Dear Parents and Carers
As you are aware on Monday 22nd February the Prime Minster announced how the country will move out of lockdown. We are pleased that this will be starting with Schools returning from March 8th. Currently the leadership team and I are working through the extensive government documentation and will inform you of the Academies exact return plans early next week.
Prior to their return, the government has requested that all secondary school students be tested for coronavirus using lateral flow tests, which generate results within 30 minutes. Each student should be tested three times, at school, with a gap of at least three days between each test. Lateral flow testing is optional; however, it should be remembered that these testing arrangements are vital in the national response to limiting the impact of coronavirus on communities. Up to one third of people who have coronavirus are asymptomatic. By testing, we will help to reduce the spread in school settings through asymptomatic transmission. I am, therefore, strongly encouraging all students to be tested. Parental consent must be gained for all students under the age of 16.
To support this planning can you please complete the attached
Consent Form for COVID-19 Testing at Erdington Academy to provide consent for participation in the return to school testing programme over the first two weeks.
The link will be available until 3pm Friday 26th February, if consent is not received before this time unfortunately your child will not be part of the testing programme. It is vital that we have the following next week to plan appropriately the return times and processes for individual year
groups to be able to meet the Government’s testing requirements and enable teaching and learning to start as soon as possible. To be able to accommodate testing safely it is more than likely we will have staggered start times over the first few days.
I have also included a question sheet regarding testing to answer some of the questions you may have.
Can I thank you for the continued work you are giving in supporting students home learning. The changes this week have already had a good impact on the quality of work submitted.
Head of Academy
Testing plans and FAQ’s
Plan for testing
We will be looking to test all staff and students as they return to school. Students will be offered three lateral flow device tests spaced 3 to 5 days apart.
Home testing is being introduced for secondary age pupils by the Government. It is important that students are initially supervised whilst swabbing to make sure they are doing it correctly. This is why testing will initially take place in schools at asymptomatic testing sites. Once students have been tested three times they will be provided with home test kits for regular, twice weekly, testing at home.
How the tests work
Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff and volunteers. The lateral flow tests are quick and easy to undertake, using a swab of the nose and throat. Students administer their own test with the guidance of staff. Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared
directly with the individual participant using the details provided. We have been administering these tests in school since January to around 70 individuals per week through a trained team of staff.
The school will inform the student and parent of any positive test result. A text/email notification of a positive or negative result from the online NHS system will be provided using the details submitted in the registration process. Please note, lateral flow tests are free of charge.
What if my child tests positive?
If a student tests positive on a lateral flow device test they must follow national UK guidance and self-isolate.
What happens if the test is negative?
While a small number of students may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason, students who test negative will be able to stay in school and resume their activities as normal. Students / parents will be informed of negative test results via text/email.
What if students have been in close contact with someone in school who tests positive?
The student will be notified that they are a close contact by the school. National self-isolationguidance must then be followed.
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 (including 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 or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
Consent for testing
In order for students to be tested as part of the test and trace programme consent is needed from parents. To consent, please complete the consent form through this link: Consent Form for COVID-19 Testing at Erdington Academy
Consent must be received by Friday 26th February.