Coronavirus Update: October 2020
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.
- 1. 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:
1. Protect the health, safety and wellbeing of all members of our college community
2. Provide outstanding teaching, learning, assessment and support for all learners
We have introduced 10 key controls, to ensure that our campus is COVID-secure:
STAYING SAFE – COVID-19 RISK ASSESSMENT
Protecting the health, safety and welfare of all member of our college community remains a key priority. Our COVID-19 risk assessment is regularly under review, taking account of updated Government guidance. COVID-19 RISK ASSESSMENT
- 2. 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 –
Please note that this guidance differs from the government guidance for schools.
- 3. When will the college be reviewing the COVID restrictions in place?
The current control measures are now in place until the end of December 2020. If government guidance changes significantly, then the college will respond accordingly.
Whatever happens, we will review our plans each half term. We will provide updates by the following dates:
Update by: For the term/half term beginning on: 14th December 2020 4th January 2021 8th February 2021 22nd February 2021 22nd March 2021 12th April 2021
We aim to return to fully on-campus learning for all students as soon as it is safe to do so.
- 4. 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.
- 5. Who can I talk to, if I am worried about returning to college?
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.
- 6. How will I make new friends, while social distancing?
- 7. When do I need to wear a face covering?
We strongly recommend that you wear a face covering in all areas of the college campus, indoors and outdoors, to help protect all members of the college community. We require you to wear a face covering in corridors and communal areas, because it will not always be possible to maintain a social distance from other students or staff. Although other control measures are in place in classrooms and workshops (social distancing and “bubbles”), we still recommend you wear a face covering to reduce the risk of transmission. This is in line with government guidance about face coverings for staff and children in Year 7 or above in England and the local alert levels for Lancashire and the surrounding areas.
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.
- 8. Why is my timetable “blended learning”, while other students are on campus full time?
At the moment, our key control measures are to:
a) Reduce close contact by maintaining distinct groups (“bubbles”), with all students in the bubble able to attend sessions together.
b) Reduce close contact via social distancing, with limited numbers in each classroom and a blend of on-campus and online learning.
Students enrolled to BTEC and other vocational courses are able to form “bubbles” because they are taught in consistent groups of no more than 25 students, who stay together for their whole timetable. These students are therefore able to access their whole timetable on campus. Social distancing measures are in place across the campus, to ensure that these students have close contact only with those in their “bubble”.
Students enrolled to A Level courses attend lessons with 3, 4 or 5 groups of students each day (depending on the number of A Levels they are studying). Consequently, these students cannot form “bubbles”, because their “bubble” would very quickly reach in excess of 1000 students. Therefore, these students attend small group lessons on campus and access other parts of their timetable online. The individual capacity of each classroom has been significantly reduced, in order to comply with social distancing measures.
Other schools and colleges are following the same government guidance, but their individual building layouts, student numbers and types of courses, may mean that timetables are quite different.
All students at Runshaw will retain a full-time timetable, supported by skilled and experienced staff.
- 9. 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.
- 10. Will I be able to use the college library and study zones?
Yes. Social distancing measures are in place in all social and study spaces, so that you can access these facilities safely. Further information is available here.
- 11. What will online learning be like?
For students on blended learning courses; your learning will be delivered as a mix of face-to-face on-campus learning and remote and online learning. This will include live sessions, as well as recorded material and additional resources provided on your digital learning platform.
Whole class teaching sessions will be online in a mix of live and recorded formats. This will allow you to access your learning in a flexible way that suits you, through our VLE (Moodle).
Smaller group and 1-to-1 sessions will be held both face-to-face on campus and online, and are designed to support discussion and collaborative learning, whatever the format. We will provide at least one face-to-face session with each of your teachers, every week.
Practical learning such as laboratory based, performance, technical skills, and studio based will take place on campus where needed, and we have put specific control measures in place to ensure that these sessions are delivered safely.
Your teachers, progress mentor and other staff are available to support you as always, both in person and online.
Your subject teachers will explain what the exact blend will be like in each specific subject area, and what you can expect each day of the week.
- 12. What equipment will I need to bring to college?
In addition to your usual college and personal equipment, please bring a supply of washable face coverings, and a small bottle of hand sanitiser. You will always need your college membership card around campus.
While there are numerous hand sanitiser stations around college, we recommend carrying an individual bottle for your personal use.
- 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 in 2020 and 2021, 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.
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. How can I access health and wellbeing support?
Our student support services, including counselling, are fully accessible online as well as on campus.
- 15. What happens if I develop COVID symptoms while at college?
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.
- 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. Will I be able to 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, and we have set up a number of additional seating areas (including some lovely marquees!) to provide space for everyone to eat safely. For good hygiene, we prefer payments by Runshaw Pay, and you can top up your card via the Student Portal. (My Runshaw).
- 18. 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 immediately contact Public Health England and follow their instructions. 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.
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.
- 19. What will happen if there is a local or national lockdown?
In the event of another lockdown, the whole college will continue all learning programmes online. Online learning at Runshaw College is outstanding, and you can be sure of all the support you need to complete your course successfully.
If this is the case, we will communicate via this page on the website, via student emails and via the communications portal, as well as our social media channels.
- 20. I am travelling on the college bus service. What are the requirements?
As with all public transport, you will need to wear a face covering for the duration of your journey on the college bus. Please see the question relating to face coverings for full details, including exemptions.
We have reduced the number of students on each of our college buses so that you can maintain a distance from other students. Please sit away from others where this is possible. Please also fill the bus from the rear to the front, to reduce close contact with others.
To avoid queues for buses at the end of the college day, you will remain in your classroom until your bus arrives. The bus arrival information will be displayed on the classroom whiteboard and can be viewed on your mobile phone at https://webservices.runshaw.ac.uk/bus/busdepartures.asp
When your bus arrives, you should make your way to the concourse and board it immediately.
- 21. I have paid for a bus pass but won’t need it when studying at home. What can I do?
- 22. I live in an area with additional local restrictions. Can I still travel to college?
Yes, but please check the government guidance as it is updated frequently. Full government guidance for the individual areas with local restrictions is available here. In most cases, the guidance states that people living inside and outside of these areas can continue to travel in and out for work and study purposes.
- 23. What will happen with the exams in the summer?
The Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed that GCSE and A Level exams will go ahead in the summer and that students will be given more time to prepare for them, to help make up for the disruption caused by the pandemic. Most exams will take place three weeks later than usual. The summer exam series will start on 7 June and end on 2 July for almost all A Levels and GCSEs. The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) will publish a provisional version of the new exam timetable for summer 2021. There will also be adjustments to the timetable for Vocational and Technical Qualifications.
Results days will be a little later than usual – on Tuesday 24 August for A Levels, and Friday 27 August for GCSEs.