As you will no doubt know from the government announcement yesterday, all students at secondary schools in England will undergo a lateral flow test for Covid 19 prior to their return to school.
We expect delivery of the test kits early next week and need to test staff prior to students returning. All staff and students will need to be tested twice, between 3 and 5 days apart. We are keen to ensure that we are able to safely welcome everyone back into school.
In order to ensure the safe return of all students, we plan to test all staff next week, and then students in the week beginning 11th January 2021. In order to do this in the best and safest way possible we plan to provide online learning only to students from Wednesday 6th January. After this we will ask that years 9, 10 and 11 return to school on Monday 11th January, and years 7 and 8 return on Tuesday 12th January. We will give more specific details of these arrangements on Monday. You may be aware from public announcements/the news, that government proposals are to have vulnerable and key worker students in school from the next week. In the interest of safety and fairness, given that all students with an EHCP can be included in this category we have decided that we want to ensure our staff have all been tested and confirmed fit for work before welcoming any pupils into school.
On their return to school, each student will be tested (subject to your consent). We will send out consent forms next week for you to complete and return. Should you not wish for your child to be tested, this will not be at detriment to their education. All students will be welcomed back into school whether they have been tested or not. However, if you choose for your child not to undergo a test, and should they then be a close contact of someone who tests positive, they will have to self-isolate. We will provide further details of the reasons for testing and the implications of not testing next week.
The government have recognised that many parents may be concerned about their child returning to school as a result of the new variant of COVID 19. Although they are at pains to point out that the risk to children and young people, even those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, is very low, they also recognise that many parents will prefer to keep their children at home whilst the “R” number is high and the extent of the new variant is understood. As a result, they have made it clear that no parent will be penalised for choosing to keep their child at home during this period.