13th December 2021
I am writing to give you advance notice of the plan for testing all pupils before they return to Mary Astell Academy in January 2022.
As before, the testing is optional and only those for whom we have consent can receive the test. The test is designed to quickly identify whether a pupil or staff member has COVID, and therefore avoid any unnecessary periods of self-isolation and absence from school.
The government is prioritising secondary schools and colleges for testing because a positive case very often results in more pupils being sent home and having their education disrupted. They also want to ensure pupils in crucial exam years can access as much face-to-face teaching as possible.
The information below is therefore designed to help keep as many pupils in school as possible and is not a replacement for the protective measures in place. If your child shows any symptoms of Covid 19 they should be kept at home and access a test through the national route. To book a PCR test please use the following link https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
The plan for our pupils is as follows:
We will have a phased return to school, starting on;
Tuesday 4th January 9am - Year 7, Year 8 and InReach Pupils with consent will be tested and, (if negative), will return to classrooms.
Wednesday 5th January 9am - Years 9 & 10 Pupils with consent will be tested and, (if negative), will return to classrooms.
Thursday 6th January 9am - Year 11 Pupils with consent will be tested and, (if negative), will return to classrooms.
Consent to pupil testing
Please consent using this link to access an online consent form. https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=1FHki3M0o02lSREa1fQVa_7PAnCUZkpClKkGxtU1kHhUMU8wSUNCRVJIQkdGRThKNkk5OUJORVAzSi4u
Pupils will not be tested without consent. Paper consent forms will be available from School Reception if required, please complete and return with your child when they return to school.
What happens if my child tests negative?
For all pupils with negative tests they will continue with their lessons as per the normal school day.
What happens if my child tests positive?
If your child tests positive, you will be contacted to arrange to pick them up from school and arrange for a PCR test and follow the current government guidance.
If your child gets a positive PCR test result, NHS Test and Trace will contact you, using the details you registered when ordering the PCR test. You and/or your child will be asked a series of specific questions designed to identify who your child has been in close contact with. Being in an education or childcare setting with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will not necessarily mean a person is identified as a close contact. You will be asked to provide the contact details, if you know them, of any of the individuals – or their parents or guardians – who have been identified as close contacts. NHS Test and Trace will then get in touch with these close contacts and provide appropriate instructions or advice.
Lateral Flow test kits
These have proved really useful in identifying Covid cases. If you need more test kits please contact the office and we will arrange for them to be brought home. We ask that your child tests at home twice weekly following the on-site test.
What if my child develops symptoms?
The 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 visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
If you have any further questions, please contact me here at the school before the end of term.
Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas.
Head of School