Newsflash - Testing update and documents for Staff Testing

Newsflash - Testing update and documents for Staff Testing

Posted  21st January 2021

Testing update and documents for staff testing in Primary Schools, School Based Nurseries and Maintained Nursery Schools.

From next week, Primary Schools can carry out Covid testing for staff. We have added more documents to our portal to help you carry out this process smoothly and have provided some guidance below. We have enclosed a pack that you should share with staff. This pack sets out how home testing will work and includes a consent form and staff privacy notice. These documents are also available separately on the portal. All documents are also available as a tailored version for Welsh schools.

Schools are required to keep records that test kits have been distributed to staff and a record of test results. These records should be kept separately to normal sickness records. We have provided both of these, both are available on the Jedu portal. Retention guidance states that these records should be kept for 12 months from the date of last entry on the spreadsheet.

You may also find our additional guidance below helpful: -

Do we have to carry out testing for staff?
It is not a requirement but actively encouraged to limit chances of Covid outbreaks within the School.

Is it mandatory for staff to be tested?
Again, it is not mandatory but is actively encouraged.

Which staff should be tested?
It only applies to those staff who are in school. We are aware not all staff are working in school; our advice is to ensure that only staff who are (or will be on occasions) working in school be tested.

Do we need to gain consent from staff?
The guidance does not state whether we need consent from staff before testing. However, we would advise obtaining this consent. This ensures you have written confirmation from staff that they are happy to take the test and that they will share the results with the school and NHS test and trace.

Do we have to get them to formally sign the consent form?
No - consent just needs to be positive, you don’t need a physical signature. A reply to an email or positive acceptance on an online form will be sufficient.

What if a staff member does not consent?
If a staff member does not give consent then we cannot compel them to take a test. Staff cannot be required to take a test nor to show a negative result before coming into school.

If a staff member does consent, what do they need to do?
If staff do take a test, they must report their results both to the School and NHS test and trace (instructions on reporting to test and trace are in the home testing kit). It may also be helpful to give guidance on when to take the tests. Guidance indicates testing should be taken twice a week, three to four days a week. The optimum time to do this is in the morning before attending work.

What happens if a staff member experiences symptoms?
They must still follow regular protocol about self-isolation. This is the case even if they produce a negative test. If you want to access our templates and guidance notes, they are in the documents section of Jedu under “Coronavirus Testing (Primary Setting and Nursery).”


Testing in Secondary Schools

An update from Public Health England produced yesterday has required daily contact testing for those who are deemed a close contact to a positive case to be paused whilst they assess the benefit of this testing against the new variant. Testing of staff twice-weekly and testing pupils twice upon returning to school is still expected. We expect there to be further guidance on this issue in the coming weeks.

We have kept the detail about close contact testing within the consent forms and template letters in case this programme does resume (and also because you can still do close contact testing as part of public health’s evaluation programme). Wording which refers to close contact testing is highlighted in yellow in documents and can be removed if it is not needed. We have also updated our forms and documents for secondary schools, providing a test kit log and results register. Please see the documents section of Jedu titled “Coronavirus Testing (Secondary Setting)”.

Please also note there has been updated guidance on how long to keep records of test results. Previous guidance was 14 days but this has now been updated to a year from the last entry in the log. We have updated all documents in this section to reflect this change in guidance.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, do let us know at georgina.decosta@judicium.com or on 07399185443.