Information for Staff
This page has been set up to provide information for staff with questions or concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19). It will be updated as necessary.
Will the College be COVID-19 secure?
We have implemented a range of preventive measures and controls to ensure we that are COVID secure. These include:
Building Bubbles - Minimising contact and mixing between individuals and groups during the autumn term meant our ability to control and contain the transmission of Coronavirus was good, and our self isolation levels were low.
Therefore, we will be maintaining our building by building approach to bubbles and will continue to limit your movement between them where possible. We are fortunate that our campuses are made up of many separate self-contained buildings which has helped us to control the spread of any infection. As previously students should not need to enter any other buildings during the same day. We will also be staggering lesson start and finish times as well as break times to avoid larger groups gathering together. Our one-way systems around the buildings will remain in place.
Classroom adaptations - including rearranging layouts to allow more space for appropriate distancing and the installation of screens where necessary
Protective screening - Plexiglass protective screening has been installed for high footfall areas including cafeterias, learning centres and receptions. We have also purchased additional portable ‘sneeze’ screens.
Hand sanitizing - We have purchased highly visible hand sanitiser stations that will be placed in key areas. We will be actively promoting the following to all staff, students and visitors.
• Clean your hands thoroughly, more often than usual.
• Ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.
Cleaning Schedule - The College will have an enhanced contract cleaning schedule in place to include increased cleaning of touch points such as doors, push plates and handrails. In addition, our staff will be using a range of other measures such as fogging machines, antibacterial wipes and other cleaning materials.
Social distancing - Social distancing will be promoted and maintained where possible between people, reducing the amount of time they are in face to face contact to lower the risk of transmission. There will be clear signage indicating entrance and exits to be used and one way systems will be in place in some buildings.
Lateral Flow Testing - Asymptomatic testing or rapid testing using Lateral Flow Devices is now available to staff and students to support the return to education. For a full detailed guide on the Lateral Flow Devices available at college please click here
It is important to remember that the asymptomatic testing programme does not replace the current testing policy for those with symptoms, and anyone with symptoms (even if they recently had a negative LFD test result), should still self-isolate immediately according to government guidelines. Participation in asymptomatic (LFT) testing is voluntary.
For a full detailed guide please click here
Do you require students and staff to wear masks?
Following the latest government announcement (Nov 2020) the guidance identifies new requirements concerning the wearing of face coverings in education and childcare settings.
At HoW College we expect our staff and students to act responsibly and considerately, to protect themselves and others. This involves wearing face coverings in communal areas such as receptions and corridors where these areas are likely to be busy. Face coverings are not mandatory in classrooms, although staff and students may continue to choose to wear them.
There may be circumstances when social distancing cannot be maintained in which case we may request that face coverings are worn in lessons. Please also remember that it is compulsory to wear face coverings in our cafeterias at all times. Face coverings should also be worn when travelling on public transport or on dedicated transport; this includes the College intercampus bus service.
These requirements also apply to those visiting the College campus including contractors and visitors.
Staff, students and visitors using face coverings should ensure these are appropriately worn, cleaned, stored or disposed of correctly. Bins will be provided in College.
We will be strictly enforcing the 2 metre social distancing rules and have multiple hand sanitisers around site, as well as hand washing facilities.
I use the public transport / College buses to reach College, what do I do?
We are currently running our inter-campus bus service between Bromsgrove and Redditch campuses, but please note that social distancing arrangements will always be in place which means not as many people will be allowed on the bus. Please note that face coverings must also be worn at all times on our intercampus bus service between Redditch and Bromsgrove campus. Students using face coverings should ensure these are appropriately worn, cleaned, stored or disposed of correctly. Bins will be provided in College.
To avoid busy periods please make use of the earlier bus options as an alternative to waiting too long. Seats may be marked as not in use to keep to social distancing rules.
Will the College cafes be open?
College cafeterias will be reopen from 8 March in Peakman, All Saints’, St Dunstan’s, St Andrew’s, Bromsgrove, and at the Duckworth Centre of Engineering, offering a take-away service between 8.30am and 2.00pm. All customers will be expected to wear a face covering whilst in the cafeteria area.
You should use the cafeteria that is located closest to your study area and should not move between buildings simply to use a different cafe. You will be allowed to eat and drink in your allocated classroom during breaktimes because we are only providing a take-away service. We would also encourage you to use contactless payment wherever possible, although we will still accept cash at all sites if needed.
Students and staff, who are purchasing items from the cafeterias, are encouraged to use contactless payment. However, we will still accept cash at all sites if needed.
How do I know if I have got the virus?
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- 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)
- 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
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.
Use the 111 online coronavirus service if you have any of:
- high temperature
- new, continuous cough
- loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
111 will tell you what to do and help you get a test if you need one. Use the 111 online coronavirus service
What if I am feeling unwell?
Currently UK Government advice is that anyone feeling unwell should self-isolate for 10 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.
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:
Do I need to self-isolate?
Staying at home if you have symptoms (self-isolation)
If your symptoms are mild you must not to leave your home. This is called self-isolation.
- Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started.
- Anyone who does not have symptoms must self-isolate for 14 days from when the first person in your home started having symptoms.
- you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
- you're waiting for a coronavirus test result
- you've tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus
- you live with someone who has symptoms, is waiting for a test result or has tested positive
There is separate advice if you're told by NHS Test and Trace that you've been in contact with a person with coronavirus.
If you're self-isolating, you and anyone you live with must not leave your home.
- do not go to work, school or public places – work from home if you can
- do not go on public transport or use taxis
- do not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home
- do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care
- do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one
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.
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:
We have a number of dedicated pages with further information in the following areas:
Information for Staff
Advice from Public Health England
Safety Measures and walk-throughs
I still have questions, not answered here – what should I do?
We understand that you may have more questions so we ask you to please contact us on this email and we will be back in touch as soon as possible to respond to your questions. Studentcov19enquiries@howcollege.ac.uk