Covid-19 information

Covid-19 FAQs

This page has been set up to provide the latest news and status of activity for our students, parents and partners with questions or concerns about Coronavirus (COVID-19). It will be updated on a regular basis. (Last Updated 13:10, 10 August 2020)

Plans for September

Boarding Schools’ Association update for international students:

Letter to International School Students and Parents

Read more about our latest plans for returning to school in September:

September plans for domestic students

September plans for international students

School operations and contingency planning

Is the school closed?

As per government guidance, the school is planning to welcome all students back in-person at the start of term on 7 September. For any students who aren’t able to return to school, we will be offering a hybrid teaching model to ensure students don’t miss out on any of their classes.

How are you planning for September?

We are currently planning to open the school for all students in September. We will be closely following government guidance for schools and are introducing a range of safety measures for both staff and students. Our safety measures include:

  • Ensuring social distancing measures are in place for all students and staff
  • Additional cleaning throughout the day
  • Temperature checks for anyone visiting the school
  • Staggered start times and lunch times
  • Arrangements for international students in the event of continuing travel restrictions

We will be sharing more details about preparing to come back to school in September in the coming weeks.

How will social distancing be implemented at school in the new academic year?

We will need to manage carefully the number of people on site at any one time and take all precautions to ensure that those arriving on site are healthy.  This may involve staggered starts, declarations from those attending school that they have not knowingly come into contact with anyone who has had the virus during the last 14 days, downloading the NHS tracing app (if appropriate), checking temperatures on arrival.

Since belongings can be a source of transmission, it is likely that students and staff will be asked to bring fewer belongings onto school sites for lessons and not to share belongings (e.g. stationery).

We are also recommending that students bring their own devices to school. You can find more details about our device recommendations here.

Has the school prepared PPE or testing kits that could be used by pupils and staff?

The school has purchased a limited supply of face masks, but the government advice is that supplies of surgical face masks should be reserved for the key workers who most require them (and huge numbers are required since they should be changed every two to three hours).  There will be more extensive PPE available in for members of staff  (e.g., School Nurse or First Aider) who might be assessing someone who has been taken ill at school.

Will the school have monitoring procedures, such as taking temperature daily of the pupils, staff and visitors?

It will be essential that only students and staff who feel well and do not show any signs or symptoms of coronavirus plan to come into school, and that individuals wash their hands before travelling into school. We have purchased items such as infra-red thermometers (to allow temperature screening of individuals), disinfectant mats, and hand sanitiser to manage arrivals, and we are writing protocols to manage and monitor social distancing at entrance and exit points.

What about cleaning and hygiene?

Detailed cleaning protocols are an essential preventative measure; additional and more frequent cleaning will be taking place, using the most suitable cleaning products and paying particular attention to bathrooms, door handles, light switches, banisters, etc. We are risk-assessing all aspects of school life to minimise shared resources and, where sharing of resources may be required (e.g. school computers or water stations) putting measures in place to mitigate risk (e.g. encouraging student and staff to use their personal devices and bring pre-filled water bottles into school).

Our preventative measures will also continue to include education around hygiene and social distancing (e.g., promoting the government’s “catch it, bin it, kill it” message and teaching effective hand-washing in assemblies, posters and reminders on screens around school, floor markings to promote social distancing) and resources providing to support with these measures (e.g. hand sanitiser in each room, disinfectant wipes, facilities for appropriate waste disposal).

Can pupils wear masks in class and would others be encouraged to do so?

Although the current the guidance is that schools should not require staff or students to wear face coverings, we recognise that, for some of our community, this is an important factor in them feeling safe on site. Students and staff at d’Overbroeck’s are therefore welcome to wear face coverings/masks at school and in lessons. If students wish to do so, however, they are advised to purchase or make their own face coverings. The school has purchased a limited supply of face masks, but the government advice is that supplies of surgical face masks should be reserved for the key workers who most require them.

Online learning

What are the School’s contingency plans for students who are not able to attend school in-person in September?

As per government guidance, all students who are able to return should do so in September. We understand that some students (particularly international students) may not arrive in time for the start of term. These students will continue to have access to our teaching through our online provision as part of our hybrid teaching model. Students will meet with their Form Tutor or Director of Studies online and he/she will oversee their progress and be in regular communication with parents. Students will start at the school in-person at a later date and there will not be at any disadvantage in relation to their studies.

How would the school offer education support for students should there be a resurgence after September?

If students could not be in school we would provide online learning as we have done this term.

Read more about online learning at d’Overbroeck’s.

Dining and residential life (boarders only)

What are arrangements for boarders?

We are expecting to welcome our boarding students back to the school in September. We have a quarantine plan in place for all our boarders, which you can read here.

Will students be required to share bedrooms in September?

Yes, in certain houses. However, they will be grouped in small pods to reduce risk.

How will social areas be managed?

We are assessing the social areas on each site, both for students and for staff. For as long as the social distancing measures are in place, we need to risk-assess the (usual) benefit of shared areas for socialising with the risk of contamination via shared soft furnishings, etc. For example, in the short term, we would need to store larger pieces of furniture and soft furnishings in shared areas to create more open space which could be used more flexibly.

How will meals be managed?

When students return next month, we will be staggering meal times and changing the way in which food is usually served and eaten in order to maintain social distancing and strict hygiene measures. Our catering company provide food for a number of schools and organisations and have their own detailed risk assessments, including for dealing with the current circumstances. We will continue to work closely with them. It is likely that, in the short term, we may need to make changes to the type of the food provided and also the locations in which food is consumed, particularly at lunch time, when we would have most people on site.

Will the boarders who don’t live in boarding houses within walking distance from school have to take the bus?

Yes. However, social distancing protocols will apply.

Will there be any special arrangements for students who are sharing bathrooms?

Yes, where students are sharing a bathroom we will introduce the concept of a pod system where applicable, so that bathrooms are shared with as few other students as possible, and students always use the same bathroom.  We will also implement enhanced daily cleaning procedures, provide disposable anti-bacterial wipes for contact areas to be cleaned before and after each use, and ensure soap and disposable towels are available at all times.

Will the students all have to attend house meetings and registration at the same time like before?

No. It is likely that this will be done online or in pods.

What will happen if a boarder shows virus symptoms?

The student will be isolated and tested.

Finance

If my child is not able to attend classes in person in September, will I need to pay the full tuition fee?

Yes. Given that all students will have access to the same lessons whether that be in-person or online, we will be charging the full tuition fee.

Will I still need to pay for boarding if my child is unable to travel to the UK for the start of term in September?

If there are travel restrictions in place for the start of the term, the boarding fee will be charged pro rata on the student’s arrival.

Employees

Can employees work remotely?

All staff who are able to work from home should do so as per government guidance. All staff should now have been set up with Microsoft Teams accounts  and remote desktop access. Please contact IT if you have any additional requirements or these are not working.

School events and visitors

Are events still happening at the school?

We are currently reviewing our programme of activities for September and will provide more information closer to the start of term.

Are student tours still being offered?

It is not currently possible to visit the school in person. We run a series of open events throughout the year, so please check our open events page for the latest information.

Health

What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus and how is it spread?

The symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a new and continuous cough
  • a high temperature (37.8 degrees or above)
  • loss of taste and smell

I am displaying symptoms of coronavirus. What should I do?

Please do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. The current medical advice is that you should stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a new and continuous cough
  • a high temperature (37.8 degrees or above)
  • loss of taste and smell

Use the 111 online Coronavirus service​ to find out what to do next. If you only have mild symptoms, you won’t be tested. If requested to stay at home, please inform your line manager and the HR team.

If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days contact NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For medical emergencies only, dial 999.

What precautions should I take?

Please maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene. This advice includes:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home.

I am being tested for, or have been diagnosed with coronavirus. What should I do?

Stay at home and let your line manager know as soon as possible. Inform your line manager as soon as you have the test results.

What do I do if I think either I or someone else has the coronavirus?

If you or someone else thinks they are displaying the symptoms of coronavirus, it is important to stay at home and avoid contact with other people. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Use the NHS111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next.

Any confirmed or suspected student cases should also be reported to your line manager.

In the event of a suspected staff case please inform your line manager and the HR team.

What should I do if I believe I am particularly vulnerable?

Public Health England has advised that those particularly vulnerable include:

  • Those aged 70 and over
  • Those under 70 with an underlying medical condition (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds)
  • Those who are pregnant

Public Health England advise those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.

We understand you may be concerned if you feel you are more vulnerable to the coronavirus than others (for example if you are in the categories listed above, or have vulnerable family members). If you are uncertain, members of staff should speak to their medical provider in the first instance, and students should speak to Sarah Squire (Sarah.Squire@doverbroecks.com).

The symptoms are defined as a high temperature (37.8 degrees and above), a new, continuous cough and loss of taste and smell.

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days contact NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

For any more questions, please feel free to contact Sarah Squire (Sarah.Squire@doverbroecks.com).

Also, please read the UK’s government’s advice for educational settings:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19

Additional support for students

If any of our students have a problem and need someone to talk to, Childline offers confidential advice and support here.