Last updated: 21st September 2021

Information for new and returning students, staff and visitors

The college’s priority is to deliver face-to-face, high quality education to all students in a safe and welcoming environment.

Following the advice of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE), the following measures and recommendations are in place to help reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection for everyone coming into the college:

All new and returning students should read our guide Get Ready To Come Into College.  This is a brief guide to all the measures we have in place and that you need to follow so that we are a safe and compliant environment for all students and staff.

Home testing for all students and staff

Testing remains important in reducing the risk of transmission of infection within colleges and schools.

This is why all students and staff are encouraged to collect a LFD test kit from their campus and take two tests per week at home.  This includes all 16-19 year-old learners, adult students, apprentices and HE students.

COVID-19 vaccination

COVID-19 vaccination is now being offered to everyone aged 16 and 17 at local sites run by GPs or community pharmacies, at larger vaccination centres and in some hospitals.   This includes a vaccination site in the Saddlers Centre in Walsall town centre.

The video below explains what receiving the vaccine involves.

More information on how to get a vaccine can be found on the NHS website.

Self-isolation

People who have been fully vaccinated or aged under 18 (those turning 18 will be treated in the same way as children until the age of 18 years and 6 months, to allow them time to get vaccinated) are no longer legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. This includes where they live in the same household as a positive case or symptomatic person.

Close contacts should be advised to be extra stringent with measures such as hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing face coverings in crowded areas etc.  They should also be advised to obtain a PCR test. They are not required to self isolate whilst doing this PCR test and awaiting results.  They also need to be alert for symptoms and if they have any they will need to self isolate.

NHS Test and Trace will get in touch with anyone who is a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 by text message, email, phone or the NHS COVID-19 app. If you are not legally required to self-isolate you will be provided with advice on testing and given guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19. Even if you do not have symptoms, you will be advised to have a PCR test as soon as possible. You can order a PCR home test online or by calling 119, or going to a test site.  You will not be required to self-isolate while you wait for the results of the PCR test.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, stay at home and self-isolate immediately. If you have a positive test result (LFD or PCR test) but do not have symptoms, stay at home and self-isolate as soon as you receive the results. Where a positive LFD test result is returned you should arrange to take a confirmatory PCR test and self isolate until the result of that test.

Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test is legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status or age in order to break onwards chains of transmission. Meanwhile anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and get a PCR test, and remain in isolation until the result comes back.

On-campus measures

While it is no longer mandatory for students to wear face coverings in college (and in classrooms), we recognise that they are a way for people to stay safe. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, we are actively encouraging the use of masks in communal areas such as social spaces, libraries, corridors, stairs, lifts etc. You may also wear face coverings in classrooms if you wish to.

Frequent and thorough hand cleaning will continue to be encouraged.  Hand sanitisers will continue to be made available around our campuses for people to use as often as possible.

There are currently no plans for new and returning students to be kept in consistent groups (or ‘bubbles’) during their time on campus.

We will continue to follow government advice on managing the risk of serious illness from the spread of the virus and support any targeted interventions to reduce risk.