Inspiring Education, Inspiring Lives!

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:

LINK TO PRIVACY NOTICE AND DATA SECURITY

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.

 

Covid19 Home Testing Kits

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Following completion of two tests in school, students will be asked to carry out a lateral flow twice a week. One in three people have Covid without displaying any symptoms, so testing is vital in keeping our school community safe. 

We are asking that students to do their home tests every Thursday and Sunday evening.

Upon completing your test, please remember to upload your result to the government website: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result.

Please also inform the school should you receive a positive result by emailing covid.support@oldburywells.com

Should you need to confirm a positive case during school hours you should contact our attendance team (01746 765454  or karen.sawyer@oldburywells.com)

 Below you can find some information about completing your own home test. 

The Importance of Home Testing

Rapid testing is the fast and easy way to find our if you have coronavirus and stop the spread to your loved ones and your community. Up to 1 in 3 people have Covid-19 show no symptoms and will unknowingly spread it around. By testing twice a week, we can minimise the number of positive cases around school and avoid disruptions.

 

Attendance expectations

It is vital for all children to return to school to minimise, as much as possible, the longer-term impact of the pandemic on children’s education, wellbeing and wider development.

Missing out on more time in the classroom risks pupils falling further behind. Those with higher overall absence tend to achieve less in school. School attendance has therefore been mandatory from the beginning of the Autumn term. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance apply, including:

·       Parents’ duty to secure their child’s attendance regularly at school (where the child is a registered pupil at school and they are of compulsory school age)

·       Schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence

·       The availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct.

All pupils, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, can continue to attend school at all Local COVID Alert Levels unless they are one of the very small number of pupils or students under paediatric care (such as recent transplant or very immunosuppressed children) and have been advised specifically by their GP or clinician not to attend school.

 

Face Coverings

The use of face coverings in school will be optional in all areas of school. We anticipate that some students will continue to use them (which will be permitted), although this will be an individual choice.

 

Transport

The use of face coverings on school transport is optional although strongly recommended.  Seating plans will remain in place and students should continue to use their allocated seat on dedicated school services.

Staff, children and their parents and carers are encouraged to walk or cycle when travelling to and from school where this is possible, and to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

Travelling to and from School

Students are reminded for the need to travel to and from school on the most direct route, they are encouraged not arrange to meet groups of friends on their journey to and from school and not congregate in larger groups during this time. Parents are requested to speak to their children to ensure that students respond individual to promote any government advice and recommendations. 

What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID 19

  • If your child has any of the main COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste), they should not attend school or college and should stay at home.
  • You should arrange for them to get a PCR test and inform school ofthe test results.
  • Your child should not attend school or college while you are waiting for test results, even if they are feeling better.
  • If the test is negative, they should go to school or college as normal.
  • If they test positive, they should continue to isolate and follow public health advice.

What happens if my child has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 symptoms?

  • If your child has been identified as a close contact, you will be advised that your child takes a PCR test.
  • They will not have to self-isolate, unless they have a positive PCR test result.

Individuals are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and any of the following apply:

  • they are fully vaccinated
  • they are below the age of 18 years and 6 months
  • they have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • they are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons.

Instead, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. They do not need to isolate while awaiting the PCR test. We would encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so.

  • Staff who do not need to isolate, and children and young people aged under 18 years 6 months who usually attend school, and have been identified as a close contact, should continue to attend school as normal.
  • If none of the above applies, people should self-isolate as per the instructions from NHS Test and Trace.

Symptoms of COVID 19

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

·       new continuous cough and/or

·       high temperature and/or

·       a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

If your child does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from the nhs.uk website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/check-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms/. If you are concerned about your child’s symptoms, or they are worsening you can seek advice from NHS 111 at https://111.nhs.uk/ or by phoning 111.

 

How to stop COVID-19 spreading

There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19. 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

    NHS Q&A for Parents : Supporting students at secondary school or college: what you need to know

      1. What COVID-19 measures will change at my child’s school or college?

    School or college will feel different as COVID-19 measures are relaxed.

    • Bubbles and staggered start and finish times are no longer advised
    • Young people can again have breaktimes and lunch together and take part in practical lessons and sports with other classes and year groups
    • Face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors
    • Schools and colleges are advised to continue with regular handwashing, cleaning regimes, and to keep space well ventilated
    • Rapid COVID-19 testing of secondary and college students should continue even for those who have been vaccinated.
    • If your child is under 18 and 6 months and is identified as a close contact they will not need to self-isolate. Instead, they will be advised to take a PCR test
    • Schools and colleges will have plans in place on what to do if anyone at school tests positive for COVID-19, or if additional measures are needed to be reintroduced for a limited period
    • School or college is the best place for young people to be.
    • With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, young people are now able to enjoy more freedom in their education.
    • Being at school or college keeps young people’s education on track, so they can achieve their full potential, while also benefitting their mental and physical health and wellbeing.
    • We’re doing everything we can to ensure young people can continue to attend school or college.

     

      1. Should my child attend school or college?
    • Yes, attendance is mandatory. Public Health England and the Government’s Chief Medical & Scientific Officers agree that there is a very low risk and rate of severe illness in children and young people from COVID-19.
    • The benefit of attending school or college continues to significantly outweigh the COVID-19 health risk to children and young people.
    • If you have concerns, you should discuss these with your school or college and local authority so that your child is able to continue attending school or college.

     

      1. Does my child need to continue doing COVID-19 tests?
    • Yes. Secondary school and college students should test when they return at the start of term. They are advised to take two on-site rapid COVID-19 tests (3-5 days apart), followed by twice weekly testing at home. The tests are easy to do and results come back within 30 minutes.
    • You should report the results straight away, whether positive, negative or void, either online at gov.uk/report-covid19-result or by calling 119, free from your mobile or landline. If the test is positive then the person should also take a confirmatory PCR test and follow the latest government guidance.
    • Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 have no symptoms and can spread it without knowing. Taking regular rapid tests will help give you peace of mind that your child is not spreading the virus without knowing.

     

      1. What should I do if my child has COVID-19 symptoms?
    • If your child has any of the main COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste), they should not attend school or college and should stay at home.
    • You should arrange for them to get a PCR test and tell your child’s school or college the test results.
    • Your child should not attend school or college while you are waiting for test results, even if they are feeling better.
    • If the test is negative, they should go to school or college as normal.
    • If they test positive, they should continue to isolate and follow public health advice.

     

      1. What happens if my child has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 symptoms?
    • If your child has been identified as a close contact, you will be advised that your child takes a PCR test.
    • They will not have to self-isolate, unless they have a positive PCR test result.
    • Individuals are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and any of the following apply:
    • they are fully vaccinated
    • they are below the age of 18 years and 6 months
    • they have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
    • they are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons.

    Instead, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. They do not need to isolate while awaiting the PCR test. We would encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so.

    • Staff who do not need to isolate, and children and young people aged under 18 years 6 months who usually attend school, and have been identified as a close contact, should continue to attend school as normal.
    • If none of the above applies, people should self-isolate as per the instructions from NHS Test and Trace.

     

      1. Will my child be vaccinated?
    • All 16 and 17-year-olds in England are now eligible for their first COVID-19 vaccine dose. Anyone in this age group can now find their nearest centre through the ‘grab a jab’ NHS online walk-in finder.
    • The NHS will also contact 12 to 15 year-olds to receive the vaccine if they are previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable, have an underlying health condition or may live with an individual who is immunosuppressed.

     

      1. If my child was previously considered as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), should they attend school or college?
    • Yes. All young people who were considered as CEV should have returned to school or college following the end of shielding measures on 1 April 2021.
    • Further guidance will be given to parents of children who were previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable where necessary.

     

      1. Will my child be required to continue any remote learning?
    • If your child is isolating due to a positive PCR test, schools and colleges will continue to implement high-quality remote education for students so that they can learn from home if they are well enough.

     

      1. How will my child catch up on any lost learning?
    • There is lots of support available to help your child catch up on any lost learning over the course of the pandemic or to boost their wellbeing. To find out more about what’s on offer and who’s eligible, visit: https://educationcatchup.campaign.gov.uk/ or speak to your child’s school or college.

     

      1. For further information and guidance:

Covid Documentation

Click here to access our archive of Covid Documentation from the last academic year.