Coronavirus: Phased Return to Lincoln, Newark and Gainsborough Campuses

The plans, policies and guidance outlined on this page apply between now and the end of July, unless assessments run into August, in which case it will be extended. 

All are subject to change, depending on changes to Government policy and “lessons-learned” by the College. 

New guidance, plans and policies for the 2020/21 academic year will be issued in August 2020.

Extensive planning has taken place to ensure that limited staff, “vulnerable young people” and students and apprentices, who need to complete essential assessments can safely return to College by invite only.

Please note this is not a general reopening and uninvited students and staff attending college, or students attending outside of their date and time slots will be asked to leave. 

This is to enable us to manage the safety of students and staff via effective social distancing and cleaning plans.

Please find a copy of the College's overarching risk assessment here


Staff: a limited number of our staff will start to return from Monday 8th June to prepare for returning students.

Students: the phased-return of a limited number of invited students and apprentices at Lincoln, Newark and Gainsborough Colleges will begin on Monday 15th June. Not all students will return at once so please wait for your invite. 

We anticipate that a small number of students and staff will need to attend college and only a very small number will be on our campuses at any one time.

The Government has indicated that it wishes year-12 students to return to schools and colleges. We will not be inviting Year-12s to return as they are learning very effectively remotely and to bring them in would compromise their safety unnecessarily. Our focus will be on supporting “vulnerable young people” and those who cannot complete vital practical assessments remotely.

Do I have to attend college if I’m invited to complete my assessment?

We are determined that no student will be disadvantaged by the current situation. Some qualification awarding bodies have stated that a practical assessment must be completed. We are only inviting in students whose practical assessments to successfully complete their course cannot be done remotely. 

Students at higher risk (currently shielding due to being classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ or not shielding but still classed as ‘clinically vulnerable’) and with household members who are shielding should not attend college. If you fall into this category, when you receive your email invite to attend please reply outlining your concerns.

If you are invited to attend and are not at higher risk, but you do not feel comfortable doing so, we will support in completing your assessments at another time, but please be aware this will mean you will not complete your qualification this year.

If you fall into this category, when you receive your email invite to attend please reply outlining your concerns.

Our position is unequivocal: Between now and the end of August, no student will be made to attend and no students, parents or responsible adults will incur any penalties for non-attendance, in line with current Government policy.

“Vulnerable young people”

Vulnerable young people’s attendance is expected, where it is appropriate for them (that is, where there are no shielding concerns for the child or their household, and/or following a risk assessment for children with an EHCP) so that they can gain the educational and wellbeing benefits of attending. 

Vulnerable children and young people that have not been attending in the recent period are expected to return to college provision where this would now be appropriate for them to do so. 

We have already contacted all of our “vulnerable young people” to discuss their return to college.

What is the plan for apprentices?

Wherever possible apprentices will be assessed remotely. We expect small numbers of apprentices to need to attend college. Where this is the case, individual plans for each apprentice, who needs to attend college, are being developed by our staff in conjunction with employers.  As the detail of these plans and assessment criteria are confirmed apprentices will be assessed in the workplace, or invited into college to complete their assessments.  

What are the plans for staff visiting employers and apprentices in the workplace?

Only staff who are happy to visit workplaces will be doing so and only where employers are happy to host them. Where this is the case we will work with employers to produce risk assessments for the visits and we will insist on reviewing employers' risk assessments to ensure we are content that it is safe to deploy our staff. The staff member will be provided with a personal protective equipment pack to do so safely.

Will staff be made to attend college?

Only staff who need to attend will be asked to. All other staff will continue to work remotely. We will not be telling any staff to return. Between now and the end of August we will be seeking volunteers to attend.

Those at higher risk (currently shielding due to being classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ or not shielding but still classed as ‘clinically vulnerable’) and with household members who are shielding should not attend college under any circumstances.

Our position is unequivocal: No staff member (including teaching and support staff) will be forced to attend college if they feel they are unable to between now and the end of August. No medical evidence will be required.

The Director of HR and Student Support Services will be providing guidance to managers to help attending staff orientate to the current situation.

Will colleges bosses be available to resolve issues?

Either the CEO or the Managing Director for Education and Training will be working from one of our campuses while they are open and every campus will have managers present at all times during opening hours.

Travel and parking

In line with Government policy we are encouraging staff and students to avoid public transport if possible. Please consider travelling by car, walking and cycling ahead of public transport use. 

If you cannot use a car and are unable to walk or cycle please contact Lincolnshire County Council, who will be able to advise you on safe travel to school via their services. Find out more here.

If you have no alternative but to use public transport, the Government is advising the use of a face mask or face-covering while on a bus or train and where social distancing is not possible. If you do not have a face mask here is a BBC guide to making one.

Students travelling to college by car in Lincoln will be able to park on campus in the Knights Car park (opposite the Monks Road Campus in Lincoln) and at Newark and Gainsborough Colleges students may use the car parks until the end of August during college opening hours. Staff will be able to park on campus as normal.

Arrival at College

The campus will be accessible between the hours of 8.30am and 4.30pm, but staff should only be on campus to complete their essential duties that day and students should only attend according to their invite date and time slot.

All students and staff are expected to register their attendance each day to allow us to monitor of numbers on site and ensure continued safety. Students and staff should report to main reception on arrival at college every day to book in (not before 8.30am).

Social Distancing and Minimising Contact at College

We will ensure that only a very small number of students are on campus at any one time. Students’ time on site will be minimised, with breaks taken within the classroom and wider social interaction avoided wherever possible. Students and staff will distance by two metres at all times. 

Our gyms, libraries, cafeterias, coffee shops and social areas will be closed at all times.

Signs, posters and floor markings reminding staff and students of social distancing rules will be displayed at all campuses and additional staff will patrol classrooms and external areas to ensure rules are being followed.

Anyone (student or staff member) who breaches social distancing rules will be issued with an official warning. A second breach will lead to immediate suspension from campus and follow-up line manager (staff) and Head of Department (students) virtual meetings.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Current Government direction is that face masks should not be worn in education settings. So, once you arrive at college and during your time on campus it is not necessary to wear a face mask. If any students or staff choose to wear a face mask they are free to do so.

We have very limited PPE stocks due to market shortages. We will provide masks on request while stocks last, but we cannot guarantee our supply.

If you want to wear a face mask and don’t have one here is a BBC guide to making one.

What happens of someone has symptoms? Test and Contact Tracing

Anyone who develops symptoms of Coronavirus - a persistent cough, fever or a sudden loss of taste or sense of smell - will have to isolate for seven days and the rest of their household for 14 days. 

If symptoms develop while at college they should inform a staff member and leave the campus immediately. All staff and students who develop symptoms must fill in our self-declaration online form 

Everyone with symptoms should ask for a test online .

If the test comes back negative, everyone in your household can go back to normal.

But if the test comes back positive, the NHS Test and Trace team will get in touch - via text, email or phone call - to discuss who you have come into close contact with.

Any of those contacts deemed at risk of catching the virus will be instructed by the NHS to go into isolation for 14 days, whether they are sick or no

They will be tested only if they develop symptoms. The rest of their household does not have to isolate, unless someone becomes ill.

Those isolating will be eligible for occupational sick pay.

What is close contact?

Only people who have been "close" to an infected person will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

It will not be the case that one teacher testing positive would lead to the whole College going into isolation, for example.

Close contacts are:

  • people you spend 15 minutes or more with at a distance of less than 2m
  • people you have direct contact with - such as sexual partners, household members or people with whom you have had face-to-face conversations at a distance of less than 1m

The contact must have taken place between two days before and up to seven days after symptoms appeared.

Behaviour on campus

The vast majority of our students behave with the utmost respect and professionalism at college, but a minority engage in antisocial behaviour. 

We need our staff to focus on safety during this time, so there will be a zero-tolerance approach to antisocial behaviour. 

An emergency conduct policy has been put in place and any instance of antisocial behaviour will result in and official warning. A second report will result in a disciplinary hearing with the ultimate sanction of expulsion.

Any cases of deliberate coughing or spitting over another person will result in immediate suspension, an automatic disciplinary hearing with the ultimate sanction of expulsion and a referral to the Police for investigation.

We have established a set of Return to College Rules that all students and parents should read before returning.

We have also established a set of Return to Work Rules that all staff should read before returning.


We must be able to identify who is on campus and who our students are at all times to keep them safe. Lanyards with ID cards must be worn and visible at all times. 

Any student who does not have one at any time will be taken to reception to provide personal details for an ID check on our systems. Any instance of failure to wear a lanyard will be recorded centrally. A second failure will result in immediate suspension from College.

Anyone attending college who has currently lost their lanyard must report to main reception first to be issued with a temporary replacement.

Hand washing

Regular hand washing is the most effective way of keeping yourself safe. It is essential that staff and students wash their hands more often than normal, after touching surfaces and after coughing and sneezing using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 

Hand washing with soap and drying hands afterwards is the most effective way of preventing virus spread. Using hand sanitiser when not near toilets is good and will provide some protection, but it is less effective than proper hand washing.

Toilets will be checked, cleaned and restocked on a very regular basis and hand sanitiser will be available throughout buildings that are open.

Campus Cleaning 

All soft seating areas will be removed and additional cleaning staff will be provided to ensure the highest levels of hygiene. 

A detailed plan has been designed to ensure the cleaning of all equipment after each use and the regular cleaning of all toilets, computers, desks, staff rooms and hard surfaces including banisters and door handles.

Teaching and support staff will also be provided with their own cleaning products to keep their personal space, classroom and equipment clean throughout the day.

Smoking on campus

We will continue to permit smoking in and around designated smoking shelters. 2m floor markings will be provided to allow for social distancing.

Clearly policing smoking is not a priority and if social distancing is not adhered to we will ban smoking completely on all three campuses for students and staff.

The plans, policies and guidance outlined on this page apply between now and the end of August. All are subject to change within the current academic year, depending on changes to Government policy and “lessons-learned” by the College. 

Report concerns and share ideas

If you have any health and safety concerns on campus, or concerns for individuals you can report them via our online reporting form. This is also a place where you can share ideas for improving our systems and processes and improving college life while social distancing applies.