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Back to school: How Covid-19 testing is going in the Cambridge region



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A number of students at a Cambridge school were sent home after what is thought to have been a technical glitch meant more students were on site for testing than expected.

Students at North Cambridge Academy were called in for testing last week, with the aim of getting as many back in the classroom by Monday as possible.

North Cambridge Academy. Picture: Keith Heppell
North Cambridge Academy. Picture: Keith Heppell

But the Cambridge Independent has been told that a technical glitch in the school’s reporting system last Friday led to some students left waiting in a queue with others outside of their year group.

A subsequent positive test led to students from across the year groups isolating.

North Cambridge Academy was contacted for comment.

There has also been a positive test at Cottenham Sixth Form, where work has been set so that it can be accessed from home.

Cambourne Village College, Cottenham Village College and Melbourn Village College had not registered any positive tests on Monday or Tuesday.

Covid -19 lateral flow tests been conducted at Cambourne Village College . Picture: Keith Heppell
Covid -19 lateral flow tests been conducted at Cambourne Village College . Picture: Keith Heppell

All three schools, which belong to the Cam Academy Trust, say that any student who is required to self-isolate will have work set for them to access remotely.

Impington Village College completed more than 750 tests on Monday and Tuesday and had not registered any positive results.

A spokeswoman for the school said: “Impington Village College is pleased to confirm that it has a large body of trained testers and staff supporting the college with its mass testing programme, and is ready to undertake nearly 5,000 tests over the next fortnight.

“The team will be administering 12 tests every 10 minutes throughout the day via appointments that have been booked online. All staff are also now being tested twice a week from home.

Covid -19 lateral flow tests been conducted at Cambourne Village College , here parent Suzanne Hills talks through the test procedure with a pupil. Picture: Keith Heppell. (44969956)
Covid -19 lateral flow tests been conducted at Cambourne Village College , here parent Suzanne Hills talks through the test procedure with a pupil. Picture: Keith Heppell. (44969956)

“The percentage of students booking their tests online has been high; nearly 90 per cent of students booked their tests in advance of returning to school and many more of the college’s students have been testing at home.

Impington Village College hopes none of its students will be required to isolate, however if this does occur, the college will be live streaming the full timetable from the classroom to students’ homes via Microsoft Teams, to ensure that no learning is missed.

“The college is planning for its second and third rounds of tests, along with home testing, which will roll out from week commencing March 15. Strict Covid-19 protocols will remain in place throughout the term and the college hopes that these measures provide reassurance for the whole college and local community around its reopening.”

Covid-19 lateral flow testing is conducted at Cambourne Village College. Picture: Keith Heppell
Covid-19 lateral flow testing is conducted at Cambourne Village College. Picture: Keith Heppell

A spokeswoman for Anglian Learning, which operates the village colleges in Bassingbourn, Linton, Bottisham, Sawston and the Netherhall School, added: “Testing in all our secondary schools is going very well and to plan. School leaders have worked hard to establish the testing process which could not have been delivered without the fabulous support of our school community volunteers. Over 90 per cent of our pupils/parents have consented to be tested over the period of opening, our schools are carrying out on average 300 tests per day.”

The trust did not confirm whether it had received any positive tests.

Covid-19 lateral flow testing is conducted at Cambourne Village College. Picture: Keith Heppell
Covid-19 lateral flow testing is conducted at Cambourne Village College. Picture: Keith Heppell

A county council spokesperson said: “We are pleased to see pupils back in the classroom so that they can continue their studies alongside their peers. The safety of our pupils and staff remains our top priority; our education and public health teams are working closely with school leadership teams on the implementation of the Covid testing process, and to offer continued support on the test and trace process and social distance and hygiene measures in schools.”

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