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.
Due to the fast-changing nature of the pandemic this policy is under continual review.
The aim of this policy is to highlight the prevention and response 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 the latest guidance from the Department for Education.
3. Ashbourne COVID-safe measures
3.1 Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing for asymptomatic COVID-19
NHS Test and Trace have made LFD testing available to all schools across the UK as part of the Government’s efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus. LFD testing is a fast and large-scale way of detecting COVID-19 in people who do not show any symptoms; this is around 1 in 3 people with the virus. These tests can be self-administered and the results made available in 30 minutes. This testing does not however replace existing protective measures which must still be followed.
Students and staff have been asked to take two LFD tests per week and report the results to NHS Test and Trace here: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result. All positive LFD test results must be followed up by a confirmatory PCR test.
3.1.2 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing
PCR tests are far more sensitive than LFD tests and are able to pick up signs of COVID-19 infection at much earlier and later stages of the disease; LFD tests identify cases where a person is infectious at that moment.
3.1.3 How the LFD test works
This test requires a throat and nose swab sample in order to check for COVID-19. A swab is a small piece of soft, absorbent material on a plastic stick that is used to take the sample from the nose and throat. The sample stick is mixed into a testing liquid which is dripped onto the lateral flow device, which then provides a result in 30 minutes.
3.1.4 Onsite testing
All students must carry out their first LFD test onsite supervised by a trained member of staff before they are asked to continue testing at home.
After the beginning of term new students and those returning to the UK will do their onsite LFD testing at the College’s Old Court Place premises in the Interview Room; these take place at 1pm.
Where no trained member of staff is available to supervise testing at the College students will be advised to attend a local testing centre, for example at Kensington Town Hall, to take a LFD test. After the test, the results are usually texted and emailed to the student within the hour – these results must be sent on to Ashbourne’s COVID-19 Team before the student come onto the College premises.
Students returning to onsite lessons are not permitted anywhere on the College premises prior to being tested. Students should arrive at 1pm at the Old Court Place premises to take a LFD test. If they test negative they will be allowed to join afternoon classes. If returning students have lessons in the morning it is recommended they take an LFD test at 1pm the day before or on the Friday before lessons begin on Monday morning.
3.1.5 Home testing
Students and staff are asked to take two LFD tests per week at home. The College will provide home testing kits, which can be collected from reception at the Old Court Place and Young Street premises. Each kit contains full instructions and further direction can be found on the NHS Test and Trace explainer video, if required. The College suggests students test Sunday and Thursday evenings.
Students aged 12-17 should self-test and report the results with adult supervision.
All LFD test results must be reported to NHS Test and Trace here: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result.
3.1.6 LFD test results
LFD test results are processed by NHS Test and Trace. The lateral flow devices can give three types of results: positive, negative or invalid. All results must be reported.
Positive LFD test result
If a student or staff member tests positive they must inform Ashbourne’s COVID-19 Team immediately and self-isolate, or make arrangements to go home and self-isolate if at the College. Please read Government guidance on self-isolation: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection.
All positive LFD tests must be followed up by a confirmatory PCR test, as required by NHS Test and Trace. The PCR test should be booked immediately either online – https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test – or by calling 119 and should be undertaken within 2 days.
Close contacts and all household members living with the person who has tested positive for a LFD test may be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and required to isolate. Those affected must inform Ashbourne’s COVID-19 Team immediately.
If the PCR test result is negative Ashbourne’s COVID-19 Team will contact the student to discuss their return to College. Students will only be permitted to return onsite after clearance from Ashbourne’s COVID-19 Team.
If the PCR test result is positive the student or staff will be required to continue to self-isolate. Please read all of the COVID-19 procedures below in point 5. for full details. Students who are required to self-isolate and feel well will be eligible to continue lessons through Ashbourne’s online distance learning provision. Please read point 4. below for full details.
Negative LFD test result
If the test is negative students are still required to continue taking full precautions to avoid spreading the virus. The LFD test is reliable at the exact time of testing only.
Invalid LFD test result
If the test is invalid students are asked to take another one.
184.108.40.206 LFD test accuracy
A small proportion of people who do not have coronavirus will receive a positive result (false positive) when using the LFD tests. All positive LFD tests must be followed up with a confirmatory PCR test as outlined above.
3.1.7 Test reporting and data protection
Test results must be submitted via the NHS Test and Trace reporting system, which uses a barcode to identify the lateral flow device. Anyone over 16 years who has registered their test barcode, including contact and other details about themselves, on the Government system will receive the results directly via email and/or text message from NHS Test and Trace. For students under 16 years, the result will be shared with parents/carers. A copy of the result will be sent to the individual’s GP. Positive results are also sent to Public Health England so they can monitor the spread of the virus.
Data will be stored in line with the Records Management Code of Practice for Health and Social Care 2016. This means information will be kept for up to 8 years before it is disposed of.
3.1.8 Testing consent
Children under 16 will need to have consent from parents/carers before taking part in lateral flow device testing.
Children aged 16-17 may take a lateral flow device test unaccompanied for either a self-administered, or assisted test, provided staff are satisfied that they are able to consent to their own medical treatment without a parent or guardian present.
Ashbourne would like all staff and students to commit to taking two LFD tests per week, as recommended by the Government. Nonetheless, testing is not mandatory.
By collecting and opening a LFD test at home the individual gives medical consent and is legally committed to reporting their results via the NHS Test and Trace reporting system. There is no need to specifically ask for medical consent for testing at home.
3.1.9 Testing after vaccination
Staff and students should continue with the LFD testing for asymptomatic COVID-19 even after vaccination.
The vaccine does not cross-react with LFD tests, which means the vaccine itself cannot trigger a positive result. If you receive a positive LFD result following vaccination you may have COVID-19. The vaccine takes two weeks to start to generate immunity, and there is a chance you might still get or spread coronavirus despite being vaccinated. Therefore if you have had a vaccine yet receive a positive LFD test result you may have COVID-19 and must self-isolate, inform Ashbourne’s COVID-19 Team immediately and arrange to take a PCR test for confirmation.
3.1.10 Re-testing after COVID-19 infection
Students are asked to continue LFD testing after a COVID-19 infection and to follow all of the same procedures if they test positive.
Re-testing for COVID-19 using a PCR test is not required within 90 days of that test, unless new symptoms of COVID-19 develop. Most people develop some immunity to the virus following infection however this is not guaranteed for everyone.
3.2 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.
3.3 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.
3.3.1 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.
3.3.2 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.
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 academic year with completely clean surfaces throughout.
3.5 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.
3.6 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.
All deliveries will be cleaned before opening.
3.8.1 New tables
The College has replaced all of the existing classroom tables so that students can sit at their own individual desk; this ensures reasonable distance between students and staff.
3.8.2 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.
3.9 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.
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.
3.9.2 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:
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.
3.9.3 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:
Ashbourne’s facilities team will open all windows that have been specifically identified to increase ventilation throughout the premises.
3.11 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.
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.
3.13 Art materials
Each Fine Art and Textile Design student will have individual sets of equipment for key items (e.g. brushes, paint).
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.
3.15 Events and extracurricular activities
3.15.1 Extracurricular activities
The College is keen to continue with all extracurricular 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.
3.15.2 Open evening and parents evening
Open evenings and parents evenings will continue to take place.
Registration of staff and students will take place online for the most part.
3.16 Personal protective equipment (PPE)
3.16.1 Face coverings
Face coverings are no longer mandatory for students and staff when onsite.
3.17 Social distancing – WALK ON THE LEFT
The College continues to request that students and staff walk on the left hand side throughout the premises including in corridors and stairwells.
3.18 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
Ashbourne is doing its utmost to fulfil the Government’s policy to keep the College open until told otherwise. In accordance with Kensington & Chelsea Borough Local Authority guidance, Ashbourne uses audio-visual facilities to deliver online lessons (ODL) 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 when the College is open.
The provision of ODL is not intended to be a long-term replacement or alternative for in-class teaching. Therefore, all students should be physically present in classes whenever possible.
4.1 ODL provision and COVID-19 risk assessments
In order to prevent the spread of the virus the College carries out COVID-19 risk assessments for every student returning onsite following a period of ODL provision. Therefore, the College maintains a very strict policy on this provision and students will not be permitted to join ODL provision under any other circumstances than those outlined below. The College asks for full cooperation from all students in this regard during this challenging period.
4.2 ODL provision during lockdown
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.
4.3 ODL provision for COVID-19 circumstances
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:
You cannot join ODL if you are absent due to a short-term illness or injury not related to COVID-19.
4.3.1 Non-COVID-19 related absence
Students who are unable to attend College due to non-COVID-19-related reasons are not eligible for ODL provision. For example, if a student has a stomach ache, injured toe or other transitory health issue they are advised to focus on getting better as soon as possible. This is the same principle that applied prior to Ashbourne’s ODL programme being established. Please do not expect or request ODL provision in these circumstances. Students who are absent for not more than two consecutive days will continue to receive work from their teachers via Google Classroom.
4.3.2 Long-term illness or injury
Students who are absent for a prolonged period of time (more than two consecutive days) due to an illness/injury not related to COVID-19 may be eligible for ODL provision on a discretionary basis.
Please read the protocol on delivery of ODL lessons at the end of this policy.
5. COVID-19 procedures
Most people with COVID-19 have at least one of these symptoms:
Some people show no symptoms or are pre-symptomatic yet can still carry the virus. For this reason Ashbourne requests students and staff carry out Government distributed LFD tests twice per week. It nonetheless remain 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
220.127.116.11 Stay at home
If anyone from the Ashbourne Community suspects have COVID-19 symptoms they should stay at home and inform the College immediately. If in doubt, stay at home.
18.104.22.168 Medical advice and emergencies
If you need medical advice call NHS 111. For emergencies call 999.
22.214.171.124 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.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19 you must self-isolate for 10 days. Please be aware that Government advice may change.
Isolation period: Day 0 to Day 10, inclusive.
Day 0 is defined as:
or, if you showed no symptoms:
126.96.36.199 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.
5.1.2 Procedure if a close contact has symptoms or has tested positive
If you have come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms you should take a LFD test. Please then follow the procedures above in 3.1.6 LFD test results.
If you have been in close contact with a person who has a positive PCR test you will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and asked to isolate and take a PCR test. Please follow the procedures above in 188.8.131.52 if your PCR test is positive.
If you are aware that a close contact has tested positive for COVID-19 and you have not be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, please stay at home and contact Ashbourne’s 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:
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:
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.
Effective date of the policy
Teaching staff / all staff / parents / Students on request
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 highest standard of education it can and, when circumstances require, believes that an online audio-visual communication tool for learning is necessary to deliver high-quality lessons. The College takes 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:
All members of the Ashbourne community will be briefed about these arrangements.
Appendix 1: Ashbourne College COVID-19 Risk Assessment (pdf)