COVID-19 Testing

The following page outlines information and guidance on COVID-19 testing for primary schools, secondary schools and childcare settings in Waltham Forest. This page will be regularly updated according to the latest guidance. 

You can download the tests in schools FAQs here and the Flowchart  - asymtomatic testing in educational settings.

Guidance for all educational settings

Serial / daily testing of close contacts

Waltham Forest have previously offered local advice to our schools and settings to not proceed with implementing the serial / daily testing of close contacts of confirmed cases of COVID19 as an alternative to self-isolation. Following new advice from NHS Test and Trace and Public Health England (PHE), the government has confirmed that they are temporarily pausing the daily contact testing element of the testing programme, which was in place as an alternative to self-isolation for those who came into contact with positive cases in schools. There is more information available here

Close contacts of confirmed cases of COVID-19 must continue to self-isolate for 10 days from the point of last contact. Individuals may choose to take a COVID test during this time but this does not change the requirement to self-isolate for 10 days. If anyone develops symptoms during the 10 day self-isolation period they should arrange for a PCR test immediately and the rest of their household must also isolate.

Retesting within 90 days if asymptomatic

If an individual has previously tested positive for coronavirus with a PCR test within the last 90 days then Lateral Flow Device testing is not needed within the following 90 days, in the absence of new COVID-19 symptoms. However, if they develop COVID19 symptoms, then they should still self-isolate and access a PCR COVID-19 test.

We aware that the Department for Education (DfE) has advised that LFD tests can be taken within 90 days, however, our local position is that these should be avoided within 90 days of a previous positive PCR. We are expecting further national guidance to be published imminently.

Community testing in Waltham Forest

The borough has been increasing the testing capacity in Waltham Forest to make it easier for people to get tested. Details of where the different sites are and their opening times etc can be found here

There are two types of testing available:

1. Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing sites– for people WITHOUT symptoms

Lateral Flow testing allows people who have no symptoms to know if they may be infected. It's a rapid test, and you can get a result on the same day (usually about 30 minutes).

2. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing sites – for people WITH symptoms

Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus should go to a PCR testing site or book a home test kit. Many people get their result the next day, but it may take up to 3 days.

With 1 in 3 people with coronavirus not experiencing symptoms, getting tested is vital for those who are travelling regularly. For staff or children at your school / setting, who do not have access to on site or home testing (see more information below), please make them aware of the testing options locally within the borough. Please find more information on the Waltham Forest community testing offer here Testing centres | Waltham Forest Council

Updates for ofsted registered childcare providers

Access to community testing

We recommend that settings make their childcare staff aware of the testing offer locally in Waltham Forest and encourage them to get tested regularly, up to twice a week.

You may also wish to make your families aware of the testing offer locally so that they can also access coronavirus testing. Parents/carers of nursery children can also now collect home test kits from any of the community test sites across the borough via Community Collect. If families are unable to go to a test site or collect test kits, they can order a home test kit online.

This new service also applies to all adults in the household, as well those in the childcare or support bubble. By testing at home twice a week, you are helping to protect your child and family, as well as their friends and the hardworking nursery staff too. Please note, settings should not make it a requirement for either staff or families to access asymptomatic testing, but should make them aware of what is available locally.

If a child or staff member attending your setting tests positive for COVID-19 with a LFD test, then they should self-isolate and close contacts should be identified and advised to self-isolate for 10 days from the point of last contact on the basis of the LFD result. Please note that confirmatory PCR tests are no longer required for LFD tests carried out at community testing sites.

PCR home testing kits

The local authority supplied all childcare staff in Waltham Forest with a one-off PCR home test kit. All staff were encouraged to use this one-off test kit whether or not they have symptoms of coronavirus.

Lateral flow testing for staff

Nurseries in the private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sector will be aware that a programme of asymptomatic testing using lateral flow devices for use at home for early years staff have been introduced by the government. Settings will start receiving deliveries of lateral flow device (LFD) from 11th March 2021, to be used from the week beginning 22 March 2021.

Staff will be supplied with home test kits to self-swab twice a week It is recommended that the test is done prior to travelling to the setting in the morning. If a staff member receives a positive LFD result from undertaking a home LFD test, then they should arrange to have a confirmatory PCR test as soon as possible. The setting should follow all the usual steps when notified of a positive LFD result including, following cleaning guidance, contacting DfE, Public Health and Ofsted, and advising the case to self-isolate, pending the confirmatory result.

Government guidance to support early years settings in their preparations can be found on the document sharing platform - Primary Schools Document Sharing Platform - Google Drive.

Admitting children back to the setting

In most cases, parents and carers will agree that a child with symptoms should not attend the setting, given the potential risk to others. If a parent or carer insists on a child attending your setting, you can take the decision to refuse the child if, in your reasonable judgement, it is necessary to protect other children and staff from possible infection with COVID-19. Your decision would need to be carefully considered in light of all the circumstances and current public health advice.

How to order test kits for Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) Nurseries

You should use the online ordering solution to place regular re-orders for all the test kit supplies needed to maintain regular asymptomatic testing of staff within your setting. You will need your Unique Organisation number (UON), which was provided to you by the National Testing Programme to place these re-orders.

You can find guidance on how to place an order on the document sharing platform.

Delivery timescales

When you are ready to place your first order, you will need to consider our delivery timelines. Any order which is placed by Tuesday 5pm will be delivered the following week. Any orders placed after this point will be processed and delivered in the subsequent week. 

Week 1: Order Placed

Week 2: Order received

Week 3: Order received

Orders placed before Tuesday 5pm

Delivery received

 

Orders placed after Tuesday 5pm

 

Delivery received

Updates for primary schools / school based nurseries / maintained nurseries

Regular staff testing

Primary schools will be aware that a programme of asymptomatic testing using lateral flow devices for use at home for primary school staff was introduced by the government. Staff have been asked to take the test kits home and carry out testing twice a week. It is recommended that the test is done prior to travelling to school in the morning.

If a staff member receives a positive LFD result from undertaking a home LFD test, then they should arrange to have a confirmatory PCR test as soon as possible.

Individuals are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case and any of the following apply:

  • they are fully vaccinated.
  • they are below the age of 18 years 6 months
  • they have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • they are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

Instead they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. We would encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so.

Children who are aged under 5 years old who are identified as close contacts will only be advised to take a PCR test if the positive case is in their own household.

Staff who do not need to self-isolate, and children who usually attend the setting, and have been identified as a close contact, should continue to attend the setting as normal.

Government guidance is available here and more detailed support documents have been published by the government to support schools in their preparations - primary schools document sharing platform.

Updates for secondary schools / colleges

Regular staff testing

Secondary schools and colleges  should encourage all staff and students to carry out twice weekly testing three to four days apart.

If a pupil or staff member attending your secondary school / college tests positive for COVID-19 with a LFD test, then they should self-isolate and should arrange to have a confirmatory PCR test as soon as possible.

 Individuals are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case and any of the following apply:

  • they are fully vaccinated.
  • they are below the age of 18 years 6 months
  • they have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • they are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

Instead they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. We would encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so.

Children who are aged under 5 years old who are identified as close contacts will only be advised to take a PCR test if the positive case is in their own household.

Staff who do not need to self-isolate, and children who usually attend the setting, and have been identified as a close contact, should continue to attend the setting as normal.

Last update: Monday 13th of September 2021 03:06:36 PM