Coronavirus: September 2020 Reopening Policy and Guidance

The plans, policies and guidance outlined on this page apply from the beginning of the 2020/21 academic year. All are subject to change, depending on changes to Government policy and ‘lessons-learned’ by the College. 

From September 2020, teaching at Lincoln, Newark and Gainsborough Colleges will resume at our COVID-secure campuses.

Some elements of our curriculum will continue to be delivered remotely to enable us to limit the number of students on our sites at any one time. Student timetables will clarify which lessons are on campus and which are remote.

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

Enrolment

Enrolments will be carried out remotely this year. From 20th August 2020, applicants will be contacted by their tutors to discuss exam results and entry requirements. If entry requirements have been met students will be sent a hyperlink to an online enrolment portal where they will be asked to input some personal data the Government asks us to collect and to upload a picture of them selves for ID card production. They will also be asked to upload picture of their exam results, which can be taken on a phone.

Students will then be sent their timetables and joining instructions, including when to first attend college.

If students do not meet the entry requirements for their course they may be offered a lower level course, or an alternative course. If a suitable alternative cannot be found the student will referred for a consultation with a career advice expert.

Attendance Expectations

In March 2020, when the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection rate was increasing, we made clear no parent would be penalised or sanctioned for their child’s non-attendance at college.

Now the circumstances have changed and it is vital for all students to return to college to minimise as far as possible the longer-term impact of the pandemic on young people’s education, wellbeing and wider development.

Missing out on more time in the classroom risks students falling further behind. Those with higher overall absence tend to achieve less well. College attendance will therefore be mandatory again from the beginning of the Autumn term. This means from that point, the usual rules on college attendance will apply, including:

  • Parents’ duty to secure that their child attends regularly at college where the child is a registered student at college and they are of compulsory school age
  • Our responsibility to record attendance and follow up absence
  • The availability to issue sanctions

Learners who are Shielding or Self-isolating

The Government now knows much more about Coronavirus and so in future there will be far fewer young people and adults advised to shield whenever community transmission rates are high. Therefore, the majority of learners will be able to return. We note, however, that:

  • A small number of learners will still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves; or because they are a close contact of someone who has Coronavirus 
  • Shielding advice for all adults and children paused on 1 August, subject to a continued decline in the rates of community transmission of Coronavirus. This means that the small number of pupils who will remain on the shielded patient list can also return to college, as can those who have family members who are shielding.
  • If rates of the disease rise in our local area, learners (or family members) will be advised to shield during the period where rates remain high and therefore they may be temporarily absent
  • Some learners no longer required to shield but who generally remain under the care of a specialist health professional may need to discuss their care with their health professional before returning in September (usually at their next planned clinical appointment) - read advice from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • Where learners are not able to attend college because of public health advice, we will offer them access to remote education

 Our Staff

Following the reduction in the prevalence of Coronavirus and relaxation of shielding measures from 1st August, we expect that most staff will attend work. Working remotely continues to be a potential option to mitigate the risk of coronavirus. The decision to allow staff to work remotely will be at the discretion of the line manager subject to it meeting the needs of the business and where it is considered to be an effective means of work.

Staff who are Clinically Vulnerable or Extremely Clinically Vulnerable

A significant amount of work has been undertaken to create a COVID-secure working environment for staff. This means the risks to all staff will be mitigated significantly, including for those who are extremely clinically vulnerable and clinically vulnerable.

 

We expect this will allow most staff to return to the workplace, although we are working with those in the most at-risk groups to establish individualised safety measures at work or to continue support them to continue to work remotely where appropriate.

Advice for those who are clinically vulnerable can be found in the staying alert and safe (social distancing) guidance.

Staff who are Pregnant

As a general principle, pregnant women are in the ‘clinically vulnerable’ category and are advised to follow the relevant guidance on staying alert and safe (social distancing).

 

Prevention on Campus

An extensive public health campaign is in place across our campuses reminding students and staff of the following key messages:

  • Maintain social distance
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water, or sanitize
  • Avoid touching your face
  • For coughs and sneezes: Catch It, Bin It, Kill It
  • If you develop these symptoms: new persistent cough, temperature, loss of taste or smell. Inform staff, leave campus, self-isolate, request a test online, fill in our online self-declaration form, inform us of your test results. You also need to complete the self declaration from if you are isolating due to another member of your household testing positive, or if you have been contacted by NHS Track and Trace and asked to self isolate.

Face masks and face coverings

We strongly encourage students to wear a face mask or face covering:

  1. In corridors and stairwells when moving around the college indoors
  2. In toilets
  3. In other communal areas like building reception areas

Wearing a face mask or face covering in communal areas and corridors is not compulsory at this stage, but this will be continuously reviewed.  

Students are expected to provide their own face masks and face coverings, but we are carrying stocks of disposable masks that will be available to students forget or lose their own.

Anyone who is exempt from wearing facemasks will be able to collect card A from Student Services. At this stage this card is not a requirement, but it may give students more confidence if asked by staff.

Please note, the wearing of face masks or coverings is not required in classrooms, workshops and exam rooms unless risk assessments for individual courses  and curriculum activities state they are necessary. Your tutors will make clear if and when they are needed when you start your course. Some courses like hair and beauty for example also need to reflect industry guidelines with the use of visors and again, this will be made clear to you when you start your course. In these instances any protective equipment you need like visors will be provided by the College.

Face masks and visors are not necessary in private study areas like the Library where social distancing measures are already in place.

Face masks and face coverings are mandatory when visiting the cafeteria for takeaway food and drinks. They may be removed if dining-in but track and trace forms must be completed.

At present this stance applies to all campuses, but it will be kept under constant review and is subject to change for each individual campus.

Our staff are also being strongly encouraged to wear face masks and face coverings in communal areas. Teachers and assessors are not required to wear face masks or face coverings when teaching in class, but it is optional for them to wear visors and some may do so.

 

College Rules for Cornonavirus

In order to keep staff and students safe when we return to college a set of student and staff rules have been introduced. We expect these rules to be adhered to and they will be rigorously policed.

Please find our staff Return to Work Rules here 

Please find our student Return to College Rules here

Minimising contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have Coronavirus symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend our sites

It is vitally important that learners, staff and other adults do not come into our sites if they have Coronavirus symptoms, or have tested positive in the last 7 days. They must also not attend college if they live in a household where someone has symptoms and is self-isolating, or after a positive test.

Anyone developing those symptoms during the day will be sent home.

If anyone on our sites becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), they will be sent home (avoiding public transport) and advised to follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, which sets out that they must self-isolate for at least 10 days and should arrange to have a test to see if they have Coronavirus. Other members of their household (including any siblings) should self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms.

 

Anyone who develops symptoms must also complete our Coronavirus Self Declaration form and inform us of their test results at the earliest opportunity.

If anyone becomes ill with Coronavirus symptoms and is awaiting collection they will be moved to a designated room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, depending on the age and needs of the individual and with appropriate adult supervision if required.

If it is not possible to isolate them, we will move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.

If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting they will use a separate bathroom. The bathroom will be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.

PPE will be worn by staff caring for the individual while they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as a person with complex needs).

As is usual practice, in an emergency, we will call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk.

Any members of staff who have helped someone with symptoms and any learners who have been in close contact with them do not need to go home to self-isolate unless they develop symptoms themselves (in which case, they should arrange a test) or if the symptomatic person subsequently tests positive.

Everyone must wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser after any contact with someone who is unwell. The area around the person with symptoms will be cleaned after they have left to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.

Public Health England is clear that routinely taking the temperature of individuals is not recommended as this is an unreliable method for identifying Coronavirus

Maintaining Social Distance

Corridors have been clearly marked with distance guides and one-way systems are in place in corridors and stairwells where distancing is not possible.

Priority-flow signage for stairwells, entrances and exits will be in place. Students and staff will be asked not to loiter or sit in corridors.

All lifts will be limited to one person at a time and should only be used by those with mobility issues.

Within classrooms some desks and computers have been clearly labelled “not in use” to provide appropriate distancing between students while they work.

Some alternations to workshop spaces have been made to allow for socially distanced working practices.

Careful timetabling, staggered break times and staggered start and finish times will dramatically reduce the number of students on our campuses at any one time.

Numbers will be limited at any one time in communal areas like our libraries and student common rooms.

Food will be available to takeaway from our cafes and additional distanced outdoor seating has been provided.

Students will be encouraged to minimise contact outside of their groups while at college to reduce the possibility of transmission.

We have increased to security staff to work with our wider staff to ensure distancing is maintained across our campuses.

Clean Hands

Coronavirus is an easy virus to kill when it is on skin. This can be done with soap and running water or hand sanitiser. Staff and students must ensure they clean their hands regularly, including when they arrive at our sites, when they return from breaks, when they change rooms and before and after eating. Regular and thorough hand cleaning is going to be needed for the foreseeable future.

To help we this we have:

  • Installed advice on effective hand-washing in all toilet areas
  • Installed several hundred new sanitiser dispensers across all of our sites
  • Placed reminders on frequently touched equipment to remind staff and students to wash their hands or sanitise.
  • Tutors will hold 20-second briefings in classes to run through our hygiene key messages.

Ensuring Good Respiratory Hygiene by Promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ Approach

The ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach continues to be very important and we will be promoting it across all of our sites.

We will ensure enough tissues and bins available to support our learners and staff to follow this routine.

As with hand cleaning, we will ensure those with complex needs are helped to get this right.

Strict rules will be in place to prevent spitting on any of our sites. Learners with complex needs will be supported to help them achieve this.

Ventilation systems in buildings will be set to extract only, preventing re-circulation.

Enhanced Cleaning

We have made a significant investment to bolster our cleaning staff to ensure that all classroom and office spaces are cleaned to a high standard daily. Toilets will be checked and cleaned regularly. Checking schedules will be visible in all toilets so users can see when they were last cleaned.

Students will be encouraged to take part in this regime, taking responsibility for their classroom hygiene.

At the beginning of every lesson tutors will spray each desk with disinfectant and students will use disposable cloths to wipe their own desks.

Students will also be encouraged to take responsibility for the cleanliness of their workshop space and equipment with their tutors, helping them to clean equipment before use.

All frequently touched equipment will be cleaned daily and clearly marked with prominent stickers reminding users to wash hands or sanitise after use.

Our staff will be encouraged to sanitise their own desks spaces, computer equipment and phones at the beginning and end of their working day. Equipment will be provided to help with this.

What is the Plan for Apprentices?

Our apprenticeship business will continue as normal. We are signing up new apprentices with local firms and college-based learning and workplace visits will continue in line with college and the respective businesses’ risk assessments in relation to social distancing, hygiene and the use of PPE where appropriate.

Travel to and Arrival at College

Wherever possible we will be promoting cycling, walking and other forms of exercise. We have increased our capacity for secure bicycle storage at our Lincoln campus to increase capacity.

Some start times will be staggered and this will be indicated on our learners’ timetables. We would like our students to arrive in time for their first lesson, not to come to campus several hours before. We would also ask them to leave campus after their last timetabled lesson. Staggered start and finish times will limit contact between learners and the wider public.

We will be reminding learners and staff that it is the law that they must wear a face covering when travelling in England on a public bus, coach, train, tram, or other forms of public transport, as per the safer travel guidance for passengers.

 

During the first four weeks of term there will be a significant amount of staff outside greeting students and reminding them of the campus rules. They will also be available to help new learners find their classes and other campus facilities.

The Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

We are strongly encouraging staff and students to wear face masks and face coverings in communal areas and corridors (please see above). Although the majority of our staff are not required to have PPE in classrooms and workshops beyond what they would normally need for their work, all teaching staff have the option to wear a visor if they wish to. PPE is also needed in the following situations:

  • where an individual becomes ill with Coronavirus symptoms while on site, and only then if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained
  • where a learner already has routine intimate care needs that involve the use of PPE, in which case the same PPE should continue to be used
  • if the use of PPE is specified in the COVID-secure guidance for the sector, for example, hairdressing courses need to follow the same guidance as salons do when doing practical work

Managing Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus

We will take swift action when we become aware that someone who has attended college has tested positive for Coronavirus.

 

We will contact the local health protection team. This team will also contact the College directly if they become aware that someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus attended our sites – as identified by NHS Test and Trace.

The health protection team will carry out a rapid risk assessment to confirm who has been in close contact with the person during the period that they were infectious, and ensure they are asked to self-isolate.

The health protection team will work with us in this situation to guide us through the actions we need to take. Based on the advice from the health protection team, we must send home those people who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive, advising them to self-isolate for 14 days since they were last in close contact with that person when they were infectious. Close contact means:

  • direct close contacts - face to face contact with an infected individual for any length of time, within 1 metre, including being coughed on, a face to face conversation, or unprotected physical contact (skin to skin)
  • proximity contacts - extended close contact (within 1 to 2 metres for more than 15 minutes) with an infected individual
  • travelling in a small vehicle, like a car, with an infected person

The health protection team will provide definitive advice on who must be sent home.

Household members of those contacts who are sent home do not need to self-isolate themselves unless the learner or staff member who is self-isolating subsequently develops symptoms.

 

If someone in a group that has been asked to self-isolate develops symptoms themselves within their 14-day isolation period they should follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. They should get a test, and:

 

  • if the test delivers a negative result, they must remain in isolation for the remainder of the 14-day isolation period - this is because they could still develop the coronavirus (COVID-19) within the remaining days
  • if the test result is positive, they should inform their setting immediately, and must isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of their symptoms (which could mean the self-isolation ends before or after the original 14-day isolation period), their household should self-isolate for at least 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms, following guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

We will not request evidence of negative test results or other medical evidence before admitting learners or welcoming them back after a period of self-isolation.

Containing any Outbreak by Following Local Health Protection Team Advice

If we have 2 or more confirmed cases within 14 days, or an overall rise in sickness absence where coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected, we may have an outbreak, and will continue to work with our local health protection team who will be able to advise us if additional action is required.

In some cases, health protection teams may recommend that a larger number of other learners self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole site or a specific group.

Due to the measures we are taking, whole-site closure based on cases within our sites will not generally be necessary, unless advised by our health protection team.

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.

Safeguarding/Lanyards

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 the Digital Engagement Team to provide a temporary wristband. 

Anyone attending college who has lost their lanyard must report to Digital Engagement Team and a replacement will be issued.

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.