I write briefly, further to my letter of 23 February, to provide you with a little more detail on our students’ return to schools and the asymptomatic coronavirus testing programme. Further detail and advice will follow next week, but we wanted to give you as much information as we can in advance of our return to support you in your own forward planning.
I also provide at the end of this letter links to additional sources of information that have been published since my letter of 23 February, should you wish to access the information. I also include links to information regarding the decisions that have been made and were published yesterday regarding how qualifications will be awarded this summer. We will be holding an information briefing with affected families next week, alongside a special online assembly with students, and will also of course provide more detail in writing.
Phased return to school from 8 March
To facilitate the first of the three on-site asymptomatic tests of all of our students and welcome everyone back to school safely, and to ensure that the return is as disruption free for families as we can make it, we will be phasing the return to school for students by year group, in the priority order outlined in Department for Education (DfE) guidance:
- Students in Y11 and Y13 return on Monday 8 March, with students in Y7-10 and Y12 (and any in Y11 and Y13 isolating or shielding) receiving remote education.
- Students in Y10 and Y12 return on Tuesday 9 March, with students in Y7-9 (and any in Y10-13 isolating or shielding) receiving remote education.
- Students in Y7 and Y9 return on Wednesday 10 March, with students in Y8 (and any in Y7 and Y9-13 isolating or shielding) receiving remote education.
- Students in Y8 return on Thursday 11 March, with all other students isolating or shielding receiving remote education.
- Vulnerable children and children of critical workers in all years will continue to attend on-site provision as it stands now, but will join their respective year group as they return for testing and to return to timetabled lessons.
- School transport will be running as normal from Monday 8 March.
On-site testing schedule
On the first day of their scheduled return, students traveling on school transport will return to school first, followed at a later point in the day by other students in the respective year groups. I will write again with precise timings and further advice next week, but in short:
- Students traveling on school transport will remain in their bus groups while testing takes place (including students for whom we do not have consent for testing) and will move to their scheduled lesson once all tests are completed and confirmed negative. (This is because, as I outlined in my letter of 23 February, updated guidance from Public Health England on what is meant by a ‘contact’ of someone with confirmed coronavirus infection includes ‘travelling in the same vehicle’.)
- All other students who do not use school transport will be similarly grouped on their return until testing and results are confirmed negative.
- Any student who tests positive, along with any identified contacts, must return home to isolate and will be isolated in school until collection by parent(s)/carer(s) or other member of their household.
- Students will be called from lessons for their second and third on-site tests over the course of the two-week period from 8 to 19 March.
Consent for asymptomatic testing
Since my letter of 23 February, guidance has changed, and it is now the case that where consent was already sought and given for planned asymptomatic testing in January, schools are no longer required to ask for consent again. We will, nevertheless, again provide you with details about the testing in a letter next week and afford you the opportunity of changing your consent (either to withdraw or give it) before 8 March.
Thank you very much once again for your continued support. To reiterate, I will write again next week with precise detail and more information. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us should you require any further information.
As ever, keep safe, and keep looking after yourself and each other.
Derrick Brett (Principal).