Coronavirus Update – September 2021
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We understand that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to be a challenging time for our student community. 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. Where can I find the latest 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.
- 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. What action is the college taking, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission?
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
As COVID-19 becomes a virus that we learn to live with; all education settings are being asked to move away from stringent restrictions on students’ day-to-day lives, towards advising people on how to protect themselves and others, alongside targeted interventions to reduce risk.
The 5 key actions that all members of the college community should take are as follows:
And there are 5 further measures detailed in the college risk assessment:
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?
The government has removed the requirement to wear face coverings in law but expects and recommends that they are worn in enclosed and crowded spaces where you may come into contact with people you don’t normally meet. This includes in corridors, when moving around communal areas and on transport to college. This will help to protect all members of the college community.
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.
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).
- 5. How can I access regular Lateral Flow 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. 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
If you test positive or get coronavirus symptoms, you must:
- self-isolate immediately
- notify the college of your result and absence
- get a PCR test to confirm the result
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.
- 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 where to get rapid lateral flow tests.
- 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 where to get rapid lateral flow 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
- The on-campus test site
- For those who are not able to test at home; a small testing facility is available on the college campus.
- Book an appointment at the on-campus test site
This guidance provides full information on who can be tested and how you can get a test.
- 6. How can I get a COVID vaccination?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective. They give you the best protection against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone aged 16 or over. We strongly encourage everyone aged 16 or over to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Please see the latest information about getting a vaccination here.
- 7. 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 COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test, even if your symptoms are mild.
If you develop any of these symptoms in college, please immediately speak to any member of staff. They will provide you with a face covering and will direct 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. You should avoid using public transport and get collected by a member of your family or household.
In addition, if you are a close contact of a positive case, you will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible.
- 8. Will I need to self-isolate and miss college?
If you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, NHS Test and Trace will be in touch. Colleges and schools no longer undertake contact tracing.
You are not required to self-isolate if you live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and any of the following apply:
- you’re below the age of 18 years 6 months
- you’re fully vaccinated
- you’ve taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
- you’re not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
NHS Test and Trace will contact you to let you know that you have been identified as a contact and check whether you are legally required to self-isolate. If you’re not legally required to self-isolate, you will be provided with advice on testing and given guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19. Even if you do not have symptoms, you will be advised to have a PCR test as soon as possible. If you are not required to self-isolate, then you should attend college as usual.
If you develop symptoms, you should follow the usual guidance (above).
- 9. What are the arrangements for remote learning at Runshaw College?
For students unable to attend the college campus for COVID-19 related reasons (e.g. self-isolation), we will provide outstanding online learning to minimise any disruption. This will largely be delivered via MS Teams.
Students 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.
- 10. What will happen if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 cases at Runshaw College?
The college management monitor the number of COVID-19 cases in the college community on a daily basis. The college has a Coronavirus Outbreak Plan that will come into effect should the triggers be reached.
The measures that may potentially be introduced include but are not limited to:
– Increased testing
– Face coverings
– Shielding for individuals on the shielded patient list (SPL)
– Limiting of residential educational visits, open days, taster days, live performances, etc.
– Attendance restrictions and remote learning (as a last resort)
In the first instance, if there have been more than usual numbers of COVID-19 cases within your class group, you will receive an email notifying you of this. There is no cause for alarm, but you will be advised to take a lateral flow test as an early intervention (as part of your regular testing routine). Taking this early step will help to ensure that any subsequent cases are identified swiftly and kept out of college.
The contingency framework describes the principles of managing local outbreaks of COVID-19 in education and childcare settings. Local authorities, directors of public health (DsPH) and PHE health protection teams (HPTs) can recommend measures described in the contingency framework to be implemented in colleges as part of their outbreak management responsibilities.
- 11. 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.
- 12. Do I need a laptop and is there technical support from college?
Remote learning may possibly be required due to self-isolation or local outbreaks. We therefore 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.
- 13. 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 – click here.