Praise for college Covid tests ahead of schools return

Ely College pupils on first day of academic year.

Ely College has received strong support for repeat Covid-19 testing as they welcome all students back to school. Here, pupils on the first day of the 2020-21 academic year. - Credit: Ely College

A secondary school has praised parents, carers and students after nearly all respondents backed repeat testing for Covid-19 on their return to school. 

Out of 99 per cent of those that responded, Ely College found 97 per cent agreed to regular testing as the phased return of pupils to schools in England began today (Monday). 

On March 4, the college received 92 per cent of responses to their consent form, asking parents and carers on whether they would like their pupil to be regularly tested for coronavirus on their return. 

Students over 16 could also submit the consent form. 

Writing on Twitter, Ely College said: “Huge thank you to our supportive community! 99 per cent responded with 97 per cent of those agreeing to regular testing.  

“An amazing show of support that ensures we can welcome you back to a safe & secure environment. Bubbles continue, remember your masks! Excited to see all students back by Wednesday!” 

Testing on pupils for Covid-19 at Ely College began on Friday, March 5 and it is hoped all students will return to school on March 10. 

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The school plans to test pupils around three to five days apart from their first test, with all tests due to be completed next week. 

In a letter written to parents and carers last week, Ely College principal Simon Warburton was concerned about the speed at which pupils are returning to school, but asked for support in trying to make the school a safe place to be. 

“There is understandable concern about the potential risks to a sudden shift from a national lockdown to mixing with 1,300 students albeit over a three to five-day period,” Mr Warburton said. 

“Can I please ask that, where there is no medical reason for a covering not to be worn, or for a test not to be completed, parents support the testing and face covering requirement.

“No harm will come to any child or member of staff from wearing a face covering or taking a Covid test, but doing so will certainly give our community more confidence.” 

Mr Warburton added: “I want everyone to feel that it is safe to resume face to face teaching and welcome our students back into college.” 

In a survey by the Association of School and College Leaders ahead of the phased return of pupils, more than half of secondary headteachers found it difficult to gain parental approval for taking a Covid test.