Coronavirus: COVID-19: Updates

Thursday 19 March 11:00

Students and parents will be aware of the government’s announcement yesterday regarding the closure of schools and colleges as part of the response to Coronavirus. We are working through the implications of this for the College and students and will be in touch later in the day with an update.

 

Wednesday 18 March 13.00

An email has been sent today to students and parents, with an update regarding the College and Coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

Tuesday 17 March 15.50

Following the revised instruction from the government, the College has updated its guidance regarding Coronavirus.

The College remains open, but the government has identified particular groups of people who should be practicing social distancing measures, and given new instructions regarding how people should respond if they, or other members of their family, develop symptoms.

The guidance on social distancing can be found using the following link:

In essence, it is advising that students who fall into certain groups should be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures, should limit face-to-face interaction and should not attend College.

If any students develop symptoms (high temperature, or new persistent cough), they should not attend College and should isolate themselves with the rest of their family for fourteen days. Similarly, if a family member develops symptoms, students should not attend College and should isolate for fourteen days. The stay at home guidance can be found here:

The College will continue to keep students and parents informed as the situation evolves.

 

Wednesday 11 March at 4.56pm

I am pleased to report that we have had no further confirmed cases of Coronavirus/COVID19 and Public Health England (PHE) have not notified us of any further suspected cases. One further student has been taken through the PHE risk assessment and has been asked to self-isolate purely as a precaution. They did so immediately. We continue to remain in contact with PHE to ensure that we have the most up-to-date advice. PHE have advised the College that no further action is required and that the College should operate as normal. They have provided us with the following FAQ link that you may find helpful:

Unfortunately, we have had a few isolated cases of students misusing social media and playing pranks that has caused unnecessary distress to students and additional workload for staff and we would ask for your support in ensuring that your son or daughter understands the seriousness and impact of this type of unhelpful behaviour. I have written to all students on this matter.

Should the government decide at some stage to close schools and colleges for a period of time, or PHE advise us of the need to close, I want to reassure you that we are developing contingency plans to ensure that students can work at home. We will ensure that the way this will operate will be clearly communicated to students.

Thank you for your continued support at this challenging time.

Monday 9 March at  4.20pm

I write with a further update following my emails over the weekend.  In particular, I wish to reassure you that we continue to be in regular contact with senior officials from Public Health England (PHE) in order to ensure that the College community has access to the most up to date information regarding the current situation.

We recognise that recent developments will have been unsettling for many and that it is important for you as parents to receive direct, accurate information from the College.  We will continue to keep you informed going forward.

In that vein, I would like to reiterate a couple of points from my previous communications:

  • The small number of close contacts of the student concerned, were identified extremely quickly through the PHE tracing procedure and after a thorough risk assessment by the experts at PHE they were advised to isolate themselves as a precaution.  All have done so and are not attending College until PHE confirm that they are allowed to do so
  • The College was in a position to open as normal on Monday morning because the weekend provided an opportunity to complete the required deep cleaning.  In many ways this was fortunate timing as it meant the deep cleaning could take place without any impact on learning
  • Following these actions Public Health England were clear that the College should continue to open as normal.

We will ensure that we review the situation on a daily basis and communicate with you as necessary.

Thank you for your continued support, we will always communicate openly with you so that you are well informed and not reliant on the misinformation so often circulated on social media.

Sunday 8 March as 8.30pm

The process of deep cleaning particular areas of the College has been completed in line with guidance from Public Health England (PHE).

I am also pleased to confirm that experts from PHE have completed the contact tracing process. This means that those students who have had close interaction with the student who has tested positive for the virus have received the appropriate health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact. This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to our College community.

Anyone who has not been contacted directly by PHE should continue to go about their daily routine as normal and is asked to follow the publicly available health guidance at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

As set out in my previous communication, having taken advice from the specialists at Public Health England, I am assured that we have taken all the necessary precautions to reduce the potential spread of any infection, and we will open for lessons as usual tomorrow morning.

We will continue to provide up to date information as things develop.

Saturday 7 March

Please see the important update regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19).

As a College, we are carefully monitoring the situation regarding the Coronavirus Covid-19 and following the advice of Public Health England. We are issuing all members of the College community with advice about preventative measures such as hand washing. At present we see no reason to make any significant College wide changes and, should that situation alter, we will issue immediate information and guidance. In the meantime, the government has issued specific advice to people who have travelled outside the country and you should follow that. Depending on where you have been, you may be required to self-isolate only if you have symptoms. There are a few areas for which special restrictions apply and you must self-isolate even if you are well.

The Department for Education has also launched a helpline to answer Covid-19 queries related to education. Staff, parents and students can contact the helpline on 0800 046 8687 or email DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk.

If you do have to self isolate in accordance with official advice, please notify the College through Faculty Administration on 01962 857540 and keep us updated thereafter.