Testing on site (secondary phase)

We are now entering the final week of testing in school. Test kits will shortly be handed out to students for them to compete the tests on themselves at home. When a home test has been completed, please submit your results using the form below:

Covid Test Declaration Form

Some parents have asked a number of questions and so we have now put together a list of those most frequently asked questions  that we have received.  Most of these are concerned about the use of the lateral flow tests  (LFT) and how we intend to use them. However before we answer any questions, we need to ensure that parents understand the following points.

  • Firstly, that the LFT are only part of the wider set of mitigations in place¬†
  • Hand sanitizers and hand washing are enforced hourly
  • Students are in year bubbles, and more often than not, this means in KS3, class bubbles, or half year bubbles
  • Students have to stay within their designated zones before school, break and lunchtimes
  • Each year group have their own designated toilets
  • We ask all teachers to keep doors and windows open to ensure that indoor spaces are well ventilated
  • Unlike other schools, allowing students to do practical lessons, but regular washing of equipment
  • PE continues, but students wear their PE kit to school
  • Masks have been worn in corridors
  • Social distancing of staff and students
  • Limiting the number of staff in offices and areas
  • No assemblies or other communal events
  • Strict rotas for lunch and entry into the canteen
  • Staggered start and finish
  • Our testing centre is well versed and safe as we have been using it for the past 8 weeks

These measures have shown to be successful and have a positive impact from September, resulting in few children having to isolate and the very small handful of cases have all been traced to an external source/event. Discussions with Public Health have praised the mitigations in place and no visits have ensued. Please note: The Government expects all young people to return to school (even if you do not give your consent to a test). Home learning will cease from the days we have informed you of.

 

If you have any queries then please contact admin@simonballe.herts.sch.uk

Please can I also remind you that if your child tests positive, please continue to use the COVID email address – covid19@simonballe.herts.sch.uk

 

Frequently asked questions

Q: Why do the children have to have three tests, before they can test themselves at home?

 Response: The reason for this is simply to get the young person used to how to test themselves. The tests in school are supervised by Simon Balle staff. Your child will see a familiar face who will put the young person at ease and talk through how it works. It is anticipated that having 3 tests will give the young person the confidence to then carry out these tests at home.

Q: How accurate are the tests?

 Response: The test is to test people who are showing no symptoms. There has been a lot of coverage about how accurate the tests are and we learn that there is more accuracy if the person is confident in performing the task carefully- hence the 3 tests. However it is known that they are not 100% accurate but all schools and many people believe that it is better to try and catch any asymptomatic persons, rather than not testing at all.

Q:How will my child know what to do and when to come for their first test?

 Response: We are issuing appointments to all students on a particular day (Friday is Y12 and Y10) (Monday is Y11 and Y9) and (Tuesday is Y7 and Y8). With the appointment time will come clear instructions and staff will be in the playground to welcome students back and direct them to the correct place. Other staff will then talk them through what will happen. 

Each student will be in a separate booth, divided by a screen. The staff member will talk them through how to do the test- it is unnerving for us all the first time we do it. They do the test for themselves.  Once completed and they have cleaned down the booth, as instructed by the member of staff (who will be wearing PPE) they will follow the instructions on how to leave. They must leave the site immediately.

Q: I completely understand the need for the LFT but my child has a severe gag reflex and will be sick if he has to swab the back of his throat. 

Response: Please fill in the consent and please tell them not to worry. Instead of having a throat and nostril swabbing they can request to have “Nasal” swab only. This means they do both nostrils instead of their throat.¬†

Q: My child suffers terribly from nose bleeds which can lead to them being sick and passing out.  They are very worried about putting the swab up their nose. 

  Response: If you child is worried about or has specific concerns with doing a nose swab or a throat swab they should inform the tester, the tests are carried out by the student themself so they will only do what they feel comfortable doing, the tester is there to guide the student and ensure it is done correctly and safely 

Q: How will we know the test result? What happens if it is a positive?

Response: You will only hear if it is a positive result. You will then have to immediately isolate as a household for 10 days. The young person does not need a further test. The family members will only need a test if they get symptoms. If there are siblings, they must isolate and not come into school. We will inform teachers and arrange for work to be sent. 

Q: I have read this article which suggests that that is not safe, other studies say it’s pointless and has a low percentage of success, I feel you are not listening to this evidence.

Response: Schools are governed by the Government and the DFE as their respective body, we are instructed to follow their guidance and procedures as are all schools in the county.

We will endeavour to ensure all students are supported throughout the schools testing process

If you feel unsure,do not give consent.

Q:  I am really worried that some students will not be tested and my child could be sitting next to a positive case.

 Response: This is always a possibility and the tests are not compulsory or enforceable. We will continue to have controls in place, seating plans and close contact tracing, the risk is further mitigated by the wearing of masks in class and communal areas.

Q: How regularly will the three tests take place and how will this happen?

Response: We are currently devising rotas for all students by year group. The DFE says that students have to have their tests between 3-5 days after test 1 and then again 3-5 days following test 2, for test 3. Students will be allocated a time for the test in small groups, and they will go to the testing centre. If anyone receives a positive test, they will be sent home to isolate and like last term, we will carry out our own track and trace which will probably mean that other students will be sent home to isolate. 

Q: I am not giving consent, so what will my child do when other children are called out of class for their second/third test?

Response: As the students will be called to attend in small groups, your child who will not be tested will remain in the room with the teacher and other students.

Q: When will we get the tests to do at home?

Response: We will issue the test packs after the third test. Tests need to be carried out twice weekly. There will be instructions with every pack on how to use, how to report and what to do if positive.

We will also send each student a short video and how to guide.

Q: Have you any ideas as to how we can organise this at home?

Response: Many parents will have more than one child at home who will be testing and in some cases, adults will be too. We suggest that tests are done early evening, in a relaxed way. The results take 30 minutes to develop after testing. The problem some families might have with a morning test is that often families are in a hurry in the morning and this may lead to a rushed test. Also, if positive, you can notify the school the evening before so we can try and organise work, track and trace etc as quickly as possible. 

Q: We have had Covid in the past 90 days, does my child still need a test?

 No, If your child has had a confirmed case of Covid in the last 90 days you will need to work out when the 90 days ends and then LFT testing can resume. The 90 days should be counted from the day the positive took place.

Q: I am still worried and do not want my child to return to school. Is this ok and can you send work?

Response: I am afraid that this is not acceptable and this will be marked as unauthorised absence. Schools are working extremely hard to mitigate risks and also with the vaccination rate, infections are falling. 

 

Face masks

Much has been written about the use of face masks in doors as further mitigation against this airborne disease. From the onset some parents wanted us to enforce mask wearing by all secondary students at all times. We took our time (slightly later then some schools) as although added protection you can quickly get into the ‚Äúnitty gritty‚ÄĚ about the type of mask,how you use it and also the frequency of use. However we followed Government guidelines towards the end of the term and insisted use in crowded corridors. Unfortunately our 1950/60s buildings at the best of times are busy and most students and staff appreciated that masks showed respect and concern.

The Government is once again taking a pragmatic view this time and saying when the 2 metre rule can not be easily enforced, masks should be worn. 

Q: My daughter is exempt for medical reasons and should not wear a mask. What should she do?

Response: As before, please do write to her Head of Year and a lanyard will be given to show exemption

Q: I do not want my child to wear a face mask all day.

Response: We are asking for masks to be worn in corridors and most classrooms where applicable. There is no need for them to be worn in outdoor or indoor PE, at lunchtimes or circulating outside the building. The Government is to review this for the start of the new term. 

 

The need to isolate

If a student has been told to self isolate

  • If you (the student) have been told to self isolate you have been identified as a close contact with a confirmed positive Covid 19 case.
  • You must self isolate for 10 days from this notification
  • Your family (including siblings at the school) do not have to self isolate unless you start to show symptoms. If you show symptoms you must start another 10 day isolation and your family must then self isolate for 10 days.¬†

If a student is in a year group that is self isolating 

  • If your child has not been sent a letter asking them to self isolate they will be required to come to school as normal.
  • If your child has any symptoms do not send them to school. If they develop symptoms whilst at school they will be sent to the front office where they will be collected by a parent.

Shall I get a test even though I don’t have symptoms but I’m isolating?

  • No, you could have a test and later develop symptoms and have to be re tested. You must complete your isolation.

I have already booked a test and its come back negative!

  • If you have a test whilst in isolation and it comes back negative you will not be allowed back to school until you have completed your 10 day isolation. You may develop symptoms after the test.

What work should I do if I am isolating?

  • As we seek to ensure we provide high-quality teaching and learning for all of our students in the current climate, please see the details of remote provision in the event of a student having to isolate:
    • As a matter of course, and as long as the content and nature of the lesson permits, subject teachers will upload their lessons daily to the relevant Google Classroom so students should follow their timetable to complete this work
    • In order to combat cases where this is not possible, each Year Group has a whole of cohort Google Classroom where each department has provided around two week’s worth of age-appropriate enrichment resource/project/workbook that complements the annual curriculum content covered for that year group. Please note:
      • It is not compulsory for students to complete this enrichment work
      • If submitted to the subject teacher, students will be rewarded with house points
      • At KS4 we have the Supporting Attainment Google Classroom which has material that includes revision activities linked to their exams
    • Although most students have signed up, here are the codes so you can support your child signing up at home if necessary:
      • Year 7 Google Classroom code: nqseq5k
      • Year 8 Google Classroom code: ke7ynum
      • Year 9 Google Classroom code: gxs7rtt
      • KS4 Google Classroom code: ncltrds

 

Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-contacts-of-people-with-possible-or-confirmed-coronavirus-covid-19-infection-who-do-not-live-with-the-person

 

What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID 19 

If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19, they should remain at home for at least 10 days from the date when their symptoms appeared. Anyone with symptoms will be eligible for testing and this can be arranged via https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or by calling 119 .

People who do not have symptoms should not request a test unless this has been specifically requested by Public Health England or the local authority.

These documents are the latest guidance about Covid-19 in schools.

Schools – Myth busting

Letter to parents and carers from Jim McManus_230920

Masks non medical

Masks medical

Letter_to_parents_v2_with_signatures_23rd_FE_update_final_final_VB