Lateral Flow Device and PCR tests
Prior to the October 2021 half term, an issue was identified with false negative PCR results coming from a lab in Wolverhampton and, as a region, the South West experienced a dramatic spike in positive Covid-19 cases. At Cirencester Deer Park School, we saw a similar pattern (see Covid Outbreak). As a result, we brought back various measures in school (see Covid Challenge) to help regain control over the rising case numbers and we would like to thank parents and pupils for the support you have given us regarding these measures.
On return to school on Monday 1 November, we rolled out mass LFD testing of pupils for whom we have consent and who have not had Covid-19 in the last 90 days. This was to help ensure a safe return to school and to practise a different way of testing (with a large group with pupils testing more independently, rather than one-to-one with an adult), so that we have a method we can use at short notice if we need to in the future. On Monday 1 November one asymptomatic case was identified. Test Two was on Friday 5 November and we identified one asymptomatic case.
We encourage our families (unless you have had a positive coronavirus result in the last 90 days) to continue or start doing Lateral Flow Device testing regularly, twice a week. We can help reduce the cases in our local communities by testing and self-isolating when required.
We continue to ask pupils and staff to wear face coverings in indoor spaces, including in lessons, and our enhanced wipe-down routines are still in place. These measures will be reviewed week ending 12 November. During this first week back at school, week ending 5 November, we have seen a sharp downturn in positive cases - half term does seem to have provided the short fire break that was needed.
LFD Testing at Home
Pupils who have been testing in school this week will be bringing home LFD test kits today, 5 November. If your child has not been testing in school but would like to test at home, please ask them to see Miss Brace, Assistant Head, in her office by Reception for test kits.
We are all extremely grateful to Miss Brace who has led our testing programme very efficiently and to our pupils for their cooperation. We will continue to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 within our school community and, should we see the beginnings of another spike, we will invite our pupils to retest in school. We encourage them all to continue to test twice weekly at home.
Chiquita Henson, Headteacher
QUALITY ASSURANCE DUAL TESTING
We have been invited to take part in a piece of research being carried out by NHS Test and Trace into Quality Assurance for LFD and PCR test results. Quality Assurance is an important part of the testing programme as it helps NHS Test and Trace ensure that test kits are effective and that tests are being conducted correctly.
One way that Quality Assurance is undertaken is by inviting participants to do a ‘Dual Test’. Alongside one of your child’s LFD tests at home, they are asked to do one additional PCR (nose and throat swabs) test and then complete a quick and simple online form. A Participant Information Sheet is enclosed with the PCR test. The online form links the LFD and PCR tests together so that when the PCR test is processed, the team can track it to the LFD result. The PCR should be posted using one of the Royal Mail Priority mailboxes. If you are unable to get to a priority mailbox, your child can bring the sealed PCR box back to Miss Brace, who will post the box. Participation in this research is voluntary and pupils can continue to LFD test without taking part in dual testing. Comparison of the results helps NHS Test and Trace to ensure the quality of results. This dual testing should not be undertaken by anyone who has had Covid-19 in the last 90 days.
Miss Brace, Assistant Head, has emailed parents of pupils for whom we have in-school LFD test permission and over 100 pupils have volunteered to take part and will be bringing home a PCR kit on Friday 5 November.
Before half term we took delivery of a number of CO2 monitors as part of a Government programme to provide CO2 monitors to all state-funded education settings. The monitors have been put into specific areas in the school - unfortunately we do not have enough for all classrooms, so we have had to prioritise. Good ventilation is key to a safer learning and working environment. As we go into the colder weather, please ensure that your child is wearing their school jumper (or cardigan for Year 10/11 girls) and/or school 1/4 zip top (available from D&J Sports). Pupils must wear their uniform correctly (see Uniform) and are not allowed to wear non uniform items in the classroom. We remind you that a hoodie is NOT part of school uniform and is not an acceptable alternative to a coat.