News & Events

A Piece of History

At Croydon High, we have quite an extensive archive with some material going back to the 1870s. We are currently experiencing a piece of history like no other, and so, Mr King has written a piece to place in the archives for future generations to come…

In March 2021 schools returned from an extended period of national restrictions – ” a lockdown” – aimed at curbing the rise in coronavirus (COVID19) infections.

The school had not had pupils physically in school since December 12th.

The previous summer had seen the first of such lockdowns, but as the public health situation ease, the summer holidays had begun, and schools returned to relative normality that September.

On this occasion, however, the return to school was much politicised, and further complicated, by a new variant of the covid19 infection, the so-called, South African variant. The transmissibility of this was feared to be far greater than the coronavirus the world had been grappling with since March 2020.

Schools were permitted to re-open on March 8th, with secondary schools asked to facilitate screening “Lateral Flow Tests” of all pupils before they returned to the school buildings, to avoid a pupil (or staff member) bringing the infection into school, and it spreading rapidly among the community.

Pupils lined up, sanitised hands, wore face coverings, and were directed through the procedure by volunteers, staff and friends of the school. Pupils had to do this 3 or four times over the first 10 days of their return, after which, they took home test kits away and conducted the tests on themselves as part of an effort to make sure any “asymptomatic cases” didn’t emerge.

Pictures here show the Senior Gym transformed into an impromptu “Testing Centre”. The school nurse verified all results and uploaded them to the NHS to help form a national picture of the spread of the virus.

The school’s test centre code was CFBQ and each pupil uploaded details to an NHS website to register their test.

Testing involved swabbing the back of the throat and the nostrils with a scratchy swab, as the virus was detectable in these areas – an airborne infection after all.

In all the test centre carried out around 1500 tests before senior pupils and staff were required to carry on the procedure twice a week in their own homes as a precaution.

David King

Deputy Head (Pastoral)

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