Return to the academy and COVID mass-testing for Post-16

Dear Parents/Carers,

 

After Mrs Collins’ letter to you on Friday 26th February, I am writing to provide further detail on the plan for the return to the academy of Post-16 students.  In line with government instructions, we need to provide three on site asymptomatic COVID tests within the first two weeks of resumed face to face education.  Post-16 students should complete the Google Form (using their academy email account) in the top post on the Post-16 Community Google Classroom to provide consent to be tested or click here.  As we have to test over 1600 people on site in this way, the Trust has employed qualified health care assistants to undertake the testing process, which will operate from 8am till 4pm every day throughout the testing period in the Sports Hall, which has been converted into our testing centre. 

The calendar for the asymptomatic testing of Post-16 students and the resumption of face to face lessons will be as follows: 

1st Test

Year 13 = Wednesday 3rd March; Year 12 = Thursday 4th March 

CH/DA tutor groups 1pm-2pm & BR/DV tutor groups 2pm-3pm on both days.

Students should enter the building via main reception and enter the Sports Hall via the PE corridor.  After testing, students will go straight home, exiting the Sports Hall via the fire escape doors into the car park.  Students must maintain 2-metre social distancing and wear face masks at all times, as per Mrs Collins’ letter.

Students will be given an instruction card with a unique QR code when they report for their first test.  This card will enable them to register with the central NHS testing website using the QR code, so that we are able to upload the results of their test to the central NHS database and so that students can receive their test results to their mobile phones when they undertake both on site and home tests. 

If a student tests positive in this first test, they will be notified by the NHS later that day but we will also contact parents to notify them and support students in continuing remote learning.  Students who test positive in the asymptomatic test will need to self-isolate for 10 days, along with members of their household.  

2nd Test

Year 13 = Monday 8th March (Block A subjects 8am-9am & Block B subjects 10.30am-11.30am)

Year 12 = Tuesday 9th March (Block C subjects 8am-9am & Block D subjects 10.30am-11.30am)

Students should enter the building via main rReception and then report straight to the Sports Hall, maintaining 2-metre social distancing and wearing face masks, within the times identified above. After testing, students will have to remain in the Sports Hall for 30 minutes to await their test result, maintaining 2-metre social distancing, but should then go straight to their lesson upon receipt of a negative test result.  If students have subjects in both blocks, they only need to be tested once between 8am and 9am. 

If a student tests positive when they have an on-site test at this stage, we will support their safe return home and we will notify parents straight away to facilitate this.  Students will then need to self-isolate for 10 days, along with members of their household and any students and staff with whom they have come into close contact (identified via our contact tracing system) while they have been on site.

NB The first day on site for lessons for Year 13 is Monday 8th March and for Year 12 is Tuesday 9th March, from which dates Post-16 students will be back on site for lessons as usual.  Year 12 will work from home on Monday 8th March, accessing remote learning via their Google Classrooms. 

As Mrs Collins stated in her letter, along with our already extensive safety measures to mitigate against COVID infection in the academy, all staff and students on site from Monday 8th March will be required to wear a face mask everywhere they go inside the building, including in classrooms. 

3rd Test

Year 13 = Thursday 11th March (Block B & Block A subjects 11am-12pm) 

Year 12 = Friday 12th March (Block D & Block C subjects 11am-12pm). 

Students with a lesson at 9am should attend tutor time as usual and go to their lesson, before having their test at 11am.  Students with a lesson at 11.30am should go straight to the Sports Hall for their test at 11am and then go to their lesson afterwards. 

If a student tests positive when they have an on-site test at this stage, we will remove them from their lesson to support their safe return home and we will notify parents straight away to facilitate this.  Students will then need to self-isolate for 10 days, along with members of their household and any students and staff with whom they have come into close contact (identified via our contact tracing system) while they have been on site.

Thereafter

Home testing will need to be undertaken twice per week, using the kits that students will be given when they have their third test in the academy.  Students will need to register their test results on the central NHS website.  If a student tests positive when they have a home test at this stage, they will need to book a symptomatic COVID test as soon as possible and self-isolate as normal, along with members of their household.  Parents must also notify the school of the positive test result by emailing or phoning Mrs Howell, the Post-16 Administrator, via julie.howell@leighacademy.org.uk or 01322-620439, just as they did prior to the period of school closure and lockdown.

If, for any reason, a student cannot attend their first COVID test on 3rd or 4th March, they will have their 1st test when other students are having their 2nd test, their 2nd test when other students are having their 3rd test and their 3rd test on Wednesday 17th March in a ‘mop up’ session, before commencing home testing on Sunday 21st March.  I would ask any student who cannot attend their first test for any reason to contact me urgently via email. 

NB If a student has any symptoms of COVID-19 or is currently self-isolating because either they or a member of their household has recently tested positive for COVID-19, they should NOT attend the academy for testing.  They should follow current public health guidance and remain at home and book a symptomatic test as soon as possible, if required. In such circumstances, I would ask parents to contact Mrs Howell to inform us. 

We are very pleased to be welcoming Post-16 students back into the academy and look forward to seeing them.  However, I would like to take this opportunity to remind them of our expectations surrounding our PARADE standards, especially with regard to dress code.  During the period of lockdown, for example, students may have dyed their hair but they should make sure that it is a natural colour before they return to school.  We will expect all Post-16 students to be in full business dress, which has included the compulsory wearing of a face mask in communal areas of the building since September.  This has now been extended to a requirement for face masks to be worn everywhere in the building, including classrooms.  I would advise students to bring more than one face mask with them, in case they lose one.  Post-16 students must also wear their ID lanyard at all times within the building. Students returning to the academy should also make sure to bring enough food and drink with them for their time in school each day, as the restaurant will not be reopening until Thursday 11th March. 

I hope that this provides some further clarity about how asymptomatic COVID testing and the return to school will work for Post-16 students but do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Mr Lee Forcella-Burton

Director of Post-16