Educational settings will reopen from Monday 8 March.
As you may have seen, the government has today announced that educational settings will reopen from Monday 8 March. This will enable us to return to site on a managed basis and to resume the blended learning model that was in place during the autumn term, with a combination of on-site face-to-face learning and remote lessons. For now though, you should continue to attend your online lessons and follow your existing timetable over the next two weeks.
At the time of writing we are working through the guidance the government has provided and formulating a plan for returning to campus in line with the advice that has been provided to us. Once we have finalised our plans for a managed return for students from Monday 8 March we will communicate them to you.
I appreciate that some of you may have concerns about returning to campus so I’d like to reassure you that the health, safety and wellbeing of our students and colleagues will remain our number one priority.
As you know, we took a risk-based, cautious approach last term with some of our control measures going beyond Government guidance to reflect our unique circumstances as a large, multi-site, multi-disciplinary college. As a result of high compliance with these measures the number of positive cases in our College was manageable, and in the weeks before Christmas were low. During the first term we were able to quickly isolate individuals where needed and minimise the number of people required to self-isolate. We are confident that these measures were effective at preventing the spread of the virus on campus. Now is not the time to relax this approach, and we understand from the initial guidance just received, that the Government is now strengthening its recommended control measures. We will review their recommendations and either retain or enhance our own measures, whichever provides the greater assurance and reassurance for you, our students, and our colleagues.
You may also be aware that, as part of the reopening, the government has committed to providing Covid-19 tests. These are aimed at finding asymptomatic cases (i.e. people who have the virus but have no symptoms) and helping further reduce the spread of the virus.
The College has been working hard since this was originally announced during the Christmas break to ensure that we have the facilities in place to provide this to you. We will communicate further details to you, once we have reviewed the Government guidance and finalised our plans for reopening.
I am aware that many of you will have questions about returning to campus. However, I’d ask please be patient as we work through the guidance provided to us for reopening. We can’t wait to see you back on campus and will be in touch as soon as possible to outline our plans for doing so safely.