The School Hall was transformed in the first week of term as we prepared to roll out mass COVID-19 testing of pupils and staff on their return from the Christmas break.
The government’s call for a rapid testing programme to be established in schools prior to the January return provided a huge logistical challenge, and one which needed to be resolved in a matter of days in order to minimise the impact on teaching and learning.
In true Farnborough Hill fashion, it was a challenge undertaken wholeheartedly, and following intensive study of DfE and NHS Test and Trace documents, a core testing team of 33 staff members was assembled.
The team was amassed using a variety of support staff from all areas of school operations. All were primed and ready for action on Monday 4 January when we took delivery of hundreds of test kits, thousands of items of PPE, set up the testing area and workstations in the Hall, and undertook the necessary training to carefully understand each aspect of the testing, analysis, and reporting process required of us.
With the mandate to test each pupil twice, three to five days apart, and staff on a weekly basis, rotas were drawn up, the testers themselves were tested and we were ready to start the programme.
At 8.00 pm that same night, we watched, along with the rest of the nation, as the PM announced that a further lockdown was to come, and that schools would switch to online learning.
Our preparation was not in vain, however, as we are still undertaking testing with the staff and the critical worker children who are in school, and we will be ready to scale up the operation once more when we can welcome the whole School community back through the doors.
Thank you seems nowhere near enough for the immense effort and remarkable can-do attitude displayed by the staff in getting this whole operation up and running. ‘Testing for COVID-19' appears in no-one's job description, so it is testament to the strength and commitment of our mutually-supportive community that everyone stepped up in the effort to keep that community safe and keep the girls learning.
Thank you nonetheless to our amazingly dedicated team, and to our families as well for their support as we have worked through this process.
Mrs Lindsey Lovegrove, Director of Admissions