13th October 2020
Update COVID-19: Advice to all students and parents/carers 13/10/2020
Dear students, parents and carers
Further to my last communication to you on 9th October 2020, I would like to update you on the current COVID-19 situation in the College.
We now have four confirmed cases in the College. From our detailed investigations none of these cases appear to be linked.
I want to reassure you that as a College we are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our students and staff during this COVID-19 global pandemic.
I thought it would be helpful and reassuring to explain to you what actions we take as soon as we are notified of a positive case.
Firstly, we immediately contact the local Public Health Team and Torbay Council, to discuss with the relevant professionals and experts the date and time the person started having symptoms and when they were last in College. This initial review determines if a further and more detailed risk assessment meeting is needed. If a meeting is required, we forensically collect information and consider with the individual how they travel to College, their last locations within the College, classroom seating/office seating arrangements as well as establishing who they have had close contact with. This allows us to quickly identify a list of people that need to be asked to self-isolate, the rooms that need to be deep cleaned as well as wider communication with those involved.
Relevant staff are involved in the risk assessment process to establish the ‘risk’. If the confirmed case relates to a student, further extensive conversations take place with that student to establish their movements around College, their social group and activities outside of the College, again to identify and manage the risk.
If the confirmed case relates to a member of staff, amongst other things, we examine their contacts inside and outside of the College, the nature of their teaching and if they had any close contact with students / teachers at any time. All decisions relating to the isolation of students and / or staff are made in conjunction with professionals and experts from the local Public Health Team and Torbay Council. Within the College we have appointed a member of the Executive team to be the senior College lead for all COVID-19 related matters. This ensures we have consistency in our approach to managing the risk assessment, track and trace and communication processes.
If you are identified as a close contact, potentially at risk, and directly affected, you will receive further advice and guidance on what you need to do immediately. As soon as we are able to, we will inform students and staff in the immediate curriculum area or team providing direct communication and updates which we hope will provide reassurance when we are notified of a positive case and have identified the extent of the risk to others.
I completely understand that all members of the College community wish to be kept informed of the up to date situation. For this reason we will issue a weekly update of the number of confirmed cases within the College. We will provide this update on Friday afternoon each week.
As I have outlined in my previous communication, we have a number of mitigating measures around the College and across all campuses to keep everyone as safe as possible. These include wearing of face coverings, a constant cleaning regime, access to hand sanitiser, antibacterial wipes and the constant reminders to maintain social distancing.
We are doing everything possible to safely keep the College open for students and staff. The College remains open and, providing you and your family members remain well, coming to College and work can continue as normal. This is a team effort and we ask every single student and staff member to do everything possible to keep each other safe and well.
Finally, I want to say thank you to everyone who, despite the difficulties, has adapted so well to change – following safety guidelines and treating each other with kindness and respect. This behaviour is an exemplar to our whole community and is what will ultimately get us through this.
Principal and CEO
South Devon College