COVID-19 UPDATE

Covid-19 Update 

Wednesday 24th February 2021

I hope you and your family are safe and well.  I am writing to share with you plans for the return of students to Kingsmeadow School from 8 March 2021.

 

Home testing, a phased return and Lateral Flow Testing (LFT)  for students in school

 

On Monday 22 February the Prime Minister announced that schools would be reopening from 8 March 2021.  As part of this full reopening process all students will be offered three consecutive, supervised, on site Lateral Flow Tests (LFT), each test 3-5 days apart. Following this process all students will then be offered Home Testing kits so that they can self test twice weekly.  All secondary schools have been instructed to phase the return of students so that these tests can take place.

The Department for Education has stated that those students who opt to take the three consecutive tests on site, will be able to return to normal in school lessons following their first negative LFT test on their return. Students who choose not to be tested in school will return to normal in school lessons at the same time.  To allow this first test to take place we must phase the return of students in the first instance so that those students who opt to take up the offer of the in school testing can do so.  

As you can imagine the administration of the LFT is a logistical challenge with each child with consent needing to be registered with NHS Test and Trace, supported with their self administered LFT and then having to wait 30 minutes for the outcome.  The amount of time needed to complete this for those opting in for each year group will be dictated by the numbers choosing to take up the offer.

To date we have received consent forms to carry out LFT testing in school from approximately 35% of our student body.  Children testing in school will be expected to carry out the LFT themselves with supportive guidance only. 

If you wish to give consent for your child to be supervised in school for the three consecutive tests before beginning home testing, using the kits provided, then you must complete the new CONSENT FORM.  Due to the change in Government policy, even if you have previously given consent, new consent must be given. This new form has been emailed to all parents today.

 

To allow planning to take place for the phased return of students all those wishing to give consent must do so by 12:00PM ON WEDNESDAY 3RD MARCH.

Details of the phased return from 8 March will then be published on Thursday 4 March 2021.  My aim will be to make this as short a phased return as possible.  All vulnerable and key worker students will be catered for in school throughout this process.

 

What happens if a child has a positive LFT at home or in school

 

An update was issued on Tuesday 23 Feb 2021 stating that in the event of a positive LFT, a confirmatory PCR test must be undertaken.  If this is also positive then a period of 10 days isolation must be carried out as per NHS guidelines. 

 

Returning to school

 

This continues to be a challenging period, and while I am sure that parents and students are apprehensive about the next few weeks and months, can I take this opportunity to assure you that we will be doing all that we can to ensure that students will be safe and supported on their return to school.  The first two weeks of school will be affected by the voluntary testing regime, but staff are very much looking forward to getting back to some form of normality.

 

We are looking closely at what we need to put in place to support students not only with their academic development and progress but also with their social and mental health and well being. 

 

All general updates will be posted on the school website. That should be your first port of call if you have any queries. If you have questions about anything in this latest Update Blog, please do not hesitate to contact the school.  

 

I would like to wish you well and I hope you and your family stay safe and well in these difficult times.

 

Market Lane, Gateshead NE11 9NX, UK

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