Kesgrave High School to give all students and staff Covid PCR tests

Kesgrave High School

Kesgrave High School, where all students and staff are to undergo PCR tests - Credit: PA

All students and staff at Kesgrave High School will undergo PCR tests for Covid on Monday, to help break "chains of transmission".

Parents have received an email from headteacher Julia Upton saying a testing team will be coming in to carry out PCR tests on all staff and students, and have been asked to fill out a form giving consent.

The email to parents says the testing is taking place following conversations with Public Health England and the local authority.

It says: "This is a first line of defence, rather than a last resort, intended to minimise disruption to learning.

"You may have seen in the press that the rise in positive cases is not isolated to our school, but a growth across Suffolk, especially in the school age population, and the local authority and Public Health Team are supporting schools to implement measures appropriate at this stage."  

Julia Upton will join Kesgrave High School from Debenham as headteacher from September. Picture: SAR

Kesgrave High School headteacher Julia Upton - Credit: Archant

Across the county, cases in education settings slowed in the 10 days to October 7, with only a 1% increase, after previously doubling in less than a week. However, this still meant 2,120 positive tests in these settings during the 10 days. 

A team of around 10 staff from the mobile testing team will visit the school on Monday, October 11.

The tests will be sent off for processing, and any student receiving a positive result will need to self-isolate for 10 days.

Siblings will also need to isolate for three days unless exempt, in line with new Public Health Suffolk advice. 

The testing drive comes after Kesgrave High School earlier brought in "extra-cautionary" measures following a growth in cases.

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In late September, when around 30 students were self-isolating, the school reintroduced mask-wearing in corridors and said it was asking parents to do a lateral flow test before attending events.

Miss Upton's email says: "Whilst writing, can I also take this opportunity to remind parents and carers to support us in sending students to school with face coverings."

Nationally, around one in 15 children in school Years 7 to 11 are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to October 2. This is the highest positivity rate for any age group and a rise from one in 20 the previous week.