John O’Gaunt School’s Grateful Thanks for a Huge Community Effort!

The John O’Gaunt School ‘family’ in Hungerford has been overwhelmed by the support from the community, in helping with the three waves of in-school mass testing of students for Coronavirus.

The first day back at school on Monday, 8 March saw the whole school tested and although this was a huge logistical operation, everyone – from volunteers, to parents and staff – rallied to the call for help, completing training, donning PPE and getting stuck in to ensure that everything went smoothly. In the next two weeks, follow up testing occurred in the transformed school ‘POD’ building that, with its testing stations, equipment and billowing white curtains, more closely resembled a hospital.

“Any anxieties the students had about the procedure were quickly and cheerily dispelled by the volunteers and staff,” said Head of School, Richard Hawthorne. “The students were relaxed, informed and reassured as a result. They are now taking it in their stride, and carrying out further tests at home on a regular basis.”

School Business Manager Samantha Tilling-Wells said that “it really was history in the making. We are so grateful to our magnificent army of volunteers, who have generously given up a significant amount of time to help us get (and keep) our students safely back in school.” Richard Hawthorne added that, “we will be forever grateful for that response from the community. We absolutely could not have managed without them.”

Sstudents and staff now all have their own kits and test twice weekly at home so the sports hall can be returned to its designated purpose.

Above: Some of the volunteers and school staff getting ready for the next wave of students in the transformed sports hall.

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Covering: Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage,   Lambourn, Newbury, Thatcham & Theale