Hampshire and IOW COVID-19 Saliva Testing Programme

8th January 2021

Dear Parent or Guardian


Further to the email I sent about this just before Christmas, I am pleased to share more news about St Anne’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College’s part in an exciting new Hampshire and Isle of Wight COVID-19 Testing Programme this term.


This new test is very simple and involves collecting a sample of saliva in a plastic pot. The test used is the one featured in a BBC News piece in July. Free tests will be offered to all pupils and all staff at the school.

You will receive a testing pack which contains pots and a leaflet that shows your child how to collect a sample at home, to be dropped off in school.

We will share more information with you soon about how this process this will work. Please do look out for this.


Why is this important?


Knowing who has COVID-19 is vital to stopping its spread.

We hope that you are as excited as we are about the potential for this test to help us manage the risk of COVID-19. Alongside all the other measures we are taking to control the virus, it could help us to keep our communities safe and well and keep our schools open. We will also be paving the way for this test to be used to help in the recovery from COVID-19 across the country.

Testing is not compulsory, but I strongly encourage you take part. We will be in touch soon with further details of how your child can take part in this exciting programme.


How will the testing work?


Testing for keyworker and vulnerable students who are attending St Anne’s Catholic School during the lockdown period will start in the week commencing 18th January 2021 (UPDATE: THIS WILL NOW BE THE 25th JAN) and for all other students in the week commencing 22nd February 2021 (subject to further clarification from Government in regard to the lockdown period).


Further details about testing day will be shared with you shortly – please look out for further information from me.


We will be delivering a series of engagement activities in school, provided by the University of Southampton, on the days 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. These will, in the first instance, be for those pupils in school at the moment, but will be repeated for all when we are back together again after the lockdown.


Students taking part will 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 eight weeks of testing (through the whole of the half term period) so please store them safely. 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 testing 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 should bring a new test sample in for the next scheduled testing day. 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 University Hospital Southampton, local government, and the University of Southampton 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, which can be found on our website under 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. We will only be sharing limited contact details. The NHS will share confidentially with nominated senior leadership within the School positive test results to enable immediate initiation of contact tracing to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.


The Privacy Notice for this COVID-19 Testing Programme has been included with this letter (see link at the bottom of this email). 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.


Yours sincerely


James Rouse


St Anne’s Catholic School

Telephone: 023 80328200 Email: info@st-annes.uk.com