This communication will update you on our current plans following the most recent government announcements regarding the coronavirus. Our main priority is keeping our college community safe, but as I am sure you can appreciate this is a rapidly changing situation and we will endeavour to keep you updated if or when the situation changes. Our plans are informed by the ongoing guidance being issued by the Department for Education and Public Health England.
As announced, it is expected that there will be a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus over the coming weeks and months. It is important to remember that the majority of people diagnosed with the virus will make a full recovery and those who are likely to be more seriously affected are people with underlying health conditions and the elderly. However, should the government’s decision to not close schools and colleges remain in place, it is important that we are prepared and have measures in place to manage an increase in the level of absence from college, particularly if a significant number of staff are absent.
If you have any concerns about your health in relation to coronavirus please follow Public Health England advice and use the NHS 111 coronavirus service.
If student is unwell
If a student is unwell they should follow the guidance issued by the government which can be found at the following website:
The key messages for students from the guidance are:
• The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are, according to Public Health England, a new, continuous cough or a high temperature. If you or anybody in your household have these symptoms, however mild, the whole household are advised to stay at home and not leave your house for 14 days from when the symptoms started
• plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home
• ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home
• stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible
• wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water
• stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible
• you do not need to call NHS111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999
If a student is unable to attend college the absence should be reported by telephoning 01823 320800. This should be done by a parent/carer with a brief overview of the symptoms and the date of which they first occurred.
If a student reports as being unwell and is displaying symptoms of coronavirus whilst at college, they will be taken immediately to a prepared isolation room and their parents/carers will be contacted. We would then ask that parents/carers arrange for their young person to be collected from college as a matter of urgency.
To enable us to get in touch with parents/carers as quickly as possible, please could you ensure that we have current, up to date home telephone, mobile telephone and email contact details for you and two additional emergency contacts. You will have given this information when your young person enrolled to study at Huish but if you think any of your details have changed, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to update.
If a member of staff is unwell
Any staff member who develops symptoms of coronavirus will also be asked to self-isolate and follow the guidelines outlined above. There is the potential for a significant number of staff to be affected and whilst we have plans in place for classes to be covered we would ask for your patience should there be any disruptions.
The current advice is that domestic trips both residential and non-residential should continue as normal, however we will continue to risk assess each trip on a case-by-case basis and keep students and parents updated. We have no further overseas trips planned for this academic year. Students who have recently returned from the Spanish trip have been advised to self-isolate for seven days.
The position of the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) remains that both staff and students should continue to prepare for exams and other assessments as normal. We are monitoring the situation carefully as Ofqual has also made it clear that they are planning for a range of scenarios that may develop over the coming period.
As we have seen in a number of countries a programme of full school/college closure may be a measure that the government decides to implement to attempt to further contain the spread of coronavirus. We have already begun planning how students will continue to be supported remotely with their study and we have recently set out our expectations of teachers should this situation occur. As a result, teachers will be discussing with students the various ways in which they will endeavour to deliver this support should the College have to close. A significant element of this will be the use of online or web based material and communication. In order that we can ensure that this support is accessible by all, could we ask that if students do not have access to the internet at home they make this known to their teachers if they have not done so already.
Should the College close we will share this via email, social media and the website (www.huish.ac.uk).
Thank you again for your on-going understanding and support with a potentially difficult situation.