Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Policy

1. Statement
Ashbourne College takes the physical and mental health and safety of our students and staff very seriously. We believe that enabling students to continue their education at school is vital for their cognitive and academic development as well as their positive wellbeing. In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, and in compliance with UK Government guidance and regulations, the College has put in place online distance learning provision and a wide range of practical measures, including upgrades to our premises, to ensure our students can carrying on with their learning as uninterrupted as possible in a COVID-safe environment.

Ashbourne will remain open and will continue to deliver lessons on the premises, face-to-face, including during lockdown, unless advised otherwise by the UK Government, Department for Education or Public Health England.

Please contact Ashbourne’s COVID-19 Team if you have any COVID-19 related issues or concerns whatsoever.

2. Aim
The aim of this policy is to highlight the measures we have put in place to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus and make the College COVID-safe, outline the online distance learning provision we offer and set out the procedures for dealing with COVID-19 cases, in line with Government guidance and regulation.

Due to the fast-changing nature of the pandemic this policy is under continual review.

3. COVID-safe measures
3.1 Checking temperatures of staff and students
At the entrance to each of Ashbourne’s premises the College has installed thermal imaging cameras which will detect whether anyone entering the building has an abnormally high temperature. Follow-up temperature checking devices will be located at each reception, with temperature measuring carried out in accordance with strict safety protocols and use of PPE.

If an individual enters the College premises with an abnormally high temperature they will be taken to a designated room to have a follow-up temperature measurement. If this confirms a high temperature, they will be asked to leave the College premises; please see 5. below.

We encourage all students and staff to take their temperature before coming to the College and to purchase temperature checking equipment to do so, (such as digital thermometers which can be bought at large pharmacies such as Boots or online). This wise investment will help everyone at the College reduce the chances of transmitting COVID-19.

3.2 Hands-free entry
We have made changes to ensure that as far as possible members of the Ashbourne community may walk freely about the premises without the need to open or close doors.

3.2.1 Upgrade to lanyards (ID card holders)
The College has upgraded the lanyards, which are mandatory for all students and staff, so that individuals can use the tip of the new lanyards to key in entrance codes to gain access to each of the three premises’ without using their hands. In the rare cases that a door will be shut (e.g. toilets and entrance doors), individuals can use the hook on the ID to open the door.

We recognise that some members of the Ashbourne community may wish to continue to use their existing lanyards and keep the new larger lanyards in their pockets for convenience.

Ashbourne is researching lanyards that can be used to open doors automatically.

3.2.2 Upgrades to doors
The College has upgraded all doors with self-closing devices that will permit doors to remain open. Should a fire alarm sound these devices will be triggered and shut the door in order to meet fire regulations. This will mean that doors will stay open throughout the College and there will be no need for individuals to touch doors. Members of staff will ensure doors remain open as they walk around the College premises.

In cases where teachers (or members of staff responsible for a meeting in a particular room) would like to shut the door to the room within which they are situated, they will be responsible for opening and closing the door for those entering or leaving, as well as wiping down the door after use with available wipes; cleaning wipes will be available in each room.

The exit handle at our Young Street premises has been replaced so that it can be opened with the new lanyard without using your hands.

3.3 Cleaning
Deep cleaning of all three of Ashbourne’s premises was carried out before re-opening in September 2020. The College is cleaned at the end of each day and an additional clean will take place at lunchtime. For the first time, the College also has employed a full-time cleaner to clean frequently used areas on a regular basis.

The College also repaints the premises each year so we begin the year with completely clean surfaces throughout.

3.4 Hand sanitiser
More than fifty hand sanitiser dispensers have been installed throughout the premises so that students and staff can use them whenever required. These dispense liquid automatically when hands are moved beneath the device and are located outside every classroom, office and in the corridors and at the entrance to each building.

3.5 Washing hands
One of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce the spread of infection is by thoroughly washing your hands frequently. All members of the Ashbourne community will be encouraged to do so on a regular basis. At a minimum, members of the Ashbourne community should use hand sanitiser when they enter and leave each premises building.

3.6 Deliveries
All deliveries will be cleaned before opening.

3.7 Classrooms
3.7.1 New tables
To adhere to social distancing, the College has replaced all of the existing classroom tables so that students can sit at their own individual desk; in line with government guidance, students will be at least one metre apart from each other and almost two metres from the teacher. This decision will mean that the number of students per class will be reduced, but not significantly (the majority of classrooms will be able to accommodate a minimum of nine students).

In line with government guidance and to maximise the number of students per class all tables will face forwards.

3.7.2 Audio-visual upgrades
Ashbourne’s classrooms have been fitted with new cameras and additional audio-visual equipment that allow our teachers to deliver high-quality lessons online for students unable to attend in person and in the event of future closures or lockdowns.

3.8 Minimising risk in communal areas
In order to minimise risk of transmission Ashbourne has made the following measures with respect to shared equipment and communal areas.

3.8.1 Computers
Shared computers around the College (e.g. library, classrooms, staff room, Media room, and Music) have been removed and individuals will have to bring in their own laptops instead. This decision will impact learners in a number of subjects and the College will follow-up with students of these subjects and their families to ensure that everyone has the required equipment.

Due to the nature of the subject, we have agreed to keep shared computers for Graphic Communication. However, each student will be given their own keyboard and mouse.

The College will have laptops for loan kept in the reception area of Old Court Place for emergencies.

3.8.2 Water machines
The installation of water machines has been a huge success at the College. After a thorough risk assessment, it was determined that the water machines can continued to be used provided:
Individuals use their own bottles or drinking vessels
Individuals use their new lanyard to press the button to dispense the water rather than their finger.
Ashbourne has purchased refillable water bottles specifically to give to students and staff if they need one; these can be collected from reception.

Bottled water will be kept in each reception area for visitors to Ashbourne’s premises (e.g. prospective students and parents) and for emergencies.

3.8.3 Printing facilities
To reduce the chances of transmission, the College has removed all shared student printers. If a student wants something to be printed they will need to send it to the Reception Team and ask one of the Operations Team members to print out the document; this may take some time so please be patient. The College asks that students think carefully about the importance of printing materials and encourages students to reduce the amount of printing that takes place.

Teachers are currently encouraged not to share printed materials with students and consider how to adjust their teaching practices so that they do not need to share physical documents. Nevertheless, teachers will still be permitted to use the photocopiers but are required to:

  • Use the new lanyards to key in any data rather than using their hands
  • Wipe down any areas touched so that the next person can use the machine without concern. To facilitate this the College will provide either appropriate wipes or sprays.

3.8.4 Libraries
The libraries will still be available to students, and marked up to ensure students remain one metre apart.

3.8.5 Staff rooms
Due to the 2-metre restriction for staff, there can only be six members of staff in each staff room at one time. Ashbourne has allocated a second staff room in order to deal with this. The shared facilities (e.g. coffee machines, kettle, cups, fridge) are not in use.

3.9 Ventilation
Ashbourne’s facilities team will open all windows that have been specifically identified to increase ventilation throughout the premises.

3.10 Late cards
The College will suspend the issuing of late cards, but students are still required to report to reception in the event they are late, before entering their class. For those students who are late, the Reception Team will update the register.

3.11 Books
The College has considered the use of online versions of books. However, the College believes that it is still important for students to have access to physical copies of their books. Students will be given the opportunity to collect their books before their first class. Each book will be cleaned before being put into an Ashbourne bag and distributed to the students.

3.12 Art materials
Each Fine Art and Textile Design student will have individual sets of equipment for key items (e.g. brushes, paint).

3.13 Bins
Each newly purchased bin will have the facility to enable individuals to use their feet to open the device. However, for the time-being we have removed all of the existing bin heads so that individuals do not need to use their hands to open the bin. The full-time cleaner will remove rubbish from bins on a regular basis.

3.14 Events and extra curricular activities
3.14.1 Extra-curricular activities
The College is keen to continue with all extra curricular activities. However, our primary focus is to ensure the delivery of effective support to students in terms of their GCSE and A-Level studies. At this time, therefore, we will be running a reduced selection of activities and clubs. Unfortunately, we will not be organising any external trips, concerts or outings. And sadly the Annual College Revue will not take place in December.

3.14.2 Open evening and parents evening
Open evenings and parents evenings will continue to take place; for now,these will take place online.

3.14.1 Registration
Registration of staff and students will take place online for the most part.

3.15 Personal protective equipment (PPE)
3.15.1 Face masks, gloves and face shields
Face covering are mandatory for students and staff when onsite and not in socially distanced settings (e.g. corridors). Face coverings are not required in settings such as classrooms, libraries and common rooms where social distancing is in place. Everyone is expected to wear face coverings when entering the College premises from street level and walking around the building corridors and stairwells. For those who do not feel comfortable wearing a mask, a face shield must be worn instead. For those who have medical reasons for not wearing a face covering please contact Ashbourne’s COVID-19 Team immediately.

Students must be aware that failure to comply with these requirements could result in disciplinary action.

3.16 Social distancing – WALK ON THE LEFT
In addition to the measures Ashbourne has set in place to maintain Government required social distancing in classrooms and shared spaces, students and staff are required to walk on the left hand side throughout the premises including in corridors and stairwells. Any physical contact, including hugging, is not permitted.

Students must be aware that breaching social distancing rules could lead to disciplinary action, and therefore should take these rules seriously.

3.17 Private Doctor
Doctor Call is a private company that offers an immediate call-out service to those students who have COVID-19 symptoms. For those students who are living alone in London, the College can arrange an initial visit by a private doctor if absolutely necessary. This provision is strictly for cases where the student’s symptoms are not mild but the hospitals are unwilling to take on their case.

4. Online distance learning (ODL) provision
In accordance with Kensington & Chelsea Borough Local Authority guidance, Ashbourne uses audio-visual facilities to deliver online lessons to students who are unable to attend the College in person due to COVID-19 related reasons. These online lessons will be delivered from the same classroom where in-class lessons are taking place. The provision of ODL is not intended to be a long-term replacement or alternative for in-class teaching.

4.1 ODL provision will be available to all students in the event of a whole-college closure resulting from a widespread outbreak of COVID-19 cases at the College and/or local or national lockdowns.

4.2 ODL provision will be available to students unable to physically attend the College, when it is open, due to the following COVID-19-related circumstances:

  • Overseas students unable to travel to the UK because of COVID-19 travel restrictions
  • Students self-isolating in the UK

4.2.1 ODL and student absences
Ashbourne is doing its utmost to fulfil the Government’s policy to keep the College open until told otherwise. Therefore Ashbourne remains dedicated to offering on-site, face-to-face classes; and so all students should be physically present in classes whenever possible.

We are keen to support students who cannot physically attend their lesson in-class and are continuing to embrace new technology and adjust our teaching techniques for our ODL provision to ensure our students receive the best possible learning experience. Nonetheless, Ashbourne has no intention of making ODL a focus for the College.

4.2.1.1 Non-COVID-19 related absence
Students who are unable to attend College due to non -COVID-19 -related reasons (e.g. physical injury or other illness) are asked to focus their attention on getting better as soon as possible, and therefore are not typically eligible for ODL. Students who are absent for not more than two consecutive days will continue to receive work from their teachers via Google Classroom and will be offered help to catch up, but they will not be able to attend lessons through ODL.

  • You can join ODL: if you are unable to attend lessons because you are self-isolating in relation to COVID-19 or you are currently overseas as a result of the pandemic.
  • You cannot join ODL: if you are absent for not more than two consecutive days due to an illness or injury not related to COVID-19.
  • You may be able to join ODL: if you are absent for a prolonged period of time (more than two consecutive days) due to an illness/injury not related to COVID-19; we will carefully consider your case and may agree to ODL as an alternative to face-to-face lessons.

To manage attendance effectively, it is vital that we are clear on which students are being taught online and which students are being taught in-class. Therefore, all students are expected to attend lessons on-site unless otherwise agreed. ODL is not available for students to study at home out of convenience or on a whim. For instance, if you wake up late for your lesson, you are not permitted to access ODL.

Students who have been asked to isolate and yet turn up to class nonetheless will be sent home immediately.

Please read the protocol on delivery of ODL lessons at the end of this policy.

5. COVID-19 procedures
5.1 Symptoms
Most people with COVID-19 have at least one of these symptoms:

  1. High temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (37.8°C and above)
  2. New, continuous cough – coughing excessively for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours. If you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual.
  3. Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste differently.

Please note: some people show no symptoms or are pre-symptomatic yet can still carry the virus. Therefore, it is essential for everyone to follow the other safety measures put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

5.1.1 Procedure if you have symptoms
5.1.1.1 Stay at home
If anyone from the Ashbourne Community suspects they or anyone in their household have COVID-19 symptoms they should stay at home and inform the College immediately. If in doubt, stay at home.

5.1.1.2 Medical advice and emergencies
If you need medical advice call NHS 111. For emergencies call 999.

5.1.1.3 COVID-19 symptoms
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms you should take a PCR test (not an Antigen Test) through the NHS or privately. Please continue to self-isolate while waiting for your results.

If you receive a positive test you are required to self-isolate for a further 10 days from the date of the test.

A member of Ashbourne’s COVID-19 Team will be in contact with you at the end of your self-isolation to assess when you will be able to return to the College. When conducting this risk assessment Ashbourne’s COVID-19 Team will consider a number of factors including any ongoing symptoms, how long you have been without symptoms and other circumstances that may affect your return to the College. Please note that the College is likely to be very cautious in these situations and will also take into consideration the circumstances of others who may be affected.

Please note: a lack of sense of smell and a cough are symptoms that may persist even after you are no longer infectious.

If you receive a negative test you will still need to contact Ashbourne’s COVID-19 Team who will assess your situation to determine when you can return to the College; see 5.3. below.

5.1.1.4 Self-isolation
If someone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19 you must self-isolate for 14 days.

Isolation period: Day 0 to Day 14, inclusive.
Day 0 is defined as:

  • the first day you were in contact with your house member when their symptoms started;

or, if your house member showed no symptoms:

  • The date when your house member took a PCR test which returned as positive for COVID-19

You must self-isolate for the full period even if you have received a negative COVID-19 test during isolation. In the case where your house member has symptoms yet has received a negative Antigen Test, you will still be required to self-isolate for 14 days. This house member should take a PCR test to determine whether or not they have COVID-19.

5.1.1.5 Clearance from Ashbourne’s COVID-19 Team
In any event please do not return to the College without receiving clearance from the Ashbourne COVID-19 Team.

5.2 NHS Test and Trace
Anyone who is contacted by NHS Test and Trace and asked to self-isolate must do so for the prescribed time. You must contact Ashbourne’s COVID-19 Team before returning to College following this period.

5.3 Returning to College
You must contact Ashbourne’s COVID-19 Team before returning to College if you have been offsite for your lessons for any reason. This includes, for example, if:

  • you have been having lessons online;
  • you have been self-isolating because you or someone in your house has had COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive;
  • you have been required to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace;
  • you have received a negative PCR test after being asked to self-isolate by the College.

Ashbourne’s COVID-19 Team will carry out a full case-by-case risk assessment, based on government guidance. You will only be permitted to return to College on agreement if:

  • You are well;
  • You have completed the required self-isolation period as specified by the College;
  • No-one else in your household has symptoms related to COVID-19 (coughing, fever, loss of smell or taste);
  • Members of your household who had suspected COVID-19 symptoms have also received a negative test result;
  • You have completed your self-isolation period as required by NHS Test and Trace;
  • You have not recently travelled in or been in any non-exempt country;
  • You have had a full consultation with a member of Ashbourne’s COVID-19 Team after a negative test result.

6. College procedure delays
Despite Ashbourne staff doing their utmost to ensure that College operations run as smoothly as possible during this turbulent period, please be aware that procedural delays may occur.

Authorised by The Principal
Date September 2020
Effective date of the policy September 2020
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / Students on request
Review date Ongoing

Annex A: Online Distance Learning (ODL) protocol
This protocol sets out the requirements for using audio-visual equipment and facilities to deliver lessons online. This protocol should be read alongside Ashbourne’s Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and Procedures.

Delivery of online distance learning
Ashbourne has a duty of care to provide the best quality education it reasonably can under these conditions and believes that an online audio-visual communication tool for learning is necessary to deliver high-quality lessons. However, in offering such provision we take very seriously the need to maintain the highest standards of safeguarding and risk management. Therefore, in order to conduct online audio-visual lessons all staff and students must comply with the following:

  1. All lessons must be carried out during the normal timetable; no lessons outside of normal class hours.
  2. Teachers will update Ashbourne FileMaker to register student attendance.
  3. Lessons will be conducted using GoogleMeet – teachers may choose to use a number of additional tools to support students (e.g. GoogleDocs).
  4. Lessons will be by invitation. Only teachers will initiate and close lessons.
  5. The recording of lessons, unless agreed by the teacher, is not permitted.
  6. Lessons should be conducted as though in person: students and staff are expected to maintain professional teaching standards, behaviour, attendance and attire.
  7. Ashbourne lanyards must be worn and visible and dress code maintained in line with College expectations for both students and staff at all times during the lessons.
  8. Teachers must ensure they conduct their audio-visual lessons from a suitable environment, if not in the classroom, and take into consideration what background may appear in the video. No one else should be in the room, if the lesson is not taking place at the College, whilst the lesson is taking place.
  9. Students must also make suitable arrangements to take their audio-visual lessons in an appropriate room; no one else should be in the room whilst the lesson is taking place, including parents.
  10. If a parent has concerns about any aspect of a lesson they should contact the College directly to discuss it and not raise issues during the lesson itself. All concerns and complaints are taken very seriously and will be dealt with in line with Ashbourne’s Complaints Policy where appropriate.
  11. Students will be able to use the audio and visual functions for their lessons, as advised by the local authority; students may be asked to switch off these functions if it will improve connectivity and clearer delivery for the student.
  12. One-to-one lessons and group-classified lessons with only one student will be carried out using audio and visual functions.
  13. Students and staff must turn off all notifications on their device used for lessons to avoid disruption, unsolicited pop-ups and exposure of personal data.
  14. Ashbourne will conduct spot monitoring of lessons to check compliance.

All members of the Ashbourne community will be briefed about these arrangements.