Reopening FAQ for Students and Parents

Please note: Only learners who have been contacted on an individual basis by their Student Mentor should attend college. Learners who turn up to college and have not been asked to do so will be sent home immediately  

Pre-opening planning

I am expecting mental health to be one of the issues we will be facing on return to college. How will the college prepare for this?

We have been supporting learners through our team of Student Mentors, college counsellor and dedicated external organisations, where required. We will continue with this support for our learners both on and off site. If you have any concerns then please raise this with our Student Mentor team, Learner Support Manager or any member of our Safeguarding team.


Someone in my household has an underlying medical condition, should I come into college?

The individual risk assessment for all learners coming onsite covers the household situation, considering vulnerable or shielded household members. Each case will be considered in line with government guidelines. If you have any concerns, please contact us and we will discuss this confidentially with you.


Do we know how many of our learners will feel happy to return to college for lessons in the short-term? Will the risk of having people back in the building be worth it?

The priority will always be the safety of the learners and staff. We recognise we need to provide appropriate support for all students including those who may be shielding. Learners who have been identified as a priority for return will be contacted personally, along with their parents/guardians. We are keen to work in partnership to avoid any unnecessary anxiety.


Travelling to college

Will there be issues getting to and from college?

Transport arrangements into college forms part of the individual risk assessment we will carry out with each student in advance of returning to college. Car, walking or cycling are the preferred methods for travelling to site. Please follow government guidelines regarding the use of public transport and advice will be provided where this is identified in your risk assessment.


Is the car parking option still available?

Yes, the car park will be open as usual however, please park sensibly with social distancing in mind.


Do we have to come into college? Is there a possibility we can remain learning from home?

A guiding principle of our operations is that activity takes place remotely where this is possible. The College has planned for a Covid19 Secure working and learning environment. We will only ask students to come in where it is absolutely necessary and safe. The work students are required to complete is essential for them to finish their programme of study.


Will there be a staggered start to the day allowed or later starting times for those who do not own cars and therefore have to use public transport on alternative timetable?

The timetable to attend college could be different to the one prior to lockdown. We are aiming to ensure that time spent in college is safe, productive and purposeful for all parties and start and finish times will be clear to ensure transport arrangements are considered.


Being at college

How will we all socially distance? (incl. break times and lunch times)

Enabling staff and students to socially distance is integral to the planning, this includes how we significantly reduce the number of occupants in the building at any one time. We have reconfigured public spaces, classrooms, workshops, access and egress to facilitate social distancing. There will of course be a duty on all of us to maintain social distancing in our own actions and be a role model to each other.


Will areas be marked up to support social distancing?

Yes, there will be an induction for all students before specific learning activity begins. Guidelines will be shared ensuring that everyone is fully informed about expectations.


How will I get the support I need during sessions? Especially if I am stuck with things whilst needing to maintain a 2-metre distance?

Workshop and individual task risk assessments will consider this. Our staff will use a range of teaching methods to engage and support whilst maintaining a 2-metre distance. Where it is considered the 2-metre distancing cannot be maintained, additional control measures e.g. PPE will be needed to ensure the activity can be safely carried out. This risk assessment will be reviewed by the college Health, Safety and Sustainability Officer.


Will the furniture be arranged to support social distancing?

Yes, where required reconfiguration of space is necessary to maintain social distancing guidance. Social distancing is also supported by limiting the number of students attending college and adjusting room entry/exit procedures.


Will a queuing arrangement be in place where needed?

Inevitably we may need to apply a queuing system in place however, we are aiming to use the space we have and operating procedures to avoid this scenario.


How will the College monitor the permitted smoking areas to ensure social distancing is upheld at all times?

Smoking areas will be closed off due to the inability to implement social distancing guidelines for a confined space. Anyone wishing to smoke must leave the college site, observing safe practice and maintaining social distancing. The site remains a non-smoking site as per our previous arrangements.


How will we use the narrow spaces e.g. corridors/stairs/lifts?

This has been considered as part of the planning, including the use of one-way systems where necessary. All students completing the induction will be notified and supported to have a clear understanding of access and egress.


What would we do if the emergency alarm occurs?

There are no additional drills planned for this academic year. If the emergency alarm sounds, then please follow the usual procedure maintaining and managing social distancing at the assembly points. Limited numbers on-site mean this is possible. We will conduct risk assessments in line with national guidance for specific safety procedures for the new academic year and communicate any changes to our current arrangements with all supervising staff.


Will plastic screens or barriers be installed where needed? i.e. reception

Yes, where this is identified in the risk assessment. We have a number of barriers available within the College.


What will happen if it is not possible to socially distance in the area of the college that I work in?

Students will only be asked to work in areas where the college believe they can socially distance and appropriate controls are in place. If a student has any concerns that they cannot socially distance in the area they work in, they must raise this immediately with their teacher.


How will we share resources, tools and equipment in class, if we are not to touch objects handled by others?

We have planned for students to use their own resources or electronic resources. For example, students should have their own copies of text books wherever possible. Where this is not possible, tools and objects will be effectively cleaned between sessions. Follow good hand hygiene at all times. Cleaning products and protocols will be available in all occupied learning spaces.


What cleaning will take place of the building and how often?

After the College buildings were fully closed, a full deep clean was undertaken. A new cleaning routine will be in place on re-opening, which ensures regular cleaning of areas at the start and throughout the working day.


How will the College ensure hygiene standards are maintained in public areas such as toilet and kitchens?

Initially hygiene standards will be maintained by following the guidance on social distancing and hand-washing. The very limited number of staff and learners that will be attending College make this achievable. Toilet facilities will be clearly marked for users to reflect social distancing guidelines. A regular daytime cleaning regime will be established. Risk assessments, protocols and guidance will be reviewed before increasing the number of staff and students in the building. The induction will clarify arrangements, reinforced through signage and evaluated on a frequent basis to inform our practice.


Can more antibacterial gel dispensers be placed around the college?

Yes, dispensers will be placed at key places throughout the college. It should be noted, that regular hand-washing is the most effective hygiene practice. Anti-bacterial gels should be used where this is not possible.


Will vending machines and water fountains be available?

These facilities will not available for use. Staff and students will be encouraged to bring a refillable bottle of water and their own food.


Do I need to bring my own food/drinks into work?

Students should bring their own food and drinks as there is no canteen or shop facilities open on site.


Will we have to wear PPE? Will PPE be provided for us? What will be the process for handing PPE out for everyone? Can we get it before our first day so we can use it to travel into work?

The Government guidance is that PPE including gloves and facemasks are not considered necessary in educational settings, this will also be considered in local risk assessments. Where the college believes PPE is required, this will be provided. It is expected that usual PPE for designated workshop practice will continue.


First Aiders – will first aiders be provided with appropriate PPE in dealing with any incidents?

A qualified member of the First Aid team will be present on site. They will be equipped to deal with circumstances where PPE may be required.


If you have any further questions then please do contact us.