Letter to Parents and Carers – NHS Test and Trace: COVID-19 Testing Students

Dear Parent/Carer,

In order to ensure the safest possible return to college, we will be putting in place COVID-19 testing of all students prior to their return to the classroom. This will take place in our on site testing centre using “lateral flow devices’ which provide results in approximately 30 minutes. Up to one third of people who have coronavirus are asymptomatic. By testing we will help to reduce the spread in school and college settings through asymptomatic transmission. I am therefore strongly encouraging those returning to school to be tested.

Plan for testing

Students will be tested three times; once on their return to college and a further two times 3-5 days later. The return to college will be staggered to allow the first test to be taken and analysed prior to students going to their classroom. Following the three in-college tests, students will be issued with home testing kits. Further information will follow regarding home testing.

The testing process

Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff and volunteers. The lateral flow tests are quick and easy to undertake. Students will be asked to self-swab their own nose and if necessary their throat. The test will give one of three results: Positive, Negative or Invalid. Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with the individual participant. Where participants are under 16, parents/carers will also be informed. The student or parent/carer will also receive a text and/or email notification of the result from the online NHS system. Students will be tested in the gym at the college, which has now been converted into a temporary testing hub, at an allocated time. They will then need to wait in the sports hall until the results of the first test has been processed.

Understandably, self-swabbing for the test may cause significant anxieties for some young people, particularly those with SEND. We will be sharing a video with our students to increase their understanding of the test and familiarise themselves with the swabbing process next week. If anxieties remain please do contact our SEN team to discuss these further (rvowles@bidefordcollege.org).

Positive test results

If a student tests positive using a lateral flow device, they will be informed immediately by staff at the college and will be asked to isolate for 10 days from the date of test and follow guidance of NHS Test and Trace.

Negative test results

While a small number of students may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void, those who test negative will be able to stay in college and resume their activities as normal.

Close contacts of a positive case

The student will be notified that they are a close contact by the school and will be asked to isolate for 10 days from the last contact with the individual.

It is important to be aware that the school testing programme is only for those students who do not have any symptoms. Any student who is displaying coronavirus symptoms should not come to college; they should follow national guidance and have a test through the NHS Test and Trace system.

Providing consent

If you agree to your child taking part in the testing programme you will need to complete a Student consent form for COVID-19 testing at Bideford College (Click here). Sixth form students will need to complete the form themselves.

If you have any issues completing the form please contact Mrs Jewell (ajewell@bidefordcollege.org).

We hope that by participating in the COVID-19 testing programme within college it will bring benefits to both our college and the wider community. Therefore, we would encourage as many students as possible to engage with the testing programme. If you have any further questions about this testing programme please contact Mrs Jewell at the college.

Best wishes

Dr Ankers

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