Frequently Asked Questions
How up to date is the college’s information?
Links to these organisations will be readily available to the Newington community via a new section on Spaces.
What happens if a student tests positive for the virus?
We will be notified by NSW Health if a student has a confirmed case.
The local Public Health Unit will work with the College to commence contact tracing. Those identified as close and casual contacts will be contacted and advised. The College may close to allow this process to take place.
What happens if a staff member tests positive for the virus?
NSW Health will contact the College and the local Public Health Unit will commence contact tracing.
Those identified as close and casual contacts will be given further advice. The College may close to allow this process to take place, as has happened in other schools recently.
What is a ‘close contact’? What is a ‘casual contact’?
A close contact is someone who has been face-to-face for at least 15 minutes, or who has been in the same closed space for at least 2 hours, with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 when that person was infectious.
A casual contact is someone who has been face-to-face for less than 15 minutes, or been in the same closed space for less than 2 hours, as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 when that person was infectious.
If my son is sick at school, what should he do?
If your son feels unwell, he should report to the Health Centre or tell his teacher.
If a student comes to school with symptoms, we will send him home. If we suspect a student has coronavirus, based on their symptoms and history, we will isolate them and follow NSW Health guidelines.
If my son or a family member is sick, who do I contact?
If there is any history of travel to countries with confirmed cases of coronavirus, or contact with a known case, phone your GP for advice.
Please keep your child home from school if they are unwell. If they have a fever, runny nose, sore throat and/or cough they must stay home and follow medical advice.
What should I do if my son or a member of my son’s household is being tested for the virus?
If a member of your family is being tested for coronavirus then we recommend that your son stays home from school until test results are received.
If a negative result is received, then your son can return to school provided he feels well.
If someone in my family or a close contact has the virus, can my son still go to school?
The local Public Health Unit will contact you with advice if you or your son are identified as a close contact of a known case. You will need to isolate yourself and your son at home for 14 days after contact with the infected person, monitor your health and report any symptoms.
Person-to-person spread of coronaviruses generally occurs between people who are in close contact with one another. A close contact is typically someone who has been face-to-face for at least 15 minutes, or in the same closed space for at least 2 hours, with a person who was infectious. The Public Health Unit will keep in touch with people who are close contacts of patients with COVID-19 infection. If any symptoms develop, contacts must call the Public Health Unit and report those symptoms.
Can my son wear a mask to school?
We advise students not to wear masks as a preventative measure.
Medical advice is that masks are useful if you are sick to stop the spread of the virus … but if you are sick you should not be at school.
How will the College test for the virus?
Testing is carried out by GPs, hospitals or specific clinics.
Will the College close?
We will take advice from NSW Health, then act on that advice.
Of course, we would also close if the Government closed a large number of schools, as has happened in China, Italy, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan. We don’t know how long the closure would be. That would depend on the advice of NSW Health.
If the school premises closes, how will my son continue his schoolwork?
We have provisions and technology in place that will allow us to keep operating. We have plans to keep educating our students as much as possible, particularly those students in senior years.
Canvas, SeeSaw and Spaces provide us with platforms to deliver many online lessons.
In the senior school, teachers will create videos, screencasts, podcasts, deliver real-time lessons via our Zoom teleconference software and make phone contact. We will modify assessments so boys are not disadvantaged. Boys would work at home, using the lessons and timing of their school timetable as a guide.
For younger boys, teachers will provide work. Boys would work at home, using the lessons provided by the school.
We have already tested our systems to ensure their capacity to work effectively.
If the school closes, how will we continue to provide psychological support for students?
Our College counsellors will still be available to consult via phone or over Zoom.
Students who have made or scheduled future appointments to see a counsellor will still be able to access that support remotely. Any student who has concerns for their wellbeing or requires emotional support can still contact the College and the pastoral team.
Of course, these resources are also available to families, as per current practices.
If my son gets sick, how will he make up work / not fall behind?
The College will work with students who miss school due to illness to support them in returning to their studies, as is the case for all absences due to medical conditions. This will be done on a case-by-case basis.
My son has an exam or assessment scheduled- will he be able to take it?
Assessments take many forms and their type and frequency varies throughout the year. If the school closes, we will look closely at the nature and timing of upcoming assessments for all our boys at that time and will make modifications as necessary.
This could include changes to the type of tasks, the methods of submission or the timing of tasks. Both NESA (for the HSC) and the IBO (for the IB Diploma) have been in contact with schools and provided advice as to how this can be done in a way that recognises the needs of students.
Will students still have access to loan laptops and equipment? If so, how will they be sanitised?
Students will still be able to borrow a laptop if needed.
IT will be able to provide support to students with faulty equipment through standard phone, email and service desk operations. All equipment will be sanitised and cleaned between loans.
If the school closes, how will staff continue to work?
We are examining if it will be still be possible for teachers to safely go to work. It is possible that teaching will be done by teachers from their homes.
What happens if a boarder gets the virus?
We will follow the advice from NSW Health and ask that boarders be collected by their parent or guardian as appropriate. We may be advised to close the boarding house
What happens to boarders if the school closes?
If the boarding house is closed, boarders and their families and guardians will be informed by email. Parents and guardians should be prepared to collect their boarder from the boarding house on the day of the closure of either the College and/or the boarding house.
Head of Boarding Nathanael Coull will liaise individually with boarders to ensure all arrangements are secured.
Please have a plan in place for collection. If your son will be staying with a guardian, please ensure they are prepared to collect your son and are in a position to take care of him during the period of closure
What is being done to prevent the spread of the virus at Newington?
Please keep boys with any cold or flu symptoms at home.
Boys are being asked to wash their hands frequently, not to touch their faces and to cough into their elbows or into a tissue (before disposing of it). We advise them not to wear masks as a preventative measure. Medical advice says masks are only useful for sick people to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Shaking hands and other physical contact is being discouraged.
Boys who feel unwell should not come to Saturday sport as a player or a spectator (please do keep the relevant sport director informed).
We have increased the frequency of cleaning of doors, handrails, classrooms, common areas, locker rooms, bathrooms and indoor sport facilities.
Additional sanitiser stations are being installed across all campuses.
We have distributed a video that illustrates how to wash your hands effectively. Students at the prep schools and ELC have had lessons in hand washing and are supervised to ensure they are doing it effectively.
Signs explaining good hygiene practices are being installed across the College as a reminder to both students and staff. Mentor sessions and classes will reinforce their importance.
Extra precautions have been taken on Newington coaches.
Will Saturday sport be cancelled?
Saturday sport will continue to be managed by the AAGPS Committee, which includes representatives from each of the GPS schools and consults regularly with GPS Headmasters. Decisions about Saturday sport fixtures will be made in consultation with all schools involved.
At Newington, all teams have been told to be vigilant with their hygiene and to reduce physical contact where possible. This includes:
- No hand shaking or high-fives
- Students using only their own water bottle at training
- Students showering after training and washing their hands well after handling equipment
- Washing hands regularly and always before eating
Sport directors and coaches will continue to educate boys about these important steps.
Any boy who is unwell should not train or compete. He should not come to Saturday sport as a player or a spectator, but please do keep the relevant sport director informed.
We are considering how to deal with spectators at large-scale events such as GPS Swimming and Head of the River and working closely with the other schools involved.
Are we welcoming visiting teams to the College?
At this stage, yes. We will continue to liaise with visiting schools and monitor the advice of authorities.
Will tours be cancelled?
All trips for the April break have been cancelled. All international trips for the June/July holidays have been cancelled with the exception of one, where greater time has been afforded with the travel provider to fully assess student safety.
All other trips, domestic and overseas, for the remainder of the school year are continuing to plan and disseminate information, but extensions and delays have been made to any financial commitments required of families.
Promotion of tours for December 2020 and January 2021 has commenced, with information specifically tailored to answer coronavirus concerns now included as part of the promotion information. Payment deadlines on these tours have also been extended, and the school is continuing to negotiate and confirm refund policies in the event that destination advice changes for particular countries. Please be aware that refunds will depend on the particular policy of each tour provider and will vary.
Will students still have access to loan instruments? If so, how will they be sanitised?
Loan instruments across the school are loaned out to individual students to take home and use for the term/semester and remain the responsibility of the individuals who have the instruments on loan. They will be sanitised and cleaned between loans.
There are also a number of instruments that remain in music rehearsal rooms, for example pianos, where several students and staff may use them across the school day. The Music Department will be involved in ensuring the regular cleaning of these instruments between uses.
How is Newington keeping track of visitors to the College?
All visitors to Newington sign in at reception. The College collects visitor contact information so we can contact visitors if necessary.
How will the College know if students or staff have been to restricted countries or been in contact with the virus?
We will be notified by the Department of Health if we have a confirmed case or if a student or member of staff has been in close contact with a confirmed case.
The College has asked all families and staff who have been in specific high-risk countries to provide details to their campus via the contact details below.