Covid & testing advice

Please read the guidance notes at this link if you think your child or a member of your household has Coronavirus symptoms – please do not send your child to school

Instructions for reporting positive Covid-19 cases

Please advise us if you child has tested positive for Covid.  NHS Test and Trace will deal with contacting any persons considered to be a close contact.

Symptoms that you should consider are;

  • headache
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature and/or
  • a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

All students and staff members should resume lateral flow testing twice a week whilst attending school. There is no longer a requirement to take a confirmatory PCR test if you have a positive lateral flow test. If you are a close contact of a positive case you should take a lateral flow test every day for 7 days.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and have a negative lateral flow test, it is advisable to get a PCR test to re-confirm https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

 

Covid Isolation advice

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

COVID isolation flow chart_20 Jan 2022

Latest letter from the Headteacher

14 January 2022

Dear Parents and Carers

I hope you have had a good week.  Another week passes and there are more changes to the COVID rules I must clarify and share with you.  The isolation period is changing again, as you may well have heard.  From Monday the self-isolation period for anyone who is positive can be reduced to 6 days if the individual tests negative on a lateral flow test on both day 5 and 6.  These negative test results also need to be reported to the NHS.  For a student to return to school on their 6th day, they would need to do both their day 5 and day 6 tests before school, as these tests must be 24 hours apart.  If the lateral flow test is positive the individual must continue to self-isolate until they either get negative results two days in a row or complete ten full days isolation.  If the individual still has a temperature then they must continue to self-isolate, beyond ten days if necessary.  We will update our flow diagrams on the website with this information as soon as possible to reflect this new guidance.

It is good to hear in the media that cases of the Omicron variant are now receding in London and the surrounding area.  This week we have seen a 25% reduction in students self-isolating which supports this news.  It remains important that we continue to test twice weekly to help this reduction as cases continue.  We have a good supply of test kits in school so please do ask your children to pick more up from their tutor, Head of Year or the main school office.  Thank you for remembering to test your children this Sunday again.

Vaccination of 12-15-year olds

We have been contacted by the NHS to let us know that they plan to return to administer 1st and 2nd doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to 12-15-year olds, where consent has been given, at school on 9th & 10th February. You can still arrange for this to be done at a vaccination centre directly through the NHS if you prefer.

16-year olds, and children aged 12 to 15 years old who are in a clinical risk group or who are a household contact of immunosuppressed individuals, and those who are severely immunosuppressed and have had a third primary dose are now legible for a Pfizer booster vaccine.

You should contact the NHS to arrange these if your daughter or son is eligible and would like to benefit from vaccination.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/?utm_source=6%20January%202022%20C19&utm_medium=Daily%20Email%20C19&utm_campaign=DfE%20C19

Staff Levels

There has been a good deal of reporting over the Christmas break on schools struggling to staff lessons as normal as a result of high levels of illness. Whilst we had higher levels of staff absence last term we were able to keep lessons running for all students with the support of some local supply staff with whom we have good relationships.

I do need you to be aware that supply agencies are struggling to find enough staff to support schools with higher level of staff absence that is caused by the pandemic and I cannot guarantee that we will always be able to get the staff we need in these times.

With students following the measures above they can help us prevent high levels of staff absence. This will be even more important with the Omicron variant which seems capable of infecting adults who have received their booster vaccines.

At present there should be no immediate disruption to learning over this week unless things change suddenly.

Should levels of staff absence get to that where we cannot teach all of the students in school with the staff we have available we would have to ask some year groups to work remotely from home until the situation improves. We would prioritise the youngest year group and our GCSE year groups to remain in school. I hope that we will not need to do this, but I do feel it is possible if we see an increase of infection in local schools over the next few weeks and would like to warn you of this ahead of time. It is likely that we would need to make this decision quite quickly and I ask you to understand that it is not something we will be able to give you much more than a day’s notice of, if required.

If you have children in Year 8 or 9 and you have not yet let us know that they do not have the technology and equipment at home to work remotely please do so.

Visitors to educational settings:

We are limiting visitors to the school where possible and ask that parents/carers do not come onto site without a prior appointment. Any visitors we have on site will have to test prior to their visit and provide evidence of a negative result. This includes contractors.

Events:

We will review the viability of any school events being able to go ahead as we go. Whilst Government mitigating measures are in place, any larger event will be subject to additional measures to ensure that everyone is as safe as possible.

GCSE exams Summer 2022:

There are no further changes with regards to the GCSE exams this year. We are awaiting the advanced information about exam content, which we have been assured will be with schools no later than 7th February.

There is a lot of information here, please do get in touch with us if you have any questions arising from this letter.

We look forward to seeing Years 7 and 11 back in school for lessons tomorrow, and Years 8-10 on Thursday following their on-site test tomorrow.

The weather is turning cold again this week and with the need to ventilate the school we remind you that it is wise for students to wear layers. Hoodies and sweatshirts are not permitted to be worn in, or to and from school and will be confiscated. Please can I remind you that any semi-permanent make up such as nails and eye lashes will need to be removed ahead of the return to school also.

Thank you for your support with all of these requirements and we look forward to getting 2022 off to a good start.

Yours faithfully

 

Phil Reeves

Headteacher

 

 

Schedule for On-site testing on January 4th and 5th 

Schedule for On-site testing January 2022

 

Some Covid reminders….

Face coverings should:

  • Cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably
  • Fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face
  • Be secured to the head with ties or ear loops
  • Be made of a material that you find to be comfortable and breathable, such as cotton
  • Ideally include at least two layers of fabric (the World Health Organisation recommends three depending on the fabric used)
  • Reusable face coverings should be able to be washed with other items of laundry according to fabric washing instructions and dried without causing the face covering to be damaged.

 

What to do if your child develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or tests positive for COVID-19

The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a new, continuous cough, or a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia).   If your child develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), they should get a PCR test via Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) or by calling 119  and remain at home at least until the result is known. If negative, the child can end self-isolation; if positive, the child should isolate until at least 10 days after their symptoms appeared. They can return to their normal routine and stop self-isolating after 10 full days if their symptoms have gone, or if the only symptoms you have are a cough or anosmia, which can last for several weeks. If they still have a high temperature after 10 days or are otherwise unwell, stay at home and seek medical advice.

If the child has a positive test result but do not have symptoms, they should stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days from the date the positive test was taken. This isolation period will be extended if they go on to develop symptoms by counting 10 full days from the day following their symptom onset.

Instructions for people who live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 (tested positive or symptomatic awaiting a test result)

Please see the stay at home guidance with information of what the household should do and who is exempt from isolation as a close contact. Even if you are exempt it is recommended that contacts get a PCR test, and undertake other measures outlined in the guidance such as limiting contact with anyone who is extremely clinically vulnerable and wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces while the person in your household with COVID-19 is self-isolating.

If you / your child develop symptoms at any time, even if these are mild, self-isolate immediately, arrange to have a COVID-19 PCR test and follow the guidance for people with COVID-19 symptoms.

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

If your child does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from the nhs.uk website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/check-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms/. If you are concerned about your child’s symptoms, or they are worsening you can seek advice from NHS 111 at https://111.nhs.uk/ or by phoning 111.

 

Contacts who are not required to self-isolate from 16 August 2021

From 16 August, you will not be required to self-isolate if you are notified you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and any of the following apply:

  • you are fully vaccinated
  • you are below the age of 18 years 6 months
  • you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

Fully vaccinated means that you have been vaccinated with an MHRA approved COVID-19 vaccine in the UK, and at least 14 days have passed since you received the recommended doses of that vaccine.

If you are a health or social care worker or student working in health and social care settings who has been identified as a household contact and are exempt from self-isolation, there is additional guidance available that you should follow to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 in these settings including not returning to work until you have a negative PCR test.

Students who are under the age of 18 years and 6 months or older students who are fully vaccinated can still attend the educational setting if identified as a close contact. They are recommended to get a PCR test* if 5 years and older (for household contacts there is no lower age restriction), avoid anyone who is extremely clinically vulnerable for the time they would have isolated and follow additional measures outlined below.

*They should not arrange to have a PCR test if they have previously received a positive PCR test result in the last 90 days, unless they develop any new symptoms of COVID-19. It is possible for PCR tests to remain positive for some time after COVID-19 infection.

 

How to stop coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading

There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread

  • get vaccinated – everyone aged 18 and over can book COVID-19 vaccination appointments now. Those aged 16 and 17 will be invited to book an appointment: Who can get the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine – NHS (www.nhs.uk).  Those who are aged 12-15 who are themselves clinically extremely vulnerable or live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable or meet JCVI recommendations (JCVI statement)  are also eligible.
  • wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • meet people outside and avoid crowded areas
  • open doors and windows to let in fresh air if meeting people inside
  • wear a face covering when it’s hard to stay away from other people – particularly indoors or in crowded places
  • participate in twice weekly LFD testing following national guidelines (recommended for 11 years and over). We encourage you to log your results here: https://www.gov.uk/log-test-site-covid19-results

Further Information

Further information is available at

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

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1st September 2021

Dear Parents and Carers

I hope that you have been able to enjoy happy and healthy summers. We are looking forward to the start of the new school year and while there are still a few measures in place that we need to operate we are pleased that following the vaccination programme it is now possible to reduce these to minimise some of the disruption to learning that we have experienced in the last two academic years.

I would like to remind you that we will be running a staggered start to the new school year with the details of when the different year groups are expected in school for testing and their first day of learning attached. Please take time to check this carefully.

The guidance we are following from Public Health England (PHE), the Department of Education (DFE) and the local authority is based on the present situation which is one where all adults have been offered a vaccine and their second dose by mid-September. We know that the clinical risks to children are low and therefore the guidance aims to reduce the disruption that might be caused to education.

That said we understand that risk is not eliminated and that the vaccine does not guarantee someone immunity from infection. Therefore, the measures we are keeping we require you to support us with fully so that all members of our community can remain safe.

If you have symptoms

Please do not come to school if you develop any of the symptoms of COVID-19, however mild. You should self-isolate and arrange a PCR test.

 

Consent for on-site testing.

Consent must be given before students participate in on site testing. If your child is new to Thamesmead this year and you have yet to provide this consent please do so as a matter of urgency by visiting https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=RF27HurRRkOcwa-UXm33Dyd2I84x8cJGiufkwXsJJ7BUNEdHQ0lLNklPS0pWUTFIT05VTE1MSVpQNS4u

You do not need to give consent again if your child had lateral flow tests at Thamesmead last term.

Lateral flow testing at home

We will be providing students with test kits so that they can test twice weekly at home for the month of September in the first instance. We ask that you keep this home testing up to help identify any positive cases and reduce potential spread amongst the students. The government will then advise if this is to continue beyond September.

Self-isolation and close contacts

If an individual has a positive lateral flow test result, either onsite or at home, they will need to self-isolate while they take a PCR test and await the result. If the PCR test result is positive then they will need to isolate for a period of 10 days from the day of the first positive result or when they first noticed symptoms if earlier. If the PCR test is negative then the individual can return to school.

If a student is a close contact of an individual who has tested positive they will be identified and contacted by NHS test and trace. They will be asked to complete a PCR test but do not need to self-isolate unless that test is returned as positive. This means they can remain in school unless they receive a positive result.

Adults who are close contacts do not need to self-isolate if they are fully vaccinated.

Schools are no longer expected to identify and notify close contacts, this will be done by NHS test and trace.

Maintaining Good Hygiene

We will be continuing to encourage students maintain good hygiene by ensuring hands can be cleaned and sanitised regularly, and that coughs and sneezes are ‘caught, binned and killed’.

We will be maintaining our daytime cleaning service and all cleaning will prioritise frequently touched surfaces. In the event of any confirmed cases we will ensure an enhanced cleaning of any affected areas.

Classrooms will be continued to be as well ventilated as possible given the weather conditions at the time.

16-year olds

You will be aware that young people between the age of 16-18 are eligible for vaccination. Therefore, we ask that as our Year 11 students turn 16 they consider very seriously the benefit vaccination will offer to them and their peers in minimising the risk of illness or a need to self-isolate with COVID in their GCSE year.

Face coverings

There is no expectation for staff or students to wear face coverings in school, however if individuals wish to continue to wear them then we are happy for them to do so. The government continues to recommend that they are worn in enclosed and crowded spaces where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet, such as on public transport.

Visitors to school

We are able to welcome visitors back into school, however to reduce risk we ask that you only attend school if absolutely necessary.

In the event of an outbreak in school

If there is a local outbreak that sees a substantial increase in cases in the school we will work closely with the local health protection team to manage this. In this situation we may have to reintroduce some of our previous control measures to the school such as increased social distancing, reduced movement and mixing, and wearing face coverings.

Remote education

Should a student be required to self-isolate as a result of the present COVID precautions and restrictions then we will provide remote learning for the period of self-isolation. Please understand that we cannot provide remote learning for other situations where students cannot attend school.

After school clubs

We will be able to resume after school clubs and details of these will be shared with parents early in the new term once we have confirmed the times and days of the different activities we plan to offer this term.

Being ready for the return to school

We are looking forward to welcoming the students back to school and we want this to be a positive start to the new year ahead. The start of the new school is year is an occasion when we check that standards are where we would like them to be as the year progresses. Any student who has had hair styles or colourings, semi-permanent make up processes (eye-brows, lashes, and nails) or additional piercings in the ear, nose etc should ensure they are removed before their first day back at school.

A reminder if you are still to purchase shoes that they should not resemble a trainer or plimsoll. Being black leather alone does not make them school shoes. We do not want you spending money of items that are not accepted as school uniform.

Our uniform policy can be found here https://www.thamesmead.surrey.sch.uk/parents/uniform/

By supporting us with this you help ensure that your child’s first interactions with us at school following the long break can be welcoming and positive.

 

Please remember the timings of our school day are as follows

Time
8:25 Start of school day – all students should arrive by this time
8:30 Tutor period
8:45 Lesson 1
9:45 Lesson 2
10:45 Morning break
11:00 Lesson 3
12:00 Lesson 4
1:00 Lunch
1:30 Lesson 5
2:30 Tutor period
2:35 End of school day/ after school activities start

 

NHS Advice on symptoms and testing can be found here

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Gov.uk guidance on testing, symptoms and self-isolation can be found here

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection