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Coronavirus Guidance

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): ADVICE AND UPDATES

LAST UPDATED: Thursday 26th August | 3:15pm

September 2021

We are now in step 4 of the roadmap and a new phase in the government’s response to the pandemic. Moving away from the stringent restrictions on everyone’s day-to-day life, towards advising people how to protect themselves and others, alongside targeted interventions to reduce risk as reflected in our latest Department for Education guidance.

Boston College are committed to providing a safe environment for both learners and staff. Our priority is to deliver face-to face, high quality education to all our learners and to keep everyone safe.

Should you have any questions relating to the virus the DFE has launched a new helpline to help answer these. Staff, parents and learners can contact the helpline as follows, 0800 046 8687, DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk (opening hours: 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.  If you have any concerns about your health in relation to the coronavirus, COVID-19, please follow Public Health England advice and use the NHS 111 coronavirus service.


Onsite COVID-19 Testing

Many of our learners are already engaging with testing are using lateral flow test kits at home. We are working to keep our College as safe as possible and will be having onsite testing at Rochford Campus for anyone without symptoms who is unable or unwilling to test themselves at home during the first 2 weeks of term.  Consent for testing must be provided and the booking system will open on 27 August 2021 for an appointment for September.  To book a slot you will need to follow this link: https://bookings.boston.ac.uk

 


Further Information

Boston College is committed to ensuring you, as a parent, are aware of all the support we can offer you during this difficult time. We have an extensive range of frequently asked questions (FAQs) below, which we hope will answer any other concerns of queries you may have. If after reading the FAQs you still have concerns or queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01205 365701 or info@boston.ac.uk

You can also find the full Government Guidance for parents and careers here 

Face Coverings and Transport

In the latest Department of Education guidance is recommended that learners should wear a face covering whilst travelling to and from college on public transport or dedicated college transport. However, wherever possible, they are encouraged to travel to college on foot, by bike, or car.

Face coverings are also encouraged in corridors and in all communal areas of the College, especially during the busiest times of the day.

Reporting an Absent

Email - absent@boston.ac.uk
Text - 60081 start your message with “BCABSENT” (texts cost 1 std msg)
Call - 01205 365701 select option 2 and leave a voice message

What information do I need to provide about my absence?

Full name
Learner ID number
Course or Tutor
Specific reason for absence

Please do not use phrases such as “feeling unwell”, “ill(ness)”, or “sick(ness)”, instead give as much information on your symptoms as possible.

If you think that you or a member of your household have symptoms that are related to COVID-19 then you must tell us.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms then you must not come into College and must isolate at home for 10 days, only returning to College if you have been fever-free for 48 hours and feel well. You must get a test to help protect others at the College. 

For further guidance, please read the NHS Factsheet on Recognising Coronavirus Symptoms

NHS Track and Trace

Staff and learners aged 16 are eligible to download the NHS COVID-19 app, that aims to complement the NHS Track and Trace process and existing processes in the response to COVID 19.

If a learner is on site and they receive a notification they have been in close contact with a positive case they must inform a member of staff immediately. We have a process in place and parents will be asked to collect them as soon as possible so they can arrange to get a PCR test.

Following the latest ‘Stay at Home’ Government advice, we request anyone showing the symptoms of a new continuous cough and/or high temperature of 37.8 and/or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia) should remain at home and self-isolate. For further 'Stay at Home' Government advice, please visit the gov.uk website.

NHS Track and Trace

Staff and learners aged 16 are eligible to download the NHS COVID-19 app, that aims to complement the NHS Track and Trace process and existing processes in the response to COVID 19.

If a learner is on site and they receive a notification they have been in close contact with a positive case they must inform a member of staff immediately. We have a process in place and parents will be asked to collect them as soon as possible so they can arrange to get a PCR test.

Provision of remote learning to learners unable to attend on-site for COVID-19 related reasons

The information below is designed to provide information for our learners and parents about the approach provided by the College for online (remote) learning and education.

Following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions curriculum delivery has now reverted to face-to-face for study programme provision. A small proportion of delivery remains online for other provision types to best meet learners/employer needs. Additionally, some learners will need to access their learning online if they are unable to attend on-site for COVID-19 related reasons, such as the requirements to self-isolate. This document is designed to summarise the college’s approach to online (remote) learning for either of the drivers above and provides guidelines for staff to ensure high quality online (remote) education is provided which minimises any potential disruption to learning.

The College’s 'Online Learning – College Approach & Staff Guidelines (COVID-19)' sets out our over-arching guidance about the following:

  • College priorities
  • Introducing learners to online learning
  • Expectations for learner behaviour and participation
  • Attendance and attendance monitoring
  • Resource development
  • Live teaching, streaming, and recording 
  • Assessment
  • Safeguarding learners
  • Location

During any periods of local or national restrictions and/or periods when learners are required to self-isolate, curriculum delivery hours remain the same and are not reduced. Learners are expected to continue to attend and engage in learning as per their full timetable if they are well enough to do so. Registers indicate learner attendance and different entries take account of any periods of self-isolation as well as whether a learner is learning from home.

Learners with SEND are supported by Learner Support Assistants (LSAs) in line with their support plans and this support continues online during any period of local or national restrictions and/or periods when learners are required to self-isolate. All LSAs are trained in the use of MS Teams and skilled at providing support through these means. Learners are also introduced to relevant assistive technologies and supported to become independent in using them to support their learning. Their usage is also well promoted within assessment feedback. The Small Group Tuition Fund (SGTF) is also available for learners aged 16-19 who may benefit from additional support and this can be facilitated online. The College makes good use of live streaming and/or pre-recorded live demonstrations for practical learning activities. For any learners who start to fall behind in the progress they are making within their practical learning the SGTF is available to be used to support catch-up.

The Colleges provides a range of support for learners without devices, connectivity, or a suitable environment for learning. This includes use of the discretionary learner bursary, provision of college lap-tops or devices, onsite online learning hubs which remain open through any periods of local or national restriction.

If you have any worries or concerns and would like to speak to a member of the Learner Services Team, please email info@boston.ac.uk, letting us know your name/your young person’s name and a brief outline of the concern.

Safe online counselling and well being support can also be found through Kooth, authorised by the Lincolnshire County Council, it is a free service to anyone under the age of 19 in Lincolnshire.

For full information on the support available please read our ‘Parent Support’ letter within the ‘For Parent’ section above.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions 

We are looking forward to students returning to the campus to continue, or begin, their programmes. We have completed a full campus risk assessment relating to the current government guidance. Even though COVID restrictions have now eased, maintaining health, well-being and safety continues to be a key priority. Our stringent cleaning regimes will continue.

  • College spaces will be cleaned and fogged at regular intervals.
  •  There will be sanitiser stations for learners to use on entering buildings. Hygiene boxes with sanitiser and other cleaning resources are available in all classrooms and learning areas.
  • To maintain good ventilation in classrooms and learning areas, windows will be kept open wherever possible, and classroom doors will be kept open when lessons are going on. Learners are encouraged to wear layers of clothing to help keep them warm as the weather becomes more autumnal, as outdoor coats are not permitted during lessons. When learners arrive at their lessons they should avoid waiting in the corridor and instead go straight in and get settled/ready for learning.

In line with government advice, face coverings are no longer mandatory. However, we strongly encourage the wearing of face coverings by learners, staff and visitors in enclosed and crowded spaces, such as communal areas or corridors, especially at busy times of day. There will be different zone entrances and some one-way stairs in college buildings to help to minimise crowding in busier areas. Learners should follow all signage and/or direction by college managers. Learners are encouraged to wear face coverings if using public transport or dedicated college transport including the minibuses.

Learners will be provided with a box of 7 lateral flow tests so they can begin testing at home. These have been handed out during induction, or you will receive them in your first lessons. These will be replaced as required, and will be available from the Reception, the Library and the Information Desk. We strongly encourage regular home testing before you are due to attend college lessons to help keep the community safe.

Given asymptomatic tests are widely available in the community and many of our new learners have had the opportunity already to transition to home tests via their educational establishment, we will be having access to testing on site on a small scale for 3 hours per day during the first 2 weeks of the term. For anyone unable or unwilling to test themselves at home.

Learners will need to book a slot in advance by going to https://bookings.boston.ac.uk The onsite testing will take place in the Common Room next to the International Office, Rochford Campus.

The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.  If you have these symptoms, do not come into college.  Notify the Absence Line absent@boston.ac.uk that you are isolating, then we strongly recommend that you book a PCR test with the NHS.  You can do this though the NHS website > Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) Please inform college about the results of your test. 

Following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions most curriculum delivery has now reverted to face-to-face. For some courses, where remote learning has proved effective, we continue to use it. Learners will be advised about any parts of their timetable that remain remote/online. All learners will need to access their learning online if they are unable to attend on-site for COVID-19 related reasons, such as the requirement to self-isolate. All learners will be introduced to how to learn remotely, as part of their induction and early weeks at college, should they be required to do so in the case of isolating due to a positive test result.

In your first few weeks, you will be asked to identify if you have access to the internet and a device. This will be used in case we need to switch to remote learning to provide equipment for those who need it. Students can apply to the bursary for support with equipment purchase also. *Learner Support Bursary is means tested and has several tiers based on joint household income: under £16,000, £16,000-25,000, £25,000-£32,000. The support we could offer would vary based on the tier your joint household income falls into.

If you are eligible for Further Education Free Meals or Discretionary Bursary meals and have submitted a bursary form, you will receive an allowance for each timetabled day. This will be redeemable in the Canteen/Bistro on site. If you have not applied for bursary and believe you may be eligible, you can still put an application in to be assessed. You can request a form from bursary@boston.ac.uk or print one from the website

If you are studying at the Spalding Campus or the Sam Newsom Music Centre, these will be paid directly into your bank account for the days you are timetabled for learning. If you have not informed the college of your bank details, please contact us, e-mail info@boston.ac.uk with your contact details and we will be in touch to collect the bank details by phone. 

If you, or a family member in the same household, has a health problem that means attendance at college may be unsafe for you as a family, we would ask that you discuss this with us if you have not already done so. Please contact info@boston.ac.uk and they will be able to advise.

Your Apprenticeship training programme will return to the pre-covid delivery model of attending workshops and the campus. In some cases, elements of remote delivery will remain. Your employer will be able to advice you about any employment concerns. If you are self-isolating you must follow NHS advice and speak to your employer regarding any employment issues. Please stay in touch with your tutor and keep them up to date regarding your situation. For further support regarding employment issues, please visit acas.org.uk.  ACAS provide free impartial advice for both employer and employee.

All employers are being asked to following Government advice, so please speak directly to your employer for more information. For further support regarding employment issues, please visit acas.org.uk.  ACAS provide free impartial advice for both employer and employee.

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