Friday 4 September - 11:55
With the new term starting week beginning 7 September, we would like to advise you of the various measures that we have put in place to keep our students and staff safe.
Firstly, we are extremely fortunate in having a large campus which includes substantial open learning spaces and large outside space. Enhanced risk assessments have taken place of all our learning spaces and maximum numbers assigned to all of these.
Many of our classes will be delivered based on a blended model with some learning taking place remotely. This is a typical pattern of delivery in colleges at this time due to Covid-19 restrictions. This reduces class sizes while giving students the opportunity for onsite learning in smaller groups from expert teachers – a massive advantage after so many weeks out of the classroom. Students will be learning within a ‘bubble’ group in which it will be the teacher moving between classes rather than the students, wherever possible.
A range of additional measures are also in place and students are required to take note of these and follow instructions carefully. Failure to comply puts themselves as well as others at risk and will be considered a disciplinary matter.
- There are separate entry and exit points at the College entrances.
- Signage and posters throughout remind students to maintain social distancing.
- There are clearly marked walking routes in place with a general instruction to ‘keep left’ around the campus buildings.
- Campus Officers, estates and facilities staff are on hand to ensure social distancing is maintained. All staff will support the above team to ensure a consistent approach is taken across the College site.
- Hand sanitiser is positioned at a variety of points and is available in each class/learning space. As part of class management by the teacher, students will be involved in keeping their learning spaces clean.
- The requirement is two people to a lift only and two people only in the College shop.
- Furniture has been removed in many areas to support social distancing. The cafeteria furniture has been marked with tape to signify seating spaces while still offering an attractive, relaxing area.
- There are no water fountains; students may refill water bottles from water dispensers and are required to use hand sanitiser available next to these. Wherever possible, students should bring in their own drinks.
- Additional cleaning has been commissioned to take place at various points in the day with particular focus on doors, bannisters and other high touch areas.
The Government has delegated the decision on wearing masks to Headteachers in schools and colleges. In large College buildings, the need for face masks is reduced. The wider corridors and larger spaces enable wide circulation routes. If students or staff wish to wear face masks, they are welcome to do so, however, disposal or washing is entirely the responsibility of the individual. In some circumstances, staff and students will be asked to wear masks or to use gloves. This is decided through the departmental and course risk assessments.
Additional measures are in place for students with high support needs. These will be discussed with parents, carers and students on an individual basis.
These measures will be reinforced at student inductions. We also ask for your assistance in reinforcing our rules outside of the College as well as the general instruction that regular hand-washing is a simple but effective method of reducing risk.
The current level of infection in our local areas is very low, however, we continue to be alert for any changes. Should a local lockdown become necessary, as advised by the Government/Department for Education then the College has a clear plan to continue learning via remote means. May I also reassure you that we have a clear plan should an individual become ill or we are notified of illness. This includes working with local authorities and public health organisations. The College website is the key means of communication for changes.
This will certainly be a very different start to the year in all schools and colleges and we fully understand that while many students will be keen to return to learning and to see and make new friends, others may find the situation daunting and be nervous. Our College is a welcoming, friendly environment and we have super staff available to help support or advise. Over the next days, our students will be meeting their course tutor who will be their best support and can offer or signpost guidance.
We look forward to meeting our new and progressing students and to a very successful term and year ahead.
In the meantime, my very best wishes.
Chief Executive Orbital South Colleges and Principal East Surrey College