You will have heard in the media the government announcement that schools will become testing centres in the new year, and there are changes to the first week of school as a consequence.
Our response is as follows:
- Monday 4th January will still be a staff training day (students are not expected to attend on this day), as this has been organised for more than 6 months
- From Tuesday 5th to Friday 8th January, only students in years 11 and 13 and vulnerable children/those of critical workers should attend school
- For years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 our curriculum will go online in the usual way, through Microsoft Teams and Show My Homework
- Vulnerable and critical worker children will be supervised in a computer room to join in with these lessons. We ask that they bring their own headphones.
We are tasked with setting up a testing centre with a non-porous floor, staffed by at least 7 people. The school was built in 1956 to accommodate 500, expanded with a sixth form in the 1970s to 670 and as an 11-18 school now has 970 students. As such we have no spare space, so have asked Worcestershire County Council to accelerate the handover of the Youth Centre so that in the short-term, we can establish it as our testing centre. The government training for setting up the testing centre is online between 1 and 2 this afternoon. We will update you when arrangements are finalised.
We must appeal to the parents of vulnerable and critical worker children to only send in their children if absolutely necessary. The more children we have in school, the more our ability to teach the online curriculum to everyone else will be compromised, alongside the challenges of setting up a testing centre, which the government seems to think can be done overnight. The leadership team will be working over the Christmas and New Year break to implement the government testing centre requirements.
School contact tracing over the Winter Holidays
When a pupil or staff member tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), we carefully review who they have been in close contact with while at school so that contacts can self-isolate as they monitor for symptoms.
The Department for Education has confirmed that schools must continue to support contact tracing for 6 days after the end of term. This is so that we can identify any close contacts of positive cases who were in school while infectious and where test results come back after the end of term. Our school will be closed and the staff will be on holiday so the senior leadership team will be responding to any updates received from families or staff members.
If your child gets a positive COVID-19 test result between 19th December to 24th December please email firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the following information:
- Name of your child and Class
- Date that symptoms started
- Date that COVID-19 test was taken
- Your contact phone number in case more information is needed
If we receive any updates of a positive case for pupils or staff members that would mean your child was a direct contact – we will communicate with you by email and text. This will provide you with the following information:
- Date of contact
- Start and end date of self-isolation
- Guidance link for monitoring symptoms
We can only apologise for the inevitable inconveniences that these arrangements will cause, and for the ineptitude of the manner and timing in which these decisions have been made and communicated by the government.
We wish you a safe and restful Christmas and New Year.