Wednesday 16th March (my apologies for being a day late)
In addition to resources published on the PHE coronavirus resource hub to support rapid testing in schools and colleges, parents and other adults in households with children or staff at school, nursery or college, who do not have symptoms, can now also access regular, rapid coronavirus (Covid-19) testing. This includes childcare and support bubbles.
There are different ways for a household, childcare or support bubble to access twice-weekly, regular testing at home. To order kits to test a household, childcare bubble or support bubble at least one member should:
- be a school, nursery or college pupil; or
- work in a school, nursery or college (this includes temporary workers or volunteers)
All staff, secondary school and college students can continue to access testing through their school or college. Children of primary school age and below are not being asked to take regular rapid tests.
The DfE has also published the following two blogs which provide further information on testing for school staff, students and families:
Return to College and Initial Testing
This has gone exceptionally well. All students were on site last Friday, with attendance at well over 95%. The vast majority of students have returned in good spirits, pleased to be back, but are still taking a little while to readjust to one-way systems and getting uniform correct. Compliance with mask wearing is also very good indeed.
The initial testing of three tests has concluded for most year groups; Years 8 and 9 are yet to have their third test.
After the third test in College, students are being given the first six tests for home-testing.
There are several useful links above. This YouTube clip is also very useful.
The government has confirmed that a LFT test conducted in school if positive will NOT be overruled by a negative PCR test. However, if a home test is positive but a subsequent PCR is negative, the home test result will be overruled, the student can return to school, and the household do not need to isolate.
We still await confirmation if there is an expectation on schools to record the results of all home tests, whether void, negative or (obviously) positive.
Government guidance states that “the use of face coverings in recommended circumstances is one element of the system of controls and must be implemented in line with other guidance”. On the other hand, it also says that “this is guidance, not mandatory activity”, and that “this guidance does not create any new legal obligations”.
So far, our compromise approach is working well. Students and staff are recommended to wear masks at all times, including in the classroom, but this is not compulsory and no sanctions will be imposed if a mask is not worn. I am aware that some parents disagree, but at present the weight of medical and scientific public health advice is that wearing a mask reduces the transmission of covid-19. Having seen some of my colleagues very unwell with covid and its aftermath, I am very comfortable with a “better safe than sorry” approach.
The biggest challenge, as it was before Christmas, is getting students to remember to put masks on when chatting over the tables at lunch once they have finished eating !
There have been no further recent cases among students, staff or volunteers. Two students and one member of staff are currently isolating because of a positive test for a household member.
Eight colleagues in total tested positive last month (6 support staff, 2 teachers, plus 1 volunteer LFT tester); fifteen colleagues and four LFT testers were required to isolate. All but two colleagues (covid positive) have now returned to College. Three clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) staff remain shielding until the end of March at the earliest.
Before Christmas 12 students tested positive for covid, as well as 31 family/household members. Over the holiday we were informed of 2 further students testing positive. Since the start of term there have been 9 students with a positive result and 19 family/household members.
Please keep informing us of any positive tests ! Contact details are below.
Locally to Clyst Vale, national averages have declined a long way to meet local ones ! Although Exeter is lower still. According to the NEU covid map for schools, in the last week East Devon has risen a fraction from 47 to 57 cases per 100,000, although the BBC gives 45 cases. Broadclyst, Cranbrook, Stoke Canon and area has also risen from 19 to 30/100,000, although the actual number of case are very small. Exeter has more or less stayed the same, 23 to 22/100,000 (NEU) and slightly lower according to the BBC at 21, with the same for Pinhoe and area: 22 to 23. The national average for the BBC figures is 45/100,000 which is another steady drop from last week’s 77. (The NEU and BBC use different dates). The latest R rate for the South West region has dropped a little to 0.5 – 0.8.
Summer Exams 2021
On Thursday 25th February the results of the consultation on grading of public exams were announced, with the government’s roadmap. We still await more details. Ofqual have launched another short consultation, and we expect some firmer information before Easter. It is probable that most assessments will be after Easter, and will be spread out to reduce the “exam week” pressure; the priority beforehand is to complete courses and non-examined assessments. This will vary between subjects.
You can find the DfE document on…. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964597/6747-1_decisions_-_GQ_consultation_on_awarding_grades_in_2021.pdf
Key Points to Remember
- Please do not send your child to school if they have covid symptoms.
- Please do not send your child to school if they have had symptoms and are waiting for a test result even if they seem better.
- If any member of a household has symptoms, everyone must stay away from school or work until the test result is known. If positive, everyone must isolate for 10 days from the start of symptoms or 10 days from the test date if there were no symptoms.
- Please tell us [student absence; AtHoS; Post-16] if your child or household member has symptoms; test dates and results; dates you have been given for a return to school. This applies even if your child is not attending College.
- Please use the number below for reporting an “out-of-hours” positive test result.
- Students should wear masks at all times unless exempt.
Catch up press notice 24/02- New education recovery package for children and young people – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Guidance for settings
Wraparound Guidance- Providers: Protective measures for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings for children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Selective school admissions- Coronavirus (COVID-19): assessment processes for selective school admissions – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Guidance for Parents
Wraparound guidance- Parents/carers: Guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
|Evenings, weekends and holidays– reporting of Covid-19 positive test results|
We have introduced a dedicated phone number, solely for reporting positive Covid-19 test results at evenings and weekends
The number is: 07818 212 931
It is not for suspected cases, non-Covid-19 illness or absence, and is not an advice line.
Please text positive Covid-19 test result information to this number, including:
· Name of student
· Student’s tutor group
· Date symptoms appeared
· Which symptoms, or no symptoms
· Date of test
· Date of test result
If necessary, someone will contact you having received this information. Thank you!