As you’ll be aware, the government has announced that schools will reopen to all pupils from 8th March. We are very much looking forward to welcoming back more of our pupils to face-to-face education.
Part of the process of welcoming pupils back into the building will involve a rigorous testing programme. We’ll be offering rapid coronavirus testing to all of our pupils as they return from 8th March. Pupils will be asked to take 3 coronavirus tests at school, with 3 to 5 days between each test. Test results will take about 30 minutes to process.
Pupils can return to school after their first negative result. If at any point they test positive, they’ll need to self-isolate in line with government guidance. After the 3 initial tests at school, pupils will be offered coronavirus tests that they should take twice a week at home. However, we will write to you again with further details and instructions about home testing nearer to the time.
Testing is voluntary, and you and/or your child will need to give consent for it to be carried out. However, we strongly encourage your child to take part so we can help prevent the spread of coronavirus and minimise any future disruption to learning. This is important for all pupils, but especially for those in Year 11 and Year 13 who will be awarded final grades this year. If you have not yet completed the consent form for testing, please click here to access it and complete as soon as possible.
To assist with the testing programme, we will initiate a phased return to school from Monday 8th until Wednesday 10th March where we will be able to test year groups a day in advance of inviting them back to school (as long as they test negative). During the 3 days of initial testing, we will be providing 'remote learning tasks on the VLE for all pupils to access. As part of our remote learning commitment, these tasks will mirror:
the normal taught curriculum
the normal school timetable
the appropriate level of challenge for each pupil
Start and finish times for the school day remain unchanged and will still continue to be staggered for each year group. A letter reminding you of these times as well as the entrances and exits that should be used, will be sent to you by the end of the week. You will also receive further information regarding appointment times for testing.
School attendance will be mandatory and our usual rules on attendance will apply from week beginning 8th March.
As a reminder, pupils should self-isolate and not come to school if they:
Have coronavirus symptoms or have tested positive
Live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive
Are a close contact of someone who has tested positive
In line with the latest government guidance, pupils who are clinically extremely vulnerable should not attend school. If your child is in this group, they should continue to learn from home until further notice. If your child has recently been added to the shielding group please inform your child’s Head of Year as well as the school nurse – Cathy Carroll firstname.lastname@example.org.
For pupils who are self-isolating or shielding, we will ensure that work is accessible on the VLE or Microsoft Teams, should a whole year group be sent home to isolate.
If your child is not participating in testing, they should attend school as usual in line with our phased return arrangements.
Our safety measures
As always, the priority for the Academy is providing the best educational experience in the safest possible environment. We have reviewed our risk assessment and from 8th March, we’ll be taking the following protective measures:
We’ll ask that all pupils (except those that we already know are exempt) wear a face covering in classrooms, communal areas and corridors. This is in line with the latest government guidance for schools.
Increase ventilation flow, especially in classrooms and other communal spaces.
Maintain the year group bubble structure to minimise social contact between pupils.
Continue to emphasise our stringent measures on good hand hygiene.
Lockdown has been a challenging period for all of us, and we’d like to thank you for your continuing support during this difficult and uncertain time. If you or your child have any concerns about returning to school, or if you think your child might need extra support when they return, please get in touch with your child’s Head of Year.
We’d also like to thank you for all your support in helping your child learn from home. We’ll continue to keep in touch if we update our plans or if we need to make changes due to new government guidance.