March 8th School Reopening Information

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24 February 2021
 
Dear Parent/Carer
 
NHS TEST AND TRACE: COVID-19 TESTING FOR PARENTS AND STUDENTS
 
We are delighted that our students will be coming back to school which is fundamental for their development in so many ways. Following the latest Government guidance, all students are expected to return to school the week beginning Monday 8 March 2021. To guarantee a smooth transition back to school for our students and to ensure that all students can have access to the lateral flow testing, the following schedule for our students to return has been put in place:-
 
• Monday 8 March – Year 7 students return to school at 8.20 am for the remainder of the term, all other students are to follow their online timetables.
• Tuesday 9 March – Year 8 students return to school at 8:30 am for the remainder of the term, all other students are to follow their online timetables.
• Wednesday 10 March – Year 9 students return to school at 8:15 am for the remainder of the term, Year 10 and Year 11 students are to follow their online timetables.
• Thursday 11 March – Year 10 students return to school at 8:25 am for the remainder of the term, Year 11 students to follow their online timetables.
• Friday 12 March – Year 11 students return to school at 8:10 am for the remainder of the term.
Students return to school
It is vital that we have a smooth transition back to Academy life for our students and we ask that you support us in this by taking following actions:
• Please check that your child’s uniform still fits.
• Ensure your child has all of the necessary equipment for school.
• Make sure there is money on your child’s card if they purchase food from the Courtyard Café.
• Please make sure your child brings water to school so they can remain hydrated throughout the day. If routines have altered, please help your child by returning to a school routine, particularly the time they go to bed and spend away from devices.
Face coverings
• All students (unless medically except) are now expected to wear face coverings in classrooms, in corridors and in the Courtyard Cafe.
• Students do not have to wear face coverings where wearing a face covering would impact on their ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity, for example PE.
• It is advisable that students have several face coverings for use throughout the school day.
Whilst we understand that our students will find it challenging to wear face masks for the majority of their school day, we must all do everything we can to protect ourselves and those around us throughout the pandemic.
 
Clinically extremely vulnerable students and staff:
 
Students who are extremely clinically vulnerable are advised to continue to stay at home until further notice. We will continue to support our students and staff who find themselves in this position.
 
Lateral Flow Testing
Testing for those without coronavirus symptoms is beginning in schools across the country using new, quicker COVID-19 tests known as ‘lateral flow tests’ (LFD).
 
Up to one third of people who have Coronavirus experience no symptoms whatsoever. By testing we will help to stop the virus spreading and help to keep our Academy open as safely as possible. The test is voluntary but I would encourage everyone to take it.
 
We will be testing all students, who would like to participate, three times over the space of a two-week period with effect from Monday 08 March 2021. Students will then be provided with LFD test kits to self-swab and test themselves twice a week at home. (We will send you out further details regarding this, once we have further information from the Government).
 
Please find enclosed with this letter an instructional leaflet with some further information, which you might find useful.
If you are happy for your child to be tested, please complete the online Consent Form (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 students participating. Where participants are under 16, parents/carers and/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.
 
What if you test positive?
Participating students who test positive will be informed about their results individually. Parents/Carers will also be informed if the student is under the age of 16.
Students 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). The Gateway Academy will be able to provide these PCR test kits to perform at home or you can book a test for your child (please contact us or NHS 111 for further details). If ordering a PCR test for your child, you should choose to visit a drive-through test site if possible, as it is faster than requesting a home test. During this time while you wait for your child’s PCR result (via text / email) they will need to self-isolate. If the PCR test returns a positive result your child and all members of your household will have to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.
 
What happens if your child’s test is negative?
They will be able to stay in school and resume their studies. A small number of students may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason.
 
What if my child develops COVID symptoms?
This testing programme at the Academy 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 you should book them a test.
 
I hope you will take advantage of this offer to have your child(ren) tested. Should you have any questions you would like to ask with regards to this process, please do not hesitate to contact Miss Newton (kerry.newton@theglc.org.uk) who would be happy to help.
 
Whilst there is much hope with the vaccine and drop in the rate of COVID transmission, we will continue to apply very strong procedures if a student or member of staff tests positive for COVID. All close contacts will be sent home and told to isolate for 10 days. We clearly hope this does not happen, however, it is imperative that parents and students are aware that this could be a possibility at some point.
 
A massive thank you for your continued support during this time, we look forward to having our wonderful students returning from Monday 08 March 2021 and whilst we know they might be anxious following the extended period away from school, we are confident when they see their friends, peers and staff they will settle back very quickly into school life.
 
Kind regards,
Yours sincerely
Mrs G McLaughlin
HEAD OF SCHOOL
 
DATES OF LATERAL FLOW TESTING FOR ALL YEAR GROUPS
 
Date Monday 8th March Tuesday 9th March Wednesday 10th March Thursday 11th March Friday 12th March
In school Provision Yr 7 Yr7, Yr8 Yr7, Yr8, Yr 9 Yr7, Yr 8, Yr9, Yr10 Yr7, Yr8, Yr9, Yr10, Yr11
Online Provision Yr8, Yr9, Yr10, Yr11 Yr9, Yr10, Yr11 Yr10, Yr11 Yr 11  
Testing Yr7 Yr8 Yr9 Yr10 Yr11
Date Monday 15th March Tuesday 16th  March Wednesday 17th March Thursday 18th March Friday 19th March
Testing Yr 9 Yr 7, Yr10 Yr11 Yr9, Yr8 Yr10
Date Monday 22 March Tuesday 23 March Wednesday 24 March Thursday 25 March Friday 26 March
Testing Yr11        
 
 

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