• COVID-19 Update: 05/01/21

5th January 2021

Update Covid-19 and new Lockdown Arrangements: Advice to all students, parents & carers  – Tuesday 5th January 2021 

(for Higher Education (UCSD) students please refer to the arrangements explained in the separate email from Alastair Wilson from the University email account sent Tuesday 5th January 2021)

Dear students, parents, and carers   

Further to my last communication to you late yesterday evening, Monday 4th January 2021, I would like to update you and confirm our position following the Prime Minister’s announcements about National Lockdown made at 8pm 4th January 2021.

England moves in to National Lockdown: Stay at Home

Current information about this can be found here: National lockdown: Stay at Home – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

COVID-19 National Testing Programme for Schools & Colleges

Whilst we are still waiting for detailed guidance, updates and confirmation from the Department for Education, we are continuing to plan to put in place asymptomatic Lateral Flow testing for students and staff who need to be present on site during the current Lockdown, for example vulnerable students and the staff required to support them and keep facilities open. 

At present asymptomatic Lateral Flow testing is not required before students or staff can access the College. We are working to have our initial testing arrangements in place for the week commencing Monday 11th January 2021.

Teaching and Learning for all students from Tuesday 5th January to Friday 8th January 2021 inclusive

Arrangements for this week will be as advised in my last communication yesterday which can be accessed in the archive here.

All lessons for students will be online or via set work for supported home learning from Tuesday 5th January 2021 to Friday 8th January 2021 inclusive. For the majority, this will be full-time remote education, as close as possible to that which students would receive in class. 

Some students will still be asked to attend College as normal from the start of the new term on Tuesday 5th January 2021 where this is in their best interests. These will include our vulnerable learners or those students with exams or formal assessments this week.  We will communicate any further changes should we receive additional guidance from the Department for Education and Awarding Bodies.

Tutors will already have made contact with students, parents, and carers directly on Monday 4th January 2021 to confirm individual arrangements for this week. If you have not heard from your tutor please contact them directly to ensure you know the arrangements which apply.

What this new guidance means for teaching, learning and exams for all students from 11th January

All teaching and learning (with the exception of supported sessions for vulnerable students and a small number of Higher Education students) will now be conducted remotely until the end of this half term on Friday 12th February 2021.  Please note that Spring Half Term runs from Monday 15th to Friday 19th February 2021 inclusive, and there will be no scheduled teaching during that week.  We are hoping that teaching and learning will commence again onsite from Monday 22nd February 2021, the week directly after the half term break. However, this will be subject to Government approval and guidance which we should receive in due course and we will update you as necessary in a timely way.  

Yesterday’s Government announcement also stated that it will not be possible for all exams in the summer to go ahead as planned and that the Government are working with Ofqual (the exams regulator for England) the to put in place alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.  To this end, and whilst we await definitive Government guidance, we expect all students to fully engage in their scheduled teaching, learning and assessment activities to ensure they develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours required for them to achieve and progress. We expect that College information relating to individual student progress and attainment will be used to inform final grades and so we are stressing the importance of focusing on learning and the completion of related work and assignments. 

Higher Education (UCSD) Students

For Higher Education (UCSD) students a separate email and communication has been sent from Alastair Wilson from the University email account today, Tuesday 5thJanuary 2021.

I hope you will understand that further detailed guidance from the Government and Department for Education will continue to be issued over the coming days and weeks, but we will keep you fully informed and up to date. Please do keep an eye on the South Devon College website news feed and social media channels. 

Reporting positive Covid test results

Please remember to complete the ‘out of hours Notification of a POSITIVE COVID-19 test result’ form to alert us if you, a member of your household or other close contact identified through Track & Trace, receive a positive test result whilst the College is closed. This online form is available here.

I would like to remind and reassure students, parents, and carers that each time we are alerted to a positive, or presumed positive case, we undertake a forensic risk assessment process. 

Continued communication

As promised, we will continue to issue a weekly update of the number of confirmed cases within the College. The next update of this academic year will be provided at 2pm this Friday, 8th January 2021.

Thank you very much for your continuing support and understanding. 

Yours sincerely,  

Laurence Frewin  

Principal and CEO  
South Devon College 

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