Importance of twice-weekly testing
Updated: 18 June 2021
Important letter to all parents and students from Surrey County Council
Dear Parent or Carer,
Coronavirus infection rates in Surrey have risen significantly in recent weeks and the central government announcement on 14 June advised that there will be a four-week pause at Step 3 to further control the spread of the virus. Step 3 restrictions remain in place, and it is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after two weeks in case the risks have reduced.
The health risks of coronavirus to the vast majority of children and young people remain low, but we know rates are currently much higher in children between 11-16 than at earlier phases in the pandemic.
We fully appreciate the perseverance and commitment you have already shown over the last year but, as we know rates are increasing among children and those that haven’t been vaccinated, we must reiterate the need to encourage your children to follow the guidelines. Attached to this note is some helpful information to share with your children and below is an outline of the current guidelines in place:
Symptom free testing
All adults and secondary and college age students are encouraged to take a symptom-free rapid lateral flow test twice a week, even if you have been vaccinated. You can collect a home testing kit from a designated site or order online. Find out more about symptom-free LFD testing here.
Pupils with a positive rapid lateral flow test result must self-isolate in line with the stay-at-home guidance. They will also need to arrange a lab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the result. Find out how to book a PCR test here.
If the PCR test is taken within 2 days of the positive lateral flow test, and is negative, it overrides the self-test LFD test and the pupil and contacts can return to school, as long as they don’t have COVID-19 symptoms.
Testing if you have symptoms
Anyone showing symptoms should immediately isolate and get a PCR test, and everyone in the household should continue to isolate until the PCR test result is received. If positive, they will be advised further by NHS Test and Trace.
Staying Safe Outside Class
Your child must follow the government guidance in force when outside of school or college. The changes around the gradual easing of lockdown apply equally to young people, so please encourage your children to follow the guidelines: Hands – Face – Space – Fresh Air.
Coronavirus restrictions remain in place across the country, including for people who have been vaccinated:
- You can meet indoors in a group of up to 6 people or a group of any size from 2 households
- You can meet outside in a group of up to 30 people
- Work from home if you can and travel safely
- If you have symptoms get a test and stay at home
There are three things that we can all do, to keep COVID at bay and see the ending of all restrictions safely:
1) Test regularly
2) If you are an adult, take the Vaccine
3) Hands – Face – Space – Fresh Air
If you or your child feel anxious about coronavirus, that can be expected but, it is important to take action early. There are lots of tips on ways to cope along with sources of help available at Healthy Surrey. Children and young people in Surrey can also chat confidentially and anonymously to other young people and mental wellbeing professionals online at Kooth.
However challenging these times may be, we will continue to support you and make sure that your child can progress towards a successful and enjoyable future. We are so grateful for your support during this challenging time, it has been key in our efforts to protect and support your children.
It is important we take a precautionary approach and we ask that this support continues for a while longer, as schools and communities manage the weeks ahead.
Executive Director, Children, Families & Lifelong Learning
Surrey County Council
Director of Public Health
Surrey County Council
View pdf of the letter
28 May 2021
Message for students: Importance of twice-weekly testing
All staff and students are encouraged to test twice a week. Around 1 in 3 people who have the Covid-19 virus have no symptoms. Tests are quick and free to collect from College, with results in around 30 minutes. Whatever your result, report it right away.
Please make a special attempt to record the twice-weekly test results on both the College and Government websites, whatever they are, during half term and especially on returning from the half term break, between 6-12 June.
We do recognise that the Government (NHS) site only allows test results to be recorded within 24 hours of having taken the test, so they can at times be easily missed. However, we need to make the testing AND recording part of our routine so that we can keep our friends, families and communities safe and we can keep life moving.
If you do have a positive lateral flow test result, please self-isolate at home and request a PCR test with the NHS. The PCR test result takes precedence. If the result is negative, please send the result to your tutor at the College and they will facilitate your return to College. If the PCR test result is positive, please continue to self-isolate and contact NHS 111 for support.