COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic had had a major impact on Saint Aidan’s, as it has on every other school in the country. Throughout the pandemic we have had two key priorities:

  1. Keep students, staff and the wider community safe.
  2. Maintain a high quality education and as normal a school experience as possible for our students.

Since the start of the 2021-22 academic year we have tried to give students as normal an experience of school as possible, including a full programme of extra-curricular events and activities involving mixed year groups.

However, COVID cases are likely to occur for some time and precautions are still necessary.  These include regular testing, vaccination of eligible students and enhanced cleaning and ventilation.  When the rate of COVID is high additional precautions will be introduced, including use of face coverings and considering avoiding events with large numbers of students or staff.

No school can be absolutely safe from the risk of spreading COVID-19, but we have done all we can to make Saint Aidan’s a safe place to study and work during this very difficult time.

Cleaning, hygiene and ventilation

We have extra cleaning in place during the school day so that surfaces can be kept as clean as possible.  Hand sanitiser is available in every classroom, with sanitising stations at points around the school including at the entrances to our eating areas.

Ventilation is important in reducing the risk of COVID spreading.  All our classrooms either have opening windows or mechanical ventilation.  We are installing carbon dioxide monitors around the school to identify any areas where ventilation needs to be increased.

Testing for COVID-19

LFD tests

All students and members of staff are asked to test for COVID twice a week using LFD tests, with reminders sent out on Wednesday and Sunday evenings.  This is one of the most important things we can do to protect one another.  These tests are provided by the school free of charge.  The results should be uploaded to the Department for Health website.

Anyone who tests positive with an LFD test must stay at home and book a confirmatory PCR test.

PCR tests

A PCR test should be booked by any student or member of staff who:

  • Shows any COVID symptoms (a new continuous cough, a raised temperature, or a loss of / change in sense of smell or taste).
  • Has a positive LFD test result
  • Is a close contact of anyone with a positive PCR test.

Anyone in the first two categories needs to self-isolate while waiting for the result.  Children and fully vaccinated adults in the third category (close contacts) do not need to self-isolate while waiting for the result.

Vaccination

All members of staff have been encouraged to have the COVID-19 vaccination, and almost all have done so.

Children aged 12 and above are now eligible for one shot of COVID-19 vaccination.  They were able to do this in school in October, and any who missed this opportunity are encouraged to book a vaccination at a vaccination centre.

Additional measures

At times of high COVID rates in school additional measures may need to be introduced.  These may include:

  • Requirement to wear face coverings in common spaces in school
  • Requirement to wear face coverings in classrooms
  • Reduction of activities with large groups, such as assemblies and staff meetings
  • Restrictions on visits to school and participation in activities beyond school
  • Requests to all students in a badly affected class to have a PCR test
  • COVID testing in school as well as at home

Any additional measures will be proportionate to the levels of COVID, and are unlikely to include all of the above.  They will be in place for as short a time as possible.

Communication

The school recognises that transparent communication with students and parents about COVID is vital.  Every effort has been made to maintain this throughout the pandemic.  Our Synergy Parent Portal allows us to communicate with the right people in a timely manner. Parents and students are kept informed of the changes which are in place to protect students and staff.  They are also informed regularly of the number of cases of COVID in school, and the year groups affected.  Individual details of those who have tested positive are not shared, in order to protect patient confidentiality.

A dedicated email address covid@st-aidans.lancs.sch.uk can be used to report symptoms and test results or for queries about COVID-19.

Attendance

We want everyone who is able to be in school to attend.  However, students who have symptoms of COVID and are awaiting a test result, or who have tested positive, must self-isolate at home for the required period of time.  Work is set using Synergy for all students who are self-isolating but are well enough to work.

More details can be found in the Attendance section of the website.


Summer School

We have had fewer visitors in school than normal since the pandemic began, and we have visits to school only when there is a good reason for them. Visitors must follow the social distancing, face covering and hygiene policies which are in place at all times when they are on the school site. This protects them and the school community.

The students who joined us in Year 7 this year had an interrupted Year 6, and some of them needed a little extra support before starting Year 7. For this reason we used the government funding available to run a summer school in August for about 40 students.

This was really successful. You can read about the impact of it in the document below.

Summer School Statement