St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School in St Helens has started the new term with access to rapid COVID-19 testing, to help as many children of critical workers and vulnerable families as possible be able to attend school safely.
The lateral flow testing facility was established from day three of the spring term, alongside a range of other previously-established measures including temperature checks, wearing face coverings and more.
The test centre, which is located in an appropriate space on its Berry’s Lane site, was set up and ready for staff and students to use within 24 hours.
The school was supplied with test kits and PPE from the Department for Education and training was provided by St Helens Borough Council.
Speaking at the launch of its test centre, headteacher Catherine Twist said: “The tests aren’t compulsory, but they are offered on a weekly basis to enable students to carry on going to school and teachers will be able to carry on working.
“However, those who experience COVID-19 symptoms must continue to follow government guidance as normal, including immediate self-isolation and should book a test through nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
“The scale of testing is planned to increase once it is announced that our young people can return to school, hopefully later this term. Whilst news of a vaccination programme implementation is welcomed, it is part of a collection of measures that all need to be in place to beat this pandemic.
“The World Health Organisation maintains that a test, trace and isolate is the “backbone” of any pandemic response in its guidance.
“We will also maintain our daily temperature checks on entry to the building, hand washing/sanitising, social distancing, the wearing of face coverings and a one-way system throughout the school.”
“The education and wellbeing of all our young people remains our priority so for now, they must access their learning online, stay at home wherever possible, protect the NHS and help save lives.”