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Chief Executive’s update: staying safe, going further

Updated: 19.06.20

Chief Executive’s update: staying safe, going further

Ensuring that our students get the skills and qualifications to go further in their careers is absolutely vital so that they are well positioned for the future. We are committed to making that happen in the safest way possible.

We understand this has been an unsettling time. We want to reassure you that student and staff safety continues to be our number one priority and is at the heart of everything we are doing.

Our staff have been working tirelessly, since the start of the lockdown, to continue teaching and learning remotely, and devising safety plans for the next phases.

Our Covid-19 incident management team, which comprises staff from all parts of the organisation including communications, curriculum, estates, exams, health and safety, human resources, IT and student support services, has been meeting online as it coordinates the College's re-opening plans.

Please continue to check our website emergency pop-up and our Q&A here for the latest updates.

Student safety on campus

Every step has been taken to ensure that those students who do need to return to campus, before the end of this academic year, will be able to do so safely and social distance during their time on campus.

Student timetables for the small number of learners who need to return this term have been planned to ensure that they are on campus for the necessary time only.

We have a range of safety measures that are being put in place for those students who are returning from next week, with a focus initially on those campuses that are re-opening before the end of this term.

Our campuses will have marked specific entry and exit points. One-way systems are being introduced, marked with signs.

Protective screens are being installed at the reception areas. Classrooms will be opened in advance of lessons to avoid unnecessary queuing or gathering.

Hand sanitiser dispensers are being put in receptions, classrooms and refectory areas. Communal areas and classrooms will be cleaned before each teaching session and regularly throughout the day.

Floors will be vacuumed or mopped. Surfaces will be cleaned and bins will be emptied more regularly than usual. In all active classrooms, specialist wipes will be available to clean IT equipment.

Lifts will be restricted to one person at a time. Priority will be given to those people with limited mobility. Students will be encouraged to use the stairs if they are fit and able to do so.

Refectories will be closed. Limited refreshments will be available using contactless payment vending machines. Toilets will be restricted to one person at a time.

We will continue to assess the situation and review our plans and safety steps according to the latest government guidance.

New Covid-19 Student Charter

We’ve introduced a Covid-19 Student Charter that clarifies our expectations of students so that we can work together and follow social distancing rules.

It includes guidance on staying two metres away from others at all times, regularly using hand sanitiser in college, staying in your allocated zone and classroom, leaving college immediately after classes, bringing food and drink in if possible, using the stairs rather than lifts and making sure tables and surfaces are left clear.

To watch our brief safety video, please click here.

Travelling to college safely

Where possible, we are encouraging students to walk, cycle or drive to our campuses. If this is not possible, and you must use public transport, please ensure that you follow the latest government guidelines. This includes wearing a face covering and maintaining a safe distance between you and other passengers.

Re-opening dates this term

All of the students we have identified as needing to return before the end of this term have been contacted. They have been sent a link to their timetables, a Covid-19 Student Charter, floor plans of the campuses and a fit to study declaration, which they must sign before returning to the College.

Please do not come back onto campus at any point unless you have received an email via your college account asking you to do so. To recap, only part of the College will be re-opening as below. As of next week, this will be as follows:

  • Olive Grove Campus will re-open to a very small number of students from Monday, June 22nd 2020.
  • City Campus will re-open to a very small number of students from Monday, June 29th 2020.

Enrolment for the next academic year 2020/21

The College has invested in a new system, which is currently in development, to enable us to enrol new students online. This will dramatically reduce the volumes of people needed on site and provide a better experience for applicants and new students.

The system should be ready for testing in mid-July and we will update you further about this when we have more information.

We will also, shortly, be launching a platform that we have developed internally that will allow progressing and returning students to enrol remotely. It is anticipated that this will be live by next week.

Teaching and learning for the next academic year 2020/21

We are continuing to monitor government guidance to ensure that we create a safe learning environment.

Attending College has many learning and social benefits, helping students to develop self-confidence as well as employability, academic and vocational skills. We also recognise that has to be balanced with wider public health guidance.

We are planning to offer students some face-to-face teaching as well as some virtual/remote learning. Based on current social distancing recommendations, from September 2020, we will need to consider introducing social bubbles, for example, small class groups of no more than 15 students per class.

We are also looking at plans to stagger student timetables so that we manage the number of learners on site at any point in the day and avoid large gatherings outside of classrooms, by the lift areas and in the refectories.

We anticipate that all of the health and safety measures currently in place this summer will stay in place, for example, one-way systems, hand sanitisation and cleaning.

Once we have more information on the next phase of our plans from September 2020, and any new updated government guidance that affects that, we will share that with you.

Apply now for September 2020

The College offers a wide range of courses from entry through to including university level qualifications. Places are still available for this September 2020. To find out more, please click here or call 0114 2602600.

We will do everything we can to support you and your future career ambitions. Although this is an uncertain time, you can be confident of our commitment to do everything we can to transform your life through learning.

Whatever the future holds, we are going above and beyond to keep you and our staff safe whilst helping you to progress with your ambitions and career journey. In the meantime, please stay safe and follow government guidelines.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

Angela Foulkes, Chief Executive and Principal, The Sheffield College

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