10 March 2021

Asymptomatic testing – confirmatory PCR tests

Update: Wednesday 10th March

We know that some of you have been seeking clarity in the last few days about the issue of whether or not a student who tests positive on a lateral flow test (LFD) should then take a ‘confirmatory’ PCR test, and if so whether a negative result on the PCR should override the LFD result and enable that student to return to school. 
There has been a great deal of muddled media reporting on this issue. The Department for Education confirmed in their daily email to schools on Tuesday 9th that the situation remains as set out in the current guidance. This says: when students are able to test themselves from home, a positive LFD result should then be followed by a confirmatory PCR test. If they then test negative on the PCR test, this will override the test they took at home, and they will be able to return to school.
However, while they are still being tested on-site at school over the next fortnight, they should not be asked to take a confirmatory PCR test if they receive a positive LFD test result. If they do a PCR test anyway, and test negative, this does not override the original positive LFD result, and they and their households must continue to self-isolate for ten days.
We know this might seem frustrating and illogical, but the Department for Education are stating that it is because LFD tests taken on test sites have extremely low rates of false positives, because these tests are done in a controlled environment and trained staff read the results.
It is worth noting that we have not had a single positive LFD result yet. We have tested Y7 and Y10-13 so far; Year 8 are being tested today and Year 9 tomorrow.

We will be in touch with more information about home testing soon. Thanks for your patience in the meantime.