Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope this letter finds you and your family well and that you all had a good Christmas.
Yesterday, the government announced changes to the staggered return for students in the new year. This is to help suppress rates of transmission and allow more time for schools to prepare for asymptomatic mass testing on site.
Updated staggered return for students – week commencing Monday 4 January 2021
- Monday 4 January: INSET for teaching and support staff
- Tuesday 5 January – Friday 8 January: full-time on-site provision for all vulnerable children and the children of key workers
- Tuesday 5 January – Friday 8 January: Years 7 – 11 to work remotely from home. Mass student testing to commence for Years 10 and 11 on Friday 8th January which will be communicated through Parentmail. Further details regarding testing follow in this letter along with an online consent form which we would like completed by 4th January 2021
- Monday 11 January: full-time on-site provision for all vulnerable children, the children of key workers and students in Years 10 and 11 as they are in an examination year.
- Monday 11 January: Years 7 – 9 to work remotely from home. Mass student testing to commence for Years 7 – 9 throughout the week which will be communicated through Parentmail.
- Monday 18 January: all students back in school for face-to-face education and rolling testing programme.
Key Workers and Vulnerable Children
If you are a key worker and need your child to access supervised remote learning Tuesday 5 January – Friday 8 January and have not already completed the key worker survey for your child, please ensure you complete the online survey by 5pm today (Thursday 31 December) to help us plan for their return in January. If you have more than one child, you will need to complete a survey (link below) for each child.
A definition of key worker and vulnerable children can be found at:
School buses will operate as normal.
Free School Meals for Students
Any student who is in receipt of free school meals/bursary will receive a Tesco voucher for the duration of working remotely from home as per the process already in place for the holiday period.
Students are to work remotely from home, following their normal timetable using a combination of our Virtual Learning Environment, Firefly and video streaming via Google Meet.
NHS Test and Trace: COVID-19 testing for staff and pupils at Greenbank High School
We are working to keep our school as safe as possible. You may have heard that testing for those without coronavirus symptoms is beginning across the country using new, quicker COVID-19 tests known as ‘lateral flow tests’.
Along with the other protective measures we are taking, these tests will help staff and pupils to remain in school safely. Up to one third of people who have coronavirus experience no symptoms. By testing we will help to stop the virus spread and help to keep our school open as safely as possible. The test is voluntary, but I would encourage everyone to take it.
We will be testing all staff and pupils who want to participate from week commencing 4 January 2021 when we have the tests available and the training of personnel has been completed.
I attach an instructional leaflet with some more information.
If you are happy for your child to be tested, please fill in the form by following the appropriate link below.
Pupils aged 11-15 consent form
Pupils aged 16+ consent form
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 staff and pupils participating. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will 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.
What if a pupil tests positive?
Participating staff and pupils who test positive will be informed about their results individually. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be notified. Guidance on safe travel and additional precautions will be provided along with test results.
Pupils 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). School will be able to provide these PCR test kits to perform at home or you can go to www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119 to book a follow-up test. If ordering a PCR test yourselves, 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 they wait for the PCR result (via text / email) they will need to self-isolate.
If the PCR test returns a positive result you will have to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.
What happens if the test is negative?
Pupils will be able to stay in school and resume their activities as normal. A pupil will only be told if they test positive on a ‘lateral flow’ test, so if you do not hear you can assume it was negative. A small number of pupils may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason.
What if a close contact at school tests positive?
A close contact of someone in school who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to return to school if they agree to be tested once a day for 7 days and the test is negative. If they do not want to take the test, they will need to self-isolate as per the national guidelines. This does not apply to household members or close contacts outside of school who will still need to self-isolate. Further details will be provided at the time, but if you would prefer to self-isolate instead of doing daily testing, you can.
What if my child develops symptoms?
This testing programme at school 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 book a test by calling 119 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or 0300 303 2713 (Scotland) or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
We will support our staff and pupils throughout, but please contact us if you have any further questions at [email protected] from 4th January 2021.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding and I wish you all a happy New Year.
Mr Ian Raikes