Delayed Opening for Secondary Schools Allow for Mass Testing

(Last Updated On: January 2, 2021)

Torbay secondary schools – along with schools throughout the rest of the country – will have staggered opening dates to enable mass testing to take place to suppress the spread of COVID-19.

Following announcements by Government, Torbay Council has written to all secondary schools in the Bay with details on the testing arrangements and the remote education requirements that they need to put in place for pupils returning later than scheduled. The Council alongside the Department for Education will continue to support school leaders to set up mass testing provision.

In summary, the arrangements are:

· Schools will open on 4th January for vulnerable children and those of critical workers only. Schools will mobilise their testing hub during this week and provide remote education for pupils who are taking exams in 2021 (years 11 and 13).

· On 11th January, pupils in exam years will also be required to attend school.

· All pupils should return to school on 18th January, by which time it is expected that many pupils will have already received their first test.

Torbay Council Leader, Steve Darling said: “We value the education of our young people in the Bay, but we must mitigate the spread of COVID-19; particularly now that the new more infectious variant is on the increase.

“We’re mobilising the delivery of testing kits and mass testing provisions in schools, with only a small number of secondary school pupils returning next week. This will enable better social distancing and allow the schools to set up their testing hubs.

“Pupils taking exams next summer will return a week later and in the meantime we will have in place a thorough remote learning provision. With the continued patience and commitment of our pupils, parents, teachers and support staff we will work together to beat the virus as well as valuing our education.”

Torbay Council Deputy Leader, Darren Cowell said: “Again we all need to pull together to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 at the same time as making sure that all of our pupils get the best out of their education.

“We’re pleased to start the roll out of mass testing in Torbay schools, and we look forward to welcoming back all of our secondary school pupils by January 18th.”

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