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You will be aware that on Monday 22nd February, the Prime Minister set out his Roadmap for leaving lockdown which included the plans to re-open schools and colleges from 8th March. The latest guidance states:
All schools and colleges will return to face-to-face education on Monday 8 March.
All secondary school and college students will take coronavirus (COVID-19) tests as they return to the classroom from Monday 8 March. Schools and colleges will have discretion on how to phase the return of their students over the week beginning 8 March to allow them to be tested on return.
After an initial programme of 3 tests in school or college, students will be provided with two rapid tests to use each week at home. Secondary school and college staff will also continue to be provided with two tests to use each week at home.
Staff and students in secondary schools and colleges are advised to wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained as a temporary extra measure.
What does this mean for us from 8th March 2021?
We will invite 14-19 year old students back from the week beginning Monday 8th March in line with government guidance. Students will be contacted by their teacher or Student Learning Advisor (SLA) and asked to return to site on a specific day, at a specific time. Each curriculum area has determined what order to bring students back on-site based on the needs of their students.
All 14-19 year old students will be offered 3 Rapid Lateral Flow tests on-site, 3 to 5 days apart (minimum of 3 days). Having successfully completed 3 consecutive tests, students will then be issued with Home Testing kits and will be asked to continue testing (at home) twice a week before coming into College. On completion of each test, students will need to log their result via an online form on the College website and via the NHS Test and Trace system (instructions will be provided). In the event that a test result is positive, the student will need to self-isolate, book a confirmatory Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test and inform their Student Learning Advisor (SLA) as soon as possible.
All vulnerable students, including looked after children, care leavers, students on Educational Health Care Plans (EHCP) and those having been identified as requiring on-site support will return to site during the week beginning the 8th March.
Adult students are asked to continue with remote learning for the time being as are HE students with the exception of HE sessions that require very specific practical teaching and access to specialist facilities.
We understand that this is a challenging time for our students but in accordance with government guidance staff and students* in secondary schools and colleges are advised to wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained as a temporary extra measure. It’s really important that we work together to keep each other safe so we ask for your full co-operation with this request. Please remember it remains as important as ever to follow safety and hygiene protocols such as social distancing, regular hand washing, using hand sanitizers and wearing a face covering*.
*Medical exemptions may apply
Students must not attend college if they are unwell, displaying any Covid-19 symptoms, or have been told to self-isolate. This includes anyone who has taken a Covid-19 test and is awaiting results.
We appreciate that there is a lot of information here. If you have any questions please contact your teachers, SLA’s or the managers of the area and they will do their best to help you. Over the past few weeks and months, we have heard a fairly consistent message from our students and that is, that they want to be back on-site learning in the classroom with their teachers and that’s what we are aiming to do.
We are keeping our plans under constant review and we will continue to update you as the position changes. One thing that will never change is our absolute commitment to providing all of our students with an excellent learning experience, so that they are supported to succeed and realise their goals.
Our website will continue to be updated with the latest information and all students are advised to check this regularly for the latest updates.
We look forward to welcoming our students back from 8th March.
Principal – West Thames College
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* Based on overall performance for students aged 16-18 across all levels in 2018-19
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