Review of our COVID response

Latest Updates

From Monday 30th November, 1st and 2nd Form continue with face to face teaching in School. 3rd Form to Upper Sixth Form are learning remotely.

From Wednesday 25th November, 1st to 4th Form continue with face to face teaching in School. 5th Form to Upper Sixth Form are learning remotely.

Message from Mr Corran 14th November

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The principles governing our COVID response are:

  • to keep the School open safely
  • to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID
  • to maximise educational opportunities across the curriculum and co-curriculum whilst taking appropriate precautions
  • to maintain the highest standards of pastoral care


Regional data collected by the government shows that, despite a recent spike in our local district, Waverley, the School is in one of the lowest-risk areas in the UK. Nevertheless, we expect all members of the community to pay renewed attention to the same basic three precautions and messages:

  • adhere to essential public hygiene messages (wash hands and wear face coverings)
  • maintain social distancing
  • keep to the rule of six and minimise contact with others outside your household or grouping

The School has been fortunate (and/or has made sensible, effective precautions) that there have not been any COVID cases in the broader school community. However, we have dealt with many cases of cold- or ‘flu-like symptoms’ which have obliged some 100 pupils to go into precautionary isolation either at home or in School, in six separate incidents. As a result, we have altered our communication protocols with parents to reduce the potential for alarm and confusion.

If your child does need to isolate, the requirements are that if they are symptomatic, they must isolate for 10 days from the date of first symptoms; if they are isolating because they live in the same corridor as another pupil in their House, they must isolate for 14 days from the same date. A negative diagnostic test for COVID will release them from isolation as soon as it is received, however. We will not usually require isolation for pupils who are ‘merely’ in the same year group.

Every visitor to the School, every member of staff and pupil, has their temperature taken by one of our temperature scanners each day. We have picked up a few raised temperatures but, so far, no resultant COVID cases.

Pupils eat breakfast and lunch, and attend lessons, in their year groups. Different year groups are allocated separate areas of the School for lessons. They eat dinner in House groups. For sports, some year groups have been paired, to allow meaningful practice.

What we have changed

We have set up a COVID working group, chaired by the Deputy Head, and comprising staff from all aspects of the School.

This week, we required all members of the community to wear face coverings

  1. while queuing for meals in the Dining Hall
  2. in corridors during lesson changeovers
  3. when presenting at the IT Helpdesk

We have also adapted the meal rota and timings to allow every year group enough time to enjoy their meal, without having to cut it short to attend a lesson.

We have taken delivery of a ‘fogging machine’ for rapid disinfection of any room or space.

Mr Harrison heads up the meals provision for pupils having to isolate in Old Ridley and St Bridget’s, leading the team of graduate assistants in donning PPE to distribute food for each meal.

We have made arrangements with a company called Oncologica for COVID testing, following extended delays with the public health test system. Our experience is now that results come back 48-60 hours after the swab has been sent out. We will contact you to request permission in advance, when possible to conduct a diagnostic test on your child should they show potential COVID symptoms.

Please see our separate COVID Charter below for parents, pupils, and staff.

The high number of precautionary isolation cases has obliged us to change our procedures. If the isolation House is full, pupils will self-isolate in their own House.

Some guardians and parents have queried our recommendation for boarders to isolate at home rather than in School. We are aware of all guidance on this and, having considered all aspects of a complicated question, our view remains that it is in pupils’ best interests, for practical and pastoral reasons, to go home or to a family environment for precautionary isolation. However, we do not insist on this and, when it is not practical to do so, we undertake to look after the pupils in School.

Emails from School about precautionary isolation in future will be simpler and will clearly advise parents either “information only”, or “your child will have to isolate as a precaution against COVID”.

We will allow boarders to gather in year groups for limited periods during the weekends, to enable them to socialise with friends in different Houses.

We have employed more cleaners, increased the cleaning hours in each House, and enhanced all our disinfection and cleaning protocols so that each classroom and high-traffic area is cleaned several times each day.

The Sports Department have added sports sessions in the mornings, lunchtimes, afternoons and at specific times during the weekends to encourage pupils to spend as much time outside as possible.

We have been able to relax our routines to allow day pupils to eat dinner in School and to do their prep in House, by express advance permission from their Housemaster/ Housemistress.

What we will do next

We are energetically searching for rapid turn-round diagnostic COVID testing in order to minimise precautionary isolation.

Find ways to return safely to greater normality: sports fixtures, music and drama rehearsals, socialising.

Travelling to School

  • Day pupils should avoid public transport when this is practical.
  • The School has encouraged parents to arrange lift-shares within pupils’ Form and offers four minibus routes using the School’s own fleet of minibuses.

At School

  • Every pupil and staff member in School will have their temperature checked each day. All visitors on to the school site will be required to go through the temperature scanner before going about their business on site. This will be done through the temperature scanner outside Piccadilly Café and through hand-held scanners employed by Matrons and Medical Centre staff. Boarders’ temperatures will be scanned and checked by Matrons and all day pupils should, on arrival at School, go through the
    Piccadilly entrance to have their temperature scanned, except QMH pupils who will all be checked in QMH. This area will be staffed each morning in order to pick up on any elevated temperatures. Anyone who triggers the sensor should phone the Medical Centre (ext 769; 01428 686 711) to seek advice if a nurse is not present.
  • A one way system is in operation across the entire site, including all walkways and buildings, to limit face to face crowding and reduce contact as much as possible. This system will be revised three weeks into term.
  • Lessons will continue as normal, with the difference that each year group has been allocated a ‘zone’. All lessons, with the exception of practical lessons (Art, Computing, Drama, Food Technology, Music and Science) will be conducted within these zones. Pupils will receive an up-to-date timetable in their first tutor period of term, with these details.
Year Group Main Teaching Location Forms/Sets Lunch Toilets
1st Form Charter Hall
top corridor
2 Forms
3 tutor groups
3 sets for English, Maths, Science
2nd Form Charter Hall
lower corridor
3 Forms
Separate sets for English, Maths,
3rd Form South Side, top floor 3 Forms,
4 sets for English, Maths, Science
4a NS toilets
4th Form North Side middle
4a NS toilets
5th Form /Pre-Sixth North side top floor 4b NS toilets
Lower Sixth Business/Economics &
Maths middle floor
4b Maths/
Upper Sixth Maths lower floor &
Food Tech
4b Maths/

CH= Charter Hall QMH = Queen Mary House SS= South Side NS= North Side

Dining Hall

  • Pupils may purchase food at break as normal, however will not be allowed to remain in the Dining Hall and, in the expectation of bad weather, should remain outside during the break time. If it is raining, pupils should return to their House. Pupils are reminded that the Piccadilly Café is for Sixth Form pupils only.
  • Water machines around the school site will not be in operation, pupils should instead refill their water bottles from the House kitchen taps.
  • Within the Dining Hall, tables have been rearranged so all seating is facing towards the same way, as to avoid face to face contact. Each table will have a laminate placed upon it, pupils should only sit at tables with green signs and once they are finished should flip the sign over to red. All this will ensure our staff can sanitise tables between use. Trays of food and cutlery will be given to pupils with the plated meal of their choice to limit transmission of the virus.
  • Lunchtimes will be staggered by Forms between 12.20 and 13.40 to limit the flow of pupils. In line with this, lesson 4 will be moved from 12.20 to 13.20 for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Form pupils.
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Breakfast 7.25 1st, 2nd, 3rd Forms 1st, 2nd, 3rd Forms 1st, 2nd, 3rd Forms 1st, 2nd, 3rd Forms 1st, 2nd, 3rd Forms 1st, 2nd, 3rd Forms
7.40 4th, 5th, Pre-Sixth 4th, 5th, Pre-Sixth 4th, 5th, Pre-Sixth 4th, 5th, Pre-Sixth 4th, 5th, Pre-Sixth 4th, 5th, Pre-Sixth
7.55 Sixth Form Sixth Form Sixth Form Sixth Form Sixth Form Sixth Form
12.40 3rd Form 3rd Form 3rd Form 3rd Form 3rd Form 3rd Form
13.00 4th Form 4th Form 4th Form 4th Form 4th Form 4th Form
13.20 5th Form, Pre-Sixth 5th Form, Pre-Sixth 5th Form, Pre-Sixth 5th Form, Pre-Sixth 5th Form, Pre-Sixth 5th Form, Pre-Sixth
13.40 Sixth Form Sixth Form Sixth Form Sixth Form Sixth Form Sixth Form
Dinner 17.45 Edward Elizabeth Grafton* Edward Elizabeth Grafton*
17.50 Tudor Wakefield QMH Tudor Wakefield QMH
18.00 Elizabeth Grafton* Edward Elizabeth Grafton* Edward
18.05 Wakefield QMH Tudor Wakefield QMH Tudor
18.15 Grafton* Edward Elizabeth Grafton* Edward Elizabeth
18.25 QMH Tudor Wakefield QMH Tudor Wakefield

* including Ridley

Saturday Sunday
Breakfast 08.30 – 9.00 In House
Brunch 11.30 – 12.00
Lunch 12.30 – 13.00
Tea KESWay 17.00 – 18.30 17.30 – 18.00


Boarding arrangements

  • During boarding times, the Houses will operate as their own groupings, with each House being divided into two households. A ‘household’ is defined as “those who share a bathroom or a kitchen”. Pupils will have clear instructions about which facilities they may use, and the House staff will enforce these regulations.
  • The Houses’ layout have been used to create one Sixth Form ‘household’ and other for other Forms.
  • In most cases, boarders will have a room to themselves, however some are required to share a large room with one other pupil. Everyone will have the opportunity to keep a safe distance from other pupils throughout the day and evening.
  • Pupils will not be obliged to be within 2 metres of others for longer than 15 minutes or to sleep within 2 metres of anyone else.
  • At weekends, boarders will not be permitted to use public transport to travel into Guildford.
  • All outside visits are discouraged, unless deemed necessary.
  • The School can provide a list of approved taxi firms, which should be used for visits off campus.
  • When outside the school campus, all pupils should wear face coverings in all public places.
  • Unfortunately during this time the School is unable to accommodate flexi-boarding under 3 nights. Day pupils who wish to flexi board must stay for a minimum of 3 nights. The reason for this is to minimise the number of interactions between different groupings of pupils. Flexi-boarding for fewer than 3 nights is unlikely to be possible.

Cleaning and hygiene

  • All areas of the School are cleaned daily.
  • This will include the wipe-down of all surfaces, including banisters, doorknobs and door plates with alcohol-based sanitisers and disinfectants.
  • Each classroom will be disinfected between lessons or between uses of different groups where that is different.
  • Each House will have a dedicated cleaner who will spend a full day within their House.
  • The kitchens will be thoroughly disinfected between the times allocated for each Form.
  • Ablution areas and toilets will be equipped with antiseptic wipes for users to clean surfaces after uses, and pupils will receive clear instructions on how to follow this procedure.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • All members of the school community may wear a face covering.
  • Teachers have been provided with a transparent visor that they may wear when teaching or talking to pupils.
  • Face coverings are not compulsory (expect in a few circumstances which pupils will be made aware of) however some teachers may ask pupils to wear face coverings, and we respectfully urge everyone to comply with such requests. We ask boarders to ensure they have a sufficient stock of face coverings at School, and for day pupils to come to School equipped with suitable face coverings. The School has a limited stock of disposable face coverings, which may be charged to the parents’ termly bill.
  • The School will provide means of safe disposal of PPE at various points around the site.
  • Hand sanitiser should be used before handling a face covering, especially when removing it or putting it on.

Activities, the co-curriculum and pupils’ leisure time

  • An adjusted sports programme will be in effect from the start of term, with the opportunity to exercise, practice and refine skills in both competitive and recreational sports till available to all pupils. Details of this programme will be available from the start of term. Sports fixtures against other schools are suspended in line with the Department of Education guidance, this will be reviewed towards the end of September.
  • Activity programmes will go ahead, with pupils being kept in their separate Forms. This will limit the range of activities offered, but again this will be reviewed at the end of term.
  • Individual music lessons will begin the second week of term, with the additional of special arrangements including moving to bigger rooms to allow distancing and the placement of transparent screens. Ensemble rehearsals will take place in a limited way (socially distanced with no face to face contact, and in case of brass and woodwind pupils will be asked to play quieter, in accordance to the guidelines) and will be able to run with a maximum capacity of 15, with bigger groups using the Chapel if possible. Windows will be open if possible.
  • Individual music teachers will teach pupils sequentially in their groupings by form. Between each group a 20 minute gap has been allowed to ensure the room is fully disinfected and cleaned, and in some cases a different room will be used. Pupils will only use their own instruments with the expectation of pianos and guitars, with the instruments being disinfected between uses. Practice booklets may only be filled in by the pupil, and the pupil will be provided with music cases, pencils and erasers.

Medical matters and school management of COVID cases

  • As mentioned before, all pupils, staff and visitors are required to have their temperatures checked everyday at the Piccadilly Café scanner.
  • The Medical Centre is manned 24/7 during term time, and staff will be wearing full PPE when seeing patients. An area of the Centre has been reserved for those who contract the virus.
  • Pupils, staff and other adults should not come into School if they have coronavirus or have tested positive within the 10 previous days. Any day pupil who developed symptoms of a new and persistent cough or a high temperature, or a loss of, or change to, their normal sense of taste or smell, will be sent home and advised to stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days and should arrange to have a COVID-19 diagnostic test. Any day pupil who tests positive should self-isolate for 10 days. If they develop symptoms during the isolation period, they should restart the 10-day isolation period from the day they develop symptoms. Other members of their household (including siblings) should self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms.

Boarding arrangements

  • Upon arrival, boarders will receive a briefing on what to do if they feel unwell.
  • If a boarder starts showing symptoms of coronavirus they should immediately go to their room and phone the Medical Centre to explain their symptoms. Medical Centre staff will discuss the most appropriate procedure with the House Matron. The pupil will then not be able to travel anywhere within the house unless given permission. In most cases, the School expects parents and guardians to take care of any pupil who contract the virus.
  • In situations where the parents and guardians can not care for the pupil, they will be looked after in a separate area of the school, where they will be under the supervision of nursing staff 24/7 and will be provided meals within these Houses. In more serious cases, staff may make the decision to transport the pupil to hospital.
  • In any case of COVID-19, pupils in the same House will likely be required to self isolate within their Houses.
  • The School has received at home testing kits for COVID-19 and will use these in urgent cases when the individual becomes symptomatic, at the discretion of the Medical Centre.

Covid Charter

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Message from Mr Corran

6th November 2020
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Message from Mr Corran

31st October 2020
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Message from Mr Corran

27th August 2020
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