We are now in a position to outline our plans for the full return of students beginning on Monday 22nd March.
I can confirm that all of the measures that we had in place before the current lockdown will still be in place. For instance, the organisation of year groups into year bubbles, the staggered start and end to the day, the arrangement of year bubbles into zones in each school building, hand hygiene etc.
The arrangements for the 1st week back have an additional layer of complexity due to the recent Government announcement that ‘Pupils should return to face-to-face education following their first negative test result’. In addition to this, on their first day back students need to be tested before a year group’s normal lessons can resume. As you can imagine, the challenges around organising this for nearly 700 people are considerable but we are confident that the following plan is the best way for mitigating as much risk as possible.
Firstly, whilst we do have a mass testing provision in school that has tested key worker children and staff throughout lockdown, we simply do not have the capacity to be able to manage the testing of 700 people all at one time. Therefore, we have had to stagger the return to school due to the fact that students must be tested before normal lessons can resume. Two subsequent Covid tests (for those who have consented) will be given in school over the next fortnight, and home testing kits will be provided for students after this initial period (more updates will follow).
As you can see from the table below XP16, Y11, Y10 and Y9 students in both schools will come back on Monday 22nd March at different times in order to facilitate their first test (unfortunately we have no alternative but to make Monday 22nd March an additional holiday day for Y7 and Y8). The reason for this staggered start for year groups is to allow us to test 100 students in designated blocks of time. In addition to this, students will remain in Crew bubbles at all times until confirmation of results have been received on that first day (results from Lateral Flow Tests take approximately 30 minutes) We have organised students into Crew bubbles because we wanted to do everything that we possibly can to prevent a full year bubble being sent home should a student test positive on the first day back. After confirmation of negative test results, Crew bubbles will once again become year bubbles ultimately allowing normal lessons to resume.
* Please note – we need Y9 students to have their lunch at home before coming into school for a 12:30pm start because we do not have the capacity to test students before lunchtime (students cannot go into the wider premises until negative results have been confirmed). Please contact Crew Leaders should this be an issue.
Students and staff should continue to wear face coverings (unless exempt) but a significant change to the Government guidance is that it is strongly recommended that face coverings should now also be worn in classrooms.
When students come into school for their first day back they will be greeted by staff who will direct them straight to their Crew room. Once here, students will engage in the testing registration procedure (once consent has been given) and they will be collected by a member of staff who will escort the Crew bubble to the mass testing area in XP’s Drama Studio.
After 9 very long weeks of Lockdown, we cannot wait to get our students back. I couldn’t be more proud of our staff who have worked so hard to support our kids. As a parent myself, I just want everything to get back to normal as quickly as possible, but we’re still not fully out of this yet. We must observe the guidance that we are receiving from Government and Public Health England the best we can. Coming back to school after what will be 13 weeks off is a very important milestone for us, and we will continue to do whatever it takes to allow us all to get through this as safely as possible.
Should you have any questions or concerns about these arrangements, please contact your child’s Crew Leader in the first instance.