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.

Covid-19 arrangements for Michaelmas term 2021 - update 31 August 2021

At the end of last term we wrote to parents in the weekly mailing about the arrangements for Michaelmas term 2021. Below is an update on our plans which are in keeping with government guidance at the current time. Please particularly note section 2 below which gives details of Covid-19 testing before the start of term and during September.

We are hoping to return to pre-pandemic school life as much as possible. However our first priority remains the safety of our whole school community and we will continue to emphasise the need to respect each other’s personal space and to ensure good ventilation, hand-washing and the use of hand sanitiser. We also have contingency plans to implement infection control measures in the event of a Covid-19 outbreak.

1. General arrangements:

  • We expect all students to be at school, in person, for the start of lessons on the first day of term, Tuesday 7 September.
  • There will be no bubbles. We will have a normal timetable with a return to the usual access to the library, dining hall (although additional dining facilities will continue to be available in the Jekyll garden) and other school facilities.
  • Children who are close contacts of a positive case will no longer need to self-isolate but they will be advised to take a PCR test by NHS Test and Trace.
  • In keeping with government guidance, we will no longer be notifying parents of positive cases in school. However this may change if we need to implement contingency planning in the event of an outbreak.
  • If a student tests positive for Covid-19 they need to self-isolate in line with government guidance and notify the school by email: attendance@abingdon.org.uk. They will also need to have the positive test confirmed by booking a PCR test.
  • Uniform will return to winter dress. Exceptions are: third year students who should wear sports kit on Mondays, fourth year students on Tuesdays, and fifth year students on Fridays. Students are required to have the regulation Abingdon uniform, and can only wear Abingdon sports kit with a full school tracksuit. Pupils must abide by the school dress code and no hoodies, tops or tracksuits that are non-Abingdon will be allowed. Details of school uniform including sports kit can be found here.
  • Haircuts should comply with our school policy: Hair must be cut so that it does not lie on the collar nor is excessively close-shaven. Hair must look smart, and must not appear to be attention seeking. Bleaches or dyes that are in blatant contrast to a boy’s natural colour are not permitted.
  • Face coverings/masks are not compulsory for students, except when using the Joint Bus Service or school minibuses or coaches, but if students prefer to wear a face covering when in school then they can do so.
  • Sport, Music, Drama and the Other Half will all return to a full programme. Spectators are welcome to sports fixtures and live audiences to productions and concerts.
  • Trips – there will be trips during the Michaelmas term, please refer to the school calendar.
  • Risk assessment – the School’s Covid-19 risk assessment for the Michaelmas term 2021 will be published on Friday 3 September and will be available here.

2. Covid-19 testing for students before the start of term and during September:

Before the summer holiday we wrote to parents with the Department for Education’s, DfE’s, guidance about Covid-19 testing at the start of the Michaelmas term. The guidance is that students in Year 7 and above (equivalent to our First Year and above) should all take two Covid-19 lateral flow tests (LFD) at the start of term and that schools should offer onsite LFD testing. The DfE’s stated explanation was “We are asking these tests to be carried out onsite as testing participation rates amongst students [onsite] are much higher than when testing at home”.

We will therefore be offering LFD tests at school just prior to the start of term, and then a follow up test in school a few days later. We are offering onsite testing to pupils on Sunday 5 September between 10am and 4pm in the School’s sports centre (directions and parking arrangements here). If you would like your child to take part in this onsite testing, please follow this link to confirm details. Please complete this form by midday Thursday 2 September.

Whilst the school recognises that testing is not mandatory, we strongly encourage all students to take these tests at the start of term. However, we understand that some families may prefer to use the home testing kits that they already have and are familiar with.

Should home testing be your preference, please can we emphasise the importance that this is done prior to the return to school (we suggest Sunday 5 September as part of re-establishing the usual Sunday/Wednesday twice weekly routine) and we would ask that you please fill in this brief form to confirm the result of the test once it has been completed.

Parents are advised that students who have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 90 days should not take a lateral flow test; however they should still complete the first section of this form to notify the school that they have tested positive within the last 90 days.

If you do not have enough LFD kits, they are available directly from the government (follow this link) or pharmacies but they can also be collected from Faringdon Lodge reception (01235 849224, open 7.30am – 5.30pm Monday to Fridays during school holidays).

The follow up test that the DfE has asked for will be conducted in school on Thursday 9 September for those that had a test in school on Sunday 5 September. All other pupils should do their follow up test on Wednesday 8 September as part of re-establishing the usual Sunday/Wednesday twice weekly routine. The advice is that twice weekly testing will continue at least for September.

Boarders who are arriving in school on Sunday 5 September are welcome to do the onsite testing too, although we are aware that many will have done PCR tests recently as part of their travel arrangements. It is recommended that boarders arriving in school on Monday 6 September should do a LFD test before coming to school.

If your child has any Covid-19 symptoms, please do not come to school for testing on Sunday and instead arrange a PCR test via the NHS in the usual way. Should you have any questions on any aspect of these arrangements, please email covid.testing@abingdon.org.uk.

Covid-19 risk assessment - published 3 September 2021

Covid-19 testing at home

Covid-19 testing at home

We are following government guidelines for the testing of students in schools to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and we very much appreciate the cooperation of parents and students in keeping our community safe.

All students should be testing twice a week at home (on Sundays and Wednesdays) during term time. Further information on how to take a test is available here and from this government leaflet and video.

  • Testing kits have been given to students to take home and students and their parents are asked to take responsibility for ensuring that the tests are carried out.
  • Students will be reminded on the relevant day when to take their tests via Firefly.
  • Students aged 18 and over should do the test themselves and report the result, with help if needed.
  • Students aged 12-17 should do the test themselves with adult supervision.
  • Students aged 11 must be tested by an adult and the adult must report the result.
  • Students should record the result of their test whether it is positive or negative to the School and also to NHS Test and Trace.
  • If a student tests positive then they will need to inform the School as quickly as possible, follow government guidance and self-isolate. They will also need to have the positive test confirmed by booking a PCR test.
  • Boarders will be carrying out their own tests in their boarding households (when at School).
  • Consent is not needed for self-testing at home and a privacy notice is linked to here.
  • Any questions should be sent by email to covid.testing@abingdon.org.uk

As we receive more test kits, they will be handed out to students, if a student requires more tests, they are available from the School’s Health Centre and also to any household with a student in school by following this link to the government’s website. They are also available from local pharmacies.

Government guide for parents