Some frequently asked questions
What type of tests will be used?
We will be sending home Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests. They are a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but who may still be spreading the virus.
The tests are easy to use and give results in 30 minutes.
Further information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/understanding-lateral-flow-antigen-testing-for-people-without-symptoms
Are LFD tests accurate?
Lateral Flow Devices identify people who are likely to be infectious. These individuals tend to spread the virus to many people and so identifying them through this test is important.
These tests have been widely and successfully used to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals and are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The speed and convenience of the tests supports the detection of the virus in asymptomatic individuals, who would not otherwise have got tested.
The tests are highly specific, with low chance of false positives. They are also very sensitive and are able to identify the majority of the most infectious yet asymptomatic individuals. Extensive evaluation has been carried out on the tests and it shows that they are both accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community for screening and surveillance purposes.
It is important to remember that these tests are only an aid to help stop the spread of the virus and you should continue to follow other guidance such as on wearing face coverings and social distancing.
How are LFD tests different to PCR tests?
There are 2 main types of test to check if you have coronavirus:
- Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests check for the genetic material (RNA) of the virus in the sample – you send the sample for processing at a lab
- Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests detect proteins called ‘antigens’ produced by the virus – LFD tests give rapid results, in 30 minutes after taking the test
How will personal information and test results be shared?
When [pupils/students] take a Lateral Flow test, they need to report the result. This is so that their test result can be traced, which means that they need to share some information about the [pupil/student].
They need to tell the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC):
● their name
● their test result
● the reference number on the test Kit
They will also need to tell the school or college their test result.
Under UK law, a child’s school or college can collect and store test result data because it is in the ‘public interest’.
Schools and colleges will only share information with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) if the test kits used are found to be faulty. If this happens, DHSC will use our information to contact people who used the faulty tests, so that they can be tested again.
When a person reports test results online, they are sharing information with DHSC, who may then share the information with a GP, local government, NHS, and Public Health England. This is so that they can offer health services and guidance if someone needs to self-isolate. They might also use data anonymously (a person’s name or contact information) to research COVID-19, and improve our understanding of the virus.
For more information on how personal data is used for testing please see the detailed privacy notice below.