Dear parent/guardian, I hope you and your families are well.
Can I firstly say how well the students have done this term across the Academy, the enthusiasm, energy and effort that’s going into their end of term shows and projects is a joy to see. They demonstrate real passion and commitment for their courses and studies.
Sadly, I am sure many of you will have seen on the news the concern by the government of the new COVID variant ‘Omicron’. Yesterday the Academy received new guidance from the Department of Education that staff, students and visitors are required to wear masks when in the communal areas of the Academy. Of course if a student is exempt we will respect that. Can I please therefore ask that your young person brings a mask to the Academy and wears one when traveling in on public transport.
It is with regret that with this latest development I will be not be allowing student shows to go ahead with external audiences. I do not want to put students and their families at an increased risk of catching the virus.
COVID cases in Waltham Forest are on the rise and I will continue to monitor the situation closely with the local public health team. If any further guidance from the Department of education is given I will update you as and when I receive it.
We will also be continuing with the use of hand sanitiser and with the distribution of home tests to enable the Academy to be as safe a realistically possible for staff and students. Some students have not been taking the tests and we would ask that you encourage them to take the test kits home and use them twice a week to help us to keep staff, students and families safe.
Vaccines are a personal choice, however would like to remind you that young people over the age of 12 can book for a COVID vaccination and details will be local authorities websites.
Guidance for Student Home Testing – the guidance to be given to students for your information.
Students thank you for collecting your home tests. Please don’t lose this sheet of paper as it contains the information you need to perform your test and report your results.
Testing at home does not require written consent – you consent by completing the test. A copy of the privacy notice can be found on the health and safety notice board and a copy will be given to your teacher.
You should test yourselves twice a week, ideally before college in the morning. If you are 17 or under, you should ask an adult to supervise but should still perform the test yourself. You will be testing, processing and reporting the tests yourselves. Instructions and guidance for are in the Instructions for Use (IFU) booklet you picked up with your tests. You can also seek guidance via this YouTube link.
The development of the test takes 30 minutes, after which you need to read and report your result to NHS Track and Trace – instructions on how to do this are in the IFU booklet. Can we please ask that you do a test before returning to college after the Easter break.
Reporting your results to BCA
It is really important that you also report your result to the Academy using the following link or QR code. This is a simple form through which your results will be securely and privately communicated to BCA.
- Negative – if your result is negative, you can attend college as normal, remembering to maintain social distancing, wearing your mask and practice regular handwashing.
- Void – if your result is void, please take another test, remembering to avoid touching your cheeks and tongue with the swab. If you run out of tests, please request more from the college. You should still report void results.
- Positive – if your result is positive, you should isolate immediately and book a confirmatory PCR test at a local community or drive through testing centre. Please call the college to tell them the result of your PCR test and we will advise accordingly.
- If you have a recent, unhealed nose piercing, please test using your unpierced nostril.
- If you have both nostrils pierced, please remove one piercing before testing and test that nostril, as long as it is healed.
- If you have two nose piercings which are still healing, do not test using your nose and just perform a throat swab.
If you have had your tonsils removed, please swab the area at the back of your throat where your tonsils should be. It can be helpful to use a mirror and your phone light to help.
If you require further help or require more tests, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the display board.
I hope you can support your young person and encourage them to carry out the tests to ensure we continue to work together to beat this virus and ensure the students have a fun and safe few weeks with us before the end of term.
The Department of Education has also asked that all students test the night before returning to lessons after the Christmas break to enable us to start the new term reassured that no positive cases are on site.
I and all the staff here would like to thank you for your continued support at what continues to be a difficult time for everyone. I hope you are all able to spend more time with friends and family doing the things you love and enjoy the festive season.
We look forward the working with the students over the final few weeks of this term.
Sacha Corcoran MBE