Overview of plans for September

Since the government released guidance for the full re-opening of schools and colleges in September, we have been working on updating our plans. While there may be further updates over the summer, I have put together the following FAQs to outline our most likely scenario as things stand.  I hope that you find them useful. 

What are the plans for Bilborough College to be fully open in September?

Bilborough College plans to be fully open and run a full-time timetable for all students from September. We will help students with the transition by bringing in students in smaller groups for the first few sessions. This will also mean that everyone has time to get to grips with our procedures for working safely during the Coronavirus pandemic. A full start-of-year timetable will be circulated at the end of August when we know exactly how things stand.

What other safety measures are going to be in place?

In line with government guidance, we have done / are currently working on the following:

  • Installing hand sanitiser stations for every classroom and at key locations around the building
  • Setting maximum occupancy limits on social spaces
  • Limiting the number of social contacts that students have on site
  • Employing additional cleaning staff to work during the day and in the evenings
  • Installing Perspex screens in classrooms and key student support areas.
  • Maintaining the clear floor markings and 1-way systems which have been in use since 15th June.
  • Freeing up additional rooms to create double the usual social space
  • Planning some additional outdoor covered space by installing a roof between the refectory and the theatre.
  • Utilising hand-held temperature thermometers as needed
  • Setting up an isolation room in case we suspect anyone on-site of being symptomatic

Government advice for schools and colleges does not say that everyone must wear a face covering or mask. However, as an institution it seems strange to us that that educational establishments are effectively the only place where social distancing rules can be relaxed but people are not told to wear face coverings. We want to protect all our students and staff, so we are investing in Perspex face visors to help keep us all safe.

What steps have been taken to ensure students can travel to and from college safely?

A full college bus service will operate every day from September unless we are ordered into full lockdown by the government. Current government advice is clear that students will need to wear masks or other face coverings when travelling either on college buses or on public transport. We will work closely with our bus service provider to monitor passenger numbers.

What food and drink facilities will be available on site?

The college catering services are planning a ‘grab and go’ service of sandwiches and hot snacks. We plan to have 4 food outlets rather than the usual 2 to spread students more widely across the building and break times and lunchtimes will be staggered in order to speed up the flow of people and eliminate crowding. We are discouraging the use of cash, promoting card/phone and contactless payments at all outlets.  The college water fountains will unfortunately be out of action as these have been identified as a potential virus transmission route.  Students will need to bring their own drinks or purchase them from the shop until the risk has diminished. All students are free to bring their own food to eat on site.

What will happen if social distancing rules are re-introduced?

If social distancing measures are re-introduced we, like all schools and colleges, will have to revert to a ‘blended’ timetable where schools and colleges remain open full time but students are on a rota and do a mix of face-to-face and remote learning. For this scenario, we have developed a model which guarantees a minimum of 2 ‘live’ lessons a week (one face to face and one remote) alongside a third high quality flexible remote lesson and homework using all the tools of Microsoft Office 365 such as TEAMS and STREAM.  All Bilborough, all teachers and tutors are fully trained in the use of use Microsoft TEAMS for live sessions, Microsoft FORMS for feedback and Microsoft STREAM for videos and narrated worksheets. This model allows us to deliver our full curriculum but with a maximum of 50% of students in the building at any one time. Students of practical subjects will have additional opportunities to use the college facilities.

What will happen if there is a full local or national lockdown? 

If there is a second wave of infection or a local spike then the government does have the power to re-impose a full lockdown for all schools and colleges either locally or nationally. In this scenario, we would continue to deliver the full curriculum but make even greater use of Microsoft Office 365 tools as above. Students will need to join ‘live remote’ sessions at the usual timetable times to register attendance, receive instructions and for them to ask questions. Homework and independent study will be set as normal. These sessions will be complemented by high-quality resources, including videos, narrated PowerPoints and other documents and learning will be checked with quick feedback on Microsoft Forms and more detailed feedback on other kinds of formal assessment.

Any other questions?

If you do have any further questions about arrangements for September please do get in touch via our enquiries line ([email protected]and we will be happy to respond.