Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This page has been set up to provide information for anyone with questions or concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19). It will be updated as necessary.

CONTACTING THE COLLEGE

The College is currently closed in a physical capacity, however you can still reach our team to help with general enquiries, admission queries and careers advice. All details can be found here

APPLICATION UPDATE

We are still accepting and processing applications for Heart of Worcestershire College for September 2020 as usual. For more information please continue to our 'How to apply' page https://www.howcollege.ac.uk/courses/how-to-apply/

GUIDANCE

We understand that many of our students and staff may have some concerns about the evolving situation surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

The health and wellbeing of our college community is of utmost importance and our Senior Leadership Team is meeting regularly to ensure we have the most up-to-date information to share with our staff and students and to take appropriate action if required.

We have established this webpage as the key platform where all accurate and up-to-date information about the coronavirus outbreak will be posted. You can find an easy read version on how to stay safe here

UPDATES ISSUED TO STAFF AND STUDENTS

Any updates will be issued via our official college social media accounts and via the college website. Updates will also be published via the student and staff portal. Students should also regularly check both their college and personal email accounts.

GOVERNMENT ADVICE

The government will continue to monitor the spread of coronavirus and take further action as needed. You can find the latest information and advice on coronavirus and the latest guidance for educational settings on the GOV.UK website.

 

Is the College open and operating as normal?

No, all HoW College buildings are currently closed and all face to face teaching delivery has been suspended.  We have monitored the need to remain open for students in priority groups and we are no longer receiving any demand to provide learning facilities at any of our campus locations.

Online learning, interviewing and homeworking activities are going from strength to strength and will continue for the foreseeable future.

We continue to follow government guidance during lockdown. In the event of a change to this guidance we continue to review our approach. We are planning that any re-opening of College buildings during the remainder of the Summer term would be very much focused on allowing small numbers of students to complete essential assessments rather than a return to normal opening and teaching.

We do however want to take this opportunity to also reassure our students and staff that, despite the lack of detailed guidance, lots of our teams are working away in the background to prepare for a return by staff and students to ensure we provide everyone with a safe working environment.

Any further updates will be communicated via this website and other means of communication including social media.

HoW College Facebook

HoW College Twitter

What action is Heart of Worcestershire College taking?

We are following Public Health England advice and guidance and will ensure that we communicate regularly with our staff and students, parents and guardians and the general public via this website and other means of communication.

The College’s Emergency Response Team is meeting frequency to ensure we have the most up-to-date information and that risk is continually assessed to enable us to update staff and students and to take any appropriate action if required.

All face to face delivery at Heart of Worcestershire College is suspended with learning continuing online. We have been monitoring the need to remain open for students in priority groups and we are no longer receiving any demand to provide learning facilities at any of our campus location therefore, as of Monday 30th March 2020 all HoW College buildings will be closed. 

We continue to follow government guidance during lockdown. In the event of a change to this guidance we continue to review our approach. We are planning that any re-opening of College buildings during the remainder of the Summer term would be very much focused on allowing small numbers of students to complete essential assessments rather than a return to normal opening and teaching.

We do however want to take this opportunity to also reassure our students and staff that, despite the lack of detailed guidance, lots of our teams are working away in the background to prepare for a return by staff and students to ensure we provide everyone with a safe working environment.

Staff and student remote access information

Information regarding remote access to HoW College systems for both staff and students can be found in the following guides:

Staff Access Guide

Student Access Guide

As the College is now closed in a physical capacity, staff and students will be working remotely.  Guidance for home working, IT access and risk assessing a homeworking environment are available on the College portal.

Will teaching, examinations and assessments be impacted?

This situation is currently under review. Any changes to current arrangements will be communicated as appropriate. We encourage students to frequently check their college emails for further information.

For further guidance regarding the cancellation of GCSEs, AS and A Levels please click here

Further information from Ofqual (The regulator of qualifications, exams and assessments in England) relating to Vocational and Technical qualifications can be found here

Where can I find more information about the GCSE grading system for Summer 2020?

On Friday 3rd April 2020 Ofqual issued further guidance relating to the grading system for GCSEs, AS and A Levels for those students set to take exams in Summer 2020. This information can be found here

This grading system will apply to both Year 11 students and any HoW College students resitting GCSE Maths or English.

 

Further information regarding vocational qualifications can be found here

I’ve applied to study at Heart of Worcestershire College in September. What happens now?

Thank you for applying to study with us, please be assured your offer of place for this September is secure. Following the guidance from Public Health England, we have decided to postpone all face to face interviews and conduct telephone interviews where we can. If you have an interview arranged with us we will be in touch with you shortly either by email, telephone or text message.

As the Government has announced there will be no exams and assessments taking place in schools or colleges this year, please don’t worry as we will still be able to offer you a place at College. We will support you during the enrolment period to ensure we put you on the correct level of your chosen course.

If you require any further help or information you can contact the relevant Admissions team by email:

Redditch and Bromsgrove: admissions@howcollege.ac.uk 

worcester and Malvern: admissions-worcester@howcollege.ac.uk

What if I am feeling unwell?

Currently UK Government advice is that anyone feeling unwell should self-isolate for 7 days. Staff and students should follow our standard absence reporting procedures. Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

 you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home

 your condition gets worse

 your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

What if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus at the College?

Rest assured that a strict protocol is in place for a confirmed case. We have a duty to work closely with the local Health Protection Team under Public Health England where a collaborative risk assessment will be undertaken which will inform all necessary actions.

As a member of staff, can I work remotely?

As the College is now closed in a physical capacity, staff and students will be working remotely.  Guidance for home working, IT access and risk assessing a homeworking environment are available on the College portal.

Guides for accessing college systems for both students and staff can be found below

Staff Access Guide

Student Access Guide

Staff Homeworking Guide

 

Where can I find the latest information about coronavirus?

The situation is evolving rapidly. Staff and students are asked to continue to visit and regularly check the following websites for the latest updates and guidance: 

o Public Health England

o Gov.uk website

o Guidance for Educational settings

o Foreign and Commonwealth(FCO) office

What can I do to help reduce the spread of this virus?

Just like the common cold, the Coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person who has the infection or by touching contaminated surfaces if you do not wash your hands correctly. There are some simple things that you can do to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and look after yourself and those around you. Here are some guidelines to help you:

 Frequently clean hands by using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. You can see the correct way to clean your hands by clicking HERE.

 Viruses love warm, moist environments so avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

 When coughing and sneezing cover your mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw the tissue away immediately and wash your hands. ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’.

Further advice and guidance can be accessed using the following links:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019:

https://111.nhs.uk/

How is it possible to catch this virus?

COVID-19 is a new virus and, according to the NHS, we do not know exactly how it spreads from person to person. The most likely means of transmission are droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Infections are generally be spread by:  Secretions from the mouths or noses of people who are nearby (within two metres) or could be inhaled into the lungs.  Touching a surface that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes (such as a door knob or shaking hands then touching own face). It is currently unclear whether people who do not have symptoms are infectious to others, but this is not believed to be a big risk. See above for precautionary measures you can take to help stop the virus from spreading

How do I know if I have got the virus?

The following symptoms may develop, after exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19):

• A cough

• Difficulty in breathing

• High Temperature

But these symptoms do not necessarily mean someone has the virus. They are similar to symptoms of colds, flu and other viruses. Unless staff or students have reason to believe they may have been exposed to the coronavirus, they should manage these symptoms as they usually would. Please also follow advice given at NHS 111 here

Do I need to self-isolate?

Self-isolation with no symptoms

The UK Government is currently advising people to self-isolate if they have recently returned from certain countries on the official Government listing even if they have no symptoms, which means staying at home and not having contact with other people. If this applies to you, you must not attend work during the isolation period. You must contact your manager and HR as soon as possible to let them know that you have been required to self-isolate and you must keep us updated on any developments. During this time we will support you to work from home.

Self-isolation with symptoms

If you believe you have symptoms including a cough, fever or difficulty breathing, you should self-isolate, call 111, and follow our normal sickness reporting procedures. You will be treated as being on sickness absence. Please tell us if you have travelled to any other countries in the last 14 days.

What if I have a pre-existing medical condition or am particularly vulnerable?

We understand you may be concerned if you feel you are more vulnerable to the coronavirus than others (for example if you have a specific health condition or have vulnerable family members).

Public Health England defines underlying conditions as people with weakened immune systems and those with long-term conditions such as diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. If you are worried, members of staff should speak to their GP in the first instance.

We will support you as much as possible, based on any specific advice you have received from medical professionals, as well as general public health guidance. You should continue to follow Public Health England advice about the precautionary measures you can take to avoid catching the virus such as hand-washing (also see the NHS advice page), and ensure you are up to date with any prescriptions for medicines you usually take.