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IMPORTANT: COVID-19 information & guidance

Latest COVID-19 Information

Safeguarding our students, staff and wider community is key to our mission at St. Mark's.

We hope you find this page useful in finding the information you require relating to our school's response to helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout our community.

COVID-19 Updates
 

Update 25 April 2022

Guidance of responding to COVID infection is now aligned with advice that would be given in treating other similar respiratory infections. Full details are provided at the link below.

If students (or under 18s test positive)

It is not recommended that children and young people are tested for COVID-19 unless directed to by a health professional.

 

Stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 3 days after the day they took the test, if they can. After 3 days, if they feel well and do not have a high temperature, the risk of passing the infection on to others is much lower. This is because children and young people tend to be infectious to other people for less time than adults.

 

Children and young people who usually go to school, college or childcare and who live with someone who has a positive COVID-19 test result should continue to attend as normal.

The latest government advice, which includes further information, can be found here.

Update 24 February 2022

Twice-weekly lateral flow device (LFD) tests are no longer legally required. Schools will no longer be able to provide these for students to use. (They may be reissued by the school if cases rise and this needs more careful monitoring). 

Students should remain at home and book a PCR test if they are showing one of the 3 main COVID symptoms (See below).

Students should remain at home for 5 days, if they test positive. They can return to school after 2 consecutive LFD test results.

Daily COVID testing is no longer required for close contacts of those testing positive.

Educational visits can proceed, subject to adequate risk assessment.

Update 16 February 2022

The government has published an FAQ page relating to the vaccination of clinically vulnerable children and young people here.

Update 19 January 2022

Students are no longer required to wear a mask in lessons, from Monday 24th January, although they may choose to continue to do so should they wish.

From Thursday 27th January, masks will no longer be required to be worn in communal/public areas by students or staff.

Update 17 January 2022

The self-isolation period has now been reduced to 5 days. (See 'Symptoms and Reporting Procedure' section below for more information)

Update 11 January 2022

A follow-up PCR test is no longer required following a positive lateral flow (Home test). Self-isolation for 7 days is now required (See 'Symptoms and Reporting Procedure' section below)

Update 3 January 2022

Students will be required to wear masks, temporarily, in classrooms during lesson times.

Update 10 December 2021

Students will have a staggered return to school in January and will take a COVID LFD test on their first day back at school.

Students should return according to the following timetable:

Date Year Group

04.01.2022    1:30pm - 2:30pm

Year 12 (Attend only to be tested)
04.01.2022    2:30pm - 3:30pm Year 13 (Attend only to be tested)
05.01.2022    All Day Year 7
Year 11
SMART
06.01.2021   All Day Year 8
Year 10
07.01.2022   All Day Year 9

Update 29 November 2021

A new variant of the COVID-19 (Named Omicron) has been identified. Additional measures have been put in place nationally and within school in response. Some key actions that we are taking are:

  • Face masks will be worn by students, staff and visitors in all public places
  • Students and staff will continue to take home COVID tests twice per week
  • All visitors to the academy will be required to show evidence of a negative COVID lateral flow test before being allowed access to our school grounds
  • We will review all upcoming events and adjust as necessary by undertaking appropriate risk assessments
  • Ensure all who have been identified as close contacts of someone who has tested positive for the new Omicron COVID-19 variant isolates for the required 10 days - even if they have been vaccinated or are 18 years old or younger.
  • Encourage our community to take get vaccinated
  • Continue to implement all other COVID-safe measures already in place.

A letter to parents giving further detail was sent home with students, a copy of which can be found here and at the bottom of this page.

Update 17 August 2021

The latest guidance places an importance on reducing a number of COVID restrictions in place whilst aiming to maximise the numbers of students in face-to-face education within schools.

Four key changes are:

  • Students will no longer be taught in bubbles
  • Schools will no longer be involved with contact tracing; this will be done by NHS Test and Trace
  • Face coverings are no longer required in schools
  • Individuals are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and any of the following apply:
    • they are fully vaccinated
    • they are below the age of 18 years and 6 months
    • they have are part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
    • they are nt able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

A number of important control measures remain these include:

  • Testing remains important in reducing the risk of transmission of infection within schools.
  • Ensuring good hygiene including frequent and thorough hand cleaning and the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.
  • Maintaining appropriate cleaning regimes.
  • Keeping occupied spaces well ventilated.
  • Following public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19 - Guidance has been updated on what to do if someone tests positive.

For further information about how we are ensuring we remain COVID-Safe, please refer to our risk assessment below.

Symptoms & Reporting Procedure
 

Symptoms

Please do not send your child to school if they present any of the coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms:

  • a new continuous cough.
  • a high temperature.
  • a sudden loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia).

Testing

Testing continues to play a crucial role, in and out of classrooms, in our fight against COVID-19. 

Students should continue to test twice weekly and report results to the school and the NHS.

Reporting test results can be done simply and quickly, from mobiles, online or by phone, and should be completed immediately. Reporting not only supports contact tracing in the event of a positive case but also assists our understanding of community rates of infection. Why reporting your test result is as important as taking a test

What to do if your child has symptoms

  1. Inform the school immediately
  2. Take a PCR test. 

What to do if your child tests negative on a lateral flow test

  1. If your child's lateral flow test is negative, they can attend school as normal.

What to do if your child tests positive on a lateral flow test

  1. Inform the school immediately.
  2. Inform the school of the result immediately.
  3. Self-isolate for 5 days. 
  4. Take a lateral flow test on the morning of day 5 and 6 and, if negative, the isolation period can end after the second test result on day 6.
  5. If either test is positive. Continue to isolate and take daily tests until 2 consecutive days tests are negative or until day 10 (Whichever is sooner)

What to do if your child is in close contact with someone who tests positive?

Your child does not need to self-isolate. They should take daily lateral flow tests for 5 days or until any test returns a positive result.

Remote Learning during Self-Isolation

If your child is at home self-isolating, please read Remote Education/Home Learning guidance. 

Homework & Remote Education for Students Self-Isolating
Remote Education Policy

COVID Vaccinations for 12-15 Year Olds

Children between the age of 12-15 and their families are able to attend walk in centres at local pharmacies to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

For information on the nearest location click swlondonccg.nhs.uk/covd-walk-in-clinics 

Local appointments can also be booked by clicking here.

A related letter from the Education Secretary can be found here.

Resources & Guidance
 

Resource / Website Description
Every Mind Matters NHS Guidance on mental health and wellbeing
Merton COVID Vaccinations

Information and details, including dates and venues of vaccination centres