Coronavirus, latest advice from Department of Education
Whilst we have no current cases of diagnosed Coronavirus/COVID-19 (at 13, March 2020), nevertheless I thought I should provide you with an update on the latest government guidance and the college response to this, including potential contingency plans, exam arrangements and college trips.
During the government directed ‘Delay Phase’ the college is open as usual, in accordance with advice from the Department for Education (DFE). However, any student who develops a "new, continuous" cough or high temperature should follow advice on 7-day self-isolation and notify their absence through sickness in the usual way.
The college websites have the latest news story on this and you can find these on the links below. Please follow these for regular updates over the next few days and weeks:
- Sparsholt College campus: www.sparsholt.ac.uk/coronavirus-latest/
- Andover College campus: www.andover.ac.uk/coronavirus-latest/
The current government guidance can also be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
I am aware that there will be concern regarding impending assessments, examinations and coursework deadlines and the potential impact on achievement. The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England is “working closely” with awarding organisations and DfE colleagues to prepare for potential exam disruption in the event of a major coronavirus outbreak. There are well-established processes in place for dealing with many of the scenarios that a coronavirus outbreak might cause, including individual students missing exams due to illness. Whilst awarding organisations plan their contingencies to deal with all eventualities should there be a widespread outbreak of coronavirus over the exams season, schools and colleges have been asked to continue to prepare for exams and assessments as normal.
The government has issued new travel guidance for the education sector that advises against all overseas education trips for children under 18. There are no imminent departures of study trips however we will continue to monitor the situation and you will be contacted by the college in due course if your son/daughter/ward is due to travel overseas this year as part of a college trip.
Should the government subsequently decide to close schools and colleges for a period of time, or Public Health England advise us of the need to close, I want to reassure you that we are developing contingency plans to ensure that students can work at home. We will ensure that the way this will operate will be clearly communicated to students.
The DFE provides a daily update to educational establishments and we will continue to monitor this closely. I will, of course, write with further information, as necessary.