Dear Parents / Carers
School Fully Open – Wednesday 30th June
I am pleased to say that we will be fully reopening the school tomorrow.
After some challenges over the last couple of days, we have been able to successfully secure a release request for identified colleagues who had been notified to self-isolate by their NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app. As stated in my letter yesterday, this was fully supported by the local authority (HCC). I would like to thank parents, carers and students (Year 9, Year 10 and Year 12) for their patience and support. Feedback from colleagues has indicated that engagement with online learning over the last two days has been very good.
As many of you will be aware from the national media there has been a rapid rise in the number of COVID-19 infections in school-aged young people, particularly those in their mid to late teens. As previous research has shown, school infection rates will reflect those of the community they are in. Over the last week I have seen an increase in students self-isolating due to positive cases within their family unit. Our positive case in Year 10 last week was the first in-school case since last December. We will undoubtedly have additional cases before the end of this term, but we can mitigate the impact if we all play our part.
Every student has been given LFD tests to be taken twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays. Whereas the initial response to taking these tests was positive, the number of tests reported to gov.uk (NHS) has seen a decline over the last few weeks. This is a picture that is reflected across Hertfordshire and is a cause for concern.
- All students (except those exempt for medical reasons) must take a LFD test on Sundays and Wednesdays (late afternoon / early evening).
- Positive LFD test results must be reported to our COVID-19 email address (COVID19@priory.herts.sch.uk) promptly on the day the test was taken (in addition to the way test results are normally reported). This allows time for members of the leadership team to start to implement our tracking & tracing protocols.
- We want to avoid students coming into school if they have been identified as close contacts.
- When you have a positive LFD test result be proactive and download the Track & Trace document from the school website (https://www.priory.herts.sch.uk/covid-19/) and complete it in as much detail as you can. The sooner we have the Track & Trace document, the quicker we can start to notify close contacts.
- As soon as possible after the positive LFD test result book a PCR test. Results of PCR tests are normally received within 24 hours.
- I would strongly urge you not to do a postal PCR as it can take up to a week to get the result back and if the result is negative those self-isolating as ‘close contacts’ will be out of circulation for longer than necessary.
For this week can all students in Year 9, Year 10 and Year 12 complete an additional LFD test this afternoon between 4pm and 6pm.
We have 4 weeks until the end of term and what we all want to avoid is having students off self-isolating and missing face-to-face teaching and the enrichment opportunities planned for them. Further, with the last day of this academic year being Friday 23rd July there is the possibility that we could have students self-isolating up until Tuesday 3rd August. For many this would impact on summer holiday plans.
To help reduce the risk of further COVID-19 cases in school, we need to have a collective response to protect the school and the wider community:
- If your child has any of the following symptoms they should stay at home and a PCR test should be booked: a new, continuous cough; a loss or change to sense of smell or taste; a high temperature.
- If your child is unwell, especially with a cold, sore throat, headache and/or runny noses, then keep them off school – play safe and don’t send them in. This will be an authorised absence.
- If your child has been identified as a close contact and must self-isolate, please make sure they do so. The school sometimes receives emails reporting students who have been seen not self-isolating. Ensuring this does not happen boils down to parents/carers.
These are challenging times, but if we all play our part we can minimise the rate of COVID-19 infection in our school community.
‘If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.’ – Henry Ford
Thank you for your continued understanding and support.