Coronavirus Update - 4th January 2021

UK 16-19

Dear Itchen Student and Parents / Guardians

Following the government announcements, we will need to amend our plans for return to College in the new year. There are levels of complexity that mean this will be a lengthy communication, but please bear with me. The full guidance we have just received is available here.

We have been requested to delay face-to-face teaching until 11th January at the earliest, gradually building to a full return on 18th January. We have also been requested to implement the lateral flow testing system across this period to ensure we can provide as safe a learning environment as we possibly can, and to reduce transmission in the community. Planned external examinations will go ahead, and buses will operate on the days we have examinations.

As a result I have asked our teachers to prepare two weeks of remote learning for all students as a precautionary measure. If we are able to implement the rapid flow test we will begin to ask you to come in for a test in a staged and safe way, and get you back to face-to-face learning as soon as we can, prioritising those that finish courses in 2021. All of this is in the knowledge that we will have the less invasive and more reliable saliva testing system available to us from the 18th January.

Current Plan

Week commencing 4th January:

Week commencing 11th January:

Week commencing 18th January:

This plan will be regularly reviewed and we will update and communicate any changes to you as soon as we can. Please remember this is in the context of a new strain of COVID-19 which is more transmissible than before, and all precautions will be in place as before Christmas. Should the spread of the virus continue as it seems to be at the moment it is highly likely the plan will change and adapt.

Remote Learning

You should all now be set up on Google Classroom and have experienced remote learning following our trial week in November and on the last two days of last term. You will follow your regular timetable and registers will be taken and absence followed up as normal. Please make every effort to fully engage to minimise disruption to your learning and ensure you succeed to the best of your ability.

Loan devices – Laptops and Chromebooks

We will loan devices to ensure you can access remote learning, as we did during the first lockdown back in March. If you need to borrow a device please contact Becky Stratton, Deputy Principal (rstratton@itchen.ac.uk) and Becky will go through the process for you. You will be expected to return the device as soon as you return to face-to-face learning.

Transport and Examinations

A final reminder that examinations will take place as planned and college buses will operate as normal to ensure you arrive on time.

Testing

We will need to test you twice before you can return to face-to-face teaching. Please expect a further communication next week and be prepared to come in to College for your test. 

I hope this is clear. Please rest assured we will take every precaution to keep the College as safe a learning environment as we possibly can. I hope to be in a position to send out details of testing by the middle of next week, so please look out for that message.

Finally, can I take the opportunity to wish you a happy and healthy new year. Please continue to focus on your courses and on what you can control, including sensible and responsible ‘covid-safe’ behaviour and let us all hope that we can return to normality as soon as possible in 2021.

With best regards,

 Alex Scott