Letter to the Parent/Guardians of students

1 September 2021

Dear Parent/Guardian,

We are delighted that your young person is joining the College Academy and will be studying with us during this academic year. We believe our school/college partnership is an important step in their education journey. We wish to outline to you the steps that we take to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in a college setting.

With the country’s move to Level 0 and effective withdrawal of many of the virus suppression measures we’ve seen over the past 18 months, Dumfries and Galloway College will maintain measures essential to keep everybody safe.

We will be delivering to school students using blended and on campus learning. Students will have been notified of the arrangements for their classes. This may be to attend college or school or join a class on-line.

COVID-19: Re-Opening Update click here

The health, safety and wellbeing of all students and staff is of paramount importance. In order to protect this, the following practices will be adhered to in the delivery of College Academy programmes.

The college has arrangements in place to mitigate the risk presented by the virus. These include operating a keep-left system when moving around the building, continued use of face masks in all public areas, implementing 1 m social distancing in the building, sanitisation points on entry to and throughout the building and asking those coming to campus to take lateral flow tests twice per week.

Guidance on Covid-19 arrangements in a college environment can be accessed here

Further guidance on these arrangement can be accessed here

We are actively encouraging students to download the Test and Protect app released by NHS Scotland.

Download the NHS Scotland Test and protect app

The college has a register system in place that should there be any instances of COVID–19 on site, it can provide the appropriate Trace and Protect information. We are also providing staff and students with swipe cards to use on entering and exiting the building for this purpose

1. Travel to college campuses

School pupils travel to college either on foot, by public transport or by private taxi. Transport is organised by the school (minibus, coach or taxi). Pupils must wear face coverings if travelling on public transport.

 2. Physical Distancing

The college has implemented social distancing of 1 metre in its buildings until at least the October break. Signage is in place. All school pupils must adhere to this requirement.

3. Face coverings

You are advised that face coverings will be worn in all public areas of the college unless you have an exemption from wearing one. The college will keep spare coverings at reception so please feel free to ask for one if you haven’t brought yours in. We ask that you use a reusable mask where possible, if you have a single use mask then please dispose of this in our waste bins.

You should wear a face covering until you get to your desk/workspace in classrooms/ workshops. Further advice will be given for the requirements in workshops as masks may need to be worn when undertaking some practical activities.

 4. Arrival at and departure from the college
First day of study

On arrival at college on the first day of study, pupils should arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before the start of their class. They will be asked to wait in the reception area where they will be welcomed by a member of staff and then escorted to their allocated classroom or workshop.

Pupils should not arrive early as they cannot be accommodated within the college campuses

Subsequent days

On arrival at college after the first day, pupils should make their way, directly, to their allocated classroom.

Finish times

Classes will be allocated staggered finish times to ensure that all pupils are not leaving the building at the same time.

Students must not wander around the campus and must adhere to all safety instructions as directed to ensure that the environment is maintained in a safe way

5. Breaks

Classes are normally three hours in duration. Where breaks are planned, students are asked to adhere to the measures that are in place when moving around the building.

6. Delivery of classes in school settings

Before a member of college staff begins delivery in a school, the staff member should have access to the individual school risk assessment. On the first visit, the staff member should be taken through the relevant school risk assessment by a member of school staff and be orientated in the current COVID-19 arrangements for the school.

College risk assessments are being agreed for specialist workshop learning spaces.

7. Learning and Teaching
Blended Learning

Blended learning is an approach to learning that combines online learning of timetabled classes that allows for interaction online along with traditional classroom or workshop learning.

While in the classroom or workshop at college, pupils will be required to follow the measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 being spread as directed by staff.

Class etiquette

When working online, school pupils should follow the same standards, as they would do in a cclassroom setting.

Teams

Online learning, at Dumfries and Galloway College, will be facilitated using the Microsoft 365 Teams platform. School students will be using their College email account to access this platform, not their GLOW one.

Only those pupils within the class will receive an invitation to join the class and have access to this session.

The setting within Teams allows the class lecturer to monitor and manage individual class sessions in a safe and secure environment. No student cameras will be used. Although lecturer presentations may be recorded, there will be no recording of any student discussions.

Lecturers can moderate discussion within individual channels within Teams.

Communication will be primarily through Teams.

Students are expected to adhere to safe use of both the Teams and LearnNet platforms as outlined in the college induction.

8. Cleaning

Cleaning rotas have been increased to ensure that touch points are cleaned frequently. All learning spaces have a COVID kit that includes sanitising wipes and hand sanitiser.

The above processes have been developed in line with current Scottish Government guidance. Any revision to national or sectoral guidance will result in a review of processes after discussion with our Local Authority partners.

We trust that this information is helpful and we wish your young person well as they embark on a key step in their education