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Coronavirus update for students, parents and stakeholders

IMPORTANT CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 03 APRIL 2020

Following the government announcement, our campuses are closed for normal teaching until further notice.

The Bedford College Group is providing care to vulnerable students, on an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan and those whose parents/carers are critical in the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

The Group continues to support all of our students following the government’s announcement to close all schools and colleges from 20th March 2020 and has been open for students who are vulnerable, on an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan and students whose parents/carers are critical in the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home to access since 23rd March.

All campuses remain closed to the majority of students until further notice. At present, there is no indication from the government as to when schools and colleges may re-open to all students.

Which colleges will be open?

Bedford College, Cauldwell Street Campus
From Monday 20th April, the College will be open to students who are vulnerable, have an EHC plan or have parents/carers who are critical in the Covid-19 response and are not safe to stay at home by request only.

Students who are in the above categories and would like to come into the College should email studentservices@bedford.ac.uk the week before they’d like to come in, for example by Friday 17th April to come in during week commencing Monday 20th April.

Tresham College, Kettering Campus
From Monday 20th April, the College will be open to students who are vulnerable, have an EHC plan or have parents/carers who are critical in the Covid-19 response and are not safe to stay at home by request only.

Students who are in the above categories and would like to come into the College should email studentservices@tresham.ac.uk the week before they’d like to come in, for example by Friday 17th April to come in during week commencing Monday 20th April.

Any student planning to attend must email Student Services before arriving:
If you plan to attend College, you must email us by 4pm on the Friday of the week before so we have an idea to expect you and we can advise you where to report on your arrival. Our email address is:
- Bedfordshire: studentservices@bedford.ac.uk or you can phone 01234 291770
- Northamptonshire: studentservices@tresham.ac.uk or you can phone 01536 413232

Do I have to come to College?
You do not have to attend College.  Many young people of parents/carers who are working in the critical sectors will be able to safely stay at home.  However, for those students where this isn’t an option, we will be open again by request only from Monday 20th April.

Am I counted as a vulnerable student?
Vulnerable students include those who are supported by social care and those with safeguarding and welfare needs. A full list is available here.

Which job roles are counted as critical workers?
Further information on job roles classed as critical workers can be found here.

What should I do if I am unable to get to one of these Colleges?
If you are classed as a vulnerable student and do not usually study in Bedford or Kettering and would find it difficult to travel to one of these locations, we will reimburse you any additional costs incurred to travel to College. Please contact Student Services to arrange payment.  They are open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 4.00pm. If your parents/carers are classed as a critical worker and you cannot get to one of our colleges, please contact your Local Authority who may be able to help.

Will I be able to continue studying my course whilst I’m at College?
Please see more information on how we intend to deliver teaching activity remotely here. This has been working well and we will continue to communicate with students using our FE Moodle or HE Moodle. Please check this regularly. If you cannot access Moodle then please contact Moodlesupport@bedford.ac.uk.

Students must continue completing their activities, work and assignments set by their course team and meet any deadlines set, as they would if they were in College. Students need to dedicate the same time to their studies as if they were in College. Information on how to submit assignments will be available on Moodle. For most courses this will be through Turnitin. Feedback will be provided to students using Turnitin, e-mail, BREO, NILE or on Proportal depending on the course being studied. If you have any queries please contact your Course Team or Personal Achievement Tutor.

What facilities will be open?
No facilities will be open for the students except limited classroom areas. Online access to learning and support areas will continue and can be accessed using our FE Moodle or HE Moodle. If students are attending they must bring a packed lunch as no catering facilities are open. If students are receiving free school meals this will be provided but please ensure you include this when contacting Student Services.

Will you be open over the Easter holidays?
No, we will not be open to students over the Easter holidays (6th-17th April).

What are the College plans for exams and assessments?
The government announced that exams in May and June will not take place. The government has recently confirmed that GCSEs, AS and A Levels will be awarded in July based on mock exam data, individual assessments and prior attainment. Students can also sit exams early in next academic year or summer 2021. We are awaiting more guidance on how this will be undertaken and once we have this we will share this with you via Moodle. More information from the government was announced by the government on Friday 3rd April and a link to their latest advice for students and parents can be found here.

Students must continue completing their activities, work and assignments set by their course team and meet any deadlines set, as they would if they were in College. Students need to dedicate the same time to their studies as if they were in College.

Information on how to submit assignments will be available on Moodle. For most courses this will be through Turnitin. Feedback will be provided to students using Turnitin, e-mail, BREO, NILE or on Proportal depending on the course being studied. If you have any queries please contact your Course Team or Personal Achievement Tutor.

For more advice on how this will affect students and people who have applied to join us in September please visit our FAQs page.

Free schools meals
If you don’t attend college and you currently receive free school meals, we will pay a free school meal allowance into your bank account.

Student health and wellbeing
Student Services remains open to continue to support students and can be accessed through email:
- Bedfordshire: studentservices@bedford.ac.uk
- Northamptonshire: studentservices@tresham.ac.uk
You can also contact your Personal Achievement Tutor, Course Manager or Training Co-ordinator for support in the first instance using their email.

We really hope that you are not worrying too much about this situation. It can be difficult not to – and it may be a good idea to follow some expert advice if you are feeling anxious. There is some good advice on the Mental Health Foundation website.

Help to reduce the spread of coronavirus:
You must stay at home.
The only reasons to leave your house have been have been defined by the government and the NHS to be:
- shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
- one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk or cycle - alone or with members of your household
- any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
- travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely cannot be done from home.

If you do leave your home for one of the reasons above you should:
- Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Do not leave home if you or someone you live with has either:
- a high temperature - this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse then usual) 

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home. Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

Check the NHS website if you have any symptoms 

We also recommend that you continue to follow the good hygiene practices:
- wash your hands with soap and water often - do this for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitiser gel, if soap and water are not available
- wash your hands as soon as you get back home 
- cover your mouth and nose with tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

Please visit our FAQs page for more answers to frequently asked questions.