Tuesday 9th March
Return to College
This has gone very well, so far. Years 10-13 have now had their initial Lateral Flow Test, and are now back in normal timetabled lessons. Year 7 returns tomorrow, Year 8 on Thursday and Year 9 on Friday. The “KWV bubbles” have continued, but disappearing one by one !
I have been delighted by the student response to the new requirement to wear masks all of the time; hardly any students are not doing this. Similarly, the consent rate for LFT is very high compared to nationally. This clearly makes Clyst Vale much safer.
It will take a few days for all students to transition back to College. Understandably, some are over excited, some are a little shell-shocked, but we will do our best to re-impose all the routines as gently but firmly as possible.
Thank you to parents and carers for all your help and support in making this happen, too !
There is a vast range of government guidance: you will find links at the bottom of this update.
Testing: key points
Lateral Flow Testing is not compulsory but is strongly recommended as it contributes to making schools safer.
We are offering students THREE tests on site in weeks beginning 8th and 15th March. After that, students should be tested at home. We believe that kits will be sent directly to parents. There will be detailed instructions with the testing kits, and there are many helpful YouTube videos about administering LFTs. This link is to a brief but effective presentation by Durham University: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZhSPnnXyPo
We have recently discovered that a LFT test conducted in school if positive will NOT be overruled by a negative PCR test. However, if a home test is positive but a subsequent PCR is negative, the home test result will be overruled, the student can return to school, and the household do not need to isolate.
We have also discovered that there is an expectation on schools to record the results of all home tests, whether void, negative or (obviously) positive. We are working hard to find a mechanism to make this as straightforward as possible.
I am afraid that the lack of clarity from central government is causing students, parents, and school staff confusion and even conflict . On the one hand, the guidance states that “the use of face coverings in recommended circumstances is one element of the system of controls and must be implemented in line with other guidance”. On the other hand, it also says that “this is guidance, not mandatory activity”, and that “this guidance does not create any new legal obligations”.
So far, our compromise approach is working well. Students and staff are recommended to wear masks at all times, including in the classroom, but this is not compulsory and no sanctions will be imposed if a mask is not worn. I am aware that some parents disagree, but at present the weight of medical and scientific public health advice is that wearing a mask reduces the transmission of covid-19. Having seen some of my colleagues very unwell with covid and its aftermath, I am very comfortable with a “better safe than sorry” approach.
The biggest challenge, as it was before Christmas, is getting students to remember to put masks on when chatting over the tables at lunch once they have finished eating !
There have been no further recent cases among students, staff or volunteers. Eight colleagues in total have now tested positive (6 support staff, 2 teachers, plus 1 volunteer LFT tester); fifteen colleagues and four LFT testers were required to isolate. All but two colleagues (covid positive) have now returned to College. Three clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) staff remain shielding until the end of March at the earliest.
Before Christmas 12 students tested positive for covid, as well as 31 family/household members. Over the holiday we were informed of 2 further students testing positive. Since the start of term there have been 9 students with a positive result and 17 family/household members. Attendance in the KWV provision so far this week remains at 14% of the College roll, which is higher than Devon and England averages.
Please keep informing us of any positive tests ! Contact details are below.
Locally to Clyst Vale, numbers of new infections remain low and mostly declining, still below national averages which have come down a long way. According to the NEU covid map for schools, in the last week East Devon has risen a fraction from 44 to 47 cases per 100,000, and the BBC gives 55 cases; for the first time I can remember, East Devon is slightly above the national average. However, Broadclyst, Cranbrook, Stoke Canon and area has fallen further from 31 to 19/100,000; Exeter has dropped from 49 to 23/100,000 (NEU) and even lower according to the BBC at 19, but Pinhoe and area has declined from 39 to 22. The national average for the BBC figures is 50/100,000 which is another steady drop from last week’s 77. (The NEU and BBC use different dates). The latest R rate for the South West region is 0.6 – 0.8.
Summer Exams 2021
On Thursday 25th February the results of the consultation on grading of public exams were announced, with the government’s roadmap. We still await more details. Ofqual have launched another short consultation, and we expect some firmer information before Easter. It is probable that most assessments will be after Easter, and will be spread out to reduce the “exam week” pressure; the priority beforehand is to complete courses and non-examined assessments. This will vary between subjects.
I always prefer to offer the “CVCC view” rather than a media piece; however, this BBC article is good at pointing out the key issues facing schools in general: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-56196295
You can find the DfE document on…. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964597/6747-1_decisions_-_GQ_consultation_on_awarding_grades_in_2021.pdf
Key Points to Remember
- Please do not send your child to school if they have covid symptoms.
- Please do not send your child to school if they have had symptoms and are waiting for a test result even if they seem better.
- If any member of a household has symptoms, everyone must stay away from school or work until the test result is known. If positive, everyone must isolate for 10 days from the start of symptoms or 10 days from the test date if there were no symptoms.
- Please tell us [student absence; AtHoS; Post-16] if your child or household member has symptoms; test dates and results; dates you have been given for a return to school. This applies even if your child is not attending College.
- Please use the number below for reporting an “out-of-hours” positive test result.
- Students should wear masks at all times unless exempt. Except lessons, when actually eating/drinking, and if outside AND at 1m+ distance from one another.
- Roadmap: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021
- DfE press notice 22/02: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mass-testing-for-secondary-pupils-as-all-schools-and-colleges-fully-reopenfrom8-march
- Catch up press notice 24/02- New education recovery package for children and young people – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Evidence summary: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evidence-summary-covid-19-children-young-people-and-education-settings
- Contingency framework: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-contingency-framework-for-education-and-childcare-settings
- Attendance statistics- Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: 23 March 2020 to 18 February 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Guidance for settings
- Schools: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak
- Early Years: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures
- Further Education: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision
- Higher Education: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses
- Special schools: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings
- Wraparound Guidance- Providers: Protective measures for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings for children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Selective school admissions- Coronavirus (COVID-19): assessment processes for selective school admissions – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Apprenticeships- Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Guidance for Parents
Wraparound guidance- Parents/carers: Guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
|Evenings & weekends AND HALF-TERM – reporting of Covid-19 positive test results|
We have introduced a dedicated phone number, solely for reporting positive Covid-19 test results at evenings and weekends
The number is: 07818 212 931
It is not for suspected cases, non-Covid-19 illness or absence, and is not an advice line.
Please text positive Covid-19 test result information to this number, including:
· Name of student
· Student’s tutor group
· Date symptoms appeared
· Which symptoms, or no symptoms
· Date of test
· Date of test result
If necessary, someone will contact you having received this information. Thank you!