Dear parent, guardian, carer and student,
I’m writing to you regarding the College’s response to the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak in the news. I know that the situation is a concern for all of us and as such a member of the senior team will be writing to you regularly in order to keep you updated on the latest advice and any direct impact for the College going forwards. The health and wellbeing of our staff and students is a priority for us, and we are following the advice issued by the Department for Education and Public Health England with a few additional measures to protect our community.
Firstly, I want to offer some reassurance that no member of staff or students have been tested positive for the coronavirus to date. This may change in the coming weeks and we are currently reviewing our contingency plans should this happen. If this is the case, we will issue guidance on what steps are being taken – depending on the circumstance, our response may involve temporary closure of college sites for deep-cleaning, relocation or remote-working, and other measures following discussions with Public Health England. We will communicate with staff via ordinary channels, including using the website and social media to provide updates where appropriate.
Government advice – Government advice has been largely constant during this phase of the outbreak, and links to the latest state of play can be found at the foot of this email. Key points to note:
- Current advice is that no school or college should close unless advised to do so by Public Health England. The College continues to operate normally, and we will advise you if there are any relevant changes.
- Staff and students are asked to pay attention to the reminders around the college about good hygiene and the need to wash your hands more often (see attached).
- If you become unwell and suspect you may have coronavirus, you should contact NHS 111 to seek further medical advice and support. You are asked not to go directly to your GP or any other healthcare provider before taking advice from NHS 111, to help restrict the spread of the virus. If you are subject to testing for coronavirus, please do not attend college whilst awaiting test results. You are expected to report your absence directly to HR, who will liaise with your line manager.
Travel advice and staff absence
- Staff who have recently travelled from Category 1 specified countries/areas should self-isolate and contact NHS 111 for further advice (see below links for detail on categories). This includes avoiding attending work until 14 days after they return. Any related absence should be reported directly to HR, who will liaise with your line manager. Please note that staff who choose to travel to category 1 specified countries/areas from this point on will not receive occupational sick pay during their period of self-isolation or sickness resulting from contracting coronavirus unless in exceptional circumstances where advance approval has been received from a member of the Executive.
- Staff who have recently travelled from Category 2 specified countries/areas are advised to stay at home if they develop symptoms (see below links for detail on categories). Staff who are intending to travel to category 2 specified countries/areas from this point on must advise HR before travelling.
- If you have caring responsibilities, and you must remain at home whilst you make alternative arrangements for your dependents’ care, this should be treated in line with our ordinary policies around dependents’ leave. However, if you are taking care of a dependent who has either confirmed or suspected coronavirus, you must contact HR to discuss your circumstances.
Additional measures – the College is putting in place additional measures and restrictions during this period to support efforts to contain the spread of the virus. You are expected to follow these as they relate to work, and give due consideration to following this guidance outside of the workplace:
- Staff are not to attend conferences, competitions or other events which involve large groups of people until further notice. Apologies should be sent to any existing commitments.
- All student trips are to be cancelled immediately. Where appropriate, tutors should liaise with the Finance Department regarding student refunds. No future trips are to be scheduled unless with the written permission of a member of the Executive; approval is not likely to be given for any trip proposed within the limits of this academic year.
- Travel should be limited to what is necessary for the carrying out of your regular duties; if you are expected to attend meetings off site, it is worth exploring what arrangements are in place for people to attend remotely, and vice-versa.
- Avoid skin-to-skin contact where possible e.g. shaking hands.
Student absences – we will be writing out to students shortly to provide similar advice. Where students are required to self-isolate under government guidelines and not attend college, we will be treating this as authorised absence. Outside of the specific circumstances outlined above, students are expected to continue to attend classes as normal at this time.
I hope this provides some helpful clarification. We will continue to take advice from the Department for Education, Public Health England and awarding bodies as the situation continues to develop and will write out to you again with any key changes.
Principal & Chief Executive
The City of Liverpool College Group
Information issued to staff and students via college channels: