Frequently Asked Questions
Covid 19 Autumn Term 2020
Many of the enquiries we are receiving are asking the same or similar questions so we have grouped them into these FAQs to keep you informed rather than responding to every email. We will continue to send parents regular bulletins and will update these FAQs as new questions arise.
Please be aware that we are in new territory this autumn. Our priority is to safely ensure continued classroom teaching for all our students but we know that will be disruptions from time to time. We are working closely with Public Health England and other local agencies and will be taking their advice if there are incidents. This may lead to a delay in notifications. We are unable to give out specific information about cases because it falls into definitions of ‘personal information’.
APPLICANTS FOR SEPTEMBER 2020
If you have been in contact with a positive case at College and you need to isolate, you will be asked to do so by PHE and/or the College. If you are not notified then you do not need to do so. Both the individual and the College will give details to PHE of those who have been in contact with the positive case using the Track and Trace system. PHE have clear definitions about who they want to self-isolate. Please be aware that we may need to give personal details, including name, contact details and date of birth to PHE, this is a pandemic requirement and overrides GDPR.
If you have symptoms you should book a test. Only book a test if you have symptoms. Tests are only for those people showing symptoms and PHE have asked us to emphasise this. Please be aware that if you have been in contact with a positive case but have no symptoms, a test is likely to be negative. However, if you develop symptoms during your isolation, please get tested.
In this case, it is essential that your young person takes responsibility for keeping themselves safe. They need to follow the protocols in place ie, face forward in class, wear a mask in corridors and ‘public areas’ such as the refectory, spotlight, the library, study areas etc. Obviously, they need to wash their hands with soap and water frequently – there are handbasins on some of the external walls as well as regular ones inside. They should use hand sanitiser on entering each building too. They need to make sure they go outside to chat to her friends if possible, and to keep their distance from them.
No. Unless they have been asked to isolate, your son/daughter should come to college as normal. The best chance for them to move forward with their learning following lockdown is to be part of the learning group, learning from their peers and from their teacher. This does not happen at home. We are offering limited remote learning for those who PHE have asked to isolate but, this is short term for each individual and is not a good substitute for being in class. We can’t ask our teachers to routinely teach normal lessons as well as preparing remote sessions.
This is for a number of reasons common to education across England and in many other countries. First, a lot of people use non-verbal communication to help understanding and therefore learning. These clues can be lip reading, facial expressions etc which are hidden by masks. In addition, wearing a mask for a long period of time is detrimental to one’s health; with the added touching/adjusting of face masks in this situation it could make the risk higher. That said, wearing a mask in class is optional.
Everyone should wear a face covering in corridors and ‘public areas’ such as the refectory, spotlight, the library, study areas and shops etc. They should also wear their mask when in the queue for the bus or when they cannot keep more than a metre between themselves and others.
The only places masks need not be worn are in classrooms or outside or when eating.
We are encouraging students to distance when not in class. We have sent out guidance to them and to you. The tutorials and Education for Life classes this week are all things Covid, with a view to helping our young people understand how important it is to socially distance. We have PHE material running on the tv screens around college, and there are signs and notices everywhere reminding people to keep their distance, wash their hands and follow the one-way system.
Within classrooms, we are following the guidance given to us by PHE. We have removed a significant amount of furniture from classrooms. They are set up in 1950s style rows all facing forward. The teacher is in a zone which is 2m from the front row because they need to face the students. The rooms are well ventilated and the desks are sprayed and cleaned between each lesson. Students and staff are asked to use hand sanitiser on entering every building, they need to wear masks to get to their classroom but wearing the mask in class is voluntary.
We are aware that some of the information in the notice we sent to you contradicts the information on the NHS and PHE website. Please be aware that the notice came direct from PHE and is the most up-to-date advice. I suspect, the webpages may take a little longer to update.
There is no need for people to stand on buses as there are sufficient seats. We have previously asked that students sit on a seat when riding the bus service. Please make sure you move down the bus, use seats that are upstairs and please don’t put your bag on a seat that can be occupied by a person. We would also ask that you don’t stand to chat to friends; apart from the road safety aspect, sitting on the seat will face most people forward which helps to reduce the risk of transmitting germs. I would ask that parents reiterate this to their young people. If we they all sit as they are told, there should be enough seats.
There are issues on a couple of services which have alternative route options which mean that if everyone gets on the first bss there could be crowding. Stagecoach have positioned inspectors at key points and they are asking students to use some of the other services were possible. Some of the services which run through Stroud are a good example of this.
As you know, we are in the middle of a pandemic. There will be more cases. However, we have procedures in place to make sure we can identify and contact anyone who needs to isolate because of their proximity to a positive case. We are working closely with PHE and local authorities who are both happy with the way we are dealing with the situation.
Our priority is to identify and contact those who need to quarantine. This process will come before any general notification. We also need to verify what we are told and this can take time. If you need to know quickly, rest assured, you will be informed.
If we need to close, we will be told to do so by PHE. In the event that there are significant rises in cases locally or there are local lockdowns we may need to adjust timetables or how we are delivering learning but we will give you as much notice of this as we can. We have a number of plans in place from fully open to complete lockdown but whatever happens, our aim is to keep teaching and supporting our learners. They have had to go through a lot more in the last few months than they should need to go through; it is important to us to help them move forward with their learning.
Further information is available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Sometimes members of staff, in trying to be helpful, may say things which are not actually ‘the College line’. If this happens I am sorry and we will try to correct it. There is also considerable speculation and misinformation available on social media. Please only take information from official sources and from our own bulletins. In addition we will be posting FAQs which we will keep updating.