Return to School and Rapid Testing for Students
We are delighted to announce our return to school during the week beginning 8 March 2021.
It will help us if you are prepared with the following:
- All students should wear the correct uniform. Please check your uniforms and make use of online ordering for items of uniform that you know your child has outgrown before 8 March 2021. If you need help with the cost, let us know before 8 March. We will help.
- Days for PE will continue as before with students arriving in PE kit.
- Face coverings will be required and worn in places where distancing cannot be achieved and for lessons for the first few weeks.
- Look out for an email on Monday 1 March where we will clarify the exact return dates for each year group. We aim to have everyone back by the end of the first week.
The rest of this letter provides all the information you need regarding the in-school Covid testing. As you will know, the government requires us to provide a Rapid Testing Programme here at school in the first fortnight giving three tests for each student whose parents give their consent. In order to plan the staggered return for students we need to know how many will be requesting the Covid 19 tests. Please come to your decision about whether your child can be tested, and complete the consent form provided in the link below by 12 midday on Friday 26 February 2021.
It will take only a few minutes.
The test is voluntary. Students who do not take the test will still be able to attend.
Information to help with your decision about consent.
The Lateral Flow Tests
Testing for those without coronavirus symptoms will use quick COVID-19 tests known as ‘lateral flow tests’ (LFTs). Up to one third of people who have coronavirus experience no symptoms. The government has asked us to do this testing three times for each student who consents, to help stop the virus spread and help to keep our school as safe as possible.
Trained staff will supervise all students taking the test. The ‘lateral flow’ tests are quick and easy using a swab of the nose and throat. Staff will oversee the swab process and be kind and supportive of our students but students will be expected to swab themselves. An instructional leaflet with some more information can be accessed here: How to do your test: COVID 19 instruction leaflet for schools (publishing.service.gov.uk)
Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be carefully recorded and where positive, parents and carers will be informed straight away and asked to collect their child.
We will be testing all students whose parents/carers have given consent, from week commencing 8 March 2021 and each student will receive three tests spaced approximately 3-5 days apart. Parents do need to provide their consent by Friday 26 February to be included in the programme.
We will be required to share the results with Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) digital services for the NHS Test and Trace purposes and a privacy notice explaining this is here.
You might also find the ‘Data Protection Frequently Asked Question for parents – COVID testing in
Schools’ published by the DfE useful.
What if a student tests positive?
Participating students who test positive will be informed about their results and parents and carers will be notified at the same time. Students who test positive will also need to take a further ‘PCR test’ on the same day (or as soon as possible). Woodbrook Vale School will be able to provide these PCR test kits to perform at home but we know it is faster if you can go to www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119 to book a follow-up test choosing a drive-through or walk-in test site if possible, as this is quickest.
During this time, while they wait for the PCR result (via text / email), students will need to self-isolate. If the PCR test also returns a positive result, you and your family will have to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.
What happens if the test is negative?
The student will stay in school and resume their activities as normal. A student 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 students may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason. They may have a card left over after the test. You will not need to register the card with Test and Trace as it will have already been processed here at school.
What if a close contact at school tests positive?
A close contact of someone in school who has tested positive for COVID-19 will need to self-isolate for 10 days as before.
What if my child develops symptoms?
This testing programme at school 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 students with kindness and sensitivity throughout. Please take your time to consider all the information carefully and contact us before Midday Friday 26 February, if you if you have any further questions. You can contact us by phone, but you may need to leave a contact number where we can get back to you, or alternatively by the office email on firstname.lastname@example.org where your question will be forwarded to a senior leader.
I am hopeful that this entire process will not be too disruptive to our students’ education and that with your support; we will get through this challenging first two weeks.
Thank you in advance for your kindness and cooperation through what promises to be an unprecedented and difficult time for all schools.