Information for Parents and Students September 2021
Please note that information is regularly updated as a result of any new guidance from the Government and therefore subject to change.
Letter: Updates for the new academic year - View Letter
Rapid Testing on-site (ATS) at the start of September
On students return to school in September, they will be offered the opportunity to take part in the Rapid on Site Testing program. This will involve a test being completed in the first day of their arrival when back in school, followed by a second test 3 to 5 days later. To support this program the school will stagger the start of term as outlined below:
· Tuesday 7th September: Year 7 and Year 12 Registration
· Wednesday 8th September: Year 11 & Year 13
· Thursday 9th September: Year 8
· Friday 10th September: Year 9
· Monday 13th September: Year 10
All parents have been contacted to give consent using an electronic form, those students who have not been given consent will be provided with a home testing kit which may be used under supervision at home.
All parents should be read the following Privacy Notice with regards to data use which forms part of the consent agreement:
Why do asymptomatic testing?
Asymptomatic testing helps to identify positive cases more quickly and break the chains of transmission. Those who test positive will self-isolate, helping to reduce transmission of the virus and support the continuation of face-to-face education.
Asymptomatic testing is a critical tool to help prevent transmission of COVID-19 and helps to :
1. Identify and help to prevent staff, students and pupils carrying the virus but without symptoms from transmitting and spreading the virus unknowingly in their educational setting.
2. Allow schools and colleges to operate as safely as possible by isolating those that are the most contagious as soon as is practical, which supports the continuation of face-to-face education
Asymptomatic testing is done via simple and quick tests, known as Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests. They enable us to rapidly test pupils, students and staff, without the need for a laboratory. No test is 100% accurate, but the LFD, when done as part of a testing regime is very good at picking up those with high viral loads (i.e. those that are the most contagious).
Key Questions about Testing
1. Is testing compulsory?
Testing is voluntary and individuals should be allowed to attend school or college even if they decide not to take part in testing. However, we would like to encourage everyone to join in the asymptomatic testing programme to help break transmission links by identifying those that may be carrying the virus unknowingly.
Anyone with symptoms, whether they are involved in this programme or not, should book a free NHS test and follow government self-isolation guidance until the results of their test are known.
2. What age pupils should I test?
Children aged 11 and above attending a secondary school or college should be tested. This includes 19+ learners attending college.
3. Why do pupils and students need to do 2 tests on site when they return in Autumn?
Testing on return is the most effective way to reduce the risk of transmission and support the continuation of face-to-face education. Identifying positive cases on return in the autumn is important, given that most students will not be testing over the summer and will need to re-establish the habit of regular twice weekly testing. Testing on site on return will also give new pupils and students the opportunity to get used to swabbing in a supervised environment before moving to twice weekly testing at home. For example, primary pupils in Year 6 transitioning into Year 7 in secondary school who do not have experience of the education testing programme. We recognise, however, the need to minimise any disruption to education for pupils/students and to continue to support pupil/students’ mental wellbeing. That is why we are planning a staggered start to the term for all pupils.
4. Can pupils and students swab themselves?
Yes, in an Asymptomatic Testing Site all pupils 11 and above, can swab themselves if they are able to. When testing at home, Students aged 18 and over should self-test and report the result, with assistance if needed. Pupils aged 12-17 should self-test and report the result with adult supervision. The adult may conduct the test if necessary. When testing at home children aged 11 (who attend a secondary school) should be tested/swabbed by an adult.
Completing the testing in school
In school, all students will be supported to undertake their testing independently and will be guided through the process by trained staff. The diagram below outlines the process for taking a swab sample.