Re: National lockdown and its impact on students
You will have seen from the news that the Government voted on and approved a national lockdown yesterday. As a result, the Department for Education has given advice to colleges about how we should now operate from today until 2nd December. These new measures will reduce the growth rate of the virus, which will:
- prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed
- ensure schools, colleges and universities can stay open
- ensure that as many people as possible can continue to work
These measures will be underpinned by law. Police and other authorities will have powers to give fines and break up gatherings.
What are the restrictions?
1. Stay at home / continuing education: You must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes. These include:
- Work and volunteering
- Essential activities e.g. shopping for food or medicine
- Fulfilling legal obligations
- Education and childcare e.g. coming to college / university
- Meeting others e.g. in your support bubble and care for vulnerable.
- Medical reasons, harm and compassionate visits e.g. doctors / dentist / hospital / vets appointments, covid-19 tests, escape injury / harm
- Events e.g. attend a place of worship for individual prayer, a funeral
This means that you can come to study at college / university as usual. We will continue to deliver a mix of face to face with online learning, where necessary. Should there need to be any changes to your timetable due to staff or students needing to self-isolate then your tutors will inform you directly.
At this stage it is understood that all modular, synoptic and final exams are taking place as planned. Should there be any changes to any form of assessment you will be informed by your course leaders.
- Meeting others safely
In general, you must not meet people socially. You should minimise time spent outside your home. You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble. For residential students, a household is now restricted to the people who live in your flat or on your floor- you will be advised by your Residential Team. All students may additionally mix on college premises with the students in their curriculum bubble. This should continue to be restricted to no more than 6 at a time on college premises and you should always wear a mask and be 2 meters apart.
You can also exercise or visit outdoor public places with:
- the people you live with - not exceeding a max of 6
- your support bubble
- or, when on your own, one person from another household. Disabled people dependent on round-the-clock care are not counted towards the limit on two people meeting outside
Outdoor public places include:
- the college grounds, neighbourhood streets, parks, beaches, and the countryside
- public gardens and grounds, allotments, outdoor playgrounds
You cannot meet people in a private garden, unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them.
- What is open / closed?
To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close or restrict how they provide goods and services. There is however very little impact for our students on campus. The following will remain open at our centres and operating as normal for our students:
- all timetabled classes as currently planned
- all college catering facilities (except the garden centre tea rooms)
- the mini market
- Library and HE Centre
- Plant World garden centre
- the gym, golf facilities and high-performance centre for student related education and training timetabled activities
- equine arena for student related education and training timetabled activities
- research and laboratories facilities
- multi-faith room
- Residential Support Team
- Core / Student Support and Welfare – by telephone or appointment
- Careers – by appointment
- Student Finance - by appointment
Students are still permitted to attend their normal part time employment, work experience, college duties related to animal welfare, volunteering etc. in line with the agreement of those workplaces in a Covid-secure way.
The Stumble Inn will continue to be closed as a bar but may be open for other education related purposes. All facilities normally open to the public will be closed to the public during this lockdown period.
- Covid safety, self-isolation and reporting
We need your help and support to help keep everyone safe and healthy. We need you to do the following:
- wash / sanitise your hands on entry to every college building
- wear a mask / face covering throughout the College site (unless you display an approved exemption)
- 2 metre socially distance yourself whenever you can
Should you show any of the following symptoms you must stay at home or for residential students in your room:
- Temperature of 37.8 or above
- Persistent dry cough
- Loss of sense of Smell or/or taste
If you have any symptoms or test positive for covid-19 you must inform your course tutor. Residential students must also contact the Residential Support Officers on 07889754287. If you have been in close proximity with someone who tests positive you must also self-isolate in line with any guidance given to you. Where possible you should continue your learning online / remotely so that you do not fall behind with your studies. If you have any concerns, please talk to your tutors so you can get help and support at the earliest opportunity. We will do all we can to help you succeed.
Students who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to study from home and not to come into college / university. Individuals in this group will have been identified through a letter from the NHS or from their GP, and may have been advised to shield in the past.
Students who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend education. If you are impacted by this, please discuss with your tutors.
- Travel / Residential Students travelling home for weekends
- You should avoid travelling in shared cars or on local public transport, wherever possible. If you need to travel on a college or local bus you must wear a mask / face covering unless you display an exemption.
- UPDATED since Thursday 5th There is now split guidance for residential students, depending upon whether you’re a University Centre Myerscough degree student or a student on one of our further education college courses.
All degree students are advised that they should stay in their halls of residence and avoid travelling home at the weekends. The Government has advised that this should be until the end of term for our university centre students. You should avoid travelling home unless it is a necessity e.g., medical reasons, health and safety / well-being, work experience, linked to your education, attending a funeral etc.
For college students aged 16-19, the guidance has been clarified. If college students aged 16-19 normally travel home for weekends they can continue to do so. If you can reduce this travel to help stop the spread of the virus then this is helpful but there are no specific restrictions preventing you from travelling home.
Residential College students aged over 19 should follow the University Centre guidance.
Should you be a student on a 5-day meals package and now want to stay residential at weekends (and need a 7-day catering package) please speak to a Residential Support Officer regarding the need for weekend meals.
We appreciate this is a really tough time for many of you and are very sorry to share this news with you about further restrictions. Our priority is to keep you safe and to keep the College campus open during the coming months so that you can receive the best education with as much of it face-to-face as possible. To do this we need your support and for everyone to play their part in following the guidelines laid out by the Department for Education.
If you have any questions or you are concerned about your own or the health and wellbeing of your friends please feel free to talk to the Core Team of Student Support and Welfare Officers and Counsellors. If you are a residential student, you can also access the support of our Residential Support Team. Below is a list of key emails / phone numbers for support, should you need them:
- Residential Support team 24hrs: 07889 754 287
- Safeguarding: firstname.lastname@example.org , 01995 642348 / 01995 642205 / 07407 304 267
- Core / student support and welfare: 01995 642348 (Monday - Friday 9-5)
- Residential Accommodation: email@example.com (not 24 hours)
- Mentalhealthsupport@myerscough.ac.uk (not 24 hours)
Further health, wellbeing and mental health support
- NHS mental health
- Kooth, mental health support
- Domestic Abuse
- Health information
- Work/ financial guidance
If you have any concern please raise this in the first instance with your Progress Coaches, course tutors, Head of Area or Residential Support Team. If you feel your concerns have not been adequately addressed there is a formal complaint process you can use by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Please look after each other in these challenging times.
With very best wishes
Chief Executive & Principal