DFE Update : Temporary suspension of confirmatory PCR tests in education and childcare settings
FAO : All
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:
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.
Information on the new arrangements can be found in the stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection.
Reporting test results for schools and colleges
Reporting test results every time pupils, students and staff take an LFD test means the NHS always gets the latest, most accurate information. This helps them to keep track of where the virus is spreading, provide support where it is needed and protect local communities across the country.
Please remind your pupils, students and staff of the importance of reporting all tests results (positive, negative and void) to NHS Test and Trace and their setting. Schools and colleges can access a new template form for pupils, students and staff to report test results. Primary schools can access a new template form for staff to report their results. Tests should also be reported online through the report a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test result page which should only take a couple of minutes.
It is important to continue with twice weekly LFD testing and reporting. You can access the updated testing toolkit for examples of good practice and for steps you can implement to increase testing and reporting rates in your setting.