Tuesday 15 June 2021
A letter from Director of Public Health for County Durham/Chair of North East DPH Network, Amanda Healy, to gently remind you to follow the rules and remain vigilant.
The control measures to stop transmission remain the same as always: Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air.
Download letter from Durham County Council
Updated 13 May 2021
Following the latest Government announcement, released this week in relation to Step 3 of the Roadmap and the developments regarding Face Coverings, our focus continues to be on ensuring our students and staff are safe and that they can continue to access an exceptional education experience.
As the end of the academic year comes into sight, the College is focused on ensuring that all assessment activity, including work for teacher assessed grades, can take place safely. This will ensure you achieve your qualifications and are able to progress to the next stage of your career journey.
You will be aware of the significant measures that the College has introduced and implemented across the last 15 months. The decisions that have guided these measures have always been taken to protect our staff and students. The College recognises that they have had an impact on everyone. These actions have allowed us to keep each other as safe as possible whilst continuing to provide an effective education and College experience. The combined efforts of us all have meant that the College is currently seeing a very low rate of infection and indeed the vast majority of COVID-19 cases reported to the College are as a result of contacts outside of the College.
Together, we have all been successful in mitigating this risk for everyone – as the government starts to ease the measures within society be assured the we will remain vigilant and be balanced in any consideration of these recommendations.
The College Executive Leadership Team have reviewed the government guidance and taken a decision that is guided by the following aims and facts:
- Maintain the safety of students and staff
- Ensure there is no disruption to the assessment processes
- Continue to provide an exceptional education experience
- Maintain the current numbers of students undertaking face to face lessons especially in practical subjects
- The vast majority of our student body have not yet been vaccinated
- Whilst reduced, there is still an ongoing risk of transmission of COVID-19
The College has also recognised the guidance published by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) last Friday, which clearly stated that it was important to maintain the current mitigation measures in Colleges, including mask wearing, in the coming weeks. SAGE point to the fact that a COVID-19 strain first detected in India has recently been declared a “variant of concern” by Public Health England and this therefore suggests the need for caution.
Having considered all these factors we have decided the following actions:
- Maintain the wearing of face coverings at New College Durham in classrooms and social spaces until the end of the May Bank Holiday week (Whit week).
- Maintain current social distancing arrangements in classrooms, this will maintain current classroom capacities
- Maintain current College layout and one-way systems
- Continue to promote twice weekly LFD testing and provide these to staff and students.
We recognise that for some this decision may be questioned, but we believe that our decision is consistent with our commitment to provide high quality education in the safest environment possible.
During May Whit week break, we will review this position again and take an informed decision in relation to the wearing of face coverings and further changes to current practices in the College from week commencing 7 June.
You may have seen the recent announcement regarding the cancellation of GCSE and A-level examinations and that teacher assessed grades will be used to award final qualification outcomes. We are waiting to see the detailed guidance of how this will work.
It is essential that your son/daughter continues to engage in the remote learning. Teachers will be continuing to gather evidence that will be used in these processes and may be used in the awarding of these grades.
In some subjects, awarding organisations may choose to carry out their assessments as planned although delay these. Students will need to have continued engagement in their learning to ensure they can return to College and are fully prepared for any future assessment.
Our commitment continues to be to support your son/daughter to achieve their full potential. Once we have been informed of the confirmed arrangements, we will make sure the information is available to you.
Resources for students
Click here or scan the QR code below to access information for Functional Maths and English via our online padlet.
Please view the Functional Skills PowerPoint for information on how to access resources, such as Schoology and BKSB.
Health and wellbeing
Keep yourself moving and improve your mental wellbeing with one of the accessible home workouts provided by our experienced personal trainers:
AoC Mental Health and Wellbeing information.
Information for students, apprentices, parents, staff, stakeholders and employers, and understanding the Coronavirus.
For information and documentation.
To support the return of staff and students to College, we have established a Rapid Testing Centre.