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Keeping safe at college: coronavirus FAQs 2021/22

Updated: 10.09.21

Keeping safe at college: coronavirus FAQs 2021/22

Updated: January 12th, 2022

1. What is Covid-19 and what are the symptoms?

The Covid-19 coronavirus is a new virus that has not been seen in humans before. Most people who have Covid-19 exhibit at least one of the following symptoms:

  • A new, continuous cough
  • A fever - a high temperature of 37.8°C or above
  • Loss or change to smell or taste.

2. Is the College open to students as usual in the New Year?

Yes, all campuses are open as usual to students. Learning is continuing to be delivered face-to-face on campus, in line with government guidance.

Face coverings must be worn at all times on campus (unless you are exempt) including in classrooms and learning spaces. Please continue to test twice weekly, ideally 3-4 days apart, using lateral flow test kits as well as when you intend to mix socially with others. 

If you have coronavirus symptoms, have received a positive test result or think you may have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, please follow the government guidelines for self-isolating.

As of January 11th, 2022, people who receive positive lateral flow device test results for coronavirus will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test. 

Please be assured that we are closely monitoring the situation. Any decisions we take will have student and staff safety at the heart of them. To help keep our community safe, please continue to follow the latest public health guidance.

3. How do I protect myself and help stop the transmission of the virus? 

Please follow the latest guidelines so that we can help keep our college and wider communities safe. You can find the most up-to-date advice on the government website as well as the NHS website.

The key things to remember are:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Meet up outside or if you’re indoors open windows or doors if you have visitors.
  • If you think you might have Covid-19 symptoms, take a PCR test and stay home.
  • Wear face coverings in crowded places to help protect others.
  • Check-in with the NHS Covid-19 app when you’re out.
  • Wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds with soap.
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

4. What should I do if I have suspected symptoms?

If you develop suspected symptoms, please do not attend college. You should stay at home, self-isolate immediately and get a free PCR test as soon as possible.

You can order a test online, on the NHS Covid-19 app or by phoning 119, or visit the government website. Please also report any symptoms of coronavirus to the College at the earliest opportunity. 

5. Who should I tell if I have coronavirus symptoms?

  • Students and staff should report symptoms by completing the College’s Covid-19 Report Form.
  • If you are unable to access the form and need to report symptoms, please call the College’s customer services team on 0114 2602600.
  • Once you have had a coronavirus test, please contact your tutor to let them know the result.
  • When you are well, and no longer have symptoms, please let your tutor that you are returning to College to study.
  • Parents and carers of nursery children should inform the nursery of their child’s sickness and coronavirus test results and when their child is well, no longer has symptoms and is returning to nursery.
  • Any contractors and visitors who develop symptoms, and have been on our premises during the seven days prior to that, must report this to the College by calling 0114 2602600.

6. What do students for this academic year 2021/22 need to know?

Students, staff and visitors must wear face coverings in communal areas when on campus, unless they are exempt. The safety of our college community remains our number one priority. This decision has been taken due to the rising number of coronavirus cases locally and nationally.

We are also asking everyone to take regular lateral flow tests, ideally twice-weekly, before attending college. Home testing kits are free of charge and can be picked up from our campus receptions.

Our Covid-19 Student Charter also outlines our expectations of students whilst on campus to help to minimise transmission of the virus.

7. What are the main ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ in the Covid-19 Student Charter?

Please do:

  • Undertake regular testing before coming into college.
  • Follow our current guidelines on the use of face coverings.
  • Let us know if you are self-isolating or have tested positive.
  • Walk or cycle to college, if possible.
  • Use contactless payments, if you can.
  • Clear away your litter, put it in the bins, and wipe down surfaces.
  • Regularly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Seek help if you are struggling with your mental wellbeing.

Please don’t:

  • Attend college if you have coronavirus symptoms.
  • Attend college if you should be self-isolating.
  • Share equipment such as pens, pencils and calculators.
  • Touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, if possible.

8. What should I do if a member of my household has symptoms or tests positive for coronavirus?

Please complete a lateral flow test if any of the members of your household test positive for coronavirus or have symptoms. If your test result is negative, you will still be able to attend college as normal. Please do not attend college if you develop any symptoms or test positive for coronavirus or if you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app.

9. Do I need to wear a face covering at the College?

Yes. In line with government guidance, it is mandatory to wear a face covering on campus in learning and communal areas, unless you are exempt. The safety of our college community remains our number one priority. Face coverings must be worn in colleges and secondary schools as well as on public transport and in shops.

10. Do students need to do Covid-19 home testing?

It is vital to continue home testing twice weekly to help detect asymptomatic cases and prevent the spread of the virus. 

To ensure the safety of students and staff, we are asking everyone to take regular lateral flow tests before attending the campus. Lateral flow tests should be taken twice weekly, ideally after a weekend and after attending crowded environments/events.

You should take two tests per week, with no longer than three to four days between your last test. You should continue to test during any holidays or annual leave.

11. What is the College doing to help keep students and staff safe?

Every step is being taken to ensure that the College remains a safe place to work and learn. It's vital that we all continue to work together to help minimise transmission of coronavirus both on and off-campus.

For this academic year 2021/22, we are continuing to keep some measures in place so that when students attend college, they can do so safely.

  • Face coverings will continue to be worn (unless you are exempt from wearing them). 
  • Students are being encouraged to continue regular, twice-weekly, home testing.
  • Hand sanitiser dispensers are in receptions, classrooms and refectory areas.
  • Communal areas and classrooms are being cleaned regularly throughout the day.
  • Floors and surfaces are being regularly cleaned, and bins emptied. In classrooms, specialist wipes are available to clean IT equipment.
  • Students are being encouraged to use the stairs, if they can, rather than the lifts. 

We will continue to monitor the situation, in line with our ongoing Covid-19 risk assessment and review our plans according to the latest government guidance.

12. Where can I get Covid-19 testing kits?

You can collect free home testing kits from:
    •    City Campus - Sports Hall  
    •    Hillsborough Campus - Reception  
    •    Peaks Campus - Reception  
    •    Olive Grove Campus - Reception  
    •    Fir Vale Campus - Reception  
    •    Eyre Street Campus - Reception  

You can also order tests to your home through the government website.  

13. What happens if I have a confirmed positive Covid-19 test?

Please self-isolate immediately. If you test positive, your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day you had the test, if you do not have symptoms). 

You may need to self-isolate for longer if you get symptoms while self-isolating or your symptoms do not go away. For details, please read the NHS guidance on self-isolation.

All students and their households should report any positive test results by calling 119 or through this online formStudents should also inform the College.

14. When should I self-isolate?

Self-isolate straight away if you have any of the following three symptoms of Covid-19, even if they are mild:

  • A high temperature
  • A new continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

You will also need to self-isolate if:

  • You've tested positive for Covid-19.
  • You have been advised to do so by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app
  • You're an unvaccinated adult (aged over 18 years and 6 months) who is identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
  • Someone you live with has symptoms or has tested positive - unless you are not required to self-isolate. Please see more details below.

15. When don’t I need to self-isolate?

If you live with someone who has symptoms of Covid-19, or you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for the virus, you will not need to self-isolate if any of the following apply to you:

  • You're fully vaccinated - and 14 days have passed since your final dose of a Covid-19 vaccine given by the NHS
  • You're under the age of 18 years and 6 months old
  • You're not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
  • You're taking part or have taken part in a Covid-19 vaccine trial

Even if you do not have symptoms, you're strongly advised to:

  • Do daily rapid lateral flow tests (one a day for seven days), if you’re fully vaccinated, to protect yourself and others from Covid-19.
  • Follow the advice on how to avoid catching and spreading Covid-19
  • Consider limiting contact with people who are at higher risk from Covid-19.

16. Where can I get more help?

  • Use the NHS 111 online service if symptoms become difficult to cope with, get worse or do not go after seven days.
  • The NHS 111 telephone service is available for people who are not online. Only call 111 if you cannot get help via the online service.
  • In an emergency (a life-threatening) situation, dial 999.

17. I have a safeguarding concern - what should I do?

If you have a safeguarding concern, please email safeguarding@sheffcol.ac.uk immediately.

18. Where can I get more mental health information and support?

If you are struggling with your mental health, please contact staff or email safeguarding@sheffcol.ac.uk.

19. I am having problems accessing financial support - what should I do?

If you are eligible for financial support from the College and have any questions or concerns about accessing that, then please email financial-support@sheffcol.ac.uk.

20. How do I find out more about the NHS Test and Trace Covid-19 app?

The free NHS Test and Trace Covid-19 app will help you see if you’re at risk from coronavirus. The app has a number of tools including contact tracing, local area alerts, and venue check-in, and uses technology from Apple and Google. 

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12/01/2022 2:43 pm
Keeping safe at college