We are so looking forward to welcoming students back to Huish in the coming weeks and our teachers and tutors are really excited about being back in the classroom, teaching their groups and supporting their students in person.
Here is some information about our plans and to give you some detail about the range of measures we have put in place to keep those in our educational community safe.
Structure of the College Day
After a significant amount of time out of the classroom, our priority is to get all young people studying full-time in college in the safest possible way. In order to do this, we have temporarily adapted our existing timetable to minimise the number of staff and students on site, movement around the campus and accommodate enhanced cleaning and sanitation checks.
In contrast to previous years, students will have:
- A fortnightly timetable (Week A and Week B)
- 3 sessions over the fortnight per subject
- A two-hour tutorial and Directed Study session every other week with their Progress Tutor
The new temporary timetable means that students will receive almost identical teaching time to previous years, albeit over a two-week period. The timetable has a morning and afternoon session. Please note that each student’s individual timetable is different and, on most days, they will not have a session in both the morning and afternoon.
The new timetable structure enables us to:
- Group students into designated ‘cohorts’
- Reduce the frequency of daily taught sessions (5 reduced to 2) in order to:
- Minimise movement of staff and students around the site
- Reduce number of staff on site/manage shared workspaces
- Reduce number of students on site at one time and minimise contact between ‘cohorts’
- Reduced ‘trapped time’ for the majority of students, enabling them to leave the site more easily when not in lessons.
- Enable more frequent cleaning of facilities
- Staggered starts/finishes and designated, staggered comfort breaks are timetabled to minimise contact between cohorts.
- Tutorial provision – groups have been halved to support students in settling back into college and to enable us to more effectively promote and monitor their safety on and off site.
Timetables will be ready for returning students from Tuesday 1st September and they will receive an email from us with a link to this ahead of the first day.
As in all years, there is likely to be some movement between classes and changes of teacher/tutor. We will do our very best to avoid this where we can but please do be aware that this is sometimes unavoidable, especially in the current circumstances.
The government has been very clear that they expect students to attend all scheduled lessons and we know that this is critical for our students’ future success.
When Students are not in Lessons – In the current circumstances, we are not able to allow students to remain on site at Huish when they do not have a lesson, in order to help minimise the number of people on campus at any one time. This is something that we hope to be able to relax as soon as we can. When your son, daughter or young person does not have a lesson, they will therefore need to leave the site and make their way home and we would hugely appreciate your support and help with this.
Exceptions to this are for:
- Those with a lesson in both the morning and afternoon slots, who live too far away to go home during the brea
- Students with significant travel restrictions who are travelling long distances with limited bus times
- Students identified for/directed to attend additional support sessions
- We will provide designated, supervised areas for those students to study in who are unable to leave the site.
Social Spaces and Catering – At present we cannot unfortunately provide all of the usual social spaces as a result of Covid-19 and will need all students and staff to keep each other safe by socially distancing wherever they can. We will be providing a takeaway food and drinks service from the second week of term, with some limited seating.
We would advise students to bring refreshments with them as well, to ensure they have enough to eat and drink whilst on site. We will still be providing Free College Meals for those who are eligible. Students who have classes in the morning and afternoon will be able to purchase food and drink.
Site Safety Review
Our Senior Staff and Estates Team have worked over the summer to get the campus ready for this term. We have carried out extensive risk assessments, in line with government guidance, and liaised with our national body (Sixth Form College Association) about best practice related to site safety.
Please find below a few of the key measures that we have put in place on campus:
- Increased cleaning, including the use of specific cleaning products for Covid19 control
- One-way system across the site (One Way System Map)
- Signage to reinforce social distancing, where possible
- Increased Duty Manager rota of senior staff to ensure compliance with our Code of Conduct
- Hand sanitiser stations around the College, both inside and outside of buildings. All students and staff MUST sanitise their hands-on arrival at Huish.
- Bins in all classrooms to promote the NHS “catch it, bin it, kill it” guidance
- Screens in high traffic areas of the College (e.g. Reception and Help Desks)
- Review and amendment to use of specialist equipment and spaces (e.g. IT, labs, sports facilities and music areas)
- Access to student social spaces restricted to break times only where they can be supervised
- All staff and students will receive training when they first arrive back at Huish. We will be asking all members of our community to challenge individuals, should they not be following the safety measure we have put in place.
Travelling to College
We have worked with the local bus companies, who are able to guarantee that they will be providing transport to and from Huish. A large proportion of the services will now be designated specifically for our students, to minimise contact with the wider public when travelling to Huish. There will also be some additional services on several routes. We would ask you to check the Buses of Somerset website for regular updates https://www.firstgroup.com/somerset. As the County Council have suspended the County Ticket for this year, we would recommend that you purchase bundle tickets from your operator.
Students travelling on public buses must follow government guidelines around public transport in relation to wearing face coverings. As we have been able to re-designate many of our buses as dedicated Huish transport, it will be possible to accommodate more students on those services. Whilst on college only buses mask wearing is not mandatory we would, for everybody’s safety strongly encourage all young people to do so. Mask disposal areas will be made available on arrival at college, for those using temporary masks and all students will have to sanitise their hands before moving around the campus.
We will of course continue to review the current arrangements as the government guidance is updated. The desire is that at some point in the academic year we return to a more normal day plan and we will keep you updated as and when this is the case.