From Monday the 25th of January, all staff at new Marske Primary School will be invited to take part in the national testing programme for primary school staff. This will involve staff taking two lateral flow tests during the week to help detect any presence of coronavirus. This is a really important step for reducing the risk to staff, pupils and parents from this virus. As 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus do not any symptoms, this step, coupled with the other measures in school, will support us as we slowly move back to normal.
As we are at the start of this testing programme, I would like to inform you of the potential challenges we do foresee while taking part in the programme. At present within school we are seeing significantly more numbers of pupils in school than during the first lockdown. This is due to the wider categories of critical workers and the increased number of vulnerable pupils. This increased number of pupils means that we currently have all staff working in school.
As we have more pupils during this lockdown, the most significant step we are currently taking to reduce the risk to pupils and staff is ensuring that pupils and staff work in the same bubbles, with no member of staff moving between different class groups. As staff are not being used to support other bubbles, as we move to the testing of all staff, there is the risk that if a teacher tests positive prior to coming to work, parents in the class will have to be notified at short notice that the class is closed and will move to remote learning for a period of time. This period of time could be for one or two days if the NHS PCR test is negative, or up to 10 days if the test is positive. At this point there could be a need for the pupil to self isolate, depending on the guidance from the Department for Education.
To help support parents the following procedures will be used up until the review of the current lockdown on the 15th of February.
- Staff will test themselves at home before 7am on a Monday morning and a Thursday morning.
- If a member of staff tests positive, they will have to isolate at home and book a NHS PCR test. Staff will notify the head teacher before 7:45am with any positive results.
- If the class teacher tests positive, parents of pupils in that class will be informed before 8:00am that the class will be closed and will move to remote learning. Further information will be provided shortly after to inform parents and pupils how they can access activities.
As we start this important task of testing staff, I can see that there could be a number of classes closed over the coming weeks. As a school we will always aim to reduce the disruption that closing classes will cause and will work to ensure that parents are kept up to date about any changes to plans.