Dear Parents and Carers,
The Department for Education has recently announced that it will start a programme of asymptomatic Covid-19 testing for staff (not children) in primary schools. Along with the other protective measures we are taking, testing will allow us to take further measures to help our staff and children to work in as safe an environment as possible.
Up to one in three people who have Covid-19 have the virus without symptoms so could be transmitting the virus unknowingly. Tackling the pandemic requires identifying asymptomatic, infectious individuals. By testing, we will help to reduce the spread in schools.
Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests have been widely and successfully used to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals. No test is perfect, but 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 Public Health England recommend two LFD tests 3 to 4 days apart, or regular testing, to enhance detection by picking up any cases which were not detected during the first test and to catch any new infections.
We have received these tests at Berkeley Primary School yesterday and have trained and distributed them to our staff who will begin using these tests next week. We will be testing ourselves at home twice a week.
As we are currently already doing, if there are any positive cases of Covid-19 in school, we will inform anyone who has been in contact with that individual. This may include a year group bubble of children and staff, and they will be informed to self-isolate for a stipulated amount of time.
I would like to remind you that it is very important that if your child or anyone in your household displays Covid-19 symptoms you should all self-isolate, ring 119 or go to www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test and book a Covid-19 test for the person with symptoms. The symptoms are:
I wish you all well.