First pupils receive rapid Covid-19 tests in school
Released: Monday 11 January, 2021
The first pupils have received rapid Covid-19 tests in the city’s schools.
The Government recently announced the roll out of lateral flow testing to secondary and special schools, and schools in Wolverhampton have been busy making preparations – with the support of the City of Wolverhampton Council – to enable staff and children to get tested if required.
Several local schools either have introduced, or are in the process of introducing, rapid testing which will enable them to carry out routine testing of staff and students who are currently able to attend school. This will help to provide reassurance, reduce the risk of transmission and enable staff and students to remain in school.
Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “Regular testing in schools will not only help them to remain open for our most vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers throughout the current lockdown, but also put them in a good place to welcome back all students as soon as they are able to do so.”
Among the first pupils to have a rapid test in school was Oliver Reid of Our Lady and St Chad’s Catholic Academy. The Year 7 student said: “Having the test has actually made me feel really safe to be in school. I thought that when I was having the test that it was going to be awful, but after, I was just like, that was fine. It only gave me the urge to sneeze.”
Mum Kristie said: “I was a bit worried about having to send Oliver into school, but now I feel really reassured that it is a safe environment. School is the best place for him and I am very grateful that he can be there.
“The regular testing makes it safer and it means that we can pick up the positive cases before they spread.”
CEO of St Francis and St Clare Catholic Multi Academy Company Toni Ellis said: “It is simply brilliant how quickly and effectively the teams at Our Lady and St Chad’s and St Edmund’s Catholic academies have worked to set up rapid testing zones and have trained staff to secure the safest environment possible for our staff and young people on site.
“The support available from colleagues at the council has been truly appreciated. This really is a community effort.”
Rapid testing is only available to people without symptoms of Covid-19 and uses lateral flow test technology to provide results in under an hour. It can identify cases in people who don’t have symptoms but could still be infectious; they can then self-isolate to prevent the transmission of the virus onto others.
From tomorrow (Tuesday), teachers and other staff working in education and Early Years settings, including cleaners, catering, administration and other support staff, will be eligible for priority Covid-19 rapid testing at the city’s at Pendeford Library between 7am and 10am and 4pm and 6pm, Monday to Friday. Staff should bring their work ID or a pay slip to confirm eligibility.
Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 – a new, continuous cough, a fever or a loss or change to their sense of taste or smell – are reminded they must book a PCR test at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.
Flu Vaccination Catch Up Clinics
Wednesfield North City Councillors want to remind Parents that
“School age children who missed their free flu vaccination last term, because they were off school or having to self-isolate, can get it at one of a number of catch up clinics being held this month.”
All pupils from Reception to Year 7 are eligible for the free flu vaccination this winter, delivered via a quick and painless nasal spray.
Catch up clinics are taking place at: Phoenix Health Centre, Parkfield Road, on Saturday 9 January from 9am-2.30pm; Christ The King, Pendeford Avenue, on Monday 11 January from 9am-2pm; Ladies Walk, Priory Lane, Sedgley, on Wednesday 13 January from 9am-3pm; Biz Space, Planetary Road, Wednesfield, on Thursday 14 January from 10am-2pm; Christ The King, Pendeford Avenue, on Saturday 16 January from 9am-2pm; Park Village Education Centre, Cannock Road, on Monday 18 January from 9am-2pm; Biz Space, Planetary Road, Wednesfield, on Wednesday 20 January from 10am-2pm; Park Village Education Centre, Cannock Road, on Saturday 23 January from 9am-2pm.
Appointments must be reserved in advance – please call 01902 200077 to book a slot. Meanwhile Year 7 pupils at S. Peter’s Collegiate School are able to attend a catch up clinic at the school on Tuesday 19 January. Parents should call 01902 200077 to book an appointment.
- Primary applications deadline nears
Wednesfield North Councillors want to remind local parents whose children are due to start school for the first time this September “That they only have a week left in which to complete applications for reception class places.”
The deadline is next Friday, 15 January. To apply for a school place, parents should log on to www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/admissions and complete the short application process.
Parents and guardians will be notified of their child’s allocated school place on 16 April 2021. Parents are reminded that even if their child is in nursery provision at either primary or junior school, they still need to apply for a reception class place.
Help and advice is available from the Admissions and Appeals Team on 01902 551122 or by emailing email@example.com.
- The roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine is continuing in Wolverhampton. It is currently available to people in the first priority group – people aged 80 and over, care home residents and staff and health care workers at high risk – and will be rolled out to others based on factors such as their age and risk in the near future.
The vaccine is being delivered from New Cross Hospital and a number of primary care sites.
All GPs in Wolverhampton are linked to these primary care sites, and will offer the vaccine to eligible patients. People will be contacted by the NHS as and when they become eligible for the vaccine; there is no need to call their GP or pharmacy. For details of the priority list, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Vaccination centres which will be capable of treating large numbers of patients will be established across the region in the coming weeks as further supplies of the vaccine become available, and it will also be made available from community pharmacies; further details will be confirmed in due course.
As of 7 January 2021, Action Fraud had received 57 reports from members of the public who have been sent text messages claiming to be from the NHS, offering them the opportunity to sign up for coronavirus vaccinations. The texts ask the recipient to click on a link which takes them to an online form where they are prompted to input personal and financial details. In some cases the online form has looked very similar to the real NHS website.
Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:
“Remember, the vaccine is only available on the NHS and is free of charge. The NHS will never ask you for details about your bank account or to pay for the vaccine. If you receive an email, text message or phone call purporting to be from the NHS and you are asked to provide financial details, this is a scam.”
How to protect yourself:
In the UK, coronavirus vaccinations will only be available via the National Health Services of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a local GP surgery or pharmacy, to receive your vaccination. Remember, the vaccinations are free of charge and you will not be asked for a payment.
The NHS will never:
• ask for your bank account or card details
• ask for your PIN or banking passwords
• arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
• ask for documentation to prove your identity, such as a passport or utility bills
If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726, which is free of charge.
If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.
*Please forward this email to any friends, family members, or colleagues that may find this information useful*
A third Covid-19 rapid test centre – to check whether people without symptoms have the virus or not – has opened in Wolverhampton today (Friday 8 January).
Rapid testing, which uses lateral flow test technology to provide results in under an hour, can identify cases in people who don’t have any symptoms of the virus but who could still be infectious. Anyone who tests positive is then able to self-isolate to prevent the spread of the virus onto others.
The new rapid test centre, at St Joseph’s Church, Willenhall Road, will be open Monday to Friday from 2pm-6pm. This test centre is not open weekends.
Meanwhile, a further rapid test centre is due to open at Pendeford Library next week for key workers. Further details will be confirmed shortly.
The new centres will join the city’s two existing rapid test facilities, at the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Civic Centre which is open Monday to Friday from 7am-7pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10am-6pm, and the Jamia Masjid Bilal on Newhampton Road West, which is open from 10am-6.30pm daily.
Well over 22,000 rapid Covid-19 tests have now been conducted in Wolverhampton. Anyone without symptoms is invited to attend for a rapid test; appointments are not necessary. Please note, rapid testing is not available to people who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or to anyone with symptoms of Covid-19.
People with symptoms – a new, continuous cough, a fever or a change to their sense of taste or smell – must self-isolate and book a test at one of the city’s PCR Covid-19 test centres by visiting www.gov.uk.get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119. Walk-through PCR test centres are located at Showell Road, Whitmore Reans Library car park, Blakenhall Community Resource Centre and Mountford Lane car park in Bilston and are open daily from 8am-8pm. The drive-through PCR test centre at Aldersley Leisure Village is open daily from 9am-3pm.
Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “We have an extensive network of testing facilities across Wolverhampton for people with and without symptoms of Covid-19.
“The message is clear; if you develop symptoms of Covid-19, you must self-isolate and book a test at one of our five PCR test centres immediately.
“And if you don’t have symptoms and want to take part in the rapid testing programme, please come along to one of our rapid test centres which can be found at the Civic Centre, the Jamia Masjid Bilal, St Joseph’s Church and, in the coming days, Pendeford Library.
“You’ll get your result inside an hour and, if it turns out you have got Covid-19, you’ll be able to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
For full details of Covid-19 testing services in Wolverhampton, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus-testing. Free short stay parking is available at St Peters Car Park off Wulfruna Street for people attending the Civic Centre for a test.
Latest figures show there were 947.1 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the seven days to 5 January. That means 2,491 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that seven day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be considerably higher.
The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus. Further details of the lockdown restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/covidalert.
Current alert level in Wolverhampton as of the 5th January is 728.3 per 100,000 people .
Just a warning folks, here in my Ward of Wednesfield North we have the following areas with higher than the England Average of Covid-19 tested positive results. These are official HM.Gov statistics.
• Wednesfield North East – Post Code WV12 5UH – as of the 31st December 2020 = 69 Positive tested which equates to 946.1 -per 100,000
• Woodend – Post Code WV111LX – as of the 31st December 2020 = 72 Positive tested which equates to 883.9 -per 100,000
• Ashmore Park – Post Code WV112HB as of the 31st December 2020 = 110 Positive tested which equates to 1512.0 per 100,000
Please follow the Guidance, all of these statistics are way ahead of the England average, and we must follow NATIONAL RESTRICTIONS.
If you want to look at these statistics yourself the link is -just swap the current postcode for the Post Code you live in.
Councillor Phil and Mary Bateman with Cllr Rita Potter felt that it would be in the interest of our residents, if they shared the following advice we as Councillors have received from the City of Wolverhampton Council. This Sunday night 3rd January 2021.
1. Primary, special and nursery settings
The Council’s position is firmly that the best place for children is in schools and as such we have worked closely with all our education settings over the last nine months to prioritise this as long as it is safe to do so. As you may be aware we started local discussions yesterday in relation to our position regarding primary, special and nursery settings opening on the 4 January 2021 in light of our significantly high coronavirus rate in Wolverhampton in recent days.
Having liaised with the Regional Schools Commissioner about our concerns, we wrote formally to the Secretary of State for Education yesterday evening, requesting that Wolverhampton be reviewed under the Contingency Framework for Education and Childcare Settings so that our primary, special and nursery settings move to remote learning for the majority of pupils, other than those of critical worker parents and vulnerable pupils from the 4 January 2021. This is similar to the approach taken by a number of other local authorities with very high infection rates such as Kent and Cumbria.
We asked for a response to this request by mid-day today in order to inform a further urgent meeting. We have now been advised that our request has not been supported.
Following a further meeting between the Council Leadership, officers and Public Health this afternoon, it was agreed we would update schools with the facts regarding the epidemiology evidence in Wolverhampton to support whatever decision the Governing Bodies/Trusts may take. As you know the decision on whether to move to a remote learning model for those other than vulnerable children and children of key workers is a decision for the relevant Governing Body or Trust, not the Council. However we thought it important that any decisions made had full sight of the relevant facts namely:
1. The rate in Wolverhampton is increasing fast and there is no evidence of it slowing
2. The rate is currently at 674.7 per 100,000 as at the 31 December 2020. This rate was 337 on 24 December 2020
3. Wolverhampton’s positivity rate is at its highest point since the pandemic started – 24.3%, in line with many London boroughs
4. Over the last 2 weeks we have seen an extreme spike in Covid case numbers, far exceeding anything previously
5. Wolverhampton’s Covid case rate is seeing a significant increase across all age ranges including children
6. Currently our profile is similar to that of London and the South East 2-3 weeks ago
7. Based on the current high positivity rate and increasing overall rate, it is highly likely the new more aggressive variant is within the City
Our request to be reviewed under the Contingency Framework was based on the above public health evidence with a view to taking a preventative and proactive approach for a short period in Wolverhampton to stabilise the transmission rates. Moving to a week’s remote learning for the majority of pupils would have minimised movement and mixing of families across the city whilst enabling us to support schools in reviewing risk assessments and mobilising a dedicated testing site for school staff.
We will continue to support all our schools in whatever decision they reach as we have over the last nine months. We will continue to liaise with the Secretary of State for Education in order to escalate our concerns as well as exploring other options.
Director of Governance
The council has today raised serious concerns about primary schools safely reopening next week – and has urged the Government to support a move to online learning.
Primary, nursery and special schools are due to reopen next week though secondary schools will remain closed until later this month.
However, cases of Covid-19 in Wolverhampton have continued to rise in recent days amid concerns the new highly contagious strain of coronavirus is now circulating in the city.
Council Leader Councillor Ian Brookfield said: “As always, the safety of our pupils, teachers and school staff is paramount. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 infection rate in Wolverhampton now stands at 530 people per 100,000. We are also seeing a very high positive test rate of 23% – similar to many areas of London and the South East. As a result, we have had no choice but to escalate matters and have written to the Secretary of State for Education to express our concerns.
“We have serious concerns about schools reopening safely and are seeking Government support on all primary, nursery and special schools in Wolverhampton moving to remote learning next week, other than for children of critical workers and vulnerable children. As we await a formal response, we will continue to focus on testing arrangements for school staff and support schools in updating their risk assessments and operation plans.”
Councillor Phil Bateman added ” I will keep Wednesfield North Ward residents, and readers tuned into the results of this urgent missive to the Government, when we have the response, to the Leader of the Councils request.”
Crime in Wednesfield which includes Wednesfield North & South has ballooned upwards in November 2020. The statistics were published by Police UK .
Councillor Phil Bateman Wednesfield North said “A whopping 66 new crimes were reported to Police in November, over the October stats. That equates to an increase of 34.7%
I cant say that these results make happy reading.
The three top crimes that are driving these figures in November are –
Violence and sexual offences 99
Anti-social behaviour 43
Vehicle crime 27
“These are not good results, and it continues to fuel the communities call for more Police Officers for Neighbourhood Policing in Wednesfield. Plus the community I represent continues to call for the retention of Wednesfield North Police Station. These statistics sadly help to provide renewed evidence for our pleas.”