Enable Accessibility Bar

Our response to Covid 19.

The spread of Covid 19 through the community since the Spring 2020 has presented unique and unprecedented challenges for us in the College, and society as a whole.  Throughout this time, our priority has been the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff and the continuity of teaching, learning and assessment. Since returning to the College campuses in June 2020, we have tried to maintain a meticulous and risk based approach to re-opening  and below are some of the measures we have taken:

Risk assessment

Our operation is guided by an overarching College risk assessment, details of which can be found here.  This is a live document and ever changing, reflecting the emerging risks in the region and the country more widely.  This is agreed and regularly reviewed by our Health and Safety Committee.

Number of students on campus

For the first 3 weeks of term we restricted student numbers on campus to 50% at any one time. This pattern will continue until half term.  Prior to half term, an announcement will be made about our approach in the lead up to Christmas. 

Contact groups for students

Unlike some colleges, we  benefit greatly from the fact that our students are spread widely across 7 campuses.  All students are assigned to contact groups (bubbles) based on the curriculum area they study in.  In larger curriculum areas, these are often subdivided into year groups.  These will be used if we need to use them for Track and Trace purposes.

Social distancing

Social distancing is a key mitigation at the College.  Staff are required to stay at least 2m from students in class, public areas and communal settings. 

Where this is not possible, eg, in workshops, one to one care situations or salons, other mitigations such as perspex screens, masks or visors are required.  Where appropriate, areas are marked up with 2m social distancing zones. Students are also required to maintain 2m social distancing in communal areas.

Face coverings

Face coverings are mandated for students and staff in all communal areas within the college's buildings. Students are also required to wear these on transport to and from college. In vocational areas of learning, additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is also worn, eg, hair salons and construction workshops etc, commensurate with the protection required for operating in industry.

Hand washing and sanitising

Regular hand washing and sanitising is strongly encouraged, and hundreds of automatic hand sanitisers have been installed across our estate to allow this.  Hand sanitising is requested as students and staff enter and leave college buildings, classrooms and workshops.

Promotion and communication

Throughout the College, posters and TV screens encourage students and staff to take responsibility and follow social distancing protocols, wear face coverings and to wash or sanitise their hands regularly, including ‘Catch it - Kill it - Bin it’ or to stay away if displaying any Covid 19 symptoms. A number of social media campaigns have been created to communicate the same messages online.

Each campaign targets learners and staff across all platforms and they are posted at specific times to maximise impact.  Our website, learner and staff Gateway is also updated regularly and communicates key information in a timely manner.

Learning Support

Our team of specialist teachers and experienced Learning Support Assistants (LSAs - FE) and Study Assistants (HE) continue to support learners in both face-to-face and online sessions, via Google. Utilising our online self-assessment tool, we are able to quickly identify learner needs, implement supportive solutions and inform staff of any considerations for teaching and learning. Learning Support promotes a person-centred approach, where provision is tailored to meet an individual’s learning profile. All support is designed to build independence in the college and future endeavours. For further advice and guidance on accessing academic support, please contact your campus Learning Support Coordinator.

Additional Learning Needs Coordinator (ALNCo)

Julia Green is the designated Additional Learning Needs Coordinator (ALNCo) and is responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating support over the seven campuses. Together with the College Executive Team, the ALNCo is responsible for the formation and implementation of the College’s ALN strategy, which includes the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act. Please contact the ALNCo for further information regarding Learning Support provision at the college This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Safeguarding and wellbeing

Safeguarding and the wellbeing of our learners, continues to be a priority for us. We have a number of dedicated Well-Being Coaches that cover all seven campuses. They provide both face-to face and on-line  support services. Referrals for additional well-being support can be made via the learners, Learning Coaches, parent/guardian/carers or external support agencies. There are also a range of on-line self-support resources available to learners. The learners will be introduced to these via their tutorial sessions, their Learning Coaches or the Well-Being Team.

Counselling

We also provide counselling for those who need this level of support. Referrals are again made via the individual, Learning Coach or Well-Being Team. We have also recently invested in a 24/7 on-line counselling service provided by ‘Together All’ to enable both staff and students who need support outside of the college day.

Movement and circulation on campuses

We have introduced restrictions of the movement of students and staff around our campuses.  There are marked directional walkways, one-way systems and ‘left and right’ systems across the estate.  All unnecessary travel has been prevented and where possible digital meetings are held.

Meetings and gatherings

There are no large congregations or meetings held on our campuses at present.  Where mass communication is necessary, this is now achieved through digital means.

Online learning

We are using online learning to support students when they are not on campus.  We are delivering mainly through Google classroom and using Google meet to hold on line, dynamic  lessons with students.  Our approach is guided by our Digital Innovation Manager  and our Teaching and Learning Manager.

GCSE resits

Our GCSE resit classes  in Mathematics and English are being delivered online this year to minimise time on campus.  This builds on a very successful pilot that was undertaken during the full lock-down period.

A slimmed down curriculum

Following approval from Welsh Government, and agreement across the further education sector, we are delivering a slightly reduced curriculum to normal.  This focuses on students’ main qualifications(s) and recognises that with potential disruption throughout the year, core qualifications are the priority.

Transport

Buses and taxis are running with the support of our local county councils in Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion. All students are required to wear face coverings when travelling on college and public transport.

Halls of residence

Some of our students live in the halls at UWTSD in Carmarthen.  We are working closely with colleagues at UWTSD and are in daily communication with the University.  Students in halls are subject to the Covid 19 procedures applied by the University. 

Libraries and learning centres

Our libraries are open for click and collect service and learners can select books that will be retrieved by our librarians or provided digitally.  Learners can work in the centres at socially distanced work stations.  IT equipment is also socially spaced (2m) with anti bacterial wipes and hand gel available in all centres. 

Food outlets

We are operating limited services on our campuses currently.  These are mainly main grab and go in style.  Limited seating is available that is socially distanced, with anti bacterial wipes and hand gel available in all outlets.

Managing Covid 19 cases (students or staff)

As these occur, we will act swiftly in liaising with Track, Trace, Protect (TTP) and contact our learners, their parents and staff, as soon as we have verified information and advice to pass on. We will also keep the wider public up to date with communication through our website and social media channels.