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Welcome to NHC! How we are adapting to the new norm

Welcome to NHC! How we are adapting to the new norm

Latest updates 

As confirmed by the Government, all colleges including NHC will stay open during the national lockdown from Thursday 5th December to Wednesday 2 December.

We will be continuing our blended learning model which includes face-to-face interaction on campus as well as a balanced amount of online learning and support.

GCSE resits will be going ahead as planned this month

We understand that some of our students and staff may feel heightened anxiety during the lockdown. Please contact our Student Services team if you do need support and advice on wellbeing.

Positive Covid-19 cases

We have had a very small number of positive Covid-19 cases at our Stevenage and Hitchin campuses since the start of the Autumn term. They have all been isolated cases and the measures in place to reduce transmission  have been hugely important in enabling us to operate as normal.

Teaching arrangements 

All students are being taught in our classrooms as well as online and we will keep these arrangements under review as the year progresses.

We have followed Government guidance on the re-opening of educational institutions and are using  ‘student bubbles’ wherever possible to enable the separation of different groups. The size of these bubbles is in line with the guidance and operate on a curriculum area basis.

Classrooms are organised into rows and have reduced capacity, with seats at least 1 metre apart from each other. Students are asked to remain in their allocated seat for the session and wherever possible sit in the same seat each time they attend. At the front of classrooms, a clear ‘teacher area’ has been identified with a box marked out on the floor. Teachers remain in this box wherever possible to allow for social distancing.

To support the separation of groups, we have introduced staggered timetables to enable us to better manage the flow of students in the building at start times and break times.

Doors and windows are open wherever possible.

Other measures are dependent on the site. At the ECC, students and staff remain in their respective units for the duration of their time on the site.

At Hitchin, curriculum areas are allocated specific floors or parts of buildings.

At Stevenage, we have created a zone specifically for Supported Studies students.

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

Food and refreshments

Lunch and break times are staggered according to start times.

Each bubble are allocated a 30 minute period where they will be able to access the refectories to buy food or drink.

Students eat their lunch in their teaching space to avoid congregating in the communal spaces.

Students may also choose to move outside for their break times.

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.

Coming onto campus

You will not be allowed onto campus if you:

  • Have had symptoms of Coronavirus or received a positive test in the last 14 days.
    • If you have symptoms, however mild, you should self-isolate for at least 10 days from when the symptoms started.
    • If you have not experienced symptoms but tested positive, you should self-isolate for at least 10 days starting from the day the test was taken.
    • After 10 days, if you still have a temperature, you should continue to self-isolate and seek medical advice. You do not need to self-isolate after 10 days if you only have a cough or loss of sense of smell or taste.
    • If you have received a negative test, while in the 10 day self-isolation period, you can then return to campus, providing you are well enough to do so.
  • Have had any contact with someone who has symptoms in the last 14 days unless they have subsequently tested negative.
  • Are in self-isolation or have been asked to self-isolate by the Government’s track and trace team.
  • Have travelled abroad from a country where the Government has imposed quarantine measures on your return to the UK

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

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: 02/11/2020