Coronavirus Update – June 2021
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- 1. What are the arrangements for the return to college campus in June 2021?
We have been working closely with Public Health England (PHE), Lancashire County Council (LCC) and the Department for Education (DfE) in relation to an outbreak of COVID-19 among the college community. The individual cases were swiftly and safely dealt with in accordance with our COVID-secure Risk Assessment. The college campuses were closed from Friday 7th May until Friday 14th May inclusive and then re-opened on a phased basis.
Please see this letter from the Director of Public Health.
Cases of COVID in the college community are now back down to average levels. None of the reported cases to date have resulted in severe disease and there is very little evidence of any linked cases in the college. The local Infection Prevention Control team visited the college and were very positive about our COVID-secure campus.
From Monday 7th June, students will attend all timetabled sessions on the college campus. The control measures detailed on this page will continue to apply.
We understand that this is a challenging time for our student community due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). This page provides you with answers to some of the most common questions. However, if you have a question not answered here, please do not hesitate to contact your Progress Mentor.
- 2. How can I stay up to date with communications from the college?
All Runshaw students will receive regular updates via their college email account. Please therefore check emails on a daily basis and follow all instructions from your teachers and progress mentor. If you have forgotten the password to your college account, you can reset it using the password management tool.
The parents/guardians/carers of Runshaw students will receive regular updates via the Communications Portal. If you do not already have an account, please sign up here.
- 3. How can I be sure that the college is COVID-secure?
We are committed to providing outstanding teaching, learning and assessment for all students, within an environment that protects the health, safety and wellbeing of our whole college community.
Our absolute priorities are to:
- Protect the health, safety and wellbeing of all members of our college community
- Provide outstanding teaching, learning, assessment and support for all learners
We have introduced 10 key controls, to ensure that our campus is COVID-secure:
You can also check out the full college risk assessment here: Covid 19 Risk Assessment
- 4. When do I need to wear a face covering?
You must wear a face covering in all indoor areas of the college campus, to help protect all members of the college community. We require you to wear a face covering in corridors and communal areas, as well as classrooms and workshops, because it will not always be possible to maintain a social distance from other students or staff. The wearing of face coverings is important to reduce the risk of transmission.
The latest government guidance in relation to face coverings states:
“From 17 May, in line with Step 3 of the roadmap, face coverings will no longer be recommended for pupils and students in classrooms or communal areas, in all schools and FE providers. …. In all schools and FE providers, we continue to recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and visitors in situations outside of classrooms where social distancing is not possible (for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas).”
“The reintroduction of face coverings for students or staff may be advised for a temporary period in response to particular localised outbreaks, including variants of concern.” The Director of Public Health for Lancashire has advised that face coverings continue to be required in education at this time.
Face coverings should cover both your mouth and nose. You must take care when putting on or removing your face covering. Clear guidance is available on how to wear a face covering. We recommend washable, fabric face coverings, rather than disposable ones, for environmental reasons. You are likely to need at least 3 clean face coverings during a college day, including your bus journeys, so please have these with you in small plastic bags, and then wash them each evening.
In accordance with our usual college dress code, we ask students not to wear face coverings which may cause offence to others (e.g. those that display offensive slogans or images).
Some people are exempt from the wearing of face coverings, and if this applies to you we ask you to wear a badge on your lanyard to indicate this, so that you are not requested to put one on. These badges are available from your Progress Mentor in the Programme Office.
- 5. As a student or staff member, how can I access regular testing for myself and others?
Around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus (COVID-19) do not have symptoms but can still pass it on to others. Regular testing of people without symptoms (asymptomatic testing) is important to help stop the virus spreading. As lockdown restrictions gradually ease, we all need to play our part to help protect each other.
We strongly encourage all students and staff to test themselves twice every week at home. Anyone in England who does not have symptoms can now get regular rapid lateral flow tests to check for coronavirus.
You are asked to:
- take a rapid lateral flow test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days)
- report every result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day you take the test; Report your test result online or by calling 119
- report every result on the college online system (in addition to NHS Test and Trace). This is available on the main staff/student portal page. Staff and students have received a link to this system via email
If you test positive or get coronavirus symptoms, you should notify college and:
- self-isolate immediately
- get a PCR test to confirm the result
- follow the stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection
You can access the twice-weekly testing as follows (in order of preference):
- Collect a home test kit from college
- These are available in every classroom and in the Student Entrance.
- The on-campus test site
- For convenience, a full testing facility is available on the college campus. It is located in the Hawkshead Sports Hall and all members of the college community should make use of it regularly.
- Your local rapid lateral flow test site
- You can take a rapid lateral flow test at a local site. Testing at these sites is assisted, which means you will swab yourself under the supervision of a trained operator. You may need to book an appointment.
- Find your nearest rapid lateral flow test site.
- Collect a home test kit from a pharmacy or test site
- You can get rapid tests to do at home. You can collect up to 2 packs of 7 tests from a local pharmacy or test site:
- find a pharmacy where you can collect rapid tests
- find a test site where you can collect rapid tests
- Order a home test kit online
- If none of the above options are available to you, you can order a home test kit online. You can get a pack of 7 tests sent to your home.
- Order rapid lateral flow home test kits on GOV.UK
This guidance provides full information on who can be tested and how you can get a test.
- 6. What should I do if I develop COVID symptoms?
The NHS currently defines coronavirus symptoms as:
- a high temperature,
- a new, continuous cough,
- a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste.
If you develop any of these symptoms in college, please immediately speak to any member of staff. They will provide you with personal protective equipment and will escort you to the isolation room (there is one on each campus). You will then need to go home, get a test and self-isolate following government guidance.
If you develop any of these symptoms while you are not in college, please stay at home, get a test and self-isolate following government guidance.
If you have symptoms, you and everyone you live with must immediately self-isolate. Do not leave home until you get your test results, except to post a test kit or for a PCR test appointment.
- 7. What will happen if a student or member of staff at the college develops COVID-19?
Any students or staff with symptoms must stay at home, get a test and self-isolate following government guidance. If a test confirms a case of COVID-19, then the college will follow Public Health England guidance.
Students who are self-isolating for any reason, but are feeling well, will continue their studies remotely. They will not be disadvantaged by following the instruction to self-isolate. Teachers and Progress Mentors will continue to support students through any period of self-isolation.
Any close contacts of the infected person will be identified. The definition of a close contact can be found here. Close contacts must self-isolate. In the case of students, they will be informed via text message and via a letter to their college email address. Parents/carers of the students will be sent a copy of the letter via the Communications Portal.
Any other people who may potentially have been in contact with the infected person will be identified. These people do not need to self-isolate, but they will receive a letter of guidance, asking them to be alert to any potential symptoms.
- 8. Where can I find the government guidance that the college is following?
The government guidance that applies to Further Education colleges can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision
Please note that this guidance differs from the government guidance for schools.
- 9. When will the college be reviewing the COVID restrictions in place?
The current control measures are now in place until the end of term in July 2021. If government guidance changes significantly, then the college will respond accordingly.
- 10. What will happen with the exams in the summer?
It is government policy that this year’s cohort of GCSE, A Level and many Vocational students should receive grades based on teachers’ judgements of their performance based on a range of evidence. The approach should give students confidence, maximise remaining teaching time and be flexible to accommodate changes to public health advice.
You will continue studying, following your normal timetable and completing the types of assessments that would normally form part of your course. Your teachers will then use a range of evidence to work out your grade. The college will let all students know exactly which evidence will be used to work out the grades for each course. You will be able to see the evidence on which your grade is to be determined, before grades are submitted to the exam boards.
For further details, please see the links below:
- 11. Where can I find my timetable and will it keep changing throughout the year?
Your timetable is available at all times via the Student Portal.
Once in place, your timetable will not change throughout the year. We have managed to develop student timetables that are flexible, so that you can be sure of the same timetable right through the academic year. Your timetable shows the lessons you will have each period, each day. The only thing that may change throughout the year is the location of these lessons, and whether they are on-campus or online.
- 12. Who can I talk to, if I am worried about my learning or my wellbeing?
Pastoral support at Runshaw College has been recognised by Ofsted as “in a different league”. All Runshaw students have a dedicated Progress Mentor who is available via a direct phone number and email address, for support at any time. If you have any concerns, about anything at all, please let them know and they will be happy to help.
In addition, our student support services, including counselling, are fully accessible online as well as on campus.
- 13. Do I need a laptop and is there technical support from college?
We recommend that all students have access to their own technology to access their study programme, including the right hardware (for example, a laptop), software and connectivity (for example, broadband).
If you find that obtaining the right technology is difficult because of financial reasons, the college might be able to support you. Please ask your progress mentor about our bursaries and laptop loans.
Our friendly and award-winning IT Services team are always happy to help with any technical support needs. Please access their support via the Student Portal.
- 14. If my timetable has been partially online, can I claim back my bus pass fee?
We are offering a bus pass rebate scheme for this purpose. Eligible students will be issued these funds to their nominated bank account or their RunshawPay account at the end of each half term.
You can provide your preferred bank account details on the Student Portal. Refunds will be automatically transferred to your RunshawPay account if we do not have your nominated bank details.
- 15. Can I still buy food and drink at college?
Yes. Our wide range of college restaurants are open, and we have adapted our service to take into account the current restrictions. Most food is now “grab and go” so that you can collect food quickly and limit contact with other people. Seating in the restaurant areas is spaced out to accommodate social distancing, with Perspex screens so that you can talk to friends safely, and we have set up a number of additional seating areas to provide space for everyone to eat safely.
For good hygiene, we prefer contactless payments using Runshaw Pay, and you can top up your card via the Student Portal.
- 16. How can I get involved with enrichment and Horizons activities at college or online?
The usual outstanding array of Horizons academies, societies and enrichment opportunities, continue to be available, both on-campus and online.
- 17. How can I be sure that Runshaw College is adapting appropriately, as a result of the pandemic?
Ofsted are not currently carrying out full inspections, but they did come to visit Runshaw College in October 2020, for an “interim visit”.
In this visit, the two Her Majesty’s Inspectors explored the following 3 themes:
- What actions are leaders taking to ensure that they provide an appropriate curriculum that responds to the reasonable needs of learners and stakeholders and adapts to changed circumstances?
- What steps are leaders, managers and staff taking to ensure that the approaches used for building knowledge and skills are appropriate to meet the reasonable needs of learners?
- How are leaders ensuring that learners are safe and well informed about potential risks, including from online sources?
They were extremely positive about everything they saw. Their full report has now been published – here.