Preparations for a safe return to lessons at the School this week are running according to plan, with sixth-formers experiencing a smooth start to the new testing programme yesterday.
Years 12 and 13 were the first at QE to benefit from the asymptomatic testing programme that is clearing the way for classroom learning to start for all year groups on Thursday.
In line with Government instructions, all pupils taking part in the programme are being tested before returning to School for lessons, so that any positive cases can be taken out of circulation before they have the opportunity to mix with each other and with staff.
Volunteers have rallied round, working alongside members of staff to make sure all 1,250 boys can be tested in time.
Headmaster Neil Enright said: “Testing all our pupils is a major logistical exercise, and one that, of course, has to be conducted in Covid-safe conditions.
“It is certainly a challenge, but I am pleased to report that the first day went without a hitch, with the operation running both calmly and efficiently.
“Although the testing is not compulsory, I am most encouraged to see that the participation rate is very high indeed, which will certainly aid the effectiveness of the programme in protecting all students and staff.”
Pupils are all being given specific times to attend over the first half of the week, with Years 9–11 due in for their first tests today and Years 7 and 8 on Wednesday.
In the meantime, QE’s programme of remote learning continues, with boys following a full timetable at home using the School’s eQE online learning platform and MS Teams.
They will have their second and third tests from Thursday onwards, once they are back in lessons.
The group of volunteers involved in the programme spans the Elizabethan community, including parents, former members of staff and other friends of the School.
“Some are giving up significant amounts of their time over the course of the in-School testing programme, for which we are all very grateful,” said Mr Enright.
“These volunteers are working alongside members of staff, with everyone trained for their respective roles.”
“It was, of course, great to see pupils back on site today – a foretaste of Thursday, when we look forward eagerly to seeing all the boys back in lessons here.”