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Update: Returning to Campus from 8th March

Following the Government announcement that schools and colleges will return to campus-based learning from the 8th March, this document sets out the approach and schedule for staff and students of Buxton & Leek College.

You will also want to read our Return to Campus FAQs that should answer any further questions you may have.

We are really looking forward to welcoming our students back onto the College campuses but returning significant numbers of students to on-campus learning safely will require careful planning and the support of students, parents and employers.  In order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone coming on to the sites, the College will take a phased approach to re-commencing campus-based learning, with some classes or sessions remaining online or remote for a further period of time.  This phasing will be dependent on the subject or type of provision, and how this applies to particular programmes or sessions will be explained in detail by the relevant tutors or progress coaches.  Timetables may be a little different from those in place during the autumn term as we adjust our schedules of learning to focus on skills development and preparations for assessments over this second half of the year.

As part of our plans to return to campus-based delivery, staff and students will be asked to take regular Covid-19 testing.  Any staff member or student attending for more than three days in any week should be tested twice each week and those attending up to 3 days should be tested weekly.  In most cases this will mean students will be expected to have a weekly test.  Students aged 16 and over can self-consent to a test but others may need to complete a parental consent form in advance. Testing can be undertaken at a local community testing centre or through our on-campus testing facilities.  If at all possible, staff and students will be encouraged to take a community-based test in advance of their first return to campus but no more than 5 days before their first attendance.  This will reduce significantly the risk of those who are Covid-19 positive but not showing symptoms, attending any of the College sites.  If you are unable to arrange for a community test before returning to campus-based provision, you must be prepared in the event that you do test positive at one of our on-campus testing centres, you will be required to return home without using public or College transport.  Anyone who would be unable to return home without risking the exposure of others should arrange for a local community-based test before travelling in to College or get in touch with your tutor or progress coach for individual advice.  For any first tests undertaken in the on-campus test centre, staff or students should wait for a negative test before commencing their planned activity on-site. You can find details about your local community testing services at and The on-campus and community testing facilities are only for those without Covid-19 symptoms.  If you do experience symptoms, you should follow the latest guidance on testing from Public Health England at

There will be no facilities for students to take a Covid-19 test on College campuses before 8th March.  Prior to this date, students are asked to seek community-based test services.

During the autumn term, the College’s protective measures were successful in reducing the risk of Covid-19 transmission.  These measures will continue for the foreseeable future with the additional measures applied in line with the latest Government guidance.  This will mean that staff and students will be expected (unless medically exempt) to wear face coverings at all times while inside College buildings and when using College transport services.  This includes corridors, circulation spaces, classrooms and learning centres.  Other than medical exemptions, the only circumstances where face masks are not required will be where practical learning activity prevents them from being worn and where appropriate social distancing can be maintained (for example, during sporting activities or where alternative protective PPE is required).  Face shields/screens are not a suitable alternative at the current time and both staff and students will be expected to wear masks.  Transparent face coverings, which may assist communication with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate, can also be worn where this is required but in these circumstances appropriate social distancing should be maintained at all times.

Following the latest Government guidance, staff and students will be required to wear face coverings throughout the day.  It is likely that more than one covering will be required, as they should be changed if/when they become damp or dirty; the face covering should then be replaced carefully. Staff and students should bring at least one spare face covering to wear if their face covering becomes damp during the day.  Staff and students should not touch the front of their face covering during use or when removing it.  Re-usable face coverings should be placed in plastic bags so that they can be taken home safely to be washed.

The updated Government guidance includes a reinforcement of the need for maximum ventilation in classrooms and workshops.  This will mean that students should expect windows to be open and therefore need to wear appropriate warm clothes when they come onto the College campuses.

Until we return to on-campus delivery from 8th March, I hope that you are continuing to work well on all current remote learning activities.  Thank you for your hard work and engagement and for your support and understanding as we prepare our campus facilities for your return.  Please remember to contact your progress coach or your tutor if you are experiencing any difficulties, you have any problems connecting to the online learning sessions or you are anxious or worried about coming back onto the College campus.

Len Tildsley


Buxton & Leek College