COVID-19 Testing Programme
10 September 2020
Dear Parent or Guardian,
Following the letter we recently sent you about COVID-19 saliva testing at the school, I’m pleased to be able to share more details with you. Testing for pupils at Mount Pleasant Junior School will start in the week commencing 21 September 2020.
Children will do a test every week for four weeks starting on Tuesday 22 September for Years 5 and 6, and Thursday 24 September for Years 3 and 4.
We will be giving the children a special lesson in school the day before they take their tests so they can learn about how the test works and how regular testing can help keep them and their community safer.
Children will then bring their test kit and labels home from school the day before their first test as well as a leaflet giving step by step instructions. They will be given enough sample pots and labels for the five weeks of testing. It is important that your child takes the test when they wake up – before they have anything to eat or drink and before they brush their teeth.
Once the sample has been labelled and bagged, your child will need to bring it to school with them and put it into the big plastic box at the entrance as they go into the school building. The tests will be collected and taken to the test centre on the same day. Test results will be returned in the next 24-48 hours and you will receive a text message telling you the result of your child’s test.
If your child tests positive, everyone in the household must start isolating immediately. The programme team will contact you and ensure you get the help and advice you need. Please note that this test is for screening children who do not have symptoms of COVID-19. If your child does have COVID-19 symptoms they should not attend school and you should order a test through 111.nhs.uk or by calling 119.
If you child is absent from school or forgets to bring in their test, they can bring it in the next day – their teacher will tell them where to take their sample pot. The school will have some spare packs to hand out to anyone who loses their sample pots but we would encourage you to keep them somewhere safe as spares are limited.
Important information about your data
To enable the partnership running the Covid-19 Testing Programme between Southampton City Council, the University of Southampton and the NHS to deploy the test kits to the school and to manage the collection of samples from schools, our school will be sharing contact details of pupils and their parents or guardians, as well as staff, with University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
As you know from our school’s Privacy Notice http://mpjs.org.uk/policies/ we are very serious about protecting the personal data of all members of our school community, and we will maintain this approach in relation to this data sharing. To ensure that your data is used lawfully and remains safe, we have consulted on our participation in the programme with lawyers and the Information Commissioner’s Office1. We will only be sharing limited contact details.
The Privacy Notice for this COVID-19 Testing Programme has been included with this letter. Please do take the time to read this. If you have any questions or would like to exercise your right to object to this data sharing, please call the contact centre on the number below.
You should find answers to any questions on the testing programme on www.southampton.gov.uk/covid19testing where there is also a web chat service. Alternatively, you can call the contact centre on 0808 196 2282 (lines are open Monday to Sunday 8.30am to 5.00pm).
While this testing is not compulsory, I would urge all of you to take part. Knowing who has COVID-19 is vital to stopping its spread, and regular testing will help us keep our community safe and keep our school open.
Mount Pleasant Junior School
Professor of Epidemiology & Human Development, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton. Honorary Consultant, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
Dr Debbie Chase
Interim Director of Public Health, Southampton City Council