Covid-19 Updates for Parents
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Update: 16th March 2021
Covid Testing at Home - Letter to Parents and Carers
Over the last few weeks, we have been testing students in the Harris Garrard Testing Centre. Students and staff have been taking two tests weekly to ensure that we have a safe environment in which to work. This has helped massively in ensuring HGA can function as normally as possible, when we welcome students back.
As you will have seen on the news up to one in three people who have COVID-19 can spread the virus without knowing. This is because they have no symptoms. To reduce the spread of the virus, we need to identify those individuals. The next phase of this is to move testing away from the Academy and having households support by carrying out tests at home twice every week, 3-4 days apart.
Testing students at home
Students will be able to collect home test kits once they have completed their third test in the Academy. These test kits will be issued to students from the testing room. We would like them to take their tests before school on Monday and before school on Thursday.
You will also need to tell us the result of each test by completing the short form found on our website here: https://forms.office.com/r/TW4G4bCBbf
Tests are free of charge. Students will initially receive two packs of 3 tests in a box with a leaflet on how to take the test and report the results to school and the NHS.
Make sure you have enough time to do the test before coming into the academy. Preferably this would be in the morning before going into school. However, we understand that for some people this may be challenging. Therefore, tests can be taken the evening before if needed. You need to report test results.
Taking the test
Students should take the test, before coming into the Academy twice a week. We will give students a leaflet with instructions on how to do the test with the kit. There is also a useful video to show you how to take the test here.
Help and support is available, including instructions in different languages on how to test and report the results and a video showing you how to take the test.
There is no need to keep used test equipment after the test result has been reported. You can put it in your normal bin (household waste).
This does not replace symptomatic testing. If you have symptoms, you should self-isolate immediately, book a PCR test and follow national guidelines.
What should you do after the test?
If anyone tests positive you, your household, any support bubbles you are part of should self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance for 10 days.
You need to report your result to NHS Test and Trace and Harris Garrard Academy.
You should order a confirmatory PCR test if you are testing at home.
If the result of the test is unclear (void) you should do another test.
Negative and void results should be reported to both NHS Test & Trace and Harris Garrard Academy.
A negative result does not guarantee that you are not carrying the virus. So, you should continue to follow social distancing, and other measures to reduce transmission such as wearing a face mask and regularly washing your hands and observing social distancing.
If you or anyone in your household gets symptoms of the virus you should follow national guidelines on self-isolation and testing.
You need to report each test result.
The result of each test needs to be reported using the NHS Test & Trace self-report website: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result.
You will also need to tell the school the result of each test using the form https://forms.office.com/r/TW4G4bCBbf
Why take part?
Taking part in testing is voluntary and all students will be able to attend the Academy whether they take part in testing or not.
I am strongly encouraging all students to take part. Testing at home will allow your child and other students to attend the Academy, as safely as possible.
As always please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you for your support.
Head of Academy
National Guidance on Coronavirus
Symptoms of coronavirus
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
- new continuous cough and/or
- high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.
What to do if someone in your household develops symptoms of COVID-19
If someone in your household develops symptoms of COVID-19, they should remain at home for at least 10 days from the date when their symptoms appeared.
All other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.
The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
Household members should not go to work, school or public areas and exercise should be taken within the home.
Household members staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.
If you are able, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period.
If your child or anyone in the household does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from NHS 111 at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/ 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. Do:
- 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
The government has now published its final guidance on the wider re-opening of schools. You can read the latest government guidence HERE.
Staggered arrival and dismissal times
Please visit our Timings of the Day page for details of the staggered start and finish times for each year group in both primary and secondary phases.
Bus travel - important changes
From September until the end of October, TfL are planning to make the following changes to buses serving Harris Garrard Academy:
- Route 180 is planned to run every other bus dedicated for school travel in the morning
- Route 401 is planned to run with two additional bus dedicated for school travel in the morning peak
- Route 601 is planned to run with three additional bus dedicated for school travel in the morning peak and two additional buses dedicated for school travel in the afternoon peak
- Route B11 is planned to run with one additional bus dedicated for school travel in the morning peak
However, please do walk or cycle to school instead of taking public transport, if you can. To find out more about the new online Cycle Skills course, aimed at both those cycling for the first time, or those wishing to refresh their skills, click HERE.
Face coverings - clarification
When schools return, in accordance with the guidance we have received from the Government, students in all London secondary schools, will be required to wear face coverings in classrooms and communal areas.
We recognise that some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings, such as, if they have a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from using one; if you are unsure whether this applies to your child, please contact us. Likewise, if obtaining a face covering poses a financial difficulty for your family, please let us know and we will provide one.
Our overall plan
- The Academy will reopen to students in all year groups
- Students must return to their compulsory education
- We shall be placing groups of students into ‘bubbles’ in all phases to reduce the risk of transmission
- Students will continue to study a broad and balanced curriculum, as you would expect from HGA
- Students will return in full academy uniform, including academy bag
We have taken steps to ensure that the Academy is a COVID secure workplace for staff and students and the safety of our community remains a top priority. We implemented the following:
- We have implemented new hygiene rules and hand washing routines for students
- Extensive and advanced thorough cleaning of the Academy, using strong cleaning products such as bleach
- Floor markings to help students recognise what a safe distance is from each other
- A staggered start to the Academy day, staggered breaks and lunch times, to reduce contact with others
- Reduction in the number of visitors to the Academy
See our plan for remote learning in the event of one or more students needing to return to remote learning.
The following outlines what students must do while at the Academy:
- Arrive to the Academy at your allocated time only
- Students will wash hands before entering the academy building
- Students will wash hands before eating
- Students are to remain in their bubble at all times
- Maintain social distancing where appropriate and able
- Students will avoid using shops before or after school
I have also amended the mobile phone policy whilst students are at the Academy. We operate a ‘not seen and not heard’ system, so that students are able to carry mobile phones at the Academy in readiness for an NHS Track and Trace App to help control the virus.
We do ask for your support at the end of the school day if you are picking your child up, in ensuring that you do not wait outside the Academy, which would prevent students and staff from social distancing from yourselves and each other.
Steve West, Head of Academy