by Oxford University and Public Health England, they were shown to be as accurate in identifying a case as a PCR test (99.68% specificity). The tests have lower sensitivity but they are better at picking up cases when a person has higher viral load, hence the need to test frequently.

Please click on the link to view our Privacy Notice and an FAQ document which will help answer some of the questions you may have.

Testing will be offered free of charge and if you have any further questions or concerns please contact us at helpline@beaconhillacademy.org.uk

Yours Sincerely,

Mr S Dhami
Principal