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Coronavirus – Latest Information

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On Monday 22nd February 2021, the Prime Minister delivered an address that announced the Government’s plans for the easing of national Covid restrictions that have seen the college closed to the majority of students since early January.

In this latest announcement the Government stated that from 8th March, colleges are to reopen, along with schools, to all students and resume face to face teaching and learning.

To enable us to do this safely the Government has asked us to implement a twice weekly Covid testing schedule for students and staff and we are currently making plans to implement this testing programme.

The UK Government have produced a Frequently Asked Questions document to help explain how and why we are being asked to do this here:

From Monday the 8th March we plan to reopen and prioritise those students who either need to prepare for exams or undertake practical assessments. All other students will continue to study remotely until after the Easter Holiday.

Because of the number of students at the College and the need to maintain the social distancing measures needed to keep them safe we will bring those students who need to be in College back in two, two-week blocks. This will also allow us to offer those students lateral flow device (LFD) tests three times, three to five days apart in line with Government guidance. You can read more about testing below.

Tutors will be in touch with students directly to tell them when and where to return to College.

Those students who are continuing with remote education will be invited into College three times for testing purposes only between now and the beginning of the Easter Holiday on 2nd April. This means the last day of on-site testing will be on Thursday 1st April. At the end of the three test cycle students will first of all know how to test themselves competently, and secondly be issued with at home test kits which will allow them to test themselves during the holiday and on return.

Whilst it is not possible to ensure a totally risk-free environment, we have continued to review our health and safety risk assessments and updated our plans from 8th March onwards which incorporate the following measures:

  • a requirement that people who have Covid symptoms stay at home.
  • robust hand and respiratory hygiene
  • enhanced cleaning arrangements
  • active engagement with NHS Test and Trace
  • home testing of staff
  • normal consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise distancing between those in the College wherever possible and minimise potential for contamination so far as is reasonably practicable
  • the requirement for students and staff to wear face coverings in class and whilst within the College buildings unless exempt
  • asymptomatic testing of students on their return followed by 2 more tests in the College and the provision of home tests for students after that.

The college has always remained open for vulnerable students as well as from families with key worker responsibilities. No one should attend college unless invited to do so, or who have been regularly attending in person since 4th January.

Students should continue to study in the same way they have been for the last few weeks. Specific details of how your class/course will return to onsite delivery will be shared directly with you by your tutor.

Information for Higher Education students returning in person to Nottingham College this Spring

The latest Government announcement on 22nd February shaped intentions as to the return of HE students for all providers following easing of lockdown.

In response we have planned a phased return for HE, taking into account the needs of priority students, their safety and government guidance.

As such, your individual course tutors will be in contact to confirm the precise arrangements for your safe return between w/c 8th March and the Easter period. This will prioritise HE students on some courses with practical or practice-based elements and only where learning cannot be continued reasonably online.

A further review from the government will take place at the end of the Easter holiday with the hope that all of our HE students will return fully afterwards, where they haven’t already done so. Should you have any anxieties or difficulties in understanding arrangements made for your course, please contact your course tutors who can give you individual help.

If you have any queries about your finances, personal situation or wellbeing please contact the HE Office: he.team@nottinghamcollege.ac.uk

Testing

The government has confirmed its plans for regular testing for those without coronavirus symptoms.

Up to one third of people who have coronavirus have no symptoms. Through testing and other protective measures we are taking, we will help to reduce the spread in school and college settings unknowingly by people who have no symptoms.

Testing is entirely voluntary and free. No students will be refused access to on-site education if they decline a test.

The guidance we have received from the Department for Education is that in almost all cases children over the age of 16 can give their own consent to a test.

We are collecting and monitoring student’s consent through our Student Track software you can do that here. Our privacy statement is available here

You can read more about data protection in this frequently asked questions for parents document:

Plan for testing

Our staff will be able to self-test at home, before coming into work, twice a week.

We will be testing all students on their return to College. Students will be asked to take a test four times in the first two weeks of their return, though there is some flexibility in this timescale. The first three of those tests will be supervised by College staff to familiarise students with the testing process. These tests will take place three to five days apart. The fourth test will be carried out by the student themselves at home, as explained below.

Students will be given home test kits and asked to test at home twice a week. The Department of Health have produced a short film to explain how to do this and there are written instructions below.

They will be expected to report the results of their home tests to NHS Test and Trace as soon as the test is completed either online or by telephone as per the instructions in the home test kit.

This is a legal requirement if they bring a test kit home.

It is important that tests assigned to them are not used by anyone else.

Tests are free of charge.

Taking your test at College

Before you take your lateral flow test, you will need to register it online.

During the registration process, you will be asked for the Test Site ID. This is NEKH.

You will also need your postcode. If you don't know it, you can visit https://www.royalmail.com/find-a-postcode, enter your address and find your postcode.

Written instructions explaining how to register your test are listed below or you can watch our 'How to register video' here.

Designated college test centres

  • 25 Stoney Street - Student Breakout area
  • Adams Building - B101 & C132
  • Basford - Canteen & NSEC G10
  • City Hub - G092 Business Lounge
  • Haydn Road - Breakout Area
  • High Pavement - Library
  • Highfields - Bodyshop
  • London Road - Canteen

On arrival at the test centre

  • On arrival at the test centre, you will be given a registration card and three, self adhesive barcodes.
  • First, peel off one of the barcodes and stick it in the allocated box at the top right of the registration card.
  • Write your name in the box provided, make sure the name is clear and legible.

Scan the QR Code

  • The next step requires a smartphone or similar device. If you do not have one, please speak to a member of staff.
  • iPhone: If you have an iPhone, open the camera and hold the camera over the square QR code at the bottom of the card. Once you have scanned the QR code you will receive a notification with a link to the registration process. Click that link.
  • Android: If you have an Android device, you may need to download a QR scanner from the Play Store in order to read the QR code. First open the camera or QR code scanner as applicable. Second, hold the camera over the square QR code at the bottom of the card. Follow the link that is prompted when the QR is scanned.
  • Whichever device you use, the rest of the process is the same.

Register the test

  • Once on the website, click 'Start Now'.
  • Follow the instructions on screen.
  • You can either create an account or continue without one.
  • The next step is to either manually enter or scan the barcode that you have stuck to your registration card.
  • To scan the barcode, open your camera and hold it over the barcode.
  • Once the number appears in the box, you can press continue.
  • You will be then asked to enter the Test Site ID. The ID you need to enter is NEKH. Once you have done this press continue.
  • If you have entered the Test Site ID correctly, the next screen should state Nottingham College, with the address of the Adams Building. Confirm that the test site is correct and press continue.
  • For area of work, please choose 'Prefer not to say/Not applicable and continue.
  • The next screen asks for your occupation. Type student and select 'cannot find correct occupation' and continue.
  • For employer, type Nottingham College and continue.
  • You should not be taking the lateral flow test if you are currently exhibiting any Covid-19 symptoms. Select 'no', and continue if you are not showing symptoms.
  • If you haven't travelled to any countries outside the UK and Ireland within the last 14 days please select 'no' and continue.
  • Please choose the correct answer as to whether you have received a coronavirus vaccine and continue.
  • To answer 'Where in the UK do you live', please select 'England' and continue.
  • Fill in the rest of the registration as is applicable to you.
  • Check the details are correct and continue.
  • Complete the security check by ticking the 'I am not a robot' box and continue.
  • You will now have completed the registration process and will be ready to take the test.

Taking the test

  • Please take a pen, your registration card and both spare barcodes with you when you go into the test centre.
  • Staff there will give you a test kit and explain how to take it.

Getting your results

  • You will have to wait 30 minutes before your results are available.
  • Staff will inform you of the result and report the test for you.
  • They will explain the next steps depending on your result.

How to take the test at home

Make sure you read the instructions contained within your kit carefully, as models do vary.

If you are taking the test at home, you don't need to pre-register your test before you take it.

When reporting your result online, you will need your postcode. If you don't know it, you can visit https://www.royalmail.com/find-a-postcode, enter your address and find your postcode.

Written instructions explaining how to take your test are listed below and you can also watch a video on how to do this here.

You can also download a document produced by the NHS explaining the process of self testing and why we are asking you to self test: NHS: How to self test at home

Prepare yourself for your test

  • Make sure you haven't had anything to eat or drink in the last 30 minutes. If you have, you need to wait until 30 minutes have passed before you take the test.
  • You are going to swab your nose and throat. If you have had a nose bleed in the last 24 hours, use the other nostril or wait 24 hours.
  • If you have a nose piercing, use the other nostril or if you have piercings on both sides, remove the piercing on the side you are going to swab.
  • Only use the items in the test kit once, you cannot re-use them.
  • If there is a reason you cannot take a throat swab, for example, you've had a tracheostomy, you can swab both nostrils instead.
  • First, clear, clean and dry a flat surface to place the test kit on.
  • Wash your hands with warm water for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitiser and dry them thoroughly.
  • Your kit should have six items:
    • A swab inside a sealed wrapper
    • An extraction tube holder
    • An extraction tube
    • An extraction buffer sachet
    • A test strip in a foil wrapper
    • A waste bag

Set up the test

  • Take the test strip out of the foil packet and place it onto the cleaned the flat surface. Once opened, take the test within 30 minutes.
  • Carefully twist or snap open the extraction buffer sachet.
  • Being careful not to spill any of the fluid, open the extraction tube and pour in all the contents of the extraction buffer sachet.
  • Close the extraction tube cap and place the filled tube in the extraction tube holder.
  • Before you take the sample, blow your nose. Wash and dry your hands again or use hand sanitiser.
  • Remove the swab from the packet. Make sure you don't touch the soft part of the swab.

Take the swab sample

  • Most people find this a bit uncomfortable. This is perfectly normal.
  • If you cannot swab your throat, you can swab both nostrils instead.
  • If you have had your tonsils removed, do this where your tonsils would have been.
  • It is important the fabric end of the swab, does not touch your teeth, tongue or gums.
  • Holding the swab between your fingers and thumb, open your mouth wide and rub the fabric tip over both tonsils or over where your tonsils would have been, if you have had them removed. Do this firmly 4 times on each side.
  • Use a mirror to help you do this correctly.
  • Remove the swab carefully, without touching your teeth, tongue or gums.
  • Using the same swab you did in your mouth, you now need to swab the inside of your nose.
  • Making sure you don't touch any other part of your face, insert the same swab inside your nostril until you feel resistance.
  • Roll the swab firmly around the inside of your nostril, making 10 complete circles.
  • Remember, it's really important the fabric tip doesn't touch anything apart from the inside of your throat and nose.

Process the swab sample

  • Pick up the extraction tube and open the lid.
  • Place the fabric tip of the swab in the tube so that it is in the fluid.
  • Press the tip against the edge of the extraction tube with force, while rolling it around the tube for 15 seconds.
  • It is important to mix thoroughly.
  • Pinch the tube as your remove the swab to make sure that all the fluid is removed.
  • Press the nozzle cap tightly onto the extraction tube to avoid any leaks.
  • Gently squeeze the extraction tube to extract two drops of the fluid on the specimen well marked 'S' on the test strip.
  • Make sure you are dropping fluid and not an air bubble.
  • Set a timer for 30 minutes.
  • Make sure the test strip is left on the clean flat surface.

Read your result

  • It is important to wait 30 minutes before you read your result.
  • You'll see one line in the test after 20 or so minutes but you must wait 30 minutes to find out your proper result.
  • If, after 30 minutes, you still only have one line next to 'C', your result is negative.
  • If you have two lines, your test is positive.
  • If you test is positive, you and everyone in your household must self-isolate following government guidelines.
  • If you do not have any lines or just one line at the bottom of the display next to 'T', then your test is invalid.
  • After an invalid test, you must take another test.
  • Make sure you follow the instructions carefully when you take another test.
  • Negative tests do not rule out a COVID-19 infection, particularly in the early stages of the infection.
  • If you have had recent exposure to potentially infected individuals, along with any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you should seek medical advice - even with a negative test.

Report your result

  • It's really important to report a positive test result to the NHS at www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result and to the College by contacting us on 0115 9 100 100.
  • You should also report negative or invalid results at www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result.
  • Once your test is complete, place all of the used test kit contents into the waste bag provided and place in your household waste.

How the tests work

Students taking the test at College will be supervised by trained staff and volunteers using a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test. The lateral flow tests are quick and easy to undertake, using a swab of the nose and throat. Results usually take around half an hour from testing. The student will also receive a text/email notification of a positive or negative result from the online NHS system.

LFD tests have been widely and successfully used to detect COVID-19 in people without symptom. No test is perfect, but the speed and convenience of LFD tests supports detection of the virus in people without symptoms who would not otherwise be tested. They are clinically approved and are crucial in the fight against the virus.

As the tests are more sensitive with higher viral loads, there is a risk of returning a negative result when viral loads are low (for example, in the early stages of infection). This is why Public Health England recommends two LFD tests 3 to 5 days apart (or 3 to 4 days for home testing), to enhance detection by picking up any cases which were not detected during the first test and to catch any new infections.

If you test positive using an LFD, it is likely that you are infectious at that moment, whereas people testing positive on a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or lab-processed test could be in the less infectious early or late stages of disease. This means that by using the lateral flow test we can identify people with a high viral load who are the most likely to spread the virus further.

A negative LFD result should not be read as a means to relax or ignore social distancing or other virus prevention measures intended to reduce transmission – LFD is an additional tool that contributes to reducing risk

What if the test is positive?

If a student tests positive on a lateral flow device, they will be informed immediately by Nottingham College and NHS Test and Trace and they will need to self-isolate in line with the current guidance.

If a student tests positive with a test kit they have brought home, then they and the rest of their household will need to self-isolate in line with the current guidance.

What happens if the test is negative?

While a small number of students may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason, students who test negative will be able to stay in College and resume their activities as normal. Students will be informed of negative test results via text/email. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed.

What if staff or students have been in close contact with someone at Nottingham College who tests positive?

The staff member or student will be notified that they are a close contact by Nottingham College and should self-isolate in line with the current guidance.

What if a student develops symptoms?

This testing programme at Nottingham College is for people with no symptoms. If a student develops symptoms at any time (including a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste) they must immediately self-isolate, and book a test by calling 119 or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

Further Information

Face coverings

The government recommends that face coverings should be worn by staff and students where social distancing cannot easily be maintained when moving around the premises outside of classrooms or teaching spaces, such as in corridors and communal areas. In addition, for a limited period, we expect face coverings to be worn in classrooms and other teaching spaces, unless wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in learning activities safely, or for those who are exempt from wearing a face covering as set out in Government guidance. Please ensure you make appropriate arrangements to bring in an appropriate face covering every day.

Exams

The Government’s plans for the awarding of grades this year have been updated since it announced that schools and colleges would re-open on the 8th March.

In England, A Levels, AS levels, GCSE exams and BTEC external exams will not take place and instead, students will receive teacher-assessed grades.

Results days have now been confirmed as:

  • A Levels and AS Levels: Tuesday 10th August
  • GCSEs: Thursday 12th August

You can read guidance for students, parents and guardians for GCSEs and AS/A Levels in England issued by the Joint Council for Qualifications here.

Plans for other exams and vocational assessments are still being finalised and students will be notified as soon as possible.

Ofqual has issued guidence on for students studying vocational and technical qualifications here.

Ongoing IT support

Students requiring IT equipment will need to talk to their tutor. If we can provide you with equipment we will arrange for this to get to you.

Financial support

We recognise that for some families, the ongoing Covid pandemic has been especially difficult. Financial support is available for students in families with an household income of less than £25,000 a year.

You could be entitled to a travel pass, support to buy any equipment you need to do your course, or we might be able to loan you a laptop or help with internet access by issuing you with a 4G router. Whilst you are in college to attend classes you could also get a meal in the college refectory.

If you are 19yrs and over of age and are living with a parent(s) and you have a part time job, we take only your earnings into account.

For our adult learners we can help with childcare too. If you are working you still may qualify. The income threshold is £25,000 but if you have children we allow you £1000 per child.

It is not too late to apply for this additional financial support - we can backdate payments.

Submit an application online via your learner portal, upload the required evidence and we will be in touch soon about your entitlement.

If you need help just call us on 9100 100 and one of our advisors can talk you through your application.

Managing onsite Covid cases

The College is notified about cases affecting our staff or student population. If a staff member begins to feel unwell or receives a positive test, that staff member is immediately isolated at home. We review their movements and trace who, if anyone, has come into contact with the staff member. If there is any possibility that social distancing has been breached or that there is any risk of possible spread to you, we notify you by email or letter and advise you on what to do.

If there has been a confirmed case connected to your class or tutor, we will also notify you. If we believe the case has been isolated with no risk to you we will advise you to continue to come into college as per your timetable.

Both of these processes have been endorsed by Public Health England.

For the latest advice about what to do if you feel symptoms or someone close to you becomes ill, please visit the Covid information on the Government’s website

We will support our staff and students throughout, but please contact us if you have any questions. You can contact us by calling 0115 9 100 100.

You can find useful tips on how to effectively manage your mental health as we start to come out of lockdown in this guide from the Rehab Clinic Group: https://rehabclinicsgroup.com/guides/mental-health/student-guide-to-managing-mental-health-during-covid-19.pdf