This video presentation has been prepared to show new and returning students to Abingdon & Witney College the measures we have taken to make the College COVID-19 safe.
We are delighted to have students returning to college this September, however we recognise that this is an uncertain time and this document is designed to help you understand the steps that we have taken to keep everyone safe, and what you can expect when returning to college. We are reviewing our plans regularly and closely following advice from the Department of Education and as a result, our approach might change throughout the year, but we will let you know if and when that happens.
Wherever possible we have adopted a 2m social distancing policy. This means that in many cases there will be less students in each classroom, and you will be spread out to maintain the distance.
Moving around campuses
One-way systems have been put in place on all campuses. These systems include specific entry and exit points for all buildings and designating staircases as “up” or “down” only. Sanitiser stations will be available at all main entrance points. You should only come into college for timetable lessons. You will also notice that our Estates operatives will be cleaning surfaces throughout the day.
We are now a cashless college and you can use electronic payment via your phone / debit cards and you also have the ability to top up your ID badge using Wisepay to access the canteen on Abingdon and Common Leys. Instructions on how to top up your ID badge will be shared during your induction period.
As we have so many students on lots of different programmes, we have thought carefully about the timetable for each programme. Most courses will continue to include an element of remote study, which will reduce the amount of time you need to come onto the college site and help to protect everyone. This could be online lessons, activities set via Teams, or independent study and will be a unique combination depending on your specific course. We are doing this so that we only have the students on site that need to be here. Classes have been planned to ensure that approximately 25% of our students are on campus at any one time and will have staggered start and finish times in order to reduce the number of students arriving and leaving at any one time.
You will also notice that when on site you be with the same group of students and will mostly remain in the same classroom all day, so that you remain in your student ‘bubble’. This is to reduce the spread of the virus.
The canteen will be open but will only offer a takeaway service, and will, of course, have a one way system in place. Purchases will be cashless, via card or apple/google pay, and you can also pay via your college ID card with our payment top up facility which will be explained during induction. There is no seating available in the canteen and you will be asked to eat outside, or in your classroom.
Please be aware we do not have any canteen facilities in Witney however those in receipt of free college meals are catered for.
Please bring a bottle to refill as there is limited water coolers in use on each campus.
Face masks are not required in most instances in college, however you may wear one if you wish. Some staff may also choose to wear a face covering, however we have asked that transparent face shields are worn when teaching or working directly with students so that the face is still clearly visible.
There are a small number of circumstances where our risk assessments have indicated that staff and students should always wear a face covering, usually because the nature of the practical work means that you cannot maintain 2m distance from others. In these cases we will provide the required face masks or other PPE for students and staff, and your teacher will explain about this during your induction period.
Support for students
We understand that this is a difficult and worrying time for everyone and we want to as much as we can to ease those worries. Our support services for students are fully operational, however we are asking for students to make appointments wherever possible. If you need to speak to someone in the Student Engagement Team and do not have an appointment, please visit Reception, who help you to organise this.
The library is open, however we have implemented a new one way system, and arranged furniture to help with social distancing. You will still be able to access the computers in the library, but you will have to book them for a specific time slot so that we can make sure they are all cleaned in between use.
We will be encouraging everyone to use electronic resources where possible and book returns will be quarantined for three days before being placed back on the shelves.
Access to IT equipment
Please let us know during your induction period if you do not have access to a suitable device on which to access lessons and work from home. We do have some devices that we are able to loan to students who are eligible for additional financial support, so please ensure that you complete the induction survey if this applies to you.
Unfortunately at the moment we just can’t run external trips safely, so all student trips have been cancelled until further notice. We realise that these form a really important part of your learning and the college experience, so we will get them back up and running as soon as we are able to.
Students staff who are unwell on campus
It goes without saying, if you feel unwell with COVID symptoms, please stay at home.
However, if you start feeling unwell after you have arrived at college, please alert your tutor or the nearest staff member asap. We have a clear process for staff to follow, which will include making sure you are safe, and getting you home as quickly as possible. Our staff will decide on the best approach depending on your symptoms and other factors such as your age and where you live. Our staff will use additional PPE during this time and will provide you with appropriate equipment too, in order to limit the spread of the virus – please follow all instructions given to you at this time.
Students who have received a positive COVID-19 test result
If you receive notification of a positive test result for COVID-19, you should immediately contact Student Services on firstname.lastname@example.org or if you are an Abingdon student please call 01235 216228 or for Witney and Common Leys students please call 01993 208500, so that we can take the necessary advice to ensure the safety of staff and students.
Finally, we can’t wait to see you all, our buildings have been quiet for far too long, but we just ask that you stick to the guidelines set out here so that we can keep us all safe, and pay extra attention to looking after ourselves and others within our community.
Witney-based filmmaker and Gateway student at the College, Mollie Leivars, has made a short film from home about the effect that COVID-19 can have on the mental health of young people, whilst showing that we are not alone in our feelings about the situation and we all stand together in this fight against the virus.