Rapid Covid Testing

 

School Coronavirus Update – 31/12/2020

Dear Parents/Carers, 

 

I am writing to update you after the Senior Leadership Team met this morning. We are entirely committed to delivering what is right for our school, our community and as you know I will always be honest and transparent where I can. With this in mind, I share with you here the guidance that arrived yesterday evening. This delayed opening was not unexpected and I truly believe it is the right decision for maintaining student, staff and our families safety and well being. 

 

Whilst some may have political views on schools being used as testing centres, perhaps now is the time to clarify our position. There is an explicit expectation, by the DfE, on ALL secondary schools to undertake the lateral flow testing for COVID routinely for staff and at the start of term for ALL students. This is not something that I, as the Headteacher, can go against. There is no financial incentive for schools to do this testing, but reasonable costs incurred as part of the initiative will be covered by the DfE.

 

I am truly grateful to my loyal, committed team of staff who have embraced the changes to the start of term arrangements, giving up some of their much needed holiday. I am really pleased to report that we, as ever, are ahead of the process. We have already undertaken significant planning, training and construction work on setting up our systems and procedures to ensure that we are ready to implement mass testing as soon as we receive the tests and further equipment on 4th January 2021.

 

Within this latest letter you will receive detailed guidance about remote learning planned for the first week of term. As you know we already declared an INSET day on Monday 4th, so learning will commence from Tuesday 5th January. Many of you will have already had a very positive experience of  remote learning  during lockdown 1, but I am also acutely aware that some of our Year 7 families will be worried at something that may be different from their experience at primary schools. Guidance is attached to this email on how to access the learning and also access to devices if you are in difficulty. May I take this opportunity to reinforce that these lessons are not optional and attendance registers are taken for each lesson, as per normal school. Non attendance may see further action being taken. Read more

COVID Update – 30th December 2020

Dear Parent/ Carers, 

 

I am sure many of you will have seen the news today announcing the delayed opening of secondary schools to all students. You will know that at Crestwood we pride ourselves on being well ahead in the planning but we heard this at the same time as the rest of the country. Therefore, Year 11 are planned to return on the 11th January 2021 and Years 7 to 10 from the 18th.

 

I have just met virtually with the SLT and we are meeting again tomorrow morning to plan in more detail, when I will endeavour to update you further. We are clear that we can deliver remote learning to ALL students from Tuesday 5th January 2021 and need to stress upon you and for students that this is not optional, with attendance being compulsory as it would be to attend school. If anyone has issues accessing remote learning, then as per previous communication, you should email andrew.whittick@crestwood.hants.sch.uk. Further detailed guidance on the timetable and accessing the live lessons will follow tomorrow.

 

The school will remain open for Critical Worker and Vulnerable students. However I do have a plea to you as parents, in the honest and open manner you have become accustomed to. The deadline for requesting these places has passed as per the letter issued at the end of term. We have staffing considerations to meet now we are remotely educating the entire school from Tuesday 5th January 2021, therefore please do not be offended if your request is refused if you have submitted your request after the deadline. 

 

Over this holiday period I have seen, first hand, the more virulent strain of COVID and the impact of this as my own daughter and all of her friends were tested positive, despite following guidance. As a result we have been isolating all holiday, with other family members testing positive, quite frankly I have been unnerved by this. As I am currently typing this, watching the latest Downing Street Briefing, it has been stated that this strain of COVID loves a crowd. Schools are crowded places, even with social distancing measures in place, and I would kindly request that if you fulfil the Critical Worker or Vulnerable Child criteria, that if you can have your child at home then please do so for everyone’s safety. We want as few children in school as possible to minimise the risk of any transmission until we get the COVID testing rolled out. If you do not genuinely need the space then please keep your child at home safe from transmission, as whilst many children do not have symptoms, they can come home and pass it to your family. A member of the SLT will be calling you before Monday to discuss your request to ascertain the real need. If after reading this you feel you no longer want the place then please email steve.gibbs@crestwood.hants.sch.uk.

 

With regards to testing, we will be delaying the commencement of this for staff and students to ensure we have the equipment and training required to undertake this huge task. However, we are committed to testing 1250 students and 191 staff by commencement of school for all on the 18th January 2021. Therefore, those Year 10 and 11 students who have received an appointment time for the 5th January 2021 are asked to disregard this and a new slot will be arranged. We continue to aim to test all students in the week of the 5th January 2021 with the second test happening within 3 to 5 days later, but this may be shifted back. Please be alert for any emails with appointment times for your child, as they will be required to come to school for a short period of time for their tests.

 

I am so sorry that this is all so last minute, yet again, but given the latest statistics regarding transmission rates, particularly with regards to the new variant of the virus, I believe the decision taken today is the right one. I urge you to do your part and keep your children inside and follow at all times the Tier 4 restrictions. One person’s frivolity could mean another’s death, so please be careful and stay safe #Crestwoodfamily.

 

Yours, as ever, 

 

Krista Dawkins

Headteacher