Wyvern St Edmund’s has welcomed all students back to school today after testing 1,171 students.

The testing took place on Thursday and Friday.

Head of School, Bruce Burley, was committed to getting students back in the classroom as soon as possible and wanted to avoid a staggered start despite the huge logistical challenge of mass testing before March 8.

Rachel Ure, the operations manager at the school and the testing co-ordinator, said that testing 90 per cent of the student population of Wyvern St Edmund’s in just two days was made possible thanks to “a lot of planning and preparation” but also due to the number of experienced test processors in the school testing clinic.

Wyvern St Edmund’s have been running a daily Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing clinic since the first week of January for students and staff attending school throughout lockdown.

Mrs Ure explained that this clinic, made up of staff and community volunteers, had given the test processors, “the opportunity to become really familiar with the process, hone their skills and develop a routine for carrying out each test”.

All of this has been checked and regulated by the quality lead, deputy head Caroline Smith.

When it came to scaling up the process for two days of mass testing, the clinic increased the number of bays to ten which allowed them to test, on average, 27.5 students every 15 minutes – 110 tests per hour.

Mrs Ure said that a team of school staff had, “pro-actively followed up on consent and registration information from parents” which helped them to achieve such a high percentage of students being tested.

A lot of work went on behind the scenes to ensure a smooth process on the testing days. Students were issued appointments in 15 minute intervals.

Mrs Ure described the atmosphere in the room as “truly special” and that students were quickly reassured by how “calm, friendly and supportive” the testing clinic was.

She said: “It has been a true privilege to work on this project with so many truly dedicated people supporting it."

Juliet Mosney, already an NHS volunteer responder, was one of the testing processors involved last week. Miss Mosney’s nephew attends the school and, while supporting him with his remote learning, has seen how hard the teachers have worked in lockdown so wanted to help.

She said that the clinic was, “incredibly well-organised” and that the students had been, “fantastic and really polite throughout”.

Gwen McClure, whose daughter attends Wyvern St Edmund’s, said that it was, “just so important to get students back to school” and that she, “wanted to do her bit to help with that”. She said, of the clinic: “It has been run very professionally and, as a parent, it gives me complete confidence that the school has put everything in place."


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