School to remain ‘fully open’ in new national lockdown

Tonbridge School Headmaster James Priory has stated it is “business as usual” in response to the Government announcement yesterday (Saturday 31 October) of a four-week national lockdown commencing on Thursday 5 November.

The Government has made clear it is committed to keeping schools and colleges open, so that young people can continue to benefit from attending school for their wellbeing and to ensure their long-term futures. 

In its latest announcement, the Government also reiterated its intention that public examinations should go ahead next summer.

Mr Priory said: “We are planning to remain fully open and are ready to provide as full an educational experience as possible for our boys for the remainder of the current term.

“While the Sports Centre and EM Forster Theatre will unfortunately close to members of the wider public throughout the lockdown period, both facilities will remain open for the boys, thanks to the protective measures we have in place. 

“Since our re-opening in September we have enjoyed a remarkably positive experience due, in large part, to everyone’s commitment to the health and safety measures in place to ensure we maintain a Covid-secure environment. We are, of course, communicating with all pupils, parents and staff to emphasise the importance of these measures.”

The School’s health and safety measures include ‘Hands, Face, Space’: namely, the regular washing of hands; the wearing of a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where students will come into contact with people they do not normally meet; and staying two metres apart from people wherever possible, or one metre with extra precautions in place such as face coverings or by increasing ventilation indoors.

As well as completing a whole school ‘flu vaccination programme in the first half of term, Tonbridge has added further capacity for onsite rapid testing using its SAMBA-II facility based in the Medical Centre. 

The School will continue to test any boy presenting with recognised Covid-19 symptoms, and has thorough procedures in place to manage isolation in the event of a positive test result.

Mr Priory added: “We look forward very much to welcoming boarders and day boys back to School, as term resumes this week. We have enjoyed having many of our boarders with us throughout the half term break and hope that they have felt well supported and cared for. As always, we are grateful for the positive feedback we have received from parents.”