Coronavirus (Covid-19) update

Updated: 29 July 2020

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic we have put in place a number of changes to ensure a safe, healthy and welcoming campus environment, whether you are a student, staff or visitor. 

The College aims to follow best practice in terms of restricting transmission of Covid-19. Our measures comply with local and national Government instructions and advice as a minimum and we may choose to go above and beyond legal requirements in order to limit risk of infection. 

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Accredited courses

Our aim is to welcome new and returning students back on site for the start of the academic year in September 2020.

The College’s Coronavirus (Covid-19) Health And Safety Management Policy sets out the framework for how we are intending to achieve a Covid-secure environment on campus. We will keep this policy under review in line with Government guidance as it emerges and update our plans accordingly. The information below is based on best practice in relation to current advice and may change as the situation develops. At this stage though we need to alert you to some anticipated changes in the way the College will operate and teach you.

What will change?

Workshops and studios

To ensure social distancing the layout and use of some workshops and studios will be changed. We will introduce one way systems for access where possible and visitor access to workshops and studios will be limited. Students and staff are required to wear face coverings in communal areas such as on entry to the College, in the corridors, washrooms and Craft shop, but not in the workshops and studios where distancing measures are in place. New cleaning regimes will be introduced for shared tools and machinery. Workshops and studios might also have to be closed out of teaching hours for regular thorough cleaning.
Induction, shared units and lectures

Lecture based content will be delivered, where possible, digitally, supplemented by small group seminars in order to comply with current social distancing requirements. Some visiting lecturers may need to deliver lectures and seminars/tutorials digitally if they are unable to travel to the College. It is our aim that practice based delivery and demonstrations will be delivered face to face as usual but at a safe distance, which may necessitate some changes. The number of students at one time within small spaces such as the Science Lab will be limited. This will mean that timetabling of these facilities will be stricter than in previous years.

Trips and visits

The College will continue to monitor travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with regards to any international travel. At this time though, and in line with the College’s Coronavirus (Covid-19) Health And Safety Management Policy all international travel which includes study trips and visits have been suspended. In order to comply with current opening restrictions as well as social distancing, trips and visits within the UK will be postponed and we will aim to recommence these in the second semester providing government and scientific advice supports this.

Work-based learning

Where students are required to undertake work-based learning or placements as part of their programme, we will work closely with providers to ensure a safe working environment. Where work-based learning is not feasible, alternative arrangements for College based activities will be made. International placements will only be considered by exception.

Access to resources

Digital library resources will remain available to all students and staff are working to increase the digital collection. A “click and collect” service will be introduced to enable access to physical items. Returned items will be quarantined and access to library and reading room spaces is likely to be restricted.

Accommodation and hospitality

We will introduce changes to the way in which we prepare and serve meals as well as manage access to shared facilities and break out spaces. Changes will also be introduced in student accommodation including arrangements for accessing kitchens and common rooms. 

If you have any questions or concerns at this stage about what is set out above please contact your Head of School in the first instance.

Over the coming months the gradual relaxing of lockdown restrictions mean that we can’t predict with absolute certainty which aspects of our policy framework will need to be implemented in September. Some of what is described above may not be necessary and conversely new restrictions may be introduced to which we will need to respond. We will communicate with you if the situation changes and we will be in touch with more details by 31 July.

We are committed to supporting you to achieve your goals and providing a high quality learning experience and look forward to welcoming you back on to site in the Autumn.

Short courses

We look forward to welcoming you to a teaching environment that is safe and hospitable. To ensure the College is Covid-secure, we are operating on a principle of the same as, or better than, national guidelines.

What to expect

On arrival
Our check-in and welcome procedures have been revised to allow a speedier experience to minimise time in public areas and allow safe social distancing. It is our policy that everyone entering the College (staff, visitors and students) has a daily temperature check. This will be carried out using the latest equipment and involves no physical contact. We will also ask you to sign a health declaration on arrival. We hope you will understand that this helps ensure a safer environment for all.

Social distancing
The College is working to the principle of two metres as the best means of reducing transmission. This will be reflected in how we set up classrooms and workshops. In many cases student numbers have been reduced to facilitate this. To avoid close contact in the teaching environment (e.g. for tutor demonstrations) the College has invested in cameras and screens where viable.

There will be signage and advice throughout the College and a one-way system where viable. Break times will be set to reduce congestion in the common areas.

Cleaning and hygiene
Our staff have received extra training and the frequency of washroom checks and cleaning has been increased. Workshop and studio spaces are subject to a thorough clean in-between courses. College tools will be quarantined, cleaned and sanitised and hard surfaces cleaned and sanitised.

We have extra washroom facilities as well as sanitising stations. We ask that all students wash their hands regularly, and use the hand sanitising stations when entering and leaving common areas.

All workshops have been risk assessed and student course numbers reduced where necessary to allow social distancing. The course materials provided will have been handled and packaged following strict hygiene procedures.

Face coverings and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Students and staff are instructed to wear face coverings in areas where social distancing may be compromised, such as on entry into the College, corridors, washrooms and in the Craft shop. They may be removed when you are in the workshops where social distancing measjures are in place.

Because of the nature of some courses PPE will still need to be worn where our risk assessments require it. The current situation may however dictate that other PPE will also be identified to reduce the risk of transmission. Each course will be different but where appropriate the College will supply such items as masks, face shields and disposable gloves.

You can expect the same quality of food though how we deliver our catering has changed. We aim to offer as wide and varied a choice as possible and to accommodate your dietary needs and allergies. Our revised meal service includes separate seating times, and your choices will be brought to you.

All rooms will be subject to cleaning using recommended materials and sanitising in between occupancies.

Other facilities
Craft Shop: the shop will still be open but with some changes to ensure a safe and welcoming environment. There will also be clear signage and information where needed.
IT Suite: To maintain social distancing the College will be reducing the number of workstations. There will be regular cleaning and sanitising of the room and equipment.
Library: If you wish to use the library please ask at the Reception desk for details

We are committed to providing you with a high quality learning experience, and we look forward to extending a warm welcome to you.

Short course FAQs

Conferences, B&B and weddings

  • No new bookings are being taken until further notice;
  • We will continue to review and update you with the earliest restart date on a rolling basis.

West Dean Gardens

The Gardens have now re-opened to the public. Pre-booking your visit is essential. There are now certain restrictions in place, in-line with government guildelines including adhering to social distancing rules. 

Gardens FAQs

West Dean Stores

The College plays an important role within its immediate community and we continue to operate West Dean Stores to support our tenants and neighbours. Changes include:

  • No cash payments, cards only please
  • A new delivery service for local customers
  • The Tearoom remains closed, but a takeaway service is available

For more information visit the West Dean Stores website.