Dear parent/guardian, I hope you and your families are well.
Can I firstly start by saying what a joy it has been to have the students back in the Academy, their laugher, energy and buzz around the building has been missed. They have returned with such maturity and shown us such much resilience over the last few weeks and months, I can only applaud them. Those that have chosen to be tested have worked with us to fully cooperate in the process and I would like to thank them, to date we have had zero positive cases reported from any of the student’s tests.
We continue to ensure all COVID protocols are in place, encouraging the wearing of masks in the communal areas and classrooms where appropriate and students remain in their bubbles and will do until the end of this academic year. We hope if restrictions are lifted towards the end of June we can invite parents and carers in for students shows in our new theatre, I know the learners would love to showcase their talents and let you see what they have learnt.
Until then however we need to now move to home testing, we will keep a testing service at the academy on reduced hours to test on site if a student or staff member becomes concerned about some symptoms or possible contact the virus.
Details of the home testing for students are below:
- Students will be given home tests to take home, they do not need to test over Easter unless they are experiencing symptoms, however we do need students to resume testing at home the morning of their return so either the 19th or 20th April, depending on their first day back. This will ensure all students how return is negative and reduce the risk of the virus being brought into the Academy.
- We will hand out more as needed with set collections for time each class. Please do not share these tests with other family members, if other members of the household wish to access testing please order tests online.
- If a student is in on a Monday and Thursday, we ask that they take these tests ideally in the morning before they come or the evening before if they are not leaving the house. If they are in on Tuesday and Wednesday again ideally in the morning of the evening before if staying at home.
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 email@example.com 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 final term with us.
One we return after Easter will be running some evening catch up sessions for student who wish to stay between 5-7pm and access some of the specialist spaces. We will update students on this when they return.
I and all the staff here would like to thank you for your continued support at what has been a difficult time for everyone, and we look forward the working with the students over the next term.
Sacha Corcoran MBE