Letter to Parents / Guardians - 28th August 2020

Letter to Parents / Guardians - 28th August 2020

28th August 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian

I am writing to you about our plans for the opening of Suffolk New College’s campuses this academic year and to confirm that all sites will be open to all students from Thursday 3rd September 2020. We are very much looking forward to the start of term and welcoming our students to College.

We have applied the Government’s guidance for Colleges, and the feedback we received following our June opening, and will be taking a cautious approach. We recognise that there is a low incidence of the disease in our area but the situation is still fragile. We will not hesitate to reduce the amount of face-to-face delivery and move to virtual learning if this situation changes.

Students on a full-time study programme will receive around 75% face-to-face delivery and 25% virtual learning when they return. Personal Development and Progress Tutor one-to-ones will be face-to-face. This equates to two full days. If a student requires a Maths and/or English re-sit then they will also come in for a third day, and this will be face-to-face delivery. Students who are not taking Maths and English will not be expected to attend on the third day.

Day 4 will be for independent learning. Some students may choose to come in for this to access the spaces within the College, which are available for digital learning. This is particularly available for students who do not have access to IT, Wi-Fi or a suitable place to study. Staff will be on-hand to offer support in these spaces.

Day 5 is dedicated to employability as either an industry placement, work experience, work-related learning or part-time employment, all of which will take place off-site.

Students will receive their five-day approach across the whole week, rather than all receiving the same activities on the same day. Your young person will receive their personalised timetable, which will confirm their pattern.

Part-time students will receive a specific timetable indicating when they are expected on site.

Although children and young people are much less likely than adults to show symptoms or become ill with the disease, they may be asymptomatic and just as likely to pass it on to others. The College would like students to avoid being in large groups or having physical contact with each other. A copy of the Student Code of Conduct can be found here for your information. This has been included in the induction information sent to each student. Your help with reminding them of this would be appreciated.

The latest information and copies of our Risk Assessments can be found on our coronavirus information page.

Students will spend most of their time on site in classrooms or workshops. Food and drink will be consumed in classrooms, rather than dining areas or the Atrium in Ipswich. Classrooms will be checked during breaks and lunchtimes. Timetables have been specifically designed to avoid everyone being on site at the same start and end times. It has not been possible for our bubbles to be the same as those in schools, but we are doing everything we can to minimise contact between different groups of students.

Adults are at greater risk of serious illness if they catch the virus. For this reason, we are advising staff to remain socially distanced from students as far as possible. Where this is not possible, we are supplying our staff with visors/masks. Your young person will also see staff wearing face coverings in College at certain times. However masks will not be worn by teachers when they delivering teaching at the front of the class, unless social distancing cannot be maintained. Our students all fall into the age category where face coverings are needed for shops and transport. Please will you remind them to bring a face covering to College as wearing them is mandatory in communal spaces. There may also be times where social distancing is not possible when they will need to wear them. In circumstances where they forget their face covering, we are able to supply a disposable one.

We have set up cleaning stations in classrooms and workshops. We are encouraging students to bring in their own stationery and equipment (where this is possible) rather than to share items. The College has measures in place for specialist equipment or large equipment that has to be shared. Hand sanitisers, signage and measures regarding moving around our sites are all in place. Students will be supported to ensure that they know how to respond and some examples of what is in place is available on our website.

As we have done throughout this crisis, we are constantly listening to the latest guidance and will issue updates as necessary.

If your young person has any symptoms of the virus or is generally unwell, they must not attend College until you have received a negative test result. Tests are freely available and should be used if you are in any doubt. We will ask you to collect your young person if they show any signs of illness in College - they will be safer at home where they are not potentially exposed to the virus. If we have a confirmed case of the virus, we will implement the track and trace procedures and take action relevant to anyone who has had contact with the specific student. You will be informed and appropriate steps will be taken if this happens.

Please be assured that there are risk assessments in place for cleaning, hygiene reminders, signage and use of shared spaces such as toilets. We are also putting in place personal risk assessments for any students who need them.

We are expecting all students to return to College and hope that you will be reassured that the College environments are being kept as safe as possible. If there is anything specific in relation to your young person that we need to be aware of, please contact their Progress Tutor.

We wish your young person the very best start with their studies at College.

Yours faithfully

The Executive Team