New Forest family's frustration with having to isolate at home despite negative Covid tests
A LYMINGTON father has hit out at the school Covid-19 testing system after conflicting test results meant the whole family had to self-isolate.
Fourteen-year-old Amélie Moss first received a positive result from a voluntary rapid lateral flow test (LFT) at Priestlands School in Pennington last Tuesday as part of the return to class measures.
But despite a negative outcome from the follow-up PCR test, which is generally considered to be more accurate, the family had to stay at home – much to the frustration of her father.
Robin Moss told the the start of the family’s enforced 10-day self-isolation coincided with the breakdown of their oven and boiler, leaving them with no hot water or heating.
The rest of the household in Buckland Gardens, including mother Isabel and brother Joshua, took home LFTs which also came back negative.
The situation is further compounded by the fact 15-year-old Joshua requires special care for autism and other issues.
“We’re just in a crazy situation,” said Mr Moss, a former lieutenant colonel in the Army. “I have been a big supporter of the Covid initiatives – I’ve had 25 years in the military so I’m fine with taking orders.
“But this is the first time in my life when I’ve felt like I was just a number, and I feel people are telling me we just have to make do. Well you try making do with no heating, no hot water and no oven!”
He added: “If someone was to ask me if we’re self-isolating I would have to say yes, and of course no contractor will be able to come into the house.”
Current guidance from the Department for Education states a PCR test is not required to confirm a positive LFT taken at school as this is classed as a supervised testing environment.
However, it states PCR results can override results of LFTs taken at home.
The week before Year 9 pupil Amélie went into school, her parents had already arranged a PCR test for her when she became unwell having been suffering other health issues.
But she did not have any of the recognised symptoms and the test also came back negative.
Following her later positive LFT, Mr and Mrs Moss also had to take Joshua out of Clay Hill School, a specialist facility in Brockenhurst.
He added: “I feel as if I’ve almost gone as far as I can, having spoken to everyone I should have spoken to. I’ve spoken to [New Forest West MP Sir] Desmond Swayne, the county council, and I’ve confirmed to the NHS Test and Trace providers.”
Priestlands head teacher Peter Main stressed the school had to follow government guidance but that it was working “collaboratively” with parents and students.
He said last Thursday: “We have successfully carried out nearly 2,000 tests since students have begun returning to school and we have been delighted with how parents and students have willingly engaged in this process to ensure we can facilitate a safe return to school.”
Sir Desmond Swayne, who has vocally objected in parliament to some of the government’s coronavirus policies, vowed to challenge the policy regarding LFTs versus PCRs.
He criticised that results such as Amélie’s cannot be overridden while NHS workers who receive a negative PCR result after a positive LFT are allowed to return to work.
“I’ve just had a go at [health secretary] Matt Hancock in a meeting on Zoom,” Sir Desmond told the A&T.
“His response was that it is as likely that the LFT is wrong as the PCR, there’s a pandemic on and we’ve got to live with it. Which doesn’t explain why NHS policy appears to be different. I’ll keep at it.”