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With the new school year here, many of our families have questions about the school day, what teaching looks like at the moment, and how we will keep everyone safe.

Last updated 2nd September 2021


COVID related changes for the return to school, September 21

We are very much looking forward to welcoming returning and new pupils to The Prebendal School for the start of another academic year. We are aware that they will be returning with far fewer restrictions than when they left for the summer holidays. We are sure there are a number of questions about what school may look like and so please find advice from ‘The Education Hub’

There are three key changes:

1. Mixing and ‘bubbles’

Keeping pupils in year group or classroom bubbles to reduce mixing is no longer a requirement. Pupils will be delighted to hear that they no longer have to stick to one part of the playground!

2. Tracing close contacts

Close contacts will now be identified via NHS Test and Trace. Education settings are no longer expected to undertake contact tracing.

3. Face coverings

Face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas. However, we have to make a judgment based on our own particular circumstances and you will be aware that the corridors in the main school building and Richmond are very narrow and do not allow much space for people to pass. Face coverings will therefore be required in just those areas for Pupils in Year 7 and 8, staff, and visitors to the school. Face coverings will not be used during lessons or in the Pre-Prep, unless an individual wishes to use one.

So, what will stay the same?

Coronavirus hasn’t gone away so there will still be a need for schools, pupils and staff to follow basic measures to avoid the spread of the virus:

  1. Testing remains important in reducing the risk of transmission of infection within schools. Years 7 and 8 will continue to undergo frequent testing and sufficient test kits will be provided for this purpose.
  2. Ensuring good hygiene including frequent and thorough hand cleaning and the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.
  3. Maintaining appropriate cleaning regimes.
  4. Keeping occupied spaces well ventilated.
  5. Following public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  6. At present, parents will still be required to drop off and collect their children from the main school gates.

Is it true that the start of term is being delayed?

No. We’re aware of misleading reports suggesting the start of term could be delayed by schools. This is not the case.

But what if there are a number of cases at Prebendal?

If there are a number of cases in our school, there is advice in place so teachers and staff know what to do.

Schools and colleges will do everything they can to minimise the impact on education and attendance, so might decide to introduce measures like:

  • Increased testing
  • Temporarily reintroducing face coverings and;
  • Restricting attendance as a short-term measure and only as a last resort.

More information on the guidance issued to education settings is available on the following website: Contingency framework: education and childcare settings.

What if someone tests positive or has symptoms? Do they need to isolate?

Self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test (a test that is sent to the lab) on GOV.UK as soon as possible if you/your child have any of these 3 symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

Your child should also self-isolate straight away if:

  • they've tested positive for COVID-19 either according to a PCR test or a lateral flow device test – this means you have the virus. If you get a positive LFD test you should book a PCR test. A negative PCR test will override a positive LFD test.
  • someone they live with has symptoms or tested positive (unless you are not required to self-isolate – see below if this applies to you)
  • they've been told to self-isolate following contact with someone who tested positive – find out what to do if you're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app.

Pupils should only self-isolate if they have symptoms or if they get a positive PCR or Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test.

If they develop symptoms or get a positive LFD test they should book a PCR test. A positive PCR test cannot be overridden. If a pupil is asked to get a PCR test as a result of contact with a positive case they may continue to attend education until they get the result of their PCR back.

And what will happen for people who have been in contact with positive cases?

Individuals are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and any of the following apply:

  • they are fully vaccinated
  • they are below the age of 18 years and 6 months
  • they have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • they are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons.

Instead, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. They do not need to isolate while awaiting the PCR test. We would encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so.

Staff who do not need to isolate, and children and young people aged under 18 years 6 months who usually attend school, and have been identified as a close contact, should continue to attend school as normal.

If none of the above applies, people should self-isolate as per the instructions from NHS Test and Trace.