Following on from the discussions that have been taking place in tutorial recently, I wanted to update you about the college’s response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). I know that some of you are feeling anxious about the possible consequences of the virus both on physical health and on your education. It is really important that you access information only through reliable and credible sources. There is a lot of misinformation currently in circulation which is not helpful and is likely to fuel further uncertainty and anxiety.
We do know that the spread and impact of the virus is changing rapidly. The college will continue to monitor the situation and to follow closely any changes to the Government’s published plan.
We will also remain alert to healthcare information and advice from the World Health Organisation, Health and Safety Executive and Public Health England .This advice currently suggests that the risk to our community at Aquinas is minimal.
The position continues to be for education and children’s social care settings to remain open, and the college will adhere to this recommendation, unless advised otherwise.
We have robust processes and procedures and are ready to put additional measures in place as required. Daily updates from the Department of Education provide advice for schools and colleges and we will implement any recommendations as they arise.
Our hope and intention is that the college will remain open and that the impact on our students’ learning and overall educational experience will be minimised. However, in order to be proactively prepared for the eventuality of having to close, partially or wholly, we will do or best to ensure that all courses have made meaningful work available via Moodle/Google Classroom or other remotely accessed platform. Communication with students will primarily be through the college email system so please ensure that you check your account regularly.
Preventing spread of infection
There are general principles anyone can follow to help prevent the spread of the virus including:
- Washing your hands often – with soap and water, or use hand sanitiser if handwashing facilities are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport. We recommend that you wash your hands:
- Before leaving home
- On arrival at college
- After using the toilet
- After breaks and sporting activities
- Before eating any food, including snacks
- Before leaving college
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a bin. See Catch it, Bin it, Kill it
- Staying at home if you feel unwell
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoiding close contact with people who are unwell
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Calling NHS 111 if you are worried about your symptoms or those of a friend or relative. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment
There is also a Government helpline for any queries you may have.
Department for Education coronavirus helpline
The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)
Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls and apologise for any wait that you may experience. Your call will join a queue and we will answer as soon as possible.”
Please also note:
- Face masks are not recommended to protect from infection, as there is no evidence of benefit from their use outside healthcare environments.
- People who have returned from Category 1 specified countries/areas in the last 14 days should self-isolate. This includes avoiding attending college until 14 days after they return.
- People who have returned from Category 2 specified countries/areas in the last 14 days, are advised to stay at home if they develop symptoms.
- If you have been to an affected area/are advised to self-isolate/believe that you may have been exposed to the virus please inform the college.
- All other students should continue to attend college (unless advised not to by public health officials)