The Department for Education (DfE) has launched a helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education.

Staff, parents and students can contact the helpline by telephone and email:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk.

The helpline is open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

You can find the latest information and advice on COVID-19 and the latest guidance for educational settings on the GOV.UK website.


Latest Update:

UPDATE (07/01/2022)

From Monday 10th January 2022, College policy for isolating due to contact with a positive case of COVID-19 will change to fall in line with current government guidance.  This will mean:

If you have a positive case of COVID-19 in your household, you can continue to attend work and studies provided that:

  • You are testing negative on your Lateral Flow tests – you are strongly advised to test every day for 7 days from the start of the positive case’s isolation
  • You don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19 yourself
  • You are fully vaccinated (It has been at least 14 days since your second vaccination) or you are under 18 years and 6 months old

If you are over 18 years and 6 months old and are not fully vaccinated, it is a legal requirement for you to self-isolate if you are identified as a close contact of a positive case so the above will not apply.

The reasons for this change are:

  • We need to ensure we can remain operational and keep campuses open for our students.
  • The different rules and guidance in place can be confusing. By SMB College Group following the same guidance as society, you will have a consistent message about what is expected of you both in your work/studies and free time.

 

If you are currently working/studying from home due to a positive case in your household, you can return from Monday 10th January, ensuring you have taken a Lateral Flow test which has returned a negative result before you arrive on campus.

 

The health and safety of our staff and students remains our priority, and this alignment with Government policy should reduce any potential confusion.

The Health and Safety team, along with the COVID-19 Planning Committee, will continue to monitor positive cases and control measures to ensure that the low numbers of transmission that we have had to date within the SMB College Group continues.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the Health and Safety team healthandsafety@smbgroup.ac.uk

 

Changes/clarification of changes to government guidance on self-isolation for positive cases and Lateral Flow testing:

Self-isolation for positive cases

Since December 30th 2021, the self-isolation duration has changed.  You can now end your isolation early if you test negative on a Lateral Flow test on Day 6 and again on Day 7 of your isolation.  If this is the case, you can return to normal activities from 23:59 on Day 7.  If you test positive on Day 6, Day 7 or both, you must continue your isolation for the full 10 days.  After 10 days, it is considered that you are no longer infectious and as long as you don’t have any new symptoms or a high temperature, you can return to normal activities, even if you are still testing positive on your lateral flow.

 

If you can end your isolation early due to negative results, please let your line manager (staff) or Tutor (Students) know on Day 7 of your isolation so that they know to expect you back on campus.  You cannot end your isolation early if you are not fully vaccinated.

 

Lateral Flow Testing

From Tuesday 11th January 2022, if you test positive on a Lateral Flow test, you will not be required to obtain a confirmatory PCR test.  If you do test positive on your Lateral Flow test, you should record your result at https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result and provide a copy of this to your Line Manager and HR (Staff) or Tutor and Student Services (Students).  You must also report your positive test to the COVID-19 hotline: 07500 050599. Your isolation starts from the date of your positive result (if you have no symptoms) or the date your symptoms started.

 

Lateral Flow test kits are available for free from each campus reception.  The kits are available for your personal use in order for you to attend work/studies – if you require tests for your household, you should order these by calling 119, via https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests or from your local pharmacy.

 

Our control measures at each campus remain the same:

  • Wear a face covering in classrooms and communal areas of buildings
  • Wash your hands regularly or use the hand sanitiser at building entrances
  • Socially distance wherever possible
  • Open windows to allow for good ventilation in offices and classrooms
  • Test at home twice a week before attending College (do not test on campus)

 

It is an SMB College Group requirement that you follow the above instructions – your compliance is expected and appreciated.

 


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Our learners remain at the centre of all our efforts to minimise the impact of these unprecedented times on their progress. We recognise that these are unusual times and we are here to support you. You can contact us in a number of ways:

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