Youngsters across Thanet will be returning to school tomorrow (March 8) as part of the first phase of the government’s roadmap out of covid restrictions.
Secondary schools and colleges have already been inviting students in for rapid lateral flow tests, including at a ‘drive-through’ programme at St George’s secondary.
Schools and colleges have discretion to stagger the return of their students over the next week to facilitate testing and their safe return to the classroom.
After three initial tests on-site students will be provided with two rapid tests to use each week at home.
Parents/carers can also collect tests to be used at home between 1pm- 8pm at the Margate (Dreamland car park) and Manston test sites. Two boxes per parent, seven kits per box. Find site details here
Tests can also be ordered online, find out more here.
Those who are eligible to pick up the home testing kits are:
- secondary school pupils and college students
- staff of primary and secondary schools and colleges
- households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary-age pupils and college students
- households, childcare and support bubbles of staff of primary and secondary schools and colleges
Primary school pupils will not be asked to test at this time.
Twice-weekly testing will also be offered to adults working in the wider school community, including bus drivers and after school club leaders.
How do lateral flow tests work?
Watch our animated explainer to find out ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/f3qlCMb0xh
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) November 16, 2020
Lateral flow testing detects cases quickly – in under 30 minutes – meaning positive cases can isolate immediately.
Secondary school and college students are also being asked to wear face coverings wherever social distancing cannot be maintained as an additional safety measure through to Easter.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: ”Tomorrow will mark a moment of joy for millions of people across the country – from the students going back to class to the teachers who can’t wait to get them back – as young people walk through their school and college gates and are reunited with their friends.
“I do not underestimate how challenging the last few months have been with some children in class and most at home, but I do know how important it is for all children to be back in school, not only for their education but for their mental health and wellbeing.
“I’d like to thank children, young people, their families and carers for their patience and resilience in the face of the challenges the pandemic has posed.”
Existing safety measures remain in place, including maintaining distance between staff and students where possible, good ventilation and regular hand washing.
The return to face to face education includes plans for an expansion of one-to-one and small group tutoring programmes across all age groups, summer provision for those pupils who need it the most, and flexible additional one-off funding for schools to use for their most disadvantaged pupils.