Coronavirus response update - 12.05.20

12 May 2020

Coronavirus response update 12th May 2020

Today is International Nurses’ Day. This year, this means more to all of us than in any other year. The selfless sacrifice made for us by nurses and all other healthcare professionals during the current pandemic has been humbling. I’m sure you have been joining in in the celebration of those keyworkers and healthcare professionals every Thursday; I’ll be clapping especially loudly this week to thank all of them, and particularly those former students who are working on the front line protecting us at this time of crisis.

A few updates today:

As I’m sure you have seen, the Government circulated its guidance for the re-opening of schools and colleges late last night. We have spent most of the day reading this guidance. There are some clear steers: the expectation is that all schools and colleges will re-open for a limited number of students from the week commencing 1st June 2020, but this is subject to the ‘five tests’ which includes avoiding an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. For us, this means our current A1 and Level 2 students. There is an expectation that we ‘offer some ‘face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 12 students who are due to take key exams next year.’, and continue to support full time provision for our priority groups (vulnerable and EHCP students). The definition of face-to-face support to supplement remote learning is unclear. What is clear is that we will be unable to continue as normal, with full classes and a normal daily timetable. Social distancing rules and the advice from Public Health England will significantly alter our way of working. Prior to re-opening, we will publish our plan and share the Government’s advice on returning to college safely. We will place the health and safety of our students and our staff at the centre of our discussions which will inform our decision making.   The current advice for parents and students can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/reopening-schools-and-other-educational-settings-from-1-june. I’m sure there will many questions to answer and concerns to address over the next few weeks. We will do our best to provide the information and hope that the plan will give you the confidence that our return will be managed well, with the health and safety of all in our college community paramount.  

Next week (Monday 18th until Friday 22nd May) is Mental Health Awareness week. As a college, we take the mental wellbeing of all staff and students seriously and it’s important to remind ourselves that we should look after our mental wellbeing as carefully as our physical wellbeing. We’ll be sharing some hints and tips next week about looking after mental wellbeing. In the meantime, could I remind you that there are resources to support student wellbeing on the college’s website at https://www.asfc.ac.uk/student-life/support/useful-mental-health-and-health-contacts and on Canvas.

That’s all for today.

Take care, look after yourself, your families and each other; be patient and stay positive.

Anton