COVID-19 updates from South Essex College

Latest updates

 Latest Please ensure you read our start of term arrangements

15 Dec 2021

Important Start of term arrangements

In line with DfE guidelines, students will not be required to return to college on Tuesday 4 January. The first day for students will be Wednesday 5 January (or as timetabled).

Higher Education students please note, if you have a scheduled virtual teaching lesson on 4 January this will still take place. More information for Higher Education students can be found on our COVID-19 updates from University Centre South Essex page

Tuesday 4 January will be utilised as a day for all students to take an at-home LFD test before they return to college. This will ensure our campuses remain as safe as possible for everyone.

Please remember to also continue to take two at-home LFD tests a week over the Christmas period. Remember to collect your LFD testing kits from your campus reception before the Christmas break.

Please report the results of your tests to the NHS and the college. More information at www.southessex.ac.uk/covid19-testing

If any of your test results are positive you should follow government self-isolation guidelines

You may also need to isolate if someone in your household or someone you have been in close contact with tests positive / displays symptoms depending on your circumstances. The link above will give details of whether you will need to isolate in this case.

If your 10-day isolation period runs into the start of term, you should follow the usual absence procedure on the morning of Wednesday 5 January: Report to the absence line if you are unwell and not able to attend college by calling 01702 220400.

Thank you for your continued support. We wish everyone a happy and safe Christmas.

29 Nov 2021

COVID-19 update

Throughout the pandemic we have continued to monitor government guidance and implemented measures to adhere to these. Ensuring our campuses are as safe as possible for everyone continues to be of utmost importance.

You are more than likely to have heard in the news that in light of the new COVID-19 variant, the government has reintroduced legislation which requires the wearing of a face covering in certain situations.

This legislation, which comes into force from tomorrow (Tuesday 30 November) applies to educational settings. In light of this, it will be mandatory for all students, staff and visitors (unless medically exempt) to wear a face covering at all times in college except when in classrooms. It will remain a personal choice to wear one in classrooms, and we support those who wish to do so.

We understand there are circumstances in which people may not be able to wear a face covering for medical reasons. If you are medically exempt you can, if you wish, wear a sunflower lanyard to identify yourself as being exempt. If you do not have one of these, you can speak to your tutor who can issue an exemption card for your lanyard. This process will help staff identify those who should be advised to wear a face covering if not doing so.

Please be aware that the wearing of face coverings will also be mandatory on public transport and in shops.

We have continued to work hard to keep our campuses safe, but we all have a part to play. Please be respectful of others and mindful of these changes.

Hand sanitisation stations will continue to be in place across our campuses and the requirement for students and staff to take twice-weekly at-home Lateral Flow Tests (LFDs) has not changed. Testing kits can be collected from campus receptions and results reported to the college via www.southessex.ac.uk/covid19-testing

By working together we can ensure the college remains as safe as possible for everyone. Thank you for your continued support.

03 Sep 2021

COVID-19 update: Autumn term

We know the past 18 months have been very different for everyone as we have lived, worked and studied through the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic.

From the very beginning of the pandemic, the college has closely monitored and followed government guidance, and we continue to do so. Government guidance has changed over the summer break, so we wanted to give you an update on the current COVID-19 procedures to avoid any confusion for when you come in to college at the start of term. Please do take the time to read through and familiarise yourself with this guidance.

Things may look and feel a bit different to what you were used to in school/college last year. The main updates from government are:

  • Class bubbles are no longer required.
  • Schools and colleges will no longer need to stagger start and finish times.
  • Social distancing will no longer be necessary, although we recommend observing social distancing where possible.
  • NHS Test and Trace will handle notification of Covid cases in education settings. Those who need to isolate/get tested will be contacted by the NHS directly.
  • Those under the age of 18 (or fully vaccinated adults over the age of 18) no longer have to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as having been in close contact with someone with coronavirus. They will instead be instructed to get a PCR test. They will only have to isolate if this test is positive.
  • Face coverings will no longer be compulsory, however, we recognise this will remain a personal choice and some students/staff may wish to continue to wear face coverings, something we fully support.
Information for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV)

Students who are CEV can continue to attend college. Unless you are one of the very small number of students who are under paediatric or other specialist care and advised by their clinician or other specialist not to attend. CEV people are advised, as a minimum, to follow the same guidance as everyone else. It is important that everyone adheres to this guidance, but CEV people may wish to think particularly carefully about the additional precautions they can continue to take.

Further information can be found in the guidance on protecting people who are CEV from COVID-19.

Testing

To ensure we keep our campuses as safe as possible for everyone at the start of term, we are asking everyone to take two at-home Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Tests, three days apart, in the week before you come into college for the start of term.

Tests can be ordered online or collected from local community testing centres.

If your tests come back negative, you can carry on as normal. If you return a positive result, you should follow government guidance.

Vaccinations

The government has announced 16 & 17-year olds are now being contacted to get their first COVID-19 vaccination. Some vaccination centres are offering walk in appointments.

At this time, 16 & 17-year-olds are unable to book a vaccination through the national booking service.

COVID-19 symptoms

If you develop a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or have a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), you must follow the guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

This sets out that you must:

Positive test results

Should you return a positive test at any time you should immediately follow government guidelines.

You must also let the college know by filling in the following online form. You must not come into college.

Home Test: POSITIVE RESULT ONLY (Online form)

You should also inform your tutor as a courtesy (firstname.lastname@southessex.ac.uk).

A member of staff will be in contact with you to discuss.

Online Learning

In line with government guidance, we have returned to on-site delivery of our programmes. Should a situation arise whereby staff members are required to isolate through Test & Trace, and sessions cannot be delivered in-person, students will be contacted to advise them of alternative arrangements. Any incidents will be assessed and guidance issued on an individual basis.

Outside behaviour

The college is following government guidance and has put measures in place to keep everyone safe in college, however we ALL have a duty to keep ourselves, and others, safe in our wider community.

Many public transport providers are still recommending the wearing of face coverings (unless you are exempt) on their services, especially during peak times. We ask you to observe their guidelines and act in a responsible manner.

It’s also important to remember that your lanyard identifies you as a student of the college. While wearing your lanyard you are representing the college in and around our community, so we expect everyone to behave and act responsibly at all times.

General guidance

While a lot of restrictions that have been imposed over the past 18 months have been lifted, the government has urged people to maintain a ‘common sense approach’.

Certain things such as the wearing of face coverings and maintaining social distance may no longer be a legal requirement, they may still be a personal choice for some people. Please respect others at this time. It’s also important to maintain a high standard of personal hygiene, such as regularly washing hands.

Please note, all information contained here is correct at the time of writing. We understand that the situation can often change at short notice. We will post any updates to our main COVID-19 page.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for you patience and understanding during this time. By working together we can make everyone’s experience at South Essex College as safe and enjoyable as possible.

16 Jul 2021

Changing COVID-19 guidelines

No doubt you will be aware the government is changing COVID-19 guidelines as it moves England into phase four of its response plan to the pandemic.

England will enter phase four on Monday 19 July, whereby almost all legal restrictions which have been in place for the past 18 months or so will be removed. Despite this, the prime minister has urged caution and reiterated a common sense approach should be maintained by everyone.

Throughout this pandemic the college has monitored the changing guidelines and put measures in place to adhere to these, and the moving into phase four is no different.

As we’re sure you can appreciate, change cannot happen overnight. It will take time for us to fully analyse both guidelines from government and DfE as well as adapt things such as risk assessments, signage and social distancing measures. Thank you in advance for your patience, understanding and for bearing with us during this time.

One advantage of these changes happening now is our campuses are much quieter than they normally would be as we enter the summer break. This means we can fully adapt in time for September when term begins and monitor guidelines for any further changes.

What is changing with regards to education?

From 19 July 2021:

  • Class bubbles will no longer be in place.
  • Schools and colleges will no longer need to stagger start and finish times.
  • Social distancing will no longer be necessary.
  • NHS Test and Trace will handle notification of Covid cases in education settings. Those who need to isolate/get tested will be contacted by the NHS directly.
  • Face coverings will no longer be compulsory, however, we recognise that some students/staff may wish to continue to do so.

From 16 August 2021:

  • Those under the age of 18 (or fully vaccinated adults over the age of 18) will no longer have to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as having been in close contact with someone with coronavirus. They will instead be instructed to get a PCR test. They will only have to isolate if this test is positive.

It is important to remember that although legal requirements are changing, everyone should continue to use judgement with regards to specific situations.

While face coverings may not be legally required, we appreciate that staff and students may wish to continue to wear these, and we fully support this.

In preparation for students returning to college in September, as per the guidelines, we will be requesting that all students undertake two at home LFD tests in the week before starting college. Staff should continue to take two at-home tests per week over the summer. Kits can either be collected from campus receptions during opening hours or from local community test centres.

We will continue to monitor the situation as well as government guidelines and keep you updated.

Once again, thank you for your support and understanding at this time.

If you have any queries, please contact CIT@southessex.ac.uk

26 Feb 2021

Return to college plans

Following the government’s announcement on Monday 22 February, please see below information regarding students returning to college from Monday 8 March:

Return to college

All entry and level 1 students will return fulltime as timetabled from Monday 8 March. All other FE students will be returning from 8 March and follow a blended learning timetable, a mixed delivery of virtual online and physical on-site sessions. Adult students and apprentices will also return to a blended timetable. Timetables have now been added to the system. Tutors will be informing students of the full arrangements for their specific course next week in their next virtual session.

Face coverings

In line with government guidance, we encourage everyone to wear a face covering in all areas of the college (including classrooms) unless you have a valid reason not to. Thank you.

We understand that there are some circumstances where individuals may not be able to wear a face covering. The following circumstances are accepted as reasons why someone cannot wear a face covering and is not an exhaustive list:

  • People who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability.
  • Where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress.
  • If you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate.
Testing

LFD COVID testing will be available for students and staff at the college from 1-5 March. Please visit www.southessex.ac.uk/covid19-testing for details of how to come and take your test.

Between 8 and 19 March, lecturers will book their students in for testing with the aim of completing three tests for each student during this time. For more information about the testing process and registration, please visit www.southessex.ac.uk/covid19-testing.

After these two weeks students will be able to use home testing kits provided by the college.

25 Feb 2021

COVID-19 update

Following the government’s announcement on 22 February the college is working towards resuming on-site learning for students from Monday 8 March.

We are currently finalising plans to ensure the return to college is as safe as possible for everyone and will share this information with you shortly.

We will be following current government COVID-19 guidelines which includes the rollout of COVID-19 testing at the college (you can find out more at www.southessex.ac.uk/covid19-testing) as well as making the wearing of face coverings compulsory in all areas of the college (including classrooms), unless you are exempt.

At this time, students should continue to attend online lessons. More information about timetables and return to on-site learning will be posted on our website as we continue to follow information and guidance from the government.

Thank you for your support and understanding at this time.

11 Feb 2021

COVID-19 testing

In line with the government’s mass testing programme, we will be offering all students and staff who do not have COVID-19 symptoms the opportunity to take a COVID-19 rapid test (Lateral Flow Device, or LFD).

Please view our COVID-19 testing page for full details.

18 Jan 2021

Remote Education Offer

Following the government’s national lockdown announcement, and students moving to an online learning provision the following statement sets out our Remote Education Offer.

Remote Education Offer

6 Jan 2021

Exams information

Student and staff safety is our number one priority. We fully appreciate the uncertainty this time has caused for students with the regular and last-minute changing government guidance around education.

We are now satisfied that no student will be disadvantaged by the cancellation of these exams and assessments as we have since received assurance from the Department for Education and awarding bodies that we will be able to award centre grades to students. We are continuing to work with awarding bodies regarding this and will keep students updated with any developments.

Tutors will be in touch with students to discuss what this means for them.

For the few apprentices with an EPA (end point assessment) booked, your assessor will contact you to discuss this.

While our buildings are closed to students, we continue to operate and deliver our teaching online. Whether you were scheduled to take an exam or not, it is important you continue to attend online lessons.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.

5 Jan 2021

Lockdown information

You will be contacted by your tutor with any specific arrangements for your course including assessment details. They will also be able to answer any specific queries you may have about your course.

We are also putting plans in place for our vulnerable students/children of key workers in line with government guidance.

If you are concerned about your well-being during this period, the college’s Wellbeing & Safeguarding team is available to provide advice and support. The Safeguarding Page on Moodle has information to support students during this time including helplines. If you fit one of the vulnerable categories (looked after child or have a social worker) you can contact the Wellbeing & Safeguarding team via safeguarding@southessex.ac.uk who will be able to provide support.

If you can’t access your student email or any of the required online systems to access online learning, please call the IT Helpdesk via 01702 221832 or email ITHelpdesk@southessex.ac.uk

This information is based on current government guidance and is subject to be updated as and when necessary. Please monitor your college emails, Moodle and the college website (www.southessex.ac.uk/covid19) / social media for further updates.

Thank you for your co-operation at this time.


FAQs and information

In line with the government’s mass testing programme, we are offering all students and staff who do not have COVID-19 symptoms the opportunity to take a COVID-19 rapid test (Lateral Flow Device, or LFD).

Please view our COVID-19 testing page for full details.

Close contacts in schools and colleges are now identified by NHS Test and Trace and education settings no longer undertake contact tracing.

As with positive cases in any other setting, NHS Test and Trace will work with the positive case or their parent to identify close contacts.

Please could all students report COVID related absence using this form.

If you receive a positive test result, you must isolate as per government guidelines.

You must also let us know.

  • Complete the online form providing as much detail as possible including test date, isolation periods, expected return dates. Don’t skip boxes, please provide as much information as possible.
  • Email your tutor as a courtesy and to say that you have completed the online form.

The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

  • A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature).
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, even if they're mild:

  1. Get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if you have COVID-19 as soon as possible.
  2. Stay at home and do not have visitors (self-isolate) until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test. Check if people you live with need to self-isolate.
  • Enhanced cleaning arrangements have been implemented to ensure all common areas are regularly disinfected such as door handles and welfare facilities.
  • Hand sanitisation stations are available throughout college campuses.
  • It’s also important to maintain a high standard of personal hygiene, such as regularly washing hands.

The government has announced that all Plan B measures will be removed in England, with a full return to Plan A by Thursday 27 January.

For education this means face coverings are no longer required to be worn in classrooms / teaching areas. Please note, the requirement to wear a face covering in communal areas of the college will remain in place until Thursday 27 January.

Although it may no longer be a requirement to wear a face covering in classrooms/ team rooms, we understand some people may still wish to continue to wear one and we support this.

We are encouraging students and staff to walk or cycle to college where ever possible.

Those using public transport should wear a face covering (unless exempt) as per current government guidelines.

  • Students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), with or without an EHC plan, will be assessed individually to ensure they remain safe in college.
  • The college will adopt control measures in a way that addresses any risks identified, allowing us to deliver education and training to our learners, including full educational and care support for those learners who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The current situation we find ourselves in can be scary and overwhelming. It is OK to feel worried, stressed, anxious or concerned about what is going on, you are not alone in feeling this way.

Everyone will react differently and again that is OK. To help everyone manage this difficult and uncertain time we have pulled together a range of support services and links to guide you through.


Contact the college

  • Call 0345 52 12345
  • Email learning@southessex.ac.uk
  • Use the online message service (Pubble) on our website, just look for the blue "ask" button in the bottom right hand corner of the page.