Barking Town Hall 1 Town Square
Barking 11 7LU
26 March 2021
Covid 19 testing for primary aged pupils who do not have symptoms (asymptomatic)
I am writing to you as your local Director of Public Health to thank all of you who followed my advice and took a PCR test before your child returned to school on March 8th. Barking and Dagenham had one of the highest rates of asymptomatic testing in the week before March 8th and this made a really important contribution helping keep schools safe and protect the wider community.
Owing to the number of Covid-19 cases locally, we are carrying out a programme of asymptomatic testing (for people not experiencing any symptoms).
I am now encouraging all pupils who are attending school to get a test before they come back to school after the Easter holiday. These tests will help to reduce the risk of people without symptoms unknowingly spreading the virus to others in the school and in their community.
I strongly encourage anyone they live with to get a test also to make sure that anyone who may be infectious does not come to school with the virus and potentially start an outbreak.
Please arrange to get a PCR test around 15/16th April in time to get the results before the return to school.
I am advising that if possible you take your child for a PCR test a few days before the start of term. This is because it is the most sensitive and reliable test.
How do I book a PCR test if I don’t have symptoms?
Go to the government website https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test where you’ll be asked some questions. Select the following options:
- NO to essential worker
- NO to having symptoms
- NO to being part of a trial or pilot
- YES - My local council or health protection team has asked me (or someone I live with) to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms
You can book your whole family by choosing ‘add family members’.
I can’t get to a testing centre, can we get tested at home?
Yes, you can ask to receive your test by post. When you are making your booking, answer ‘Yes’ to ‘Is the person who needs a test part of a trial or government pilot project’ and select the option that says ‘The person is taking part in community testing’.
Home tests are not for children in Nursery and Reception – they need to be taken to a test centre.
Taking a Lateral Flow Test at Home
A second option is to use a lateral flow test at home. All families with children at school or in child care can order lateral flow tests or pick them up from the following points in the borough between 1.00pm and 8.00pm daily:
- Mayesbrook Park Car Park, Lodge Avenue, Dagenham RM8 2JR (opposite Illchester Road)
- Chadwell Heath Community Centre, High Road, Chadwell Heath RM6 6AS
- Curzon Community Centre car park, Bastable Avenue, Barking IG11 0LG
You can order test kits to be delivered to your home at this link https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
Home tests are not for children in Nursery and Reception – they need to be taken to a test centre.
What should I do if my child, or someone in our household, tests positive?
If you receive a positive test result, have symptoms of Covid-19, or if you’ve had contact with someone who has, self-isolation is the only way to guarantee you won’t pass the virus on to others.
If you have to isolate, you should start the 10-day self-isolation period straight away.
My child has tested positive recently, do they need to take another test?
If your child has tested positive in the last 90 days, they should not take another test as the dead virus may still show in their system, even if they have recovered.
What if my family is already self-isolating?
If you’ve been asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace Programme or by our Public Health team you can still get tested by ordering a home testing kit. You still need to complete your period of self-isolation, even if you test negative as symptoms can take 10 days to show.
More information can be found on the government’s website.
Thank you for your support during these difficult times. By working together we have seen a massive reduction in the number of cases in Barking and Dagenham since January. Covid-19 is still taking people’s lives, but your continued efforts will help us stop the spread. Please continue to take care and avoid risky activities such as sleepovers, parties, and play dates.
Director of Public Health
Notification of Covid-19 test results
It is important that we are informed of any positive or suspected Covid-19 cases within our school community in order that we can track and trace close contacts. Going forward this includes weekends as well.
We have therefore created an email address for parents/carers and staff to use. This is email@example.com. Once you have used the email, you will receive further communication requesting essential information which allows us to establish all close contacts. A member of staff may call you as well.
This is an extremely important process to follow to ensure the safety of pupils and school staff.
If you, your child, or a member of your household or support bubble receives a positive test result during normal school hours please telephone the main office immediately on 020 3727 5171
Attendance &Travelling Overseas
From Monday 8th March, attendance at school will again be mandatory. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance will apply, including:
- parents’ duty to secure that their child attends regularly at school, where the child is a registered pupil at school and they are of compulsory school age;
- schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence
- the availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct
We understand that there may be some situations where children will be unable to attend school. These will be for normal reasons, such as sickness, religious observance or emergency medical appointments. In addition to these occasions, there will be some children unable to attend following public health guidance.
The following reasons are the only occasions when a child’s absence will be authorised in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic:
- If a pupil is self-isolating because they have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves; or because they have been in close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19).
- If a pupil is deemed ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ and in with discussion with their specialist health professional, they have been advised to shield. In this case, the school will provide remote learning.
Please note that if your child is experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, then you will be required to book a test as a matter of urgency and notify us of the result before they return to school. If you do not have your child tested, we will not authorise their absence.
We would like to remind you that if your child is required to self-isolate, then they must stay at home at all times. They must not be brought to the school to collect siblings and must not be allowed out to play with friends.
Return from Abroad
If you have travelled abroad during the recent national lockdown, it is imperative that you follow the quarantine requirements upon your return to the UK.
If you have returned from any country that is not a common area of travel (Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man) then you must quarantine for ten days, and take a Covid -19 test on day 2 and day 8 of quarantining.
If you have returned from a country that is on the Red Travel Ban list, then you must quarantine for 10 days in a quarantine managed hotel, and take a Covid -19 test on day 2 and day 8 of your quarantine.
If your quarantine period overlaps with your child’s return to school, please let us know as soon as possible. We will require you to send us copies of your flight information beforehand. Please send any details regarding your return to the UK to our dedicated email address firstname.lastname@example.org
The advice from the government regarding this is regularly changing, so please ensure you are aware of the most up-to-date guidance regarding the country you are travelling to. It is vital, for the health of our children and staff (some who may still be considered vulnerable) that the advice is followed.
We completely understand that some parents will still have concerns regarding their child’s return to school, and so we would ask you to please contact a member of our Attendance team if you would like any further reassurance or if you have any questions.
Visiting our school site
When dropping your child off, or waiting to pick them up, you must:
- wear a face mask (unless you are exempt from wearing one)
- stay at least 2 metres away from others
Do not send your child to school if:
- they are showing coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms
- someone in their household is showing symptoms, is awaiting a test result or has tested positive for Covid-19
Please also self-isolate yourself and your family for the advised amount of time if you have just returned from a country on the Government’s quarantine list.
Arrange a test only if you or your child develops symptoms, has been contacted back the school or track and trace and please inform us of the results.
Only send your child to school if they are well enough to attend. If you need help deciding on whether you should send them school or not, contact the school office on 0203 727 5171 or click the link to see the advice given by the NHS
Please note: Advice from the NHS may differ slightly to that of the school.
All visitors to the school are required to wear face masks on the school premises. A letter from the NHS Test and Trace team can also be read below. Finally, a copy of our school risk assessment is attached. This is a working document and we will continue to review policies and procedures on a regular basis. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we re-opening our school.
FACE MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS
New guidelines given by Barking and Dagenham Public Health Authority is that all adult visitors are requested to wear face coverings on the playground, inside the school building and at the school gate. This is due to the rapidly rising numbers of Covid-19 within the Borough.
We are trying to protect the whole school community and want to prevent a community outbreak that will force us to close bubbles or sections of the school.
We thank you for your cooperation in this and your continued support through these difficult and ever-changing times.
For further information https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/is-my-child-too-ill-for-school/