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16th Sept 2020

Making an order for additional coronavirus (COVID-19) tests

An online portal is now live for schools and further education (FE) providers to order additional coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits if they have run out, or are running out, of their initial 10 kits supplied for use in line with our guidance. You will be able to make a new order for test kits 21 days after you receive a delivery confirmation email telling you that your previous supply of test kits has been sent. These kits are only for those who develop one of the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and face significant barriers to accessing a test. In particular, they will help schools and colleges get their symptomatic staff who test negative back to work as soon as they feel well enough, to ensure the continuity of education for pupils and students.

Schools and FE providers will receive a unique organisation number (UON) via email from the Department of Health and Social Care which will be needed to place your order. From 17 September, please call the Test and Trace helpdesk on 119 if you have not received your UON or if you have lost your record of it.

Schools and FE providers can sign up to attend a webinar to support them in understanding how to use their test kits.

Tests conducted at a testing site will deliver the fastest results. Individuals must book a test in advance or they will not be given a test. People can also order home test kits to be sent directly to them. These routes remain the primary channels for any individuals displaying coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms to get a test.

Important information for nurseries, schools and colleges – new process for reporting positive confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your setting

DfE’s guidance for education and childcare settings sets out the process for managing confirmed positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) when the individual is known to have been in a school, college or early years setting. We recognise that there have been some difficulties getting through to the local public health protection teams for advice on action to take on a positive case in the setting. As a result, from tomorrow (17 September), there will be a new dedicated advice service available to advise nurseries, schools and colleges who have been informed of a confirmed case(s) of coronavirus (COVID-19) in their setting (i.e. a pupil or staff member testing positive). We are updating our guidance to reflect this change.

This means that instead of calling your local health protection team when there is a confirmed case in your education setting, we will now be asking you to call the DfE’s helpline and you will then be directed to the dedicated NHS advice team for nurseries, schools and colleges with confirmed cases.

From tomorrow, this new service can be reached by calling DfE’s existing helpline on 0800 046 8687 and selecting the option for reporting a positive case. The line will be open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Please only select this option if you have a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) within your nursery, school or college.

You will be put through to a team of advisors who will inform you what action is needed based on the latest public health advice, and work through a risk assessment to identify close contacts.

This new process will free up capacity of the Public Health England’s local health protection teams to deal with more complex cases, for example special schools and universities, or outbreaks where there is more than one confirmed case. Advisors will be responsible for escalating these cases as necessary following a triaging of your circumstances during the call.

The new advice service has been set up to advise the following education settings: early years settings including nurseries; schools including primary schools, infant or junior schools, middle schools, secondary schools, boarding schools, special schools; and further education providers.

The DfE helpline also remains available for all other queries about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to your education and childcare setting on 0800 046 8687. Please listen carefully to the available options and select the one most appropriate to your setting’s current situation.