• The Ilfracombe Academy

Letter from the Headteacher - January Return

Dear Parents and Carers

I hope that everyone has enjoyed a good break with their families and friends and that you all remain healthy and safe. It’s been a short but extremely busy week at The Ilfracombe Academy this week after welcoming all of our students back to school. It has been great to see students in the classroom and during social times of the day. We would like thank our students and their parents/carers for the huge improvement in the standard of uniform. The students have looked incredibly smart. If any parents need support in purchasing any uniform, please contact the school.

We would also like to give another huge thank you Helen Cook & Lee-Roy Cochrane for the immense amount of work that they have put in to running the LFD Testing Centre. We would also like to pass on our thanks to all the other staff and volunteers to help complete hundreds of tests this week.

In School LFD Testing Update

As you know, this week we have completed our LFD tests and did record some positive LFD cases in our school setting. This is in addition to a small number of PCR positive cases that parents have informed the school about over the Christmas period. We are pleased to inform you that 13 out of the original 25 LFD positives that were recorded yesterday from Year 7 have already been confirmed as PCR negative with only two being confirmed as positive. Furthermore, apart from the 2 two PCR cases we have identified this term all the other PCR cases for staff and students have been highlighted through in home testing and they were not in school during their infectious period over the last 10 days. We realise that these things are frustrating but please remember that it is the DFE and not The Ilfracombe Academy that sets the guidance. Although, we are expected to follow it even though it can be at times be exasperating for our students, our staff and parents alike.

However, the very fact that we have identified positive cases does prove that these procedures are needed. The important thing is that under the current regulations those students that have now tested negative are able to immediately return to school. We realise that false positives are frustrating for everyone involved but we have to follow the guidance and we appreciate the support of those parents who acted swiftly to arrange PCR tests yesterday. A number of those parents confirmed that 200 PCR test slots were available in Barnstaple yesterday, which is comforting to know. However, we realise that organising transport is difficult for some parents. As it stands, we have the following confirmed cases:

As you are aware, the guidance we receive from the Government and DfE is continuously changing, but this letter should assist parents/carers in understanding the measures that should be taken. This can be confusing for those students that have tested positive in December or have tested positive within the last 90 days. We have followed Public Health England advice who informed the school that any positive cases in school should be sent home and they should book a PCR within two days of receiving the positive LFD test result. Some parents and carers have mentioned that they would not be able to book a PCR test if their child was previously positive within the last 90 days. In this instance PHE have advised the school that the parents should take advice from track and trace in terms of their next steps.

Guidance before and after 11th January.

Up to 11th January

1. If staff or students test positive through an LFD test, they will need to book a PCR test. If that PCR tests is negative, then they will be able to return to school.

2. However, if the PCR is positive then the staff member or student can take an LFD test from 6 days after the day their symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if they did not have symptoms), and another LFD test on the following day. The second LFD test should be taken at least 24 hours later. If both these test results are negative, and they do not have a high temperature, they may end self-isolation immediately after the second negative test result.

3. They should stop testing after they have had 2 consecutive negative test results and can return to their education setting on the 7th day if they have tested negative in the morning (Please see Fig 1 below for further details).

From 11th January

1. PCR tests will no longer be available for staff or students that test positive through an LFD test. In this case they will need to follow the same guidance as points 1 and 2 as seen above – (please see Fig 1 below for further details).

Fig 1 – Examples of when to end self-isolation if you have had Covid 19 symptoms or have received a positive Covid 19 test result.

DfE Guidance

Parents and Carers please see the latest DfE guidance below

What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

As it stands, we do not feel that we need to make any further adjustments to our procedures and rest assured the school will continue to monitor and make any adjustments in our way of working in line with any further guidance. This guidance will always be clearly communicated to our students and their Parents/Carers.

I hope all our students and their families enjoy the weekend.

Yours sincerely

Steve Rogers


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