Telford College will be taking a safety-first approach to welcoming students back onto campus after the Government announced its roadmap to the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.
The college said it would be carrying out a carefully phased return of students from March 8, working in close collaboration with students, staff and unions.
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Graham Guest, Telford College principal and chief executive, said: “We welcome the fact that the Government is giving colleges a level of autonomy in controlling the way that students return.
“This flexibility allows us to support the students in our local area that we know best, and apply a common-sense approach to our partnerships with local businesses.
“Our aim is to bring everyone back to college over the coming months in a staggered way, but only when it is safe and sensible for us to do so.”
Mr Guest said Telford College’s plans remained focused around three key objectives:
- Ensuring staff and student safety
- Maximising student achievement opportunities
- Protecting physical and mental health
“For many people, this latest lockdown has been the toughest yet, and we must not underestimate the toll it is taking on people’s mental health.
“So we welcome the chance to begin a structured return of students – and the positive signal that this sends out.
“Our focus is on safely supporting every student to succeed, whether they want to progress into work, an apprenticeship, further learning in college or higher education.”
Under the new regulations, staff and students will be advised to wear face coverings in
classrooms where social distancing cannot be maintained, and must take at least two Covid tests a week.
Mr Guest said: “These measures are merely building on the work which has been going on around college since the start of the year.
“For example, we have already carried out in the region of 2,500 lateral flow Covid tests in our on-site testing facility, and by the end of this month we will have staged around 1,800 exams this term.
“Throughout this pandemic, we have been doing everything in our power to protect student achievement, and ensure they are not disadvantaged any more than necessary – and I must say a huge thanks to the college team for their efforts.
“We recognise that in many instances, students simply cannot embark on their chosen careers without completing practical assessments, which is why we have kept them running wherever possible.
“Despite the cautiously optimistic news shared by the Prime Minister today, we know this remains an anxious time for students who work so hard towards their exams and assessments.
“And they can rest assured that we will continue to do everything we possibly can to keep disruption to an absolute minimum, and are available to answer any of their questions.”