Academy Update – 23/02/21
Posted on: February 23, 2021
I hope you and your family are well. Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we collectively handle the challenges posed by Covid-19.
You will undoubtedly have seen the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday that schools will re-open fully, with testing in place, for all students, from Monday 8th March. The Government has given secondary schools discretion about how to phase the return to school over that week and has instructed schools to test students before returning to face-to-face teaching. As no academy can test 1000+ students in a day, this means year groups will return at different times, with every student being back in the academy by the 15th March at the latest. Priority will be given to Year 11 and Year 10.
There are a number of specific points about the full return to the academy that I wanted to set out in this letter, which I hope are helpful. You can read the guidance in full here.
- All students will be consistently tested for Covid-19, using ‘Lateral Flow Tests’. It is not compulsory to take these tests, but the Government’s health advice is that effective testing helps stop the virus from spreading and mean schools are as safe as possible and so are encouraging it. We require your consent to test your child. Knowing how many students will be tested in advance will also help us plan the student’s phased return from the 8th March. Please indicate whether you give consent for your child to be tested by clicking here. Please complete this by Tuesday 2nd March.
- The Department for Education will shortly provide us with the testing kits, which students can take at school or home, and we will update you on the collection and delivery of these kits in due course.
- Once these tests are received:
- Students will be tested by trained staff three times at school in the first 2-3 weeks back.
- After the first two weeks back at school, students will be provided with two rapid tests to use each week at home.
- Students will be allowed to attend lessons as usual after their first negative result. This may not be possible on the same day as the test.
- Parents and carers will be required to report results to schools to record. We will confirm how this system will operate once we have been provided with guidance from the Government.
- Students who develop Covid-19 symptoms should self-isolate immediately, as they do now, according to Government guidelines.
- If a student tests positive for Covid-19, they must not attend school for at least ten days from the day their symptoms started (or the date of their positive test if they were not showing symptoms).
- The school will retain a “small” testing site for those unable to test at home, while all our staff will also be given twice weekly home tests.
- As mentioned, trained staff will supervise tests taken at school. Lateral Flow Tests are quick and easy to administer, using a swab of your nose and throat. Results take around half an hour from testing and will be shared directly with staff and pupils participating. Staff can oversee the swab process. Where participants are under-16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed. We will release a video detailing this process later in the week. You can find further details of the Government’s testing plan here.
- The Government has recommended the use of face masks indoors – including in classrooms – unless two-metre social distancing can be maintained. This policy will be reviewed over the Easter Holidays, so will be in place until at least the end of this term and applies to students, staff and visitors (including parents) unless they are exempt from wearing one.
- We, therefore, encourage all students and parents to ensure they have a suitable number of face masks for the resumption of school on 8th March. Face masks should be plain black without any writing or symbols on them. Masks can be purchased from the academy through the parent pay system.
The Government’s announcement indicates we are tentatively returning to normal. However, I wanted to reiterate how alert we are to the continued risk of Covid-19. We will continue to adhere to stringent health and safety measures now and when fully open. Your support in helping us be as safe as possible is much appreciated and will help ensure we stay open to all pupils and keep your child, staff, and you safe.
I hope this letter is helpful and reassuring, but please let me know if you have any questions. I will be in contact with you soon to give more specific details around our plans to return. In the meantime, if you have any questions or queries, please feel free to contact me via the website or by email.
Mr. N Brennan