Dear parent/ carer,
It has been a very positive return to full school opening over the last two weeks. Huge credit needs to be attributed to our students and how they have seamlessly aligned to the academy routines. Our students really look like they are enjoying being back on-site, seeing their teachers, resuming their onsite learning and being with their friends again. This is really pleasing to witness.
We have had 100% negative results with our on-site COVID19 Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing since the full return. However, this morning we received confirmation from a parent of a confirmed positive PCR test for a Year 7 student who felt ill during the week and subsequently undertook a PCR test outside of the academy. We initiated our contacts tracking protocol this morning and have unfortunately had to send home four students who were deemed as ‘contacts’ of the child. These students will be self-isolating and remote learning next week. We will no doubt, over the weeks, probably have further COVID19 positive results as the government re-opens society, and general community mixing increases. But we will of course continue to follow guidance on contact tracing and self-isolation and COVID19 secure measure on-site in order to keep our academy community as safe as we can.
Next week we complete the 3rd and final on school site LFD test (for the 99.6% consenting students) and then over the course of the week we will distribute, to the consenting students, LFD Home Testing Kits. After having practiced three times completing the LFD test in a controlled and supported setting such as OPA, the expectation is that students will be able to confidently test themselves (with support by parents / carers as required) twice a week at home. LFD testing at home should take place every Sunday and Wednesday evening and LFD results will need to reported via the government LFD result reporting website. All positive LFD results should also be reported to the academy by emailing [email protected]. Following the Easter break a further set of LFD Home Testing Kits will be issued to consenting students for use over Summer Term 1. If over the Easter break your child tests positive for COVID19, if it is within the first 48 hours from the last day of term (eg Saturday 27th March and Sunday 28th March) please let the academy know of the positive result by contacting [email protected] so that we can conduct contact tracing. After the first 48 hours then please contact NHS 119.
Thurrock Local Authority will be providing Free School Meals for those students entitled to receive them over the Easter Break and these will be issued by the national provider Edenred. Further detail has been sent on a separate letter to individual families.
We have plans in place for Year 11 students in order to secure the necessary evidence for GCSE qualifications and additional updated detail will be provided to this Year Group. It is very important that all Year students attend every day throughout the summer term and they complete all the required work and assessments set to the very best ability.
OPA Leadership Team and staff are very much looking forward to Summer Term 1 and Summer Term 2, in regard to providing a rich and vibrant academic curriculum, with some really good wider extra-curricular opportunities including DfE and CCF. I would like to strongly encourage all of our students to take up an extra-curricular club over this period of time, to not only enjoy doing something that like but perhaps develop other interests and skills after what has been a really chequered year regarding opportunities. We will also be aiming to offer some other interesting events as the term goes on, COVID19 permitting of course. More information to follow.
Next week we finish the term and on Friday 26th March we break up for Easter Holidays. We will have normal Lessons 1 to Lesson 3 and students will begin to depart from the academy from 12noon to 12.30pm. We have decided have a non-academy uniform day to end in a positive way. Students are expected donate £1 to be able wear non-academy uniform, with all donations going to our chosen charities.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for everything you have done and continue to do at home and at work while we journey through this pandemic. It has not been easy for anyone. But I firmly believe that there is light at the end the tunnel and it is our joint responsibility to support our children to come out of this challenging time with additional skills, so that they are actually more resilient, stronger minded and better equipped to deal with what hurdles life may put in front of them in the future.
Take care and keep safe.
Mark Roessler, Principal