Covid-19 Info 29th April

This is your email to keep you updated on the government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19). If you have colleagues who would like to receive this email directly, please ask them to use this subscription form.

The importance of testing and reporting in secondary schools and colleges

Testing continues to play a crucial role, in and out of classrooms, in our fight against coronavirus (COVID-19).

Staff should continue to test themselves and report results whilst encouraging secondary school and college students to do likewise.

Reporting test results can be done simply and quickly, from mobiles, online or by phone, and should be completed straightaway. Reporting not only supports contact tracing in the event of a positive case, but assists our understanding of community rates of infection.

To help in communicating the importance of testing and reporting, we have produced a blog on why reporting your test result is as important as taking a test, featuring further guidance and common questions. This also includes details on financial support available to parents whose children are asked to self-isolate after contact with a positive case. Please share this in your newsletters and communications with pupils and parents.

New Orient Gene lateral flow device (LFD) tests for use at on-site asymptomatic testing sites (ATS)

From Monday 10 May, NHS Test and Trace are introducing a new type of LFD called Orient Gene. These new devices are for use at on-site ATS in secondary schools and colleges. These tests require double nasal swab samples only – a throat sample is not needed. The Orient Gene devices also return a positive or negative result in under 30 minutes.

There is no change to the test kits used by staff and students at home. Staff and students will continue to use the Innova test kits at home, which require both a throat and nasal swab.

The ordering window for on-site test kit deliveries during week commencing Monday 10 May is now open. Any tests ordered for use on-site will be the new Orient Gene type of test. You should start using the new Orient Gene test kits for testing on-site only when your supply of Innova kits runs out.

Updated guidance for how to use these tests will be published on GOV.​UK and on the document sharing platform shortly.

Update to guidance on rapid asymptomatic testing in early years settings

We have updated our asymptomatic testing: early years staff in different settings guidance to reflect that asymptomatic testing is now available to everyone in England. We have also clarified where staff, parents or carers may be eligible for Test and Trace support payments.

The information below has not changed since our last update

Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline and the PHE Advice Service (option 1) is available to answer any questions you have about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.    

Phone: 0800 046 8687 

Opening hours: 
Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm 
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm  

Please listen carefully to all of the available options before selecting the most appropriate option for your nursery, school, college or university.  

Look up your unique organisation number (UON)

If you have not received your unique organisation number (UON) for ordering new coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits you can look it up using your unique reference number (URN) or your UK provider reference number (UKPRN) or by calling the Test and Trace helpdesk on 119.

Private, voluntary and independent nurseries do not need a UON.

Department for Education guidance  

Our guidance to support education providers, local authorities and parents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak can be accessed using the links below:  

·         Guidance for early years and childcare providers 

·         Guidance for schools

·         Guidance for further and higher education providers

·         Guidance for local authority children’s services

·         Guidance for special schools and other specialist settings