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Covid-19

Changes to regulations effective Tuesday 30 November 2021

Following changes in Government guidance due to concerns about a new Covid variant we are introducing the following measures for all students and staff with effect from Tuesday 30 November 2021:

  • It will be compulsory for all students and staff to wear face coverings in our communal areas (unless exempt). These include the Learning Hub (unless you are in a timetabled lesson); corridors, dining rooms and coffee shops plus H27 and P9.
  • Students must wear face coverings on all public and College transport unless they are exempt. This also includes the shuttle buses that operate between campuses.
Regular testing is critical
In addition to the above we also still encourage that all students and staff continue to complete lateral flow tests twice per week and submit their results to the Government website at Report a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test result - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).The Government has also now recommended completing a covid test before you go to any highly populated areas such as shopping centres, theatres or concerts. If negative you can continue as planned. This also applies if you are visiting any vulnerable people and this is designed to enhance the testing practices of people in the UK to be based on need rather than just around regular testing intervals.

Contact Tracing & Isolation
The current guidance remains valid and you do not need to isolate if you have had both doses of the vaccination at least 14 days prior to symptoms beginning.
However, for those identified as close contacts of positive cases of the Omicron variant you will be required to isolate for 10 days. This will apply even if you have been double jabbed or you are under 18. NHS Test and Trace will confirm this to you when they contact you.

Foreign Travel
A number of countries (mainly in Africa) have been added to the Government “red list”. In addition, from 4am on 30 November, 2021 new measures come into force for all arrivals into England. Please ensure you check the travel restrictions relating to any country you are travelling to before and/or over the Christmas period to ensure you are aware of the steps you will be required to take upon your return. This will now involve getting a PCR test upon your return and no later than 2 days after your arrival back in the UK and you must isolate until your result is confirmed or for up to 14 days if your result is delayed. You must use a private test provider (not an NHS test) for this purpose.
The latest information on travel to red list countries can be found here; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-list-of-countries-and-territories

Whilst it may be worrying to be going back to some of these measures it is a necessary step to maintain the safety of our site and each other. The Government continues to recommend the vaccination to all people over 12 years old together with boosters for those adults that are now eligible.

Vaccinations

Over two thirds of 18-30 year old's have already had their first Covid jab, It's the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from serious infection.

Many of the Covid-19 patients now in hospital are young and unvaccinated. It is important that you get your first and second dose for maximum protection.

Vaccinated people are far less likely to get Covid with symptoms. Vaccinated people are even more unlikely to get serious Covid-19, be admitted to hospital, or to die from it. Vaccinated people are less likely to pass the virus to others.

Getting a vaccine

If you haven't had your first dose yet, you can book now at a centre or find your nearest walk in clinic at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine

If you are required to have a second dose you can arrange this through the booking service at www.nhs.uk/vaccine, or by going to a local walk in clinic 8 weeks after your first dose.

Contingency planning

Although we are doing everything possible to keep the College operating normally, we do have contingency plans in place should we need to take steps to respond to either a local outbreak or national lockdown. These steps are summarised in the scenarios described below.

Scenario 1 - Full Closure of the College

ALL teaching, learning and assessment would move to remote teaching, learning and assessment. This will predominantly be delivered through Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom and Moodle and will be monitored in the same way as occurred during the first and second lockdown periods during 2020 and 2021. Our teaching team are well trained from previous lockdowns on the variety of platforms and their relative advantages and all our new staff have also received training on these platforms.

During induction students will have been shown how to access remote learning, not only for their access to learning but for skills they will require in the workplace.. Where students do not have the capacity to access online materials, resources will be provided by IT. Where online resources are not appropriate for the student’s other means of work will be provided which could include hard copies of work being sent home and regular communication through phone calls with the tutors.

Pastoral tutors and learning support assistants will contact the most vulnerable students regularly to ensure they are well. Course managers will communicate regularly with students to ensure that they maintain the high standards of work and are engaged in learning.

Scenario 2 - Whole groups have to self-isolate

Should groups of students need to self-isolate the relevant Head of School for that subject area will implement a planned timetable for the students to access lessons utilising the two rooms in each school that have been equipped with screens, microphones and cameras. Ordinarily the staff member will be in the classroom ‘delivering’ the live lesson through Microsoft Teams and students access from home.

Scenario 3 - Staff member has to self- isolate

Should a member of staff have to self-isolate, students will still attend the lesson and the relevant Head of School will re-timetable the group to rooms to enable the group to access the lesson in the equipped room with the staff member delivering from home.

Scenario 4 - Individuals have to self-isolate

Staff use a variety of methods to enable the students to ‘access’ the lessons through simultaneous teaching, whereby the students(s) access the lesson from home through Microsoft Teams and attend remotely. This is ordinarily done through a laptop in the classroom or in one of the equipped rooms or set work.

Scenario 5 - Individuals have to self-isolate due to a positive test result

Staff members cover the lesson as they would a normal absence.

If you have any concerns in relation to the above scenarios please contact your course manager in the first instance.

Sources of useful information

National guidance on Self-isolation

Guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus infection

Student guide to Coronavirus

Covid-19 Vaccination guide for young people
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