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Holmleigh Park High School

Covid-19 Testing at Holmleigh Park

Important information regarding COVID-19 testing at Holmleigh Park

Dear all,

Yesterday I wrote to you about amendments to when students will be returning to schools in 2021, and to let you know about the government's intention for mass testing to be carried out in secondary schools. I am now following up with further details, and to ask for your consent.

(First, please may I remind you that if your child tests positive for COVID-19 on or before 24th December that you need to email [email protected] so that I can let other potential close contacts know).

The government have chosen to introduce mass COVID-19 testing to all schools from January to limit the spread of COVID-19 after the Christmas break. As you know, at Holmleigh Park, we have followed all government guidance throughout this pandemic and therefore intend to participate in this programme.

We intend to carry out testing in two separate fashions:

  • First, we intend to test all staff and students between the 8th and 15th of January

  • Second, from the 18th January, if we have a positive case report in school, we will then test all potential close contacts. Students and staff who test negative will no longer have to self-isolate.

You do not have to consent to this, but I would strongly urge you to. Mass testing will not only keep the school safe, but will avoid us having to isolate students as a precaution. If you do not give consent, your child will be able to continue coming to school but will need to self-isolate for 10 days if we believe they have been in close contact with a positive case.

I am including below more information on how our testing programme will operate. Please review this; once you have done this, you will need to give your consent (or indicate that you do not consent).

Please note, the Department for Education issued new guidance on how schools should collect consent on the 30th December. Parents will therefore need to resubmit their consent by clicking here. I am very sorry for the inconvenience caused by yet another last minute bit of communication.

I hope you will sign up to this. We have been lucky at Holmleigh Park to have so few cases, but with rates continuing to rise across the country I think it is likely we will see considerably more cases in the new year. The more students participate in this programme, the less likely students are to need to self-isolate at home.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Farmbrough
Headteacher

How will the staggered re-opening work?

  • Children of key workers, those who have EHCPs or who otherwise require an onsite provision will be able to attend school from the 6th January; please email [email protected]igh.co.uk if you wish to book your child in for this.

  • Students in Year 11 and 13 will be expected to attend school from Monday 11th January. Selected Year 12 students who have exams in January will be permitted to attend school, and will be contacted separately ahead of time.

  • Students in Year 7-10 and most of Year 12 will be expected to learn online via Google Classroom from Wednesday 6th January to Friday 15th January. They will only come in to school for their tests. They will return on Monday 18th January.

How will rapid COVID-19 testing work?

  • We are implementing rapid Covid-19 testing in school from Friday 8th January

  • There will be two waves of testing:

  • First, we will mass test all staff and students. For best results, rapid tests need to be taken twice, three days apart. We will therefore test all students twice, between Friday 8th and Friday 15th January - there is a timetable below. Students will only come in to school for their test and will leave immediately after (unless they are in school for lessons, e.g. Year 11).

  • After this point we will switch to contact testing; this is where we only test students we believe may have been in close contact with a positive case. In such cases, students will be tested each morning for five days - as long as they test negative each day they will not need to self-isolate.

What is a rapid COVID-19 test?

  • A rapid COVID-19 test (also known as a lateral flow test) involves a simple swab. Students will be asked to administer this themselves, with a member of staff watching and giving instructions. The image below outlines what's involved.

  • Test results come back in less than an hour, thus allowing us to monitor in real time any infections in school.

When can my child have their test?

In order to test over 1000 students, we need to stagger the testing process. Tests will take place at the following times. Students will only come in for their test, and will leave immediately after (unless stated otherwise). Students do not need to wear school uniform.

Please note, that although we have been told they will be ready for Monday 4th January,  the government have not yet confirmed or been able to indicate when our tests will be delivered. If our tests have not been provided in sufficient time, we will contact you to let you know.

Year

Test 1

Test 2

13

Friday 8th January, 09:00-10:00

During school day; arrive as normal at 08:30

12

Monday 11th January, 12:00-13:00

Thursday 14th January, 09:00-10:00

11

X band: Friday 8th January, 10:00-11:00

Y band: Friday 8th January, 11:00-12:00

During school day; arrive as normal at 08:30

10

X band: Monday 11th January, 13:30-14:15

Y band: Monday 11th January, 14:15-15:00

X band: Thursday 14th January, 10:00-10:45

Y band: Thursday 14th January, 10:45-11:30

9

X band: Tuesday 12th January, 13:30-14:15

Y band: Tuesday 12th January, 14:15-15:00

X band: Friday 15th January, 13:30-14:15

Y band: Friday 15th January, 14:15-15:00

8

X band: Tuesday 12th January, 11:00-12:00

Y band: Tuesday 12th January, 12:00-13:00

X band: Friday 15th January, 11:00-12:00

Y band: Friday 15th January, 12:00-13:00

7

X band: Tuesday 12th January, 09:00-10:00

Y band: Tuesday 12th January, 10:00-11:00

X band: Friday 15th January, 09:00-10:00

Y band: Friday 15th January, 10:00-11:00

* Students in Year 11/13 will also have lessons this day, and so should attend normal school from 08:30

Is testing compulsory?

Participation is voluntary and active consent is required. You can provide consent using the form linked below.

How will we be told the test result?

Test results take at least 30 minutes to process so we will require all students to leave site once they have completed their test, unless they are part of the on-site provision. We will then contact, by telephone, anyone whose test result was positive. If you haven’t heard from us then this means your test result was negative.

How many times do students have to be tested?

This first round of testing is known as mass testing. This is where we test all members of our school community. To complete the testing process, you must be tested twice, 3 days apart, the two test times are written above.

Where do students go for this test?

Students should enter via the lower playground (by the car park). They should head straight to the Sports Hall. The sports hall will be the testing centre and staff and signs will be in place to direct you to the correct entrance and route through.

What happens if my child tests positive for Covid-19?

Your child and their household must self-isolate and follow the government guidance linked here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-and-treatment/ . They will also be required to complete an additional PCR home testing kit test which is available nationally. We will provide remote work for them to complete during their isolation time.

What do parents need to do now?

Parents need to consent for their children to be tested. You can do this by clicking here. Please note, you need to fill in the form one time for each child at the school. Children aged 16 or over should fill in the form themselves.

Can parents volunteer to help?

We are looking for volunteers to help with serial testing from the 18th January, at which point all students will be back in school and our teaching staff will no longer be able to carry out testing. Volunteers do not need any prior experience; full training will be provided. You will need to be available between 08:00 and 11:00, at least three days per week. If you would be interested, please email [email protected] and we would be incredibly grateful to hear from you.