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Change in the advice from the Department of Education

Please see below a copy of the advice received today from the Department for Education regarding the use of PCR tests. You will recall that last week in response to a deterioration in the availability of PCR tests, we modified our school protocols to come in line with the national guidance particularly for those in close contact with Covid positive cases. We are not proposing any further change to our protocols at this stage but as always, we will keep them under review as the advice and guidance develops.

Department for Education: - Temporary suspension of confirmatory PCR tests in education and childcare settings

Confirmatory PCR testing following a positive result on a lateral flow device (LFD) will be temporarily suspended from today, Tuesday 11 January. This means that for all education and childcare settings, staff and students who have tested (either at home or through ATS) and reported a positive LFD result will no longer be advised to get a confirmatory PCR test.

This change is informed by public health advice. With high COVID-19 rates, the risk of a positive LFD result being false is very small. We therefore don’t need to ask people to do a confirmatory PCR unless they:

  • have symptoms (in which case they need to follow the stay at home guidance, self-isolate and order a PCR test)

  • wish to claim the Test and Trace Support Payment

  • have been advised to take a PCR test because they are in a clinically vulnerable group

  • have been advised to do so as part of a research or surveillance programme

Education and childcare settings are not expected to trace contacts of a positive case as this will remain the responsibility of NHS Test and Trace. From today, Tuesday 11 January, contact tracing is triggered once a positive LFD test is reported.

Students should be strongly encouraged to test twice weekly at home and to report all results to NHS Test and Trace and to their setting. Anyone with a positive LFD test result should self-isolate and follow self-isolation guidance.


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