CV&CC Update Tuesday 12th January 2021: Lateral Flow Testing

CV&CC Update

Tuesday 12th January

Evenings & weekends – reporting of Covid-19 positive test results

As a further precaution, we have introduced a dedicated phone number, solely for reporting positive Covid-19 test results at evenings and weekends

(At all other times, please contact Student Absence on 01392 463911 or e-mail: )

The number is:           07818 212 931

It is not for suspected cases, non-Covid-19 illness or absence, and is not an advice line.

Please text positive Covid-19 test result information to this number, including:

·       Name of student

·       Student’s tutor group

·       Date symptoms appeared

·       Date of test

·       Date of test result

If necessary, someone will contact you having received this information.  Thank you!


Lateral Flow Testing: IMPORTANT

This week we have started using LFTs as initial screening. Up to today (Tuesday), we have conducted 141 tests of which none was positive and none was void. Despite some reservations, the testing has gone very well, and is undoubtedly a useful addition to making sure that the site is safe for those who are currently using it. As per government guidance, students are being tested 3-4 days apart. From next week, all students and staff on site will be tested weekly.

However, we will not be using LFTs IF we have a positive case in College, and any close contacts will need to isolate for ten days, as happened with Years 7,9 and 10 last term. The reason for this decision is that medical advice is far from clear that LFTs can be useful or safe in the event of a positive case. The British Medical Journal is opposed to LFTs’ use; a number of research papers raise similar concerns; and several local authority Directors of Public Health  have instructed schools not to use LFTs for this purpose. Practically, for seven days, we would need to collect together all potentially contagious ‘close-contacts’ and present them, one at a time to be tested by the ‘volunteer’ teams who are providing the LFTs. They would then need to be kept separate until the test results are known. As well as increased risks of transmission among close contact students, there would be risks to College staff and volunteers.

I must stress that we are not opposed to LFTs in general; as noted, we have implemented them as screening. At present we will take the line of better safe than sorry, but once there is clear, unequivocal advice that LFTs are reliable and safe enough for daily testing we would of course change our position.

You may find the following links of interest:


Situation Update

No change since last week. Staff absence still remains very low: this could well be because mask wearing and better hand hygiene is also preventing a range of other infections. With the national lockdown, four CEV staff are shielding. We have no positive cases among staff at present; one colleague is isolating because of a household member.

Local Rates

Locally to us, numbers of cases are increasing but remain well below national averages. According to the NEU covid map for schools, in the last week East Devon has risen noticeably from 164 to 253 cases per 100,000, and the BBC gives 254 cases; Broadclyst, Cranbrook, Stoke Canon and area has remained more or less the same at 232/100,000; Exeter is up to 285/100,000 (NEU) or 284 (BBC), and Pinhoe and area has increased a little to 225. The national average for the BBC figures is 553/100,000 which is an increase on last week.


Keyworkers’ and Vulnerable Children

Unfortunately, mixed messages persist. Matt Hancock was clear on Sunday that “If you’re a key worker and your partner doesn’t work then you shouldn’t be sending your children to school”, but the DfE guidance revised yesterday is equally clear that “Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school if required. This includes parents who may be working from home.” Meanwhile, there is an exhortation to Stay at Home but a recognition that many families need to work.

At Clyst Vale, numbers are around 15% of the roll, but we are not “overwhelmed”, as has happened in other areas, and especially to Primary Schools. There is no evidence whatsoever that Clyst Vale parents are “playing the system” to secure a place. Numbers have risen mostly because the definition of a keyworker has become broader. If you believe that your child is eligible for a place, because you are a keyworker or if your child is vulnerable, please contact us.

(It seems that “KWV” is increasingly becoming known as “CWV” for “Critical Workers”)

The link for CWV definitions is:


Free School Meals

This is a significant media story at present, specifically the less-than-adequate food parcels which are not value for money being given to families in receipt of FSM. Although it is not a perfect system, the vouchers we send do provide families with some flexibility and a chance of achieving better value for money. We are still providing FSM in College, too.

Key Points to Remember, please

  • Please do not send your child to school if they have covid symptoms.
  • Please do not send your child to school if they have had symptoms and are waiting for a test result even if they seem better.
  • If any member of a household has symptoms, everyone must stay away from school or work until the test result is known. If positive, everyone must isolate for 10 days from the start of symptoms or 10 days from the test date if there were no symptoms.
  • Please tell us [student absence; AtHoS] if your child or household member has symptoms; test dates and results; dates you have been given for a return to school. This applies even if your child is not attending College.
  • Please use the number above for reporting an “out-of-hours” positive test result.
  • Students should wear masks at all times unless exempt. Except lessons, when actually eating/drinking, and if outside AND at 1m+ distance from one another.


Kevin Bawn