Out of Date: Arrangements for January and Covid-19 Testing in January
An update on the staggered return, contacting tracing before Christmas and testing in January.
Arrangements for January
I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the academy’s plans for January. As you will appreciate, this is an evolving situation however we are keen to make you aware of the decisions that have been made so far to allow you to plan accordingly. The key dates are below:
4 January 2021
INSET Day – the academy is closed to all students. This is to facilitate final arrangements for the testing systems and to allow staff to be tested prior to students returning.
5 January 2021
Students in years 11, 12 and 13 return to the academy and attend lessons as normal.
11 January 2021
Students in years 7, 8, 9 and 10 return to the academy.
Contact tracing before Christmas
Between now and the 24 December, please continue to keep the academy updated with any positive test results. We have staff on duty throughout this period and we will follow Public Health England guidance regarding contact tracing. We hope everyone will remain symptom free and healthy but continuing with the tracing process will enable everyone to keep friends and family safe during the holiday period. The best way to notify us is via the dedicated email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
NHS Test and Trace: COVID-19 testing for staff and students
We are working to keep the academy as safe as possible. You may have heard that testing for those without coronavirus symptoms is beginning across the country using new, quicker COVID-19 tests known as ‘lateral flow tests’.
Along with the other protective measures we are taking, these tests will help staff and students remain at the academy and in education safely. Up to one third of people who have coronavirus experience no symptoms. By testing, we will help to stop the virus spread and help to open as safely as possible. The test is voluntary, but we would encourage all staff and students to take it.
We will be testing all staff and students who want to participate from the week commencing 4 January 2021 and a schedule will be distributed early in the new year.
If you are happy for your child to be tested, please fill in the form below or via this tinyurl.com/yawcsedb. The enclosed consent statement (one per student) will also need to be completed and brought into the academy on the day of the first test.
Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff. The ‘lateral flow’ tests are quick and easy using a swab of your nose and throat. For under 18s, staff can oversee the swab process.
Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with staff and pupils participating. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed.
We know these tests work - in validation studies conducted by Oxford University and Public Health England, they were shown to be as accurate in identifying a case as a PCR test (99.68% specificity). The tests have lower sensitivity but they are better at picking up cases when a person has higher viral load, hence the need to test frequently.
Testing will be offered free of charge.
What if a pupil tests positive?
Participating staff and pupils who test positive will be informed about their results individually. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be notified. Guidance on safe travel and additional precautions will be provided along with test results.
Pupils will need to take a further ‘PCR test’ (similar to those done in local and regional testing sites) on the same day (or as soon as possible). The academy may be able to provide these PCR test kits to perform at home or you can go to www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119 to book a follow-up test. If ordering a PCR test yourselves, they should choose to visit a drive-through test site if possible, as it is faster than requesting a home test.
During this time while they wait for the PCR result (via text / email) they will need to self-isolate.
If the PCR test returns a positive result, you will have to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.
What happens if the test is negative?
They will be able to stay in the academy and resume their activities as normal. A pupil will only be told if they test positive on a ‘lateral flow’ test, so if you do not hear you can assume it was negative. A small number of pupils may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason.
What if a close contact at the academy tests positive?
A close contact of someone in the academy who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to return to the academy if they agree to be tested once a day for 7 days and the test is negative. If they do not want to take the test, they will need to self-isolate as per the national guidelines. This does not apply to household members or close contacts outside of the academy who will still need to self-isolate. Further details will be provided at the time, but if you would prefer to self-isolate instead of doing daily testing, you can.
What if my child develops symptoms?
This testing programme at the academy is for people with no symptoms. If your child develops symptoms at any time (such as a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste) they must immediately self-isolate, and book a test by calling 119 or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
We will support our staff and pupils throughout, but please contact us if you need this information in any other language or format or if you have any questions. You can call the office on 01777 713700 or email email@example.com.