Information for Students
This page has been set up to provide information for students with questions or concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19). It will be updated as necessary.
Return to college March 2021
Further to the latest Government announcement, we would like to confirm the following details:
From 8th March, we will be carefully phasing in the return of additional students. We will be prioritising the practical elements of your study and some lessons will continue to be delivered remotely (this includes English and Maths until advised otherwise by the Curriculum Teams). We believe that this is a sensible and safe approach that also supports everyone’s physical and mental health. Please remember to check your College emails regularly for updates from College staff about when you will return and for any information relating to your study programme. It is important that you do not attend College unless you have been specifically invited to do so.
Exam update - January 2021
The DfE (Department for Education) confirmed on January 4 that they expected scheduled vocational exams to go ahead and it has updated that guidance to give schools, colleges and training providers the choice to offer students vocational exams.
We fully recognise that students have worked really hard for their exams and will be anxious about this situation and the unsatisfactory last minute changes from the government. Where our students are able and want to take the exam they have revised for, we will allow them the opportunity to do so. Therefore the current plan is that all exams will go ahead as scheduled in January. Any further changes to this will be communicated to all affected students.
Each student will know best their own individual situations, and will know how they personally feel about sitting their exam. If any student does not feel able to come into college, there will be no repercussions of non-attendance, we will fully support that decision and we will work with each student and awarding body to ensure no-one is disadvantaged by this hugely anxious time and change to circumstances.
If you do not sit the examination during January, an opportunity to sit the exam, or to be awarded a grade through another means will be offered later in the year, subject to pandemic restrictions and as we learn more from the DfE and awarding bodies how that will work we will keep students informed.
Please be assured that for students who do wish to come in for their scheduled exam we have taken every extra precaution to ensure your safety and that of our staff during your exam time in the College.
If you feel you do not wish to attend, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or your PT in advance, to confirm if you will not be attending.
Awarding your BTEC Level 3 qualification(s) in 2021 - Pearson
Pearson have requested that schools, colleges and private training providers submit an overall qualification grade, based on each individual students' performance and a range of evidence from throughout the BTEC course. No algorithms will be used to generate results. Full details regarding the awarding of grades by Pearson will be email to students. You can also find a fully accessible version here
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.
We continue to follow government guidance. In the event of a change to this guidance we continue to review our approach.
We do however want to take this opportunity to also reassure our students and staff that lots of our teams are continually working away in the background to provide everyone with a safe working environment.
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 - including rearranging layouts to allow more space for appropriate distancing and the installation of screens where necessary
Ventilation in classrooms- 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 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.
Face coverings - At HoW College we expect our students to act responsibly and considerately and to protect themselves and others by wearing face coverings in communal areas such as receptions and corridors and when you cannot maintain a 2m distance and are in close contact with more people. Please also remember 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.
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
Are lessons taking place online?
Each course will contain an element of remote or online learning. The number of hours will be dependent on which vocational area you are studying. You will receive more information from your curriculum area.
Staff and student remote access information
Information regarding remote access to HoW College systems for students can be found in the following guides:
Guidance for home working, IT access and risk assessing a homeworking environment are available on the College portal.
Do you require students and staff to wear masks?
As part of the easing of coronavirus restrictions the Prime Minister has announced changes to the wearing of face coverings in schools and colleges effective from Monday 17 May 2021.
We recognise that the announced changes are important as part of the national roadmap out of lockdown, but at the same time believe that it is just as important for us to continue to provide a Covid secure environment for our staff and our students. From the 17th May 2021 we will be asking staff, students and visitors 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 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. Should you need a lanyard please ask a member of staff to make a request on your behalf via the Exemptions mailbox.
As before the College will continue to hold a small supply of face coverings for staff and students who forget to bring their own face coverings with them.
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.
I use the public transport / College buses to reach College, what will I need to 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.
Are the College cafes 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.
I have been asked to come into College, but I am ill – what should I do?
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
Anyone in England and Wales who has symptoms of coronavirus, whatever their age can get tested.
You can access this via the NHS website here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/ask-for-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/
If you are due to come into College and you are ill with suspected or confirmed coronavirus or you live with someone who has then you must self-isolate. If this happens to you then please contact us to let us know via this email address: Studentcov19reporting@howcollege.ac.uk
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:
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
Where can I find the latest information about coronavirus?
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