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NEWS: Covid-19 testing reminder

A reminder to test over the festive break 

All early years and childcare settings in England should continue with twice weekly lateral flow testing over the coming weeks. For settings that close over Christmas, the Department for Education is reminding staff to test over the festive period in line with national guidance in England (i.e. they should take a test if they will be in a ‘high-risk situation’ that day, and before visiting people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they get Covid-19). Staff should also take a coronavirus test at home in the evening or morning before they re-open in January. 

Childminders should continue to order home test kits via the Gov.uk website

Information for nurseries and pre-schools 

Nurseries and pre-schools in England that order their tests kits via the online service should be aware that any test kits ordered now will be delivered after Christmas, during the week commencing Monday 3 January. If settings need kits to test over the festive break, they should call 119 to speak to NHS Test and Trace.  Nurseries and pre-schools can take the COVID-19 stock-take survey to tell DfE about test kit levels in their setting (this survey closes on Friday 3 December).  

Further information on testing over the holidays and in the first week of January can be found on the early years and primary schools document sharing platform.  

Warning about fake email scam 

The DfE is warning practitioners of a fake NHS email being sent to settings to order ‘Omicron PCR test kits’. Practitioners should be aware of any suspicious emails or text messages, and be aware that the NHS will never ask for bank details. The National Cyber Security Centre has information on how to recognise and report scam messages, emails and calls. You can find this information here

Any PACEY members who would like more information on cyber security can find bespoke guidance for early years and childcare settings here. This advice and information was produced by NCSC in consultation with various stakeholders including PACEY.  

Updated advice around PCR testing 

In response to the latest coronavirus variant, Omicron, the UK Health Security Agency has updated its advice around taking a PCR test.  Previously, people were not advised to re-test within 90 days of a positive test. Now, people should take a test, even if they have tested positive in the past 90 days, if: 

  1. They develop new symptoms of Covid-19 
  2. They are identified as a close contact of a suspected or confirmed Omicron case 
  3. They are entering the UK and advised to take a PCR test 

This change is due to concerns that being recently infected with coronavirus may not protect against future infections of the Omicron variant. PACEY members can find more information on the Omicron variant and how the new measures may affect settings in England here