More than 900 students at a Harborough secondary school have already been tested for Covid-19 – and every one of them was negative

Children went back to school this morning after weeks of homeschooling

Monday, 8th March 2021, 9:59 am
Updated Monday, 8th March 2021, 10:04 am

More than 900 students at a Market Harborough secondary school have already been tested for Covid-19 – and every one of them was negative.

Some 914 children at Robert Smyth Academy were clear of the infectious virus after they took the crucial lateral flow tests last week.

The massive boost comes as pupils at the Burnmill Road school went back into lessons today – along with thousands of others at schools across Harborough – as the national coronavirus lockdown begins to ease.

Some 914 children at Robert Smyth Academy were clear of the infectious virus after they took the crucial lateral flow tests last week.

Dan Cleary, the principal at Robert Smyth Academy, told the Harborough Mail: “We started early and carried out mass testing early last week.

“We tested 914 students – and every one of them was negative.”

He said that over 90 per cent of youngsters at the 1,000-strong school had “opted in” to being tested in a bid to combat Covid and keep the dangerous threat at bay.

“The response has been well and truly incredible.

“I want to thank each and every pupil, as well as their parents, for being tested as we all go forward into March together,” insisted Dan.

The popular school head also revealed that their “totally-committed” students had become “champions of remote learning” as they have been forced to learn at home since Christmas.

“I’m very proud to say that more of our pupils engaged in remote live lessons than at any other school in our multi-academy trust.

“This is a fantastic achievement,” said Dan.

“Our boys and girls have shown social responsibility in spades by taking an active part in so many remote lessons during this very tough time.

“And as a result they are coming back to school very well prepared.”

He said that hundreds of youngsters in Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 are returning to school today (Monday) for the first time in almost 10 weeks.

“It will be brilliant to see them all trooping back in – this is exactly where they should be.

“And the great news is that everyone will be heading back from tomorrow (Tuesday),” said Dan.

“This is a quite miraculous achievement.

“So much hard work and long hours have been put in over the last few weeks to make this possible.

“I want to say a huge thank you to our site team, our teaching team and all of our amazing staff here at Robert Smyth.

“Our clear mantra now is – no learning time will be lost, not one minute.

“Our students have always come first for us and they will always come first.

“It’s taken a massive community-wide effort to start bringing our pupils back in from today.

“And we will continue to pull and work together with parents, families and the people of Market Harborough to do the very best we can for all of our students because it’s the least they deserve,” said Dan.

He spoke as deep cleaning, carefully-planned seating arrangements, updated guidance and social distancing are being put into operation at schools throughout Harborough.

Pupils, parents and carers are also being urged to do all they can to help cut the spread of infection when the school doors reopen after being shut to the majority of children since the start of January.

Cllr Deborah Taylor, lead member for children and families at Leicestershire County Council, said: “We’d firstly like to say a huge thank you to our children, young people and their families, as well as all our school staff, for bearing with us and continuing to learn and teach during these unusual, and often challenging, times.

“We know many of our pupils are looking forward to learning in school again and finally seeing their friends and teachers in person.”

But she stressed: “However, now schools are opening their doors fully again, it’s vitally important we all play our part to help reduce cases and stop the spread of coronavirus.

“There are simple things that can be done.

“Following the guidelines set out by your school and ensuring your children are practising good hand hygiene can all help.

“We are also asking families to consider walking, cycling or scooting to school to stay healthy and help maintain social distancing.”

Children in secondary schools will be offered a lateral flow test before they return.

And they will have a total of three tests in school before moving to home-testing in a bid to keep schools free of Covid-19.

School staff in both primary and secondary schools will continue to take tests twice a week to ensure they are infection free before coming into contact with pupils.

There are also plans to roll-out regular home testing for families of school-aged children.

You can get more information here:

“Please do look out for specific information from your child’s school with regards to start times, pick-up and drop-off guidance etc, and do speak to your school if you have any concerns,” said the county council.