Following the notification of a new national lockdown to limit the second wave of Covid-19, the College has been waiting for the Government to issue specific guidance for Further Education Colleges. We have now received this guidance and this letter is provided as an update on what we are doing to comply with this guidance and make the College as safe as possible for students and staff.
Students attending the College campuses are expected to wear face coverings at all times while on public transport, while travelling on College provided transport and while outside of the classrooms and workshops, in corridors and general circulation spaces. Students do not need to wear face coverings inside classrooms or workshops as they are with the same consistent group of students in their ‘programme bubble’, but they may wear them if they choose to.
The College campuses have floor markings and one-way systems, to ensure that students mix as little as possible and remain at the 2m distance that is now a common feature of most organisations. Classrooms have been rearranged to enable distancing and reduce sitting face to face.
There are some flexibilities in place to ensure that lessons continue in the event that a student or staff member is required to self-isolate. Any student that is required to self-isolate as a result of possible exposure to Covid-19 will be individually contacted and advised accordingly.
Students and staff who are considered as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ will, by now, have received a notification from the NHS that they are considered to be in this category. If a student is in this category, they are strongly advised to remain at home, although this guidance is only advisory and not mandatory. They should not attend face to face teaching for the duration of the lockdown. Arrangements will be made to continue learning remotely/online via the relevant Progress Coach if they choose to follow this advice.
If a student shows any symptoms that could be a Covid-19 infection, they should not come in to College and should seek an NHS test as soon as possible. The College has an online reporting system for these circumstances available at www.blc.ac.uk/covid-19-guidance.
In addition to these provisions, the College is planning a fully remote/online learning week commencing on 14th December 2020. This will ensure that there is a reduced exposure risk for the last week of the Autumn term that could lead to self-isolation over the Christmas period. During this week, classes will normally take place as per the scheduled timetable but will be delivered remotely using either Microsoft Teams or Blackboard Collaborate. Students will need access to the College systems over the Internet for this to take place. Any students who will struggle to access these systems should contact their Progress Coach, who will arrange access to the required facilities on-campus.
It may be necessary to make other adjustments over the coming weeks to accommodate changes in Government guidance or to ensure that our programmes can continue safely for all students and staff. Buxton & Leek College are determined to remain compliant with Government guidance, provide a safe learning and working environment for our students and staff and to ensure that our students continue to learn, make progress and achieve despite the restrictions placed upon us.
Len Tildsley, Principal