Please see below the latest updates from George Abbot School regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19). Click on the images for more information.
Relevant COVID-19 information:
If you’re a member of a household, childcare bubble or support bubble of a school student, college student or of a staff member, you can get twice-weekly symptom-free tests.
The symptom-free tests for households are not available from schools or colleges. Households can use any testing offered by their employer, or book an appointment online at a symptom-free testing site, or collect a home-testing kit from a designated collection point, or if unable to travel to a site, order a kit online. You can find out more at surreycc.gov.uk/symptomfreecovidtesting.
If your child or a household or bubble member develop COVID-19 symptoms, do not use symptom-free testing. Book a free test at gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119.
05 March 2021
It is important that I remind parents of some of the key messages in our joint efforts to keep our community coronavirus-free. Firstly, a reminder that the 3 main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- A new continuous cough.
- A high temperature.
- A loss of or change in normal sense of taste or smell.
The most important procedures in place to keep students safe, until Easter in the first instance, are:
- Lateral flow testing 3 times on return to school.
- Twice weekly lateral flow testing at home thereafter.
- Masks in lessons (except PE and Dance).
- Hand sanitising on entry and exit from every lesson.
- Maintaining a 2m distance from others when not in classrooms.
- Leaving the buildings in an orderly manner with a teacher after every lesson.
- Being dismissed from playgrounds gradually at the end of break.
- Year group lessons being zoned in areas of the school.
- Year 7 and 8 remaining in base classrooms for most lessons.
- Accessing canteen facilities in year group bubbles only.
- Additional daily cleaning across the school with an enhanced focus on touch points – eg door handles, handrails.
- Frequent cleaning of toilets and sinks throughout the school day.
- Year group designated toilet facilities.
- Wiping down of work areas between lessons.
- Not sharing stationery.
- Cleaning equipment thoroughly.
- Avoiding physical contact at all times.
- Not being in corridors unless travelling outside or inside at the beginning or end of break.
- Remaining on year group specific playgrounds.
- Keeping classroom windows and doors open and ensuring good ventilation.
Health advice indicates that masks should not be worn if they become damp, therefore, please do send your child back to school with TWO FACE MASKS and a sealable bag for hygienic storage. A reminder too, that food allowances may need topping up and pencil cases and wardrobes might have mysteriously emptied themselves over recent months, so a quick stationery and uniform check could prove essential this weekend.
12 March 2021
The government have made an important change to their guidance for schools. This week, they amended their position regarding lateral flow testing and the need for confirmatory PCR testing. The new guidance states that when secondary aged pupils receive a positive LFD test at an Asymptomatic Test Site set up by a secondary school, then they and other members of their household must self-isolate. A confirmatory PCR test is not advised.
When secondary-aged pupils begin to test themselves from home, a positive LFD result should then be followed by a confirmatory PCR test. If the pupil then tests negative on the PCR test, this will override the test they took at home, and they will be able to return to school.
The DfE state that this is because LFD tests taken on test sites have extremely low rates of false positives, as these tests are undertaken in a controlled environment and trained staff read the results.
19 March 2021
By the end of today, all students will have come home from school with two packs of home testing kits. These will be for use in the last two weeks of term. Over the next two weeks, their Form Tutor will distribute a further two sets of lateral flow home testing kits for use over the Easter holidays. A reminder of the systems for registering your child’s results are below.
At Home Testing
Please make sure your child tests themselves twice a week, 3-5 days apart, in the morning before school if possible or the evening before. Full guidance on how to take the test is included with the test kit.
Your child should also continue testing twice a week, at home, throughout the Easter school holidays.
It is really important that results of the test are reported online straight away, even if your child’s result is negative or void. Please report the test results to:
26 February 2021
Return to School Principles
- Students will all return to school in the week beginning 8 March, but on staggered days (see below).
- Students will continue to receive remote education whilst they await their start day.
- Students will all be tested for coronavirus at school, 3 times in the first 2 weeks from their start day.
- This will be rapid testing using lateral flow devices.
- Thereafter students will be provided with home testing kits if they have participated in school testing.
- Consent is needed from a parent/carer for student testing – see link below.
- Face coverings to be worn in classrooms and communal areas for students and staff.
- There is no need for class sizes to be altered.
- Extra-curricular activities may continue.
- Work will still be provided for students for periods of self-isolation or quarantine owing to coronavirus.
- School will operate exactly as it did for the Autumn Term – 4 lessons a day, returning to 25 minute breaks, wearing PE kit on PE/Dance days, lining up on playgrounds between lessons, single year group use of canteens at any one time, tutor time every other week to stagger arrival times.
- Full uniform including blazers and ties will be worn on non PE/Dance days.
08 January 2021
This has certainly been a week of both practical and emotional turmoil. January is a month which annually brings its challenges; the Christmas aftermath, the cold days of January ahead. This year, lockdown has been thrown into the already potent mix.
We have been making necessarily quick and very important decisions about how we shape our original plan for 2 weeks of virtual lessons into a sustainable plan for at least the coming 6 weeks ahead. I know how much work and really critical thinking this has involved from our teaching team. I want to say a public thank you to our teachers for all that they have done and will continue to do for our students. This is a different kind of
Important amendments for the information of parents/carers of on site students only:
- Owing to lockdown, teachers are not required to be at school teaching their normal classes from their classrooms.
- Therefore, students on site are in year group bubbles being supervised by members of SLT or the pastoral team. Students are accessing their online lessons on school computers.
- From Monday 11 January, students on site can wear their home clothes for
school including warm layers as we are keeping windows open and using outside
spaces at break.
Do not forget to ensure your child has their lunch and refreshments every day. If they
are unwell or not coming into school on a day we are expecting them, please email the
absence email address as usual: firstname.lastname@example.org
15 January 2021
Since the beginning of term, the gym has become our very own ‘COVID-19 Lateral Flow Testing Centre’! A huge thank you goes out to our premises team, staff, and volunteers who have enabled us to successfully test over 300 students/staff for COVID since the beginning of term. We really appreciate the hard work and time that has been put in to make the testing happen. Additionally, the students have been sensible, calm and mature throughout the whole process. Well done to all involved.
This sets out to try and give a clear update on what is happening for your children and their education in January 2021. The key points are:
The government’s previously announced staggered start has been revised to “allow more time so that every school and college is able to fully roll out mass testing of all students”.
In the week beginning 4 January:
- 4 January is an INSET Day.
- From Tuesday 5 January, only invited vulnerable children and children of key workers will be on the school site.
- All students at school will need to bring food and refreshments as the kitchen will be closed. Students entitled to Free School Meals will be emailed a voucher w/c 4th January.
- Remote education will be provided for all other year groups – this will be in line with their normal school timetable as per my comms of 18/12/20.
- Remote virtual lessons will begin at 08.55 on 5 January – there will be 4 per day, delivered by Zoom by your child’s normal class teacher.
- Year 13 mocks will be delayed by one week, no longer commencing on 6 January 2021 – all Year 13 lessons will be delivered by Zoom as per above.
- Scheduled vocational exams will go ahead at school as planned (these are public exams and are largely BTEC units – students concerned will have received comms from Mrs Gibbons, our Exams Officer).
- George Abbot will prepare staffing and resources for covid-testing of staff and students.
- Parents will be informed of full covid-testing details for their child.
In the week beginning 11 January:
- Vulnerable children, children of key workers and students in exam years (Year 11 and 13) will be on site.
- All students at school will need to bring food and refreshments as the kitchen will be closed. Students entitled to Free School Meals will be emailed a voucher w/c 11th January.
- Year 13 will begin their mock exams starting on the 13 January – a one week delay – exams will take place at school as per the published locations.
- Testing “will begin in earnest”, prioritising staff, students on site and exam cohorts
- Any scheduled vocational exams will go ahead as planned.
In the week beginning 18 January:
- All students will be on site.
- Any scheduled vocational exams will go ahead as planned.
- A parent/carer for every student under the age of 16 and every student over the age of 16 will need to give consent if students are to receive covid testing at school. There is a registration and consent letter can be found here, please read and complete the enclosed consent form via the link as indicated.
- We will provide additional information about how and when the tests will be carried out next week.
06 November 2020
We have commenced a second lockdown which we shall navigate and manage to the very best of our collective ability. It is our absolute priority to keep our school open for our students.
Main National Messages from Government Guidance for Schools published 4 November 2020:
- Face coverings now mandatory in communal areas – already in place in corridors at George Abbot.
- Face coverings still not recommended in classrooms.
- Both staff and pupils who have been identified by their doctor as still considered clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) advised not to come into school.
- After-School Clubs should not take place unless to support parents to work (e.g. wraparound care).
Main Changes for Us as a Result of this Guidance?
- No parent meetings on site.
- No after school clubs except Homework Club (USIC) and period 6 lessons (including revision).
- We continue to use masks in communal spaces – this now includes USIC, Sixth Form Common Room, the Atrium, shared staff workrooms/offices.
- Student support interventions such as mentoring, tutoring, learning support, HSLW, careers will all continue.
- Students must sanitise their hands on entry to every classroom.
- Students must give each other space in corridors and leave the building calmly with staff at the end of lessons.
- Students must maintain physical distance from others in the playground.
- Students must wear a mask in communal spaces – failure to do so is now a COVID-19 Health and Safety infringement which will result in exclusion from school.
On this last point, as with our introduction of face masks in corridors, we shall keep our policy regarding face masks in lessons under VERY CLOSE review. PLEASE encourage your child to wear a mask in lessons if they would like to do so. We will be led by the national and local R rates on this policy and I will update you again next week. Meanwhile, for those students working closely with our Teaching Assistants in lessons, we would really appreciate if masks were worn for the protection of all as a 2 metre distance cannot be maintained.
We continue to refine our internal track and trace procedures and I will continue to keep you informed at every step of this pandemic.
02 October 2020
Parent Information Evening Feedback
Q. Why are we moving back to blazers after half term?
A. Government advice suggested full uniform should be possible from September. We decided to extend our summer uniform until October half term. After half term, students will still attend school in their PE/Dance kit several days a week, hopefully giving time for washing of blazer in between. The blazer washes well and dries quickly.
Q. What happens with catch up if my child misses school due to illness or waiting for a COVID test?
A. Lessons are put on the Student Learning Environment (SLE) daily so that students can catch up independently. This will also be helpful to support homework completion.
Q. Will there be live teaching by Zoom if a year group goes into lockdown?
A. Yes, teachers will teach live lessons by Zoom from their classrooms at the usual lesson time.
Q. Is there currently time for students to eat during the shorter breaks?
A. Yes, queues have moved through really quickly and students have still had time for fresh air and eating.
09 October 2020
This has been a week when our George Abbot Community has clearly seen the impact of COVID-19 in our community. Guildford area has now joined Waverley, Woking, Elmbridge, Runnymede and Spelthorne as areas of Raised Local Concern. The next step up is an Area of Concern with National Oversight.
As we see more cases in our community, this information from Public Health England may be helpful to all families:
- If you have been within 2m for 15 minutes of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or within 1m for 1 minute or more (e.g. face to face or touching) you must self-isolate for 14 days from 2 days before the person first got symptoms.
- This 14 days does not change even if a person who has been in contact gets a test done and the test is negative – they still isolate for 14 days to allow for incubation periods.
- This isolation period applies to people who have been in direct contact only as per point 1 above.
- If a child is sent home to isolate as they have been in contact with a person who has tested positive, the rest of their family does not need to isolate unless the person who has been in contact then develops symptoms.
- At that point, the new person with symptoms should immediately arrange a COVID-19 test.
3 September 2020
Hygiene and Cleanliness
There is hand sanitizer in every classroom and there are 10 hand sanitizer stations around the school. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly throughout the day.
Do not share equipment, food or water. Do not make physical contact with each other.
If you feel unwell, tell a member of staff.
Students should have a face mask with them at school and a sealable plastic bag to store it in.
Face masks will not be worn in lessons, but should be worn in the lunch queue or if we need to use a large indoor space for break or lunch owing to very bad weather.
Year Group ‘Bubbles’
To minimise the potential spread of COVID-19 within the school, students will be placed in year group bubbles. Please see the Welcome Back booklet for more information.
7 September 2020
COVID Testing and Informing the School
- We are not able to give medical advice – please ring 111.
- If you need to book a COVID-19 test you should do so online via the gov.uk website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-COVID-19/testing-and-tracing/get-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/
- If your child develops symptoms you should inform school immediately via an email to email@example.com and your child’s Head of Year.
- If someone in your family develops symptoms, every member of the household should self-isolate for 14 day – please inform firstname.lastname@example.org if this applies to your child.
- If your child attends for a COVID-19 test and it is negative, a parent must inform the school in writing of this outcome – emails should be sent to email@example.com before your child returns to school.
- If your child attends for a COVID-19 test and it is positive, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com URGENTLY.
11 September 2020
The government has launched a new publicity campaign to remind us all about the ongoing need for real caution as we continue to deal with the impact of COVID-19.
The ‘Hands, Face, Space’ campaign urges US ALL to continue to wash our hands, cover our face and make space to control infection rates and avoid a second peak. We need to do all we can to keep our children at school – being at school is of fundamental importance for every child’s development.
This week we saw over 97% attendance – a figure demonstrating just how valuable school is for all of us.
Thank you for all that you are doing to keep our community safe through your support of our systems and your child’s sensible and cooperative approach.
Department for Education Coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline
The Department for Education Coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline is available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline by calling:
- Phone: 0800 046 8687
- Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
18 September 2020
What to do if your child misses school – Student Learning Environment
If your child misses school, it is important they stay on top of their studies. Please read the guide on “Using the SLE”.
Face coverings on buses
Please remind your child that they MUST wear a face covering if they are travelling on a bus to school. Additionally, please encourage them to maintain a social distance where possible. For more information on the government guidance for dedicated transport to school please click here.
25 September 2020
We know just how important this return to school after lockdown is for every one of our students. With that in mind we have decided to increase our use of face masks around the school site.
As of Monday 28 September 2020 all students and staff will wear a facemask in corridors at all times. Our priority is to do everything we can to keep all year groups at school for as long as possible. This is a logical and proportionate next step as we see national R rates rising and wider societal restrictions returning.
Therefore, please double check that your child has:
- A face mask
- A sealable bag to keep it in
- Hand sanitiser
It is imperative that masks are not placed on classroom tables, so they will be removed on entry to lessons. They must be placed in a sealed bag and then students must sanitise their hands. A very small number of children and staff will continue to wear their face masks in lessons or be exempt from wearing masks owing to specific health issues.
Looking forward, we will be returning to full school uniform after October half term—shirts, ties, blazers. School hoodies can still be worn on PE/Dance days. Until then, please ask your child to wear a layer under their polo shirt and bring a waterproof coat to school every day. We will do all we can to avoid moving inside in light rain, so a waterproof coat is essential.
1 July 2020
Please be aware that the latest guidance on symptoms of COVID-19 has been updated to include loss of smell. The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
• A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature).
• A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).
• A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
For more information, please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronaviruscovid-19/symptoms/