MHS Update 12-3-2021
We’re back – and it’s great. Great to see the students in school, great to see staff doing what they do best and great to watch the amazing organisation of the testing centre in action. Students have come back and are in the swing of things already, as to be honest we thought they would be. No fuss, just 1550 young people getting back to as close to normal as possible. The only real challenge for them has been having to cope with slightly over-excited teachers at the front of the class who are overjoyed at no longer teaching into the abyss!
Next week I’ll be able to share more with you on how students have settled back into school life, as well as giving the full picture on the enormous lateral flow testing operation.
However, today I would like to use the opportunity of this blog to remind everyone of exactly what to do if someone might have/does have Covid, and how by doing the right thing we can all help to keep the school fully open for as long as possible. By following this guidance we can hopefully keep instances of sending close-contacts home to a minimum.
If anyone is in any doubt over what to do in any case then please email Covid@marplehall.stockport.sch.uk
If a student develops symptoms of Covid – a new cough, fever or loss of sense of taste/smell – then they must isolate and get a PCR test, even if they have had Covid before. These PCR tests are the original tests conducted at test centres or through the post, NOT the Lateral flow tests that look like a pregnancy test and that give a result in 30 minutes.
- If the test is negative then the student can return to school
- If the test is positive then the student must isolate for 10 days and school needs to be informed immediately via Covid@marplehall.stockport.sch.uk
To clarify, if a student has symptoms and then takes a Lateral flow test at home, and that result is negative, they must still not return to school until a PCR test comes back negative or the isolation period is over. Lateral flow tests cannot be used for this purpose.
Symptomatic household members
If someone in the students household develops symptoms of Covid – a new cough, fever or loss of sense of taste/smell – then the whole household must isolate whilst the symptomatic person does a PCR test. Again, these are NOT the Lateral flow tests that give a result in 30 minutes.
- If the test is negative then the student can return to school and the rest of the household can leave isolation
- If the test is positive then the student and rest of the household must isolate for 10 days and school needs to be informed immediately via Covid@marplehall.stockport.sch.uk
To clarify, if a person in a student’s household has symptoms and then takes a Lateral flow test at home, and that result is negative, this does not mean that the isolation period is over. Only when a PCR test comes back negative or the isolation period is over can the household leave isolation.
Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs)
These are the tests that we are doing in school at the moment and that, from next week, can be done at home twice a week. The most important thing to remember about these tests is that they are ONLY to be used to try to find people who are infected without showing any symptoms. People with symptoms should not use the Lateral flow tests but should instead book a PCR test (see above)
- If a LFT that is done in school is positive: According to current rules, this counts as a confirmed positive case and the student and their household must isolate for 10 days.
- If a LFT that is done at home is positive: According to current rules, this is not a confirmed positive until a follow up PCR test is also positive. The student and their family should isolate while awaiting a PCR test, and then if the PCR test is negative the isolation can end immediately. If it is positive then isolation must take place as above and the and school needs to be informed immediately via Covid@marplehall.stockport.sch.uk
What about people who have had Covid in the last 90 days?
People who have had a confirmed case of Covid within the last 90 days should not take part in Lateral flow tests. This is because LFTs are only being used to find asymptomatic cases, and people who have had Covid recently may well be carrying remnants of the virus that would trigger a ‘positive’ LFT result in error. Given that a positive LFT will lead to at least some time in isolation (see above), it is therefore strongly advised that people who have had Covid within the past three months do not take the Lateral flow tests.
Where students or staff are identified as close contacts, they will have to isolate for 10 days or until 10 days has passed since they were in contact with the infected person. No test result can alter this – not a negative Lateral flow test nor a negative PCR test. This is because symptoms can develop some time after being in contact with the virus and a test may not pick up the virus.
Is all this confusing – YES!
It is ok if you’re not sure what to do in each situation, but the key messages from school are:
1) If you’re not sure then ask us via the Covid email address which is Covid@marplehall.stockport.sch.uk
2) If a student is symptomatic then please please please do not send them to school. Isolate and book a PCR test instead.
3) If a student is symptomatic then under no circumstances can a Lateral flow test be used to then prove a ‘negative’ and send the student to school
4) If a Lateral flow test done at home is positive then please inform school immediately, keep the student at home and book a PCR test
5) Keep smiling!
I appreciate that there’s a lot here but as I am sure you agree, it’s important that everyone knows what to do. We are of course trying as hard as we can to keep everyone safe and to keep school open for as many students as possible every day. I know there are a lot of conflicting messages ‘out there’ about what can and cannot be done with testing etc, but if in doubt please speak to us directly and we’ll advise as best we can.