Covid-19 Information | Abingdon Senior School

Our first priority is the safety of all those in the Abingdon community and we have put in place appropriate measures in order to operate safely.

The situation is dynamic and the guidance we are able to give parents is often dependent on the information we receive from the government. We will update this page and notify parents when further details become available.

Whole School Update 1 November 2020

We are looking forward to welcoming the boys back to school tomorrow for the second half of term. Please note the following:

  • The School continues to follow government guidance and will remain open physically.
  • We will be operating as we did at the end of the first half of the Michaelmas term but we may have to adapt our procedures if government guidelines change. Music and sport will continue as they were at the end of the first half of term until further notice.
  • As of Monday 2 November, face masks will now be required to be worn by boys and staff when inside buildings in corridors and circulation spaces such as houserooms. Masks may be worn in classrooms, boarding houses and offices but are not mandatory in these areas. Boys are required to have a clean mask with them at all times and a sealable plastic bag in which to keep the mask when it is not being worn eg when eating.
  • School uniform policy is unchanged from the first half of term but boys are advised to wear warm clothes as windows and doors will be open to aid ventilation.
  • Boys who use the JBS are reminded of the rules given in the JBS update of 25 September. These are essential to ensure the safety of the driver and all those who use the service. Boys must wear facemasks at all times and therefore there is no eating or drinking permitted. Boys are not allowed to swap seats and must comply with the bus driver’s instructions at all times.
  • The risk assessment, health and hygiene measures and the requirement to social distancing where possible, introduced at the beginning of term, remain in place.
  • The Secondhand Uniform Shop will not be available during the lockdown period.

Music update 2 October 2020

VMT lessons from Monday 5 October

One-to-one music lessons

Following the end-of-September review mentioned in the Q&A to parents of 21 August 2020 our one-to-one music lesson arrangements have been amended, and I am pleased to announce that some lessons will, for now, happen face-to-face on site, while others will continue on Zoom – all will be given in clearly designated rooms in the Music School.

In deciding which lessons will be taught by the teacher in one of our music rooms, we have needed to consider the size of the music rooms, the instrument and ensemble activities offered by the visiting music teachers (VMTs), and the personal circumstances of the staff.

Detailed arrangements for the lessons, including the equipment boys need to bring, are as listed on the Covid-19 Information for Parents page of the website: Music update 21 August 2020 – A Guide to Music in the Abingdon Foundation

Earlier issues with wifi coverage to enable Zoom in music rooms have been resolved, but should your son have any concerns, he should report them to the Music Office please.

As always, the music arrangements will be subject to review if the situation changes and different measures are needed to be implemented.

Precautions for face to face lessons:

  • Pupils must enter the room wearing a face covering.
  • Pupils must sanitise their hands at the start and end of lessons.
  • During the lessons the teacher will wear a face covering.
  • Perspex floor-standing screens will be provided in rooms where necessary.
  • Pupils of wind and brass instruments will stand in profile to the teacher, rather than face on – this is particularly the case for wind instrument and singing teaching. For now such teaching will not be possible at APS.
  • Only rooms which allow for adequate distancing can be used for face to face instrumental teaching.
  • Small ensembles will continue to be limited to boys from the same year group.

If you have any issues you wish to raise, please contact us, as appropriate

Michael Stinton, Director of Music

JBS update 25 September 2020

Friday 25 September 2020

Dear Parents,

We would like to start by thanking you for working with us to help ensure that we are able to keep the Joint Bus Service running as effectively as possible. We appreciate that the way we are operating has been different and are grateful for the way the new practices have been adopted.

We continue to track the developments in the local and national context and we are in weekly contact with the local authority and with local public health officials. Inevitably the prevailing circumstances require review and refinement of systems and Abingdon and St Helen’s are working closely together through this process.

In the light of local developments, we are now moving to make some changes to ensure that systems such as test and trace can be supported by JBS as efficiently as possible. We are sure that you will understand that we need to work with the coach companies and local agencies to plan for things becoming more complex as Autumn moves into Winter.

To this end, we are moving to a system which will allocate seats to bus users and these allocations will place students in the same year group together as far as possible and aim to keep students from the different schools separate as much as possible. Seating students in this way will assist in any contact tracing in the event of a COVID-19 positive case, and hopefully minimise the number of students required to self-isolate. Allocated seats are final and students cannot switch amongst themselves to sit with friends.

In addition, please note the following:

  • Passengers are to arrive at and wait at the bus stop wearing face masks. Face masks need to remain in place throughout your journey to school and until a student reaches the hand sanitising station at their school.
  • Masks are to be worn on the bus at all times. This means that no eating is permitted. Masks must be kept safely by students and must not be discarded on the coach.
  • Passengers must use hand sanitiser when it is provided on the bus or use their own personal sanitiser before boarding the vehicle. This needs to be done in the sight of drivers/staff on duty.
  • Passengers must remain in their seats for the duration of the journey and must not move between seats as other passengers get off.
  • As the requirement to wear a mask is now established as part of day-to-day life, students who do not have a face mask will not be allowed to travel and their parents will need to arrange alternative transport for travel to school.
  • To ensure that the day to day operation runs as smoothly as possible, please can parents ensure that they have advised their respective school medical centre at least 24 hours before travel in the event that a student has a medical exemption from wearing a mask so that we can ensure that the appropriate coach operator is made aware.
  • No student displaying Covid symptoms should set out on a bus journey with the JBS

These changes will come into effect from the return journey on Monday 28th September 2020 and remain in place until further notice.

These procedures are mandatory. Any student not behaving in accordance with these procedures may be refused permission to travel. Students should be aware that they may not be given a warning to change behaviour, permission may be withdrawn as a first measure in order to support the well-being of other travellers. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Kind regards

The Joint Bus Service

PHE guide for parents 24 September 2020

Public Health England has issued a guide to help parents and carers know when and how to book a test for Covid-19 for their child. The guide, linked below, also gives advice on what to do if a child tests positive or is a close contact of someone who has tested positive.

We have also been asked the following additional questions which are answered below:

Q: My child is self-isolating because they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive but he has no symptoms and has had a negative Covid-19 test. Can he come back to school?

A: Your son will not be able to return to school. He has to complete the 14 days self-isolation as there is still the slight possibility that he could develop symptoms after the test was taken. Please follow this link for clarification:

Q: If the School tells me to isolate, is that the same as NHS Track and Trace – or is it just optional? Will I be fined if I ignore the School’s advice?

A: If someone goes against the School’s advice to self isolate then the school is obliged to inform PHE as a matter of protecting the health of the public. The School can give the details of the person/parent refusing to follow advice and PHE will then contact that person and it is at that stage that it can be legally enforced.

Q: What is a ‘cold’ cough and what is a ‘Covid’ cough?

A: Please refer to the PHE guidance below which outlines Covid symptoms as opposed to cold symptoms.

Read the guide

NHS Test and Trace - letter to parents 23 September

The following letter is from NHS Test and Trace



23 September 2020

Dear parents and guardians,

This is an important letter to share some information on how we can work together to make sure we can continue to give children and young people the best education in the safest way possible.
One important part of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of pupils, parents and our communities is testing for coronavirus. We all have a duty to make sure that the right people have access to get tested at the right time. Every time a test is used inappropriately, a person with Covid-19 symptoms may miss out on getting tested.
Therefore, I ask that you all follow these principles:

▪ You should only book a test if your child has any of these three coronavirus symptoms:

1. a high temperature: any new high temperature where your child feels hot to touch on their chest or back (you do not need to measure the temperature)
2. a new continuous cough: coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
3. a loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste: a noticeable loss of smell or taste or things smell and taste different to normal

▪ Your child does not need a test if they have a runny nose, are sneezing or feeling unwell but do not have a temperature, cough or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste because these are not normally symptoms of coronavirus.

▪ If you are unsure about whether to get a test, please check the official list of symptoms on the NHS website, which is reviewed regularly:

▪ Only the person with symptoms should get a test. You do not need to get a test for anyone else in the household unless they also have any of the three symptoms listed above. All members of the household need to self-isolate whilst waiting for the test result.

▪ If the person with symptoms’ test comes back positive, other members of their household should continue self-isolating for 14 days and only get a test if they develop coronavirus symptoms.

▪ If a pupil in a class or bubble tests positive for coronavirus, anyone who is advised to self-isolate does not require a test unless they subsequently develop symptoms.

No one else in the same class or bubble as the symptomatic person needs to take any action unless advised by the school. Schools have detailed guidance and access to a Department for Education and Public Health England helpline for advice and support.

Contacts of a person who has tested positive must follow the guidance carefully and in full, which means they must stay at home for 14 days. This is because it can take several days following contact with an infected person before an individual develops symptoms or the virus can be detected. Students should only book a test if they get symptoms.

The NHS has produced some guidance to help parents understand when their child can and cannot attend school which you may find useful:

It is vital for children’s learning and future opportunities that they are able to return to school and college. It is therefore vitally important that all we work together and do our bit to make this possible.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Viv Bennett CBE
Chief Nurse and Director Maternity and Early Years | Public Health England
Head of World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Public Health Nursing and Midwifery
Follow me on Twitter: @VivJBennett

Dr Susan Hopkins
Interim Chief Medical Officer | NHS Test & Trace
Deputy Director | Public Health England
Consultant in Infectious Diseases & Microbiology
Royal Free, London

Q&A for parents 21 August 2020

We hope that the following Q&A will answer many of the questions that parents, guardians and boys have about returning to the school campus for the Michaelmas term. We will update this document if the government or the School’s own guidance changes and we will notify parents that the document has been updated. Any further queries should be emailed to Mr Dawswell, the Second Master, at

Download the Q&A for parents

Q&A for boarding parents 21 August 2020

We hope that the following Q&A will reassure boarders, parents and guardians that we are committed to reopening the school and the boarding houses as safely as possible. We will update this document if the government or the School’s own guidance changes and we will notify parents that the document has been updated.

Please contact Mr Kendry, the Head of Boarding, at if you have any additional questions.

Download the Q&A for boarding parents

Sports update 21 August 2020

Please follow this link for information from the Sports department regarding sport for the Michaelmas term.

Music update 21 August 2020

Please follow this link for information from the Music department regarding music for the Michaelmas term.

JBS update 21 August 2020

JBS procedures for students September 2020

21 August 2020

Dear Parents

Buses will run as normal from the beginning of term in terms of routes and timings; if you are unsure about the timings of your route, you can check them on the JBS website. Students will need to travel on the coach that they have booked and cannot re-book for an earlier or different coach. All our coach operators have processes in place to ensure their buses are kept clean at all times. This document is to ensure that students understand their obligations in keeping themselves and others safe.

In order to protect the bus drivers and their fellow students (some of whom have underlying health conditions or families where there are shielding concerns) we are asking students to take responsibility for protecting themselves and others during their journeys to and from school.

In addition to their usual health and safety requirement to wear a seatbelt at all times, the following Covid secure procedures need to be adopted. This applies to everyone using the JBS, irrespective of age. These procedures are mandatory. Any student not adopting these procedures may be refused permission to travel. Students should be aware that they may not be given a warning to change behaviour, permission may be withdrawn as a first measure.

As the bus arrives the bus driver will disembark, students will need to give the driver at least ‘one metre plus’ social distance. Students must use the hand sanitiser provided at the entrance to the coach.

Students must wear masks at the bus stop and throughout the duration of the journey. Should a student have a medical issue that compromises their ability to do this they will need to contact the health centre at their school in advance of their first journey (

In preference, students should use a named, clean fabric mask every day, rather than a disposable mask. Students should not eat or drink on the bus as this would mean the removal of their mask.

On arrival at school, students should be careful about their mask, storing it in a named plastic bag. If they absolutely have to use a disposable mask they must ensure that it is disposed of safely.

Where possible, students should only bring bags that can be left in the racks above them or held on their lap during the journey and avoid bringing luggage that needs to be stowed underneath the coach. This is to limit cross-contamination in the luggage area as much as possible.

The coach will load with the students at the earliest stops going to sit at the back. Students joining later should go to the furthest available seat. Where possible, boys should sit on the left-hand side of the bus and girls on the right-hand side. When the bus arrives at their destination, students should be patient and wait for others to leave ahead of them when unloading.

Students should not share any items eg headphones on the journey and should face forward at all times.

At the end of the school day students should be wearing masks as they enter the bus and, if possible, sit towards the back if their stop is later and towards the front if they get off sooner.

Sixth form and older students will be expected to uphold the highest standards of responsibility, ensuring that these procedures are followed. They will be expected to report any issues. Coach drivers will also be asked to report and the internal coach CCTV may also be reviewed.

All students will receive a video about these procedures which they must watch. Abingdon students will be sent the video by Mark Hindley before the beginning of term. We would be grateful if parents could ensure that their sons have watched the full video.

We appreciate, at the start of term, new parents sometimes like to bring their child into school by car but in the current situation we would appreciate if all students would use the bus service from the start of term in order for everyone to quickly adjust to the new procedures.

Should you have any queries about JBS travel, please contact

Yours faithfully,

Mike Windsor
Abingdon School

Rebecca Dougall
St Helen and St Katharine

Health and Hygiene - video from the School Nurse

Helen Morris, the School Nurse, explains some of the measures the School is taking for the start of the Michaelmas term.

School uniform update 3 July 2020

School uniform for September 2020 return

We are very aware that September will require some adjustments to our normal practices. One of these is temporary adjustment to our school uniform. A key factor is to try to minimise pressure on our changing facilities. Given all this, please see below the school uniform requirements for September. These will be reviewed at the end of September.

Pupils should wear either summer dress or sports kit (including tracksuit bottoms), as stipulated below:

Summer Dress (no school blazer or jacket)

  • Lower School: grey trousers plus white shirt
  • Third and Fourth Year: grey trousers plus plain blue shirt
  • Fifth Year: grey trousers plus plain blue shirt or striped blue shirt
  • Sixth Form: chinos and smart shirt
  • Black leather, polishable shoes, not black trainers, but trainers are allowed when wearing sports kit

If the weather turns cold, pupils may wear a plain jumper:

  • Lower School and Middle School: plain, NOT patterned, blue or grey jumper
  • Sixth Form: plain, smart jumper (of any colour)

Sports Kit:

On days when boys are exercising, and only on those days, pupils may wear Sports Kit:

Pupils should wear Abingdon shorts, Abingdon t-shirts/games shirts, and Abingdon socks. Pupils may wear trainers.

  • ALL pupils MUST wear blue or black tracksuit bottoms (for reasons of safety in Science and practical subjects) but these do not have to be Abingdon branded.
  • For reasons of hygiene, pupils MUST bring in a change of t-shirt and a change of socks. Their change t-shirt should be inoffensive and does not need to be Abingdon branded.

Covid-19 risk assessments. Published 1 September 2020 and periodically updated

The risk assessments were first published on 1 September 2020 and are updated as and when needed.