As you will be aware the Prime Minister announced on Monday 22nd February that schools can reopen from Monday 8th March and Gavin Williamson confirmed yesterday that secondary schools can have a staggered return to allow for COVID testing of students and staff to take place before students return to the classroom.
The purpose of this letter is to provide you with more information regarding the reopening of the academy from Monday 8th March. As always more information will follow but I think that is important to get as much detail to you as quickly as possible.
Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing
In order to ensure that that your children return to as safe an environment as possible we will be carrying out COVID testing onsite for all of our academy community. We have set up an onsite COVID testing centre and have a trained team of staff to complete this. We have been testing key worker and vulnerable students and staff on site for several weeks now and feel confident in our processes to now upscale this for all of our student and staff community.
We therefore plan to carry out Coronavirus Lateral Flow tests for all students that have consent. The plan is to carry out testing from Wednesday 3rd March to Friday 5th March followed by a staggered return to the academy from Monday 8th March.
We have previously sent our consent forms to parents/carers and students and would ask that if those have not yet been completed then please do so as soon as possible using the correct link provided below. It is by testing all/as many as possible that we can increase the safety of our academy environment and whilst these tests are not compulsory I would encourage all students to take these tests. A schedule of testing dates and times slots will follow in another letter soon.
Click here to complete consent form if your child is in Years 7-10
Click here to complete consent form if your child is in Years 11-13
If your child is in Year 11, 12 or 13 they are able to complete their own consent form. In order to complete the consent form, they will need to click the second link above and ensure that they are logged into their Leigh Academy account.
Students will arrive at the academy at the allotted time and will leave the site directly after testing. If a student tests positive, the academy will make contact as soon as possible. There will be a dedicated workforce to carry out the actual testing as well as a team of staff who will be supporting and supervising students.
After this initial testing, students will be tested twice more in the academy (in the weeks beginning 8th and 15th March) and then receive 2 home testing kits per week from then on, as per the government guidelines.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
It is vitally important that if your child has symptoms of Coronavirus (persistent cough, raised temperature or a loss of taste or smell) they should not come to the academy and you should arrange for a PCR test at a local test centre. Your child should only return to the academy if they receive a negative test. You should not send your child to the academy with symptoms to be tested. In the event of a positive test, you should make us aware as soon as possible so that we can trace close contacts.
In addition, a significant change in policy is that the Government expects students and staff to wear face coverings in all indoor areas where social distancing is not possible unless exempt. In reality this means that students will not only continue to wear face masks when transitioning inside the building but also now in every classroom and indoor space. If you believe that your child is exempt then please contact their year group leadership team providing medical exemption evidence.
COVID-19 Safety Measures
All the previous control measures that were in place in the academy before Christmas remain in place and include:
- year group bubbles
- year group entrances/exits with different arrival and departure times for each key stage
- year group zones
- specific entrances for specialist facilities
- year group breaks and lunches
- students facing forwards in classrooms where possible
- windows and doors open where possible to provide increased ventilation
- limited sharing of equipment
- teachers teaching from the front of class (2 metre rule)
- increased cleaning regimes
- sanitisers and wipes in all classrooms, staffroom and offices and hand sanitiser stations throughout the building
- no enforced large gatherings (i.e. assemblies or staff meetings)
- no face-to-face consultations with parents/carers
- no trips or visits until further notice
- perspex screens in kitchens where food is purchased
- perspex screens in offices that interact with students in a non-education function (Finance /Reception)
We have been advised that all public transport will be running at the same levels as in the autumn term. Operators will have their own measures and risk assessment and it is important that you understand these procedures and discuss them with your child prior to travel.
Today, Gavin Williamson has announced the plans for awarding grades for students in Year 11 and Year 13. We will write to parents/carers and students with full details once we have been able to read and digest the guidance published today and share our plans for these year groups.
Whilst I know that staff and students have been working really hard at home over the last two months, we know that the best place for teaching and learning to take place is in the classroom. I am so looking forward to having all of our students back with us soon and I am sure that your children will be looking forward to seeing each other too.