Staggered return to School in January
Re: Our approach to the staggered return to school in January 2021
Thank you for your patience as we plan for the start of term following the latest government announcement. You may remember that I contacted you shortly before Christmas to explain that the government wish to introduce Lateral Flow Testing for Coronavirus in schools. I have included this information again here. Please read this letter carefully as there are a number of changes since I last contacted you. At the end of the letter I have included a table summarising the return dates for each year group and the contact details for the relevant Head of Year.
You will have seen in the news that the government announced a new staggered return for students at the start of next term. We will still have our planned INSET day on 4th January and our virtual Careers, Information, Advice and Guidance on 5th January.
All students will have virtual lessons on teams, following their usual timetable on 6th, 7th and 8th January
This will be as close as possible to the education they would receive if they were in school. Students will be able to access this by joining Microsoft Teams. Mrs Evans will send out instructions for our Year 7 students as some may not have accessed Teams before.
- Vulnerable students and the children of critical workers will attend school in person (there’s a reminder of who counts as vulnerable or a critical worker at the end of this letter)
Please email: email@example.com
if you require a place for your child from the 6th January.
- Vocational examinations will go ahead as planned however we are now unable to offer face to face teaching. Mrs Bhangal will contact Year 12 and Year 13 students about our new arrangements and Mrs Robertson will contact Year 11 students that are sitting external exams in January via Teams.
On the week commencing 11th January
- Vulnerable students and the children of critical workers will attend school in person
- All Year 13 students should attend school at their usual time and will be tested on arrival at Amethyst Sixth, subject to consent.
- Year 11 students will be required to come into school for their first test in the following timeslots and testing (where consent has been obtained) will take place across allotted timeslots in the day.
- 8am – Students who are taking the Sport exam will come into school, take a test (where consent has been obtained) and then go into their 9am examination.
- 9.45am – All Engineering students will come into school, take a test (where consent has been obtained) and then go into a blast session from P3.
- 10.45am – All other Year 11 students to return. Students will be directed by staff when they arrive at school and will be tested, subject to consent.
- During this week all staff and Year 11 and 13 students, vulnerable students and those children of critical workers attending school will be eligible for a lateral flow test. I have sent out details of this previously but will attach it again at the end of the letter together with a consent form for ALL students to complete and return.
- Year 12 students that are sitting an exam will be invited into school for face to face lessons. Mrs Bhangal will contact you about this.
- All other students will follow their timetable on Microsoft Teams. Please contact your child’s Head of Year if you have any queries during this time.
On the week commencing 18th January
- All students from all Year groups should attend school at their usual time and follow their normal timetable.
- All staff and students will be eligible for a lateral flow test.
- While testing will be optional, we’ll strongly encourage staff and students to take part.
- We won’t ask your child to participate in testing without their consent (or yours, as appropriate)
- Those students returning to school first will be offered testing first.
- If someone tests negative, they’ll still need to follow our social distancing and hygiene measures.
- If someone tests positive, we’ll ask them to be collected from school and to have a further PCR test in line with government guidance
A reminder of the definitions of ‘critical workers’ and ‘vulnerable pupils’
Critical workers are those who work in:
- Health and social care
- Education and childcare
- Key public services (including the justice system, religious staff, charities delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting)
- Local and national government (those who are involved in delivering the coronavirus response or essential public services)
- Food and other necessary goods
- Public safety and national security
- Utilities, communication and financial services
Vulnerable pupils are those who:
- Are assessed as being in need, including those with a child in need plan or child protection plan
- Are looked after by the local authority
- Have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
- Have been assessed as otherwise vulnerable by the school or LA, including children who:
• Are on the edge of receiving support from children’s social care services
• Are adopted
• Are at risk of becoming NEET (‘not in employment, education or training’)
• Are living in temporary accommodation
• Are young carers
• May have difficulty engaging with remote education at home (for example due to a lack of devices or quiet space to study)
We are working to keep our schools 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 to remain in school 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 keep our schools open as safely as possible. The test is voluntary, but I would encourage everyone to take it.
We will be testing all staff and secondary school and college age students who want to participate from week commencing 11th January 2021.
You can view an instructional leaflet with some more information here. Testing information for students and parents
If you are happy for your child to be tested, please fill in the electronic form which can be found further down this page, and the enclosed consent statement (one per student).
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.
To process the test, we will register all participating students.
Please complete and submit the attached registration form and consent from electronically by clicking on the link below:
What if a pupil tests positive?
Participating 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). School will 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 school 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 school/college tests positive?
A close contact of someone in school who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to return to school 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 school 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 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 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or 0300 303 2713 (Scotland) or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
|Return to school arrangements||Contact details for Head of Year|
|Year 7||Monday 18th January at 8.45am. Lessons on Teams from 6th January.||firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Year 8||Monday 18th January at 8.45am. Lessons on Teams from 6th Januaryemail@example.com|
|Year 9||Monday 18th January at 8.45am. Lessons on Teams from 6th January|
|Year 10||Monday 18th January at 9.45am. Lessons on Teams from 6th Januaryfirstname.lastname@example.org|
Lessons on Teams from 6th January.
Monday 11th January –
8.45am – Those students taking the Sport exam
9.45am – all Engineering students
10.45am – All other Year 11 students
|Year 12||Monday 18th January at 8.45am unless taking an exam and have been notified separately by Mrs Bhangal|
|Year 13||Monday 11th January at 8.45am|
We will support our staff and students 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 01902 558310 but please be aware that there are a high volume of calls to the school, you may find it more convenient to email your child’s Head of Year using the contact details below or email email@example.com.
Thank you for your continued support.
Mrs N Bayliss