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Covid-19: Mass testing of Bishop's Stortford's secondary school students begins

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Mass testing of students has begun at secondary schools in Bishop’s Stortford.

Education authority Hertfordshire County Council wants pupils to be tested screened three times for coronavirus on campus before implementing a home testing regime twice a week.

At The Bishop’s Stortford High School, support staff, governors and volunteer parents turned the gym into a mass testing centre last week. All 1,100 students were screened, with no positive results, before returning to classrooms from Monday (March 8).

The Bishop's Stortford High School testing scheme (44961408)
The Bishop's Stortford High School testing scheme (44961408)

The London Road secondary has been Covid-testing all staff along with those children of key workers and vulnerable youngsters who have been attending school.

Remote learning was reintroduced for most children one day into the spring term, on Tuesday January 5, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a third lockdown.

All the personnel staffing the TBSHS test centre were trained in NHS testing procedures under the leadership of senior science technician Lisa McMahon and head groundsman Paul Trigg.

Ready to test pupils (44961402)
Ready to test pupils (44961402)

Full medical-grade PPE and other equipment were provided for the challenge of multiplying capacity from 100 tests a week to more than 1,000.

The students were given time slots to come to school. Tests were completed within five to 10 minutes and the results were emailed to pupils and parents within two hours.

The priority A Level and GCSE exam classes of Years 13 and 11 were tested twice – last Tuesday and Friday – with other year groups following. Testing was continuing this week as lessons resumed for all pupils.

Head Dale Reeve said: “The first wave of mass Covid testing has gone extremely well in school, thanks to a massive effort from a number of staff, governors and parent volunteers.

The Bishop's Stortford High School gym, transformed into a testing centre (44961399)
The Bishop's Stortford High School gym, transformed into a testing centre (44961399)

“Lots of colleagues have been incredibly willing and helpful, and it is very much appreciated, thank you. Particular thanks to Lisa McMahon and Paul Trigg for leading the testing programme so successfully and to Graham Gunn and Rachel Engel for their great logistical efforts to get it all organised in advance.

“We had a massive uptake and I'm pleased to say we didn't have a single positive test.”

As well as taking part in the testing programme, secondary students across the town have to wear masks in school to help suppress the spread of Covid-19.

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