What to do if your child is told they are a Covid19 close contact of someone outside school

Dear Parents and Carers

We have had a couple of students who have been notified that they are contacts of individuals from outside school who have tested positive for COVID19.

Given that, I thought it a good idea to remind parents and carers what the process to follow is if that happens to one of their children as I know it is really confusing – more so than if your child actually tested positive as then it is clear what to do!

If you do receive notification that your child is a contact of someone who is positive, the first thing to try and find out, is if this positive person took a lateral flow test or a PCR test. The reason you need to know this is that if the former, there is a possibility your child might not have to complete the full 10 days - the positive person will take a confirmatory PCR test and if that comes back negative, your child can then come back into school. However, if the confirmatory PCR test, comes back positive, they need to complete the 10 day isolation. (And of course, if the positive person took a PCR test in the first place, then that means your child has to stay off for 10 days from the date of their last contact with the infected person).

One other thing worth remembering - even if your child tests negative on a lateral flow device test after they have been told they are a contact, they must STILL go into self-isolation as they could be infected and the tests haven’t picked it up – that is particularly likely with the LFD test as they are only 50% accurate and really are dependent on how well the test has been carried out. Lateral flow device tests have NOT been given the OK to release people from self-isolation. Their only use is to find asymptomatic cases. (There is currently a trial going on about whether they could be used for this purpose but the results of the trail are not yet known).

Your first port of call for advice should be to phone 119, not the school. Do let us know what they say after that phone call though.

This is the official government advice for those that are told they are a close contact:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-contacts-of-people-with-possible-or-confirmed-coronavirus-covid-19-infection-who-do-not-live-with-the-person/guidance-for-contacts-of-people-with-possible-or-confirmed-coronavirus-covid-19-infection-who-do-not-live-with-the-person