SCHOOLS have been left in chaos amid concerns that Covid cases will escape PCR testing as students are told not to isolate themselves and be sent back to class.
The tests have created mass confusion – with a new pattern of positive lateral flow test results followed by negative PCRs.
It seems to have mainly happened in the south west of England so far, with the British being baffled and unsure what to do.
Parents and teachers have reported that school children who are likely to have Covid are being sent back to the classrooms after clearing everything up from a PCR.
It has aroused fears of a new variant that could escape the “gold standard” PCR tests, reports the i.
The UK health authority said there is currently no evidence of new variants.
However, sources told the newspaper that it is being investigated as a line of investigation, with the UKHSA confirming that it is investigating the test confusion.
Usually after a positive test on a lateral flow test, the PCR will be positive to confirm this.
Health officials have now asked people to isolate themselves if they have Covid symptoms, even if the follow-up PCR was negative.
Debbie Roberts, a teaching assistant at an elementary school in South Gloucestershire, near Bristol, had seven positive lateral flow tests and two negative PCRs in early September.
She said she was sure she had Covid, got the virus from a high school student who also had a positive LFT and then negative PCR and came back to school the next day.
She said, “I think a lot is happening. It happened to two work colleagues and my mother who unfortunately caught me.
“I would ask if this is a new variety that will not be picked up by the PCRs. I had negative tests for 18 months, I test twice a week and it was a dark burgundy line literally right away.
“They say they are investigating, but how? They have no idea about me because they think I am negative.”
The test warned by UKHSA cannot be relied on for 100 percent accuracy, but the additional probability of a false positive result is small.
Carole Scott from North Somerset said her son, 6, had three lateral flow tests but two negative results.
She said others in his class had the same, adding, “The group chat is full of people sending positive lateral flows saying ‘but the PCR is negative’ and they send it in or not sure they should send them in. “
Susan Hopkins, UKHSA Senior Medical Advisor, said: “We have been made aware of a number of areas where positive LFD have been reported [lateral flow device] Test results with subsequent negative PCR tests and we investigate the cause.
“If you get a positive LFD test, it’s important to make sure you get a follow-up PCR test to confirm that you have Covid-19.
“If you have symptoms of Covid-19, isolate yourself and do a PCR test.
“With every test, it is important to carefully read and follow the instructions for use on the test kit in order to avoid incorrect readings.”
It comes after data earlier this month showed that up to two children were infected with Covid in each classroom.
And one expert wanted families to be careful with their grandparents as Covid spreads from schools and into homes.
Professor Tim Spector heads the ZOE Covid Symptom Study app, which has shown increasing case numbers in people between the ages of 30 and 50.
Prof. Spector said, “Many of them could be the parents who mingle with these infected children. I think this will likely be a driving source of infection for the next few weeks.
“So if you have kids in school, be a little careful about mingling with at-risk or elderly relatives over the next few weeks.”