FAQs re COVID – Start of Term 2021

These FAQs will be updated as and when guidance changes or if additional points of detail are required.

Background

We are now in Step 4 of the Government roadmap resulting in the majority of legal restrictions being lifted. The new academic year will hopefully seem far more normal than the past 18 months. However, it is clear that continued caution is still highly advisable and mitigations are required in order to continue to prioritise the health and safety of all members of our College community. It is hoped that these FAQs address all the key points about the mitigations the College has in place. Please report any COVID cases to attendance@godalming.ac.uk (students) or to HR@godalming.ac.uk (staff)

The DfE guidance can be accessed here:

Schools COVID-19 operational guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Further education COVID-19 operational guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk

Managing coronavirus (COVID-19) in education and childcare settings - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Timetable

When does my timetable start?

For Lower 6th (1st Year/Access Students): Friday 10th September
For Upper 6th (2nd Year Students): Monday 13th September 

What are the timetable arrangements?

The College will be operating its normal pre COVID timetable. Lessons start at 8.45am and the College day finishes at 4.15pm. There will be the usual morning break of 30 minutes and a lunchtime of an hour, which allows us to provide workshops, enrichment and social time. All students should attend all lessons onsite, unless they have tested positive for COVID or have symptoms. 

What is happening regarding Enrichment?

Enrichment can go ahead as planned and as per your timetable – students and staff will be following the latest guidance about what is allowed in relation to sport, music and drama.

What is happening to exams in 2022?

Currently the Department for Education has stated its intention that exams will go ahead in 2022 and we will ensure you are fully prepared for them. However, the Department for Education has just completed a consultation on possible adjustments to assessments/grading in respect of the disruption to education nationally over the past 18 months. The outcomes of the consultation will 
be published shortly and we will make sure we keep everyone updated on the plans. 

Attendance and Support:

How is attendance and engagement being monitored?

You are expected to attend all lessons in person as per your timetable. All lessons will be registered and we will follow up unauthorised/unreported absences as usual.

Do students with underlying health conditions need to attend College?

Yes. As stated in the guidance, there is no longer any requirement for anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable to shield. This includes students who are in households with people who are clinically extremely vulnerable. For further guidance click on this link

I am very anxious about being onsite and/or feel I have been adversely affected by the lockdowns/COVID?

This is completely understandable, please contact your Personal Tutor or the Health and Wellbeing Co-ordinator who are on hand to support and guide you. Staff should raise their concerns with their line manager or the HR department.

College Facilities:

Will there be catering facilities?

Yes, all of our catering outlets will be open on campus as usual.

Will the ILC be open?

Yes, it will be fully open. However, we encourage students to wear face coverings when moving around the ILC. Screens will remain in place between computer desks.

Will the gym be open?

Yes, the gym will be open for individual use as well as for teaching purposes.

Transport:

I need to travel by public transport what should I do?

Please be aware that face coverings are still required by many transport providers/companies.

I am going to use one of the College buses – what should I do?

There are no longer any requirements to wear face coverings on the College buses but we still encourage you to wear one.

Do you promote walking or cycling to College?

Walking or cycling are both very good for the environment and student/staff health. We have cycle racks for students/staff to store their bikes and for staff we operate the cycle to work scheme too.

COVID Symptoms:

What happens if a student or member of staff tests positive for COVID?

Anyone testing positive must isolate for 10 days from the onset of the symptoms (or test if asymptomatic).

If you have any COVID symptoms you must not attend College until you have received a negative PCR test.

What happens if I come into close contact with a positive case?

Individuals are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household or are a close contact if they are fully vaccinated and/or below the age of 18 years and 6 months. Instead they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and advised to take a PCR test. All individuals who are advised to get a PCR test are encouraged to do so.

If you are over 18 years and 6 months and have not yet been double vaccinated you should isolate for 10 days from the point of contact.

If I have to self-isolate and cannot come into College, how will I be taught?

You will be able to listen into your lessons via Microsoft Teams and/or you’ll be set work to complete. If you are well enough to do so, please make sure you keep up to date with your classwork and homework until you can return to College.

Contact Tracing

Contact Tracing is now being conducted by NHS Test and Trace and not by individual schools and colleges. Contacts at Godalming College will only be traced where the individual identifies them as a close contact.

Health and Safety:

How is the College keeping students and staff safe?

Sanitation

All staff and students are asked to continue to maintain good hygiene practices, such as washing hands regularly, and take personal responsibility for keeping themselves safe as well as play their part in helping to keep our community safe.

Hand sanitisers and wipes will continue to be available in all classrooms and at various locations around the College campus, including the main entrance to every building and we ask that you use these every time you enter a building or a classroom.

Students and staff are also encouraged to bring their own hand sanitiser.

Ventilation

It continues to be important that spaces are well ventilated – doors and windows should remain open wherever possible. Individuals are responsible for ensuring this happens by opening (or leaving open) windows and doors.

Social Distancing

There is no longer any requirement to social distance onsite. Individuals can choose to maintain at least a two metre distance if possible. However, please note it is not possible for students to socially distance in the classrooms. Staff can choose to remain socially distanced from others, including within the classroom and can continue to attend whole staff meetings/staff briefings online rather than in person, if they so wish. We want all members of the College community to do what they feel comfortable with.

Do I have to wear a face covering?

As per the guidance, face coverings are no longer required to be worn anywhere on campus but all students, staff and visitors can choose to wear a face covering if they so wish. When moving around in crowded indoor spaces we encourage all members of the college community to wear a face covering.

Mass Testing

All students are being offered two onsite Lateral Flow Tests at the start of term. The testing will be taking place in the Main Hall – students have been sent individual appointment times.

1st Years (Lower Sixth/Access Students):

Test 1: During enrolment (31st – 3rd September). Test 2: 6th or 7th September.

2nd Years (Upper Sixth Students):

Test 1: 9th or 10th September. Test 2: 13th or 14th September.

The advice is not to take a test if you have tested positive within the last 90 days.

Home Testing

All students and staff should continue to test themselves using the Lateral Flow Home Test Kits and report the results to the NHS. Students will be issued with home test kits following their second test onsite.

National Vaccination Programme

Eligibility for a COVID vaccination has now been extended to 16 year olds +. Of course the vaccination is voluntary and completely down to individual choice, but it does provide protection for the individual and helps to reduce the spread of the virus. This in turn will help to ensure a greater continuity of education and normal life going forward.

Where can I find a copy of the College Risk Assessment?

The College has a College COVID Health and Safety Risk Assessment, which can be found below. This can also be found on Godalming Online, the Student Hub on Teams, the Parents’ Portal, as well as in the Staff Virtual Staff Room (general channel in the files section).

How does the College communicate about COVID related matters?

Regular reminders/updates will be shared with students via the Tutorial Bulletin/Student Hub and with parents/carers via the Parents’ Bulletin and with staff at staff briefings/staff meetings. This FAQs document, our College COVID Risk Assessment, and College website, will be updated as guidance/requirements change.


Update: September 2021

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