The following message was sent out to parents on Monday 18 January 2021:

 

We really need your help…

The current COVID testing plans call for full testing on the return to school for every child and at this point we are working to that end.

The bottom line is we will be relying heavily on volunteers to undertake this task. We have had around half a dozen volunteers but we need to significantly increase this.

There will be a need to send out consent forms, outlines of how the testing will be done, safety measures, etc, but we are not at that point yet. First, we need to set things up.

Equally, we have to stress that there are caveats all over this as we do not know if the government advice will change nor precisely when and how your child will return to school.

 

Phase One:

The current first phase of the testing regime sees every child tested twice (3-5 days apart) on returning to school. This means we have to get over 1,200 children and over 150 staff tested.

This is a huge logistical task and the reality is that if it runs across a number of weeks it will be hugely disruptive to lessons across the school. We want to do it properly, but we also want to maximise our time getting your children back into school and back on track.

Consequently, we would initially aim to get this done in 2 weeks so this initial request for volunteers is only for this phase. The current return date is Monday 22 February. This means you would be volunteering for slots between Monday 22 February to Friday 5 March.

If the return is delayed. then it would likely be a two-week window from the new starting point.

The more volunteers we get, the more likely we are to get this done. It is ambitious, but the DfE modelling suggest it is certainly achievable. But it relies on your help…

 

Phase Two:

We anticipate that the testing procedures will continue afterwards for those children who have been in contact with a positive case – not at home, but in school.

The transmission rates in our school have appeared to have been slight, but children have always had to isolate for 14/10 days if they have been a close contact.

Of course, the new variant might be different, but if we test a child for 7 consecutive days after close contact we can ascertain if they are negative and then keep them in school.

This testing phase will be on a much lower scale, and though we will still require volunteers, it will require far less people and likely only half-days.

Again, to maximise our resources for schooling we will rely on your help

 

How Can You Volunteer ?

We are looking for half-day, or full day, or more, volunteers for both phases and we will get a bulk of people in for the first phase then adapt that to the second phase once we see how it works.

Clearly, if you can commit longer than for your session(s) in the first fortnight then that would be absolutely fine.

You can volunteer by filling in the online questionnaire which can be accessed here:

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=P-ucX7zN1UGH6FkhJ-duehVZXHc4EnRKoEnDUJGh9-1UM01JWUpSVE1MSzE1UzVaV1lMWU0yQjBDNS4u

What Training Do I Need ?

You will need to attend a training session in early/mid-February for set roles. The individual roles are straight-forward and you will be clear on what you need to do.

 

What Safety Measures Will be In Place ?

There will be a full risk assessment put in place, there is extensive DfE guidance, and we will provide PPE to maximise safety.

The testing will be scheduled on a rolling programme to keep numbers manageable.

 

To Finalise…

Some of our staff will undertake the training and do a stint in the testing arrangements – but unfortunately they cannot do every day.

If you can support us – just for the first fortnight – then you will be helping us hugely and every child in the school will benefit from our resources being steered to their learning.

Matt Allman, Headteacher,said: “We have a lot of faith in you all as parents and believe that if you can help then you will. We know that you will understand that you time and effort will mean we can put more time and effort into each child. Consequently, if we get overwhelmed with offers we will compile a first list, and then keep other names in reserve in case DfE dates, plans or procedures change. We have everything crossed that you can help.”

Cotton swab with tube labelled as Coronavirus