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COVID-19 NEWS ALERT: JANUARY EXAMS AND ASSESSMENTS CANCELLED. FIND OUT MORE

Latest COVID-19 Updates

Latest COVID-19 Updates

Remote learning and working for staff and students

On Monday 4 January 2021, the Government announced a full national lockdown in England which means that from Tuesday 5 January we will begin a period of remote learning and working up to the February half term. We will then review the situation based on the latest guidance available from the Government at that time.

Over previous months, we have been operating a blended learning model with some remote learning and some on site learning, so we are confident that we have plans and processes in place to continue to fully support both the delivery of our courses and the pastoral support for students during this next period of national lockdown

We know these are anxious, uncertain times but we will get through this as we have done before. We will continue to support your learning so that you can finish your course and be ready for the next stage of your studies or to start work.

If you want to get in touch with us directly, please contact your tutor, call us on 01462 424242 or email us at enquiries@nhc.ac.uk

If you need to access our student support services, please get in touch with us on support@nhc.ac.uk

Government guidance on the rules under the lockdown is available here.

January exams cancelled 

We have decided to postpone the January examinations and assessments due to take place at North Hertfordshire College.

This decision has been taken with your best interests at heart and whilst we know this may be disappointing news, given the surge in local infection rates, national lockdown restrictions and the instruction to stay at home as much as possible, we feel this is the right decision to protect the health and safety of our students, staff and that of our wider community.

We await further guidance from the DfE and awarding bodies in due course and will communicate further information as soon as we have it.

NHS Test and Trace: COVID-19 testing for staff and students 

Given the announcement of the new lockdown, we will not be rolling out testing for staff and students during w/c 4 and 11 January 2021 as we had planned. Further information on plans for testing will be communicated in due course.

Arrangements for vulnerable children, those with particular needs and children of key workers

Our general approach, in line with the Government’s advice, is that if it is at all possible for our students to be at home, then they should be to minimise social contact.

We are in contact with students on Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) and those who are vulnerable to discuss how we can best support them through this period. The Government has defined vulnerable students as including the following:

  • Supported by social care
  • Have safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans and those on child protection plans
  • ‘Looked after’ children
  • Young carers
  • Disabled children
  • Those on EHCPs

If you are not contacted by us over the next couple of days, but think you fall into one of the above categories, please contact our Student Services team on 01462 424242 or support@nhc.ac.uk

In terms of the children of key workers, we are following the same approach as other colleges. Our view is that those 16 years old or over can be taught remotely, at home using the remote learning access to activities that have been put in place, and are in a different position to younger children at primary and secondary schools. However, if your son or daughter falls into this category and you have concerns, in the first instance please contact 07976 601534.

Self-isolation

Self-isolating is one of the most important things we can all do to help stop the spread of the virus and protect our loved ones and the vulnerable.

The self-isolation period for cases (individuals who have COVID-19 but also those identified as close contacts) is 10 days. Self-isolation periods will begin on the day after exposure, a test or the start of symptoms.

You can read a helpful self-isolating guide at: www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/selfisolatingguide  This guide also provides information on how to get support and how to access the COVID-19 self-isolation payment if you are eligible. To note the guide was drawn up before the changes to the self-isolation period from 14 days to 10 days.

Coming onto campus

You will not be allowed onto campus if you:

  • you have symptoms of COVID-19
  • you, or any members of your household, or any close contacts (including extended family or friends they have seen and bubbles at holiday activities and sports clubs) have tested positive for COVID-19
  • you haven’t completed a full 10 day isolation period, if requested

If you are visiting our campuses, you will be required to wear a face mask at all times. Please read this visitor guide before you visit NHC Visitor Guide Sept 2020

Handwashing and hygiene 

We have deep cleaned all our facilities and continue to do this on an ongoing basis. Hand sanitiser stations are at entry and exit points, reception, canteens, toilets and outside lifts.

All students should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds upon arrival and at the end of the day before travelling home.

Hands should be washed regularly throughout the day, or hand sanitiser used, in particular when entering or leaving a classroom, workshop or building.

Good respiratory hygiene is also essential. Please cover your mouth with a tissue when sneezing and dispose of tissues used immediately into a waste bin. Always wash or sanitise your hands straight away.

Students and staff will be asked to wipe down their desk and chair, computers, keyboards and mouse after use and any shared tools (where in use) will need to be sprayed or wiped after each use.

Social distancing 

Everyone on our campuses is expected to keep a distance of at least 1m at all times.

We are limiting the number of people on our sites at any one time. We are staggering start and finish times as well as breaks and lunches to reduce the flow of people around the site and ensuring social distancing in communal areas.

Much of the furniture in communal spaces have been removed to enable social distancing.

Perspex screens have been installed at all reception and canteen points. Lifts are operational but are on a 1 person per lift basis. The only exception is where a student requires a support staff member with them.

We have not implemented one-way systems on the campuses as it would introduce safeguarding risks. However, we have marked out corridors and staircases with direction marking to help manage the flow of people around the campuses, and we are asking everyone to keep left when moving around the campus.

During September the Director of Public Health for Hertfordshire County Council sent out two letters about the latest Government guidance on social gatherings to all schools and colleges, for the attention of parents and guardians.

Letter to parents from Director Public Health 7 Sept  

Letter to parents from Director Public Health 23 Sept

Face masks/coverings 

Students are not required to wear a face mask or covering when they are in their classroom bubbles but they are required to wear one when outside their classroom. This includes all communal areas, toilets and corridors. This is because there is a risk of close contact with people you do not usually meet and maintaining social distancing may be more challenging.

When you wear a face mask or covering, it is important to use face coverings properly (covering your mouth and nose) and wash your hands before putting them on and after taking them off.

Code of Conduct

We know that the vast majority of our students and apprentices have exemplary standards of behaviour.

However, we will be putting in place a modified code of conduct for the coming weeks where we will ask all students, apprentices and staff to adhere to strict protocols and expectations around conduct. To deal with any issues we will put in place sanctions.

Further information

Take a look at our online video to see what measures we have put in place, click here.

We are closely monitoring the situation as it continues to evolve. Further updates will be posted on our website and via social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) so please do use these forums to keep up to date.

If you want to get in touch with us directly, please call us on 01462 424242 or email us at enquiries@nhc.ac.uk

If you have questions about your remote learning or technical difficulties, please contact your tutor or call 01462 424242.

If you need additional pastoral support, advice or guidance, please email our Student Services team on support@nhc.ac.uk or call 01462 424242 (select option 2).

For more information

Updated: 04/01/2020