More than 1,000 Covid tests taken at Downlands Community School in Hassocks on first day back after Christmas

Downlands Community School in Hassocks managed to give more than 1,000 students a Covid test on their first day back today (Wednesday, January 5).

Headteacher Mr Mark Wignall said the challenging task had been made possible thanks to ‘fantastic logistical organisation’ by the staff, as well as the cooperation and patience of the students.

The UK Government recently tightened the rules for students returning to secondary school after the Christmas break.

Staff and pupils are asked to test themselves regularly, but the new measures mean pupils in England must receive their first Covid test in school.

Mr Mark Wignall at Downlands School, Hassocks. Picture: Steve Robards, SR1626635.

The government also said face masks must now be worn in classrooms until January 26 to help slow the spread of the Omicron variant.

Mr Mark Wignall said: “At Downlands we continue to adhere to our risk assessment, which is based on government guidance, including the advice for students to wear their face coverings in transit and in class.”

“We also ask that students and staff are testing regularly at home using a lateral flow device,” he said.

Mr Wignall added: “They (students) have been so willing to adapt to the constantly changing situation and we are enormously proud of them.”

He said Downlands is committed to the safety of the community, as well as the continuity of education for all of its students.