COVID-19 updates from South Essex College
In line with government guidance our campuses are currently open for learning. All students have a full timetable of learning, however this is being delivered as a blend of face-to-face and online learning. Your tutors will advise you when you come into college. We will still be offering some online learning so we can have smaller numbers of students in the college at any one time.
- We have created ‘bubbles’ of students to minimise contact with people outside of individual bubbles.
- Directional signage is in operation throughout the college to remind students and staff to adhere to the 1m plus (accurate at time of writing) guidance while using communal areas.
- We have staggered start times, breaks and lunches. This is to avoid large numbers of people in college at the same time and to avoid peak travel times where possible. Additional sanitisation facilities are in operation and cleaning will be undertaken on a more regular basis with janitorial staff on site throughout the day to clean high touch areas such as hand rails and push panels.
- If your course requires close contact PPE equipment will be provided so that you are adequately protected.
- Where possible our support staff teams will temporarily continue to work from home so numbers of people generally on site is reduced. Students will be able to make appointments with staff and student services teams for face-to-face and online appointments.
- Enhanced cleaning arrangements have been implemented to ensure all common areas are regularly disinfected such as door handles and welfare facilities.
- Each department has conducted a full risk assessment for return to college and implemented the use of PPE and other equipment.
We have listened to feedback from students and staff. From Monday 2 November, it will be mandatory to wear a face covering in communal areas around the college unless you have a valid reason not to. Thank you.
We understand that there are some circumstances where students 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.
To support those who have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering we have introduced a simple process for tutors to give individuals exemption cards for their ID cards. This will avoid challenges from members of the college community as they move around our building.
If you require an exemption card, please speak to your tutor.
We are encouraging students and staff to walk or cycle to college where ever possible and will be increasing our capacity for bike storage. We are also staggering start times so that people traveling by public transport can do so outside of busy work times.
To ensure everyone can travel safely and with confidence, c2c has developed a code of conduct for students. This is being shared with schools and parents, with a simple overall message: Travel Safe, Travel Smart, Keep Apart.
c2c has increased the cleaning of its stations and trains, and is providing hand sanitiser at the entrance to every station. In turn students and all passengers are urged to wear a face covering when travelling (unless they have a valid exemption), to wash their hands before and after their journey, and to use hand sanitiser.
c2c is urging students to buy their ticket in advance, using the c2c Smartcard which allows tickets to be bought in advance and collected directly from the ticket gates to minimise contact. c2c also recently released a new app which allows all customers to get live information on their train and to purchase tickets remotely.
c2c is already running a full timetable and has one-way systems in place at its busiest stations. Students are urged to maintain social distancing where they can, respect the personal space of all passengers onboard trains, and to remain in one place on the train during their journey.
You can read the letter to parents here
- Students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), with or without an EHC plan, will be assessed individually to ensure a safe return to college can be achieved.
- 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).
There is a limited catering function in the college at this time. Please bring food and drinks with you where possible. Free college meals where applicable will be provided. Unfortunately we are unable to provide the normal free breakfast service due to staggered start times and smaller numbers of students on campus at one time.
We have a click and collect service for ordering food (leaflets explaining how to do this are available in college) and we have also created dining zones to ensure students remain in their departmental bubbles. You will be advised by your tutor where your zone is.
We will be working in line with the government’s track and trace guidance and students will be contained in bubbles as they are in the college environment.
Unlike many schools, the college is a large entity spread over many campuses and we have more than 11,000 students, many of whom only come into college once or twice a week at the current time.
As you will know students have been put into class bubbles and where possible maths and English are being taught online to reduce the risk of class cross contamination.
This means that in the event of a COVID case it is unlikely that more than a class bubble will need to self-isolate according to DfE COVID guidance.
In the event of a positive case of COVID in a student or staff member we will do the following:
- Contact the DfE COVID helpline for first line advice, they will then refer us to Public Health England if the case requires further advice or intervention.
- Based on this advice we will investigate who the student/staff member has been in close contact with and write to all students that needs to self-isolate for 14 days as per government guidance. If the positive case includes a lecturer this may include more than one class bubble.
- We will post updates regarding cases on Moodle.
- In view of the fact that across the country cases are increasing, the wearing of face coverings in communal areas of the college is now compulsory.
While we have put lots of measures in place to make the college as safe as possible for students and staff, we all have a part to play. We obviously cannot control who students mix with outside of the college environment, so please continue to observe government guidelines so we can keep everyone safe.
Thank you for your support.
Please could all students report COVID related absence using this form
This includes if you are self-isolating due to another member of your family testing positive. This will allow us to gather more information in case of a positive case.
General information for students
All students can access Moodle and email via the college website.
Your tutor should provide you with information on work to be completed, so please contact them via your college email address.
Students who receive free college meals should already have received information from the college.
If you need further financial support please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are not receiving information from the college and need to update your contact details please email the college at email@example.com with your student number and your revised details.
Parents and guardians
Please also contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like us to add your email address to the system to help us communicate with you.
If you are concerned about your well-being during this period, the College’s Safeguarding Team are 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 Safeguarding Team on Safeguarding@Southessex.ac.uk who will be able to provide support.
Wellbeing and support
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.
We appreciate the current situation is difficult for families and you may be experiencing trauma. Please click here to find out about organisations and helplines that may be useful (if you click this link the webpage will show in your browser simply as 'Information page' so do not worry).
You can also email email@example.com for advice or help.
Yes, the Safeguarding & Pastoral Team are working remotely supporting students and can be contacted via email at Safeguarding@Southessex.ac.uk
They will also take referrals from parents, carers, friends or members of the public if you are concerned about the safety of a student from the College. The Human Resources Team are also available remotely regarding any concerns about staff and can be contacted via email at Departmentofhumanresources@southessex.ac.uk
The College’s Safeguarding Policy has an Exceptional Closure Addendum which can be found here.