Coronavirus (Covid-19) update

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the latest guidance we have put in place a number of changes to ensure a safe, healthy and welcoming campus environment, whether you are a student, visitor or member of staff. Following the national lockdown announced by the Government, from Tuesday 5 January, the following measures will apply.

Degree and Diploma courses

The Government has delayed the start of face to face teaching in the spring term for most higher education students, including all those attending the College.  Although the term commenced on 4 January 2021, online delivery will be used for all teaching from 5 January and there will no access to the workshops and studios. Currently the earliest possible date for a return to face-to-face teaching is mid-February, but there is increasing speculation that the current spread of COVID-19 may mean this date is postponed.

We know the priority for most of our students is to return to an on-campus College experience, and while we await further guidance from the Government, we are exploring delaying the start of Semester 2 until such point that restrictions are lifted. This may mean bringing forward the Spring Break and, if necessary, extending the academic year into the Summer Break. 

Residential students will be charged only for the time accommodation is occupied, capped at a maximum of 36 weeks over the full academic year (even where the period of occupation exceeds this).
 
Short courses

After careful consideration and with the safety of all students paramount, all short courses before 28 February will be cancelled. If you have a course booked during these dates we will contact you within the next week with further arrangements, where feasible you may be offered the opportunity to take the course over zoom instead. New live and self-paced online courses will also continue to be available with more subject options to be released soon.   

Campus safety

The College aims to follow best practice in terms of restricting transmission of Covid-19. Our Coronavirus (Covid-19) Health And Safety Management Policy sets out the framework for how we are intending to ensure a safe environment on campus. We will keep this policy under review in line with changing Government advice and guidelines and update our policy accordingly.

National lockdown as of Tuesday 5 January 2021

The legislation that is in place until during the national lockdown supersedes reference in this guidance to the rules and regulations around the 'tiered' system of Infection control (such as 'the rule of six').

The continuation of our higher education courses is permissible and will continue with measures in place to protect students and staff (suspended during current lockdown).

Outside of the teaching environment all students must adhere to the rules on social distancing. These are to only associate with your prescribed 'household'. Students are not to mix socially inside or outside with those who are not members of their 'bubble'. The only exemption to this is that an individual may meet with an individual from another 'bubble', this must be outdoors, and social distancing must be maintained.

Rule of six (suspended during current lockdown)

The current Government legislation allows for an exemption to indoor gatherings and the ‘rule of six’ for educational establishments and purposes. This is because we have put in place measures to prevent the possible spread of the SARS-COV-2 virus. As such, the College has appropriate policies, risk assessments and guidance to make it Covid-secure. All students attending courses will receive prior information and guidance. All our teaching spaces have been risk assessed and suitable measures put in place where required including the wearing of protection when needed. Once at the College further information will be given to you by our staff and your course tutor.

Cleaning and hygiene

Access to good hygiene facilities has been increased and sanitising stations installed where required. Our staff have received extra training and the frequency of washroom checks and cleaning has also 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 ask that all students wash their hands regularly, and use the hand sanitising stations when entering and leaving common areas.

Face coverings and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Students and staff must wear face coverings in areas where social distancing may be compromised, such when entering the College, in corridors and in washrooms. They may be removed when you are in the workshops where social distancing measures are in place.

Workshops, studios and teaching facilities

To ensure social distancing the layout and use of some workshops and studios have been changed. We have introduced 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 have been 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

General College inductions are being delivered through the VLE, Canvas whilst programme and workshop/studio inductions will be delivered face-to-face in the workshop or studio. 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 will also be delivering lectures and seminars/tutorials digitally. 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 continues to monitor travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with regards to any international travel. At this time, 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 remain available to all students on award-bearing courses and staff are working to increase the digital collection. A “click and collect” service has been introduced to enable access to physical items. Returned items will be quarantined and access to library and reading room spaces are restricted. Staff will continue to offer a remote online enquiry service.

IT Suite: To maintain social distancing the number of workstations has reduced. There will be regular cleaning and sanitising of the room and equipment.

Accommodation

Changes have been introduced in accommodation for students on award-bearing courses including arrangements for accessing kitchens and common rooms. All students must adhere to the rules on social distancing. These are to only associate with your prescribed 'household'. Students are not to mix socially inside or outside with those who are not members of their 'bubble'. Outdoor gatherings are limited to six people under the ‘rule of six’, and social distancing must be maintained. More information on the changes to accommodation arrangements can be found in the Accommodation Handbook and on notice boards within each Student Annex.

Catering

Our catering facilities have been risk assessed and adapted for our students’ safety. We have changed how we prepare and serve meals as well as manage access to shared facilities such as the cafeteria. Our revised meal service includes separate seating times, and your choices will be brought to you. The bar is currently closed.

Other facilities

The Gardens Shop and Restaurant are currently closed. West Dean Stores remains open, also with a takeaway service available. As per Government guidelines please wear a mask or face covering. There will be clear signage and information where needed.

NHS Test and Trace

The College and Gardens are supporting the NHS Test and Trace service. This requires that the names and telephone numbers of students and visitors are kept for 21 days, and made available if requested to help isolate the spread of Covid-19.

For health advice, please visit NHS.uk
For the government's latest updates please visit Gov.uk/coronavirus