URGENT Mass Testing Announcement



Having conferred with RSC, SCC, SASH, SAPH and SENSE this morning, the key messages for Somerset schools are these:

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  • The priority is to confirm with parents and pupils what is happening on the 4th of January. Some schools have acted quickly and have done so already. As long as you have done so by the end of the day, you should be able to shut your school and go on leave having done all that you need to do for now.
  • If you do not currently have remote education or an INSET planned for 4 January, we have confirmed with the RSC that it is entirely acceptable to designate 4 January as an additional INSET to enable us all to plan logistics. However, you would obviously need to communicate this to parents and pupils with some urgency.
  • The new proposals do not relate to primary. It is not yet clear enough what the proposal is for special schools and PRUs. Special schools and PRUs should make an independent judgement about what to do on 4th Jan to enable them to respond and we will support them in that decision.
  • We do not currently have enough information about how this can be done, or how to do it safely. We have concerns about space, safeguarding, transport, administering medical procedures, clinical waste disposal and resourcing. Until all these questions have been answered, we do not recommend that you take steps to respond.
  • More guidance will likely be forthcoming over the coming weeks. We will be reviewing this and will communicate our understanding of the plan for Somerset on 31 December. You are not expected to respond until 4 January.
  • The testing is optional. There is a live question about whether this is the right response in the South West. Torbay have been looking at other models of testing that have been shown to work. This is one of the reasons it seems right to hold fire for now.


From our perspective in SCC, we are primarily concerned about the welfare of our school leaders. Everyone has given more than they have and a break is not a luxury, it is a necessity. This is an agenda that is very likely to change shape. We would ask that people hold fire and wait for this to settle. It will likely be busy in January but it will be more efficient and effective to plan with full information, than to try and respond without it. We have the backing of the RSC in this matter, as cases in the South West are low and this is being driven by infections in other parts of the county. â€‹

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Created at 18/12/2020 14:51 by Jemma.Gillard
Last modified at 18/12/2020 14:51 by Jemma.Gillard