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HCR Law Events

18 March 2021

Confirmatory PCR test requirement following a positive result from a home-test.

Following the re-opening of schools in England this week, there has been some confusion as to whether a pupil (or staff member) who tests positive on a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test is required to subsequently obtain a confirmatory PCR. On 9 March 2021, the Department for Education (DfE) circulated information clarifying what schools should do in these circumstances.

This note is accurate as at 11 March 2021.

Positive result following an LFD test carried out at a test site

If a pupil tests positive from an LFD test carried out at the test site, they must self-isolate in accordance with the NHS stay at home guidance. A confirmatory PCR test is not required, as tests carried out on test sites are done so in a controlled environment and trained staff are able to read the results.

If a PCR test is also taken following a positive result from an LFD test carried out at the test site, and the PCR test result is negative, the pupil, their close contacts and other members of their household must still self-isolate.

Positive result following an LFD carried out at home

If a pupil tests positive from an LFD test carried out at home, they must arrange a PCR test to confirm the result. This is required because the home tests are not carried out in a controlled environment and trained staff are not present.

A confirmatory PCR test should be booked online or by calling 119. Whilst awaiting the PCR result, the pupil and their close contacts should self-isolate.

If the PCR test result is negative, it overrides the self-test LFD carried out at home and the pupil can return to school. If the PCR test is positive, the pupil, their close contacts and members of their household must continue to self-isolate in accordance with the NHS stay at home guidance.

Staff members

Staff members should follow the same guidance regarding obtaining a confirmatory PCR test following a positive LFD test at home, self-isolate whilst awaiting the PCR result, and undertake the necessary steps depending on the PCR result.

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About the Author
Oliver Daniels, Partner

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