Information for Staff

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.

College Risk Assessment - March 2021

Privacy Notice - Staff and Student Home Testing

Step by step guide for COVID-19 self-testing (alternative versions of this guide including large text and other languages can be found on the gov.uk website)

Will the College be COVID-19 secure?

We have implemented a range of preventive measures and controls to ensure we that are COVID secure and it is important that you continue to follow the measures that have been put in place at all College buildings. 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 - Please remember to dress appropriately as even in the cold weather, workshops and classrooms will be well ventilated, doors and windows will be kept open

Protective screening - Plexiglass protective screening for high footfall areas including cafeterias, learning centres and receptions will remain in place for the time being.

Hand sanitizing - Highly visible hand sanitiser stations are in place in key areas. Please remember to wash and clean your hands thoroughly, and more often than usual.

Cleaning Schedule - The College will continue to  have an enhanced cleaning routine in place to include increased cleaning of touch points such as doors, push plates and handrails. In addition, areas will be fogged.

Social distancing - The College will continue to support our clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) students.  

To keep each other safe at HoW College alongside the considerations outlined above regarding face coverings, we ask that everyone is mindful of others particularly CEV students, so although social distancing measures in the workplace have now ended, we will continue to  encourage you to maintain distancing where possible.  

If you have any questions regarding our COVID secure prevention measures please email the College on StudentCOV19enquiries@howcollege.ac.uk

One way systems - We are removing the majority of our one-way systems.  You will find that some will remain in place in busier areas like the main reception areas, this helps us to maintain some social distancing and avoid congestion. 

Face coverings  - We believe that it is important for us to continue to provide a Covid-secure environment for our staff and our students.  We will be asking students to continue to respect each other and to wear face coverings in busy communal areas and when undertaking learning and other activities where appropriate social distancing cannot be maintained, or where industry guidance requires that face coverings are worn.  We would also ask that face coverings are still worn in circumstances where an individual in a particular group or gathering may be more at risk from Coronavirus. 

Face coverings will still be required on the inter-campus bus service, and are encouraged in our cafeterias.  

Please do remember that some people are less able to wear face coverings and the reason for this may not be obvious to others.   We have issued exemption lanyards to those at the College who are exempt from wearing face coverings and would ask you to be sensitive to this.  If you require a lanyard, please ask a member of staff to email the Exemptions mailbox and a lanyard will be sorted out for you.  

As before the College will continue to hold a small supply of face coverings for students who forget to bring their own face coverings with them.  

Safe wearing and removing of face coverings is important. Safe wearing of face coverings requires the:

• cleaning of hands before and after touching, including to remove or put them on

• safe storage of them in individual, sealable plastic bags between use

Anyone wearing a face covering must:

• Not touch the front of their face covering during use or when removing it

• Dispose of temporary face coverings in a ‘black bag’ waste bin or appropriate recycling bin

• Place reusable face coverings in a plastic bag that can be taken home

• Wash their hands once a face covering is removed.

Face coverings should also be worn when travelling on public transport or dedicated transport to these settings, this includes the intercampus bus service. Face coverings must be worn on public transport. This does not apply to those who are exempt. 

Exemption from wearing a face covering

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings and we expect staff and students to be sensitive to those needs. We have specific lanyards available for learners with exemptions who may want one. Any student who would like a lanyard should ask a member of staff to request one on their behalf via the Student Covid19 Exemption mailbox. 

Lateral Flow Testing - Asymptomatic testing or rapid testing using Lateral Flow Devices is now available to 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?

We believe that it is important for us to continue to provide a Covid-secure environment for our staff and our students.  We will be asking students to continue to respect each other and to wear face coverings in busy communal areas and when undertaking learning and other activities where appropriate social distancing cannot be maintained, or where industry guidance requires that face coverings are worn.  We would also ask that face coverings are still worn in circumstances where an individual in a particular group or gathering may be more at risk from Coronavirus. 

Face coverings will still be required on the inter-campus bus service, and are encouraged in our cafeterias.  

Please do remember that some people are less able to wear face coverings and the reason for this may not be obvious to others.   We have issued exemption lanyards to those at the College who are exempt from wearing face coverings and would ask you to be sensitive to this.  If you require a lanyard, please ask a member of staff to email the Exemptions mailbox and a lanyard will be sorted out for you.  

 As before the College will continue to hold a small supply of face coverings for students who forget to bring their own face coverings with them.  

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 open 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?

Main symptoms

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:

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

https://111.nhs.uk/

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.

Self-isolate if:

  • 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.

Don't

  • 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: 

o Public Health England

o Gov.uk website

o Guidance for Educational settings

o Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) office

Further information

We have a number of dedicated pages with further information in the following areas:

Information for Staff

Advice from Public Health England

Testing Information

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