Informative welfare and safety webinar for UK-bound students
On Wednesday 14th July, a webinar on welfare and safety, with particular emphasis on Covid and its associated rules and regulations, was held for students attending or planning to enrol on a course with us in the UK.
The session was introduced by Kings Colleges Recruitment Director, Anna Trott, who gave a general overview of the current situation in the UK. Overall, despite restrictions gradually being lifted, people are still being cautious and sensible in general — even if they are fully vaccinated. Most people still wear masks in public, for example inside and on public transport. We have that approach in our colleges too.
We are very focused on making sure everyone feels comfortable in their environment.
There is the opportunity for students over 18 to get vaccines here when they are in the UK, which they will receive help to arrange as soon as they arrive.
What students at our colleges in the UK can expect
The main session within the webinar was hosted by College Services Manager at Kings Bournemouth, Lucy Polley, who gave a very informative summary of the current legislation surrounding Covid, and the protocols in place within our colleges.
Lucy began by outlining the overall welfare and pastoral support provision, which is vital in making sure everyone safe and looked after, but is also designed to ensure that students have the independence to develop.
- 24-7 welfare and safeguarding provision (we encourage students to talk to us about everything and anything – there is an open door policy)
- Welfare reviews (regular check ins)
- Student services officers available (e.g registering with a GP, arranging vaccination appointments and opening bank accounts)
- It doesn’t end when school finishes – homestay and residential accommodation means that support is still provided once school finishes for the day or the week
- A varied enrichment and activity programme means that people who have been in lockdowns and have missed social side of things, can enjoy mixing and making friends. It’s a fantastic way to bring people together and all activities respect social distancing etc (risk assessments are conducted for everything).
Current COVID situation in the UK
Next, Lucy gave a useful overview of some current stats around Covid in the UK, and of how the current restrictions and regulations are changing.
- As of 27th July, 37.6 million people have now been double vaccinated. That equates to 71% of the adult population.
- Daily recorded cases were 27,734 (28th July) but hospitalisations (825) and daily deaths (91) were relatively low dues to a successful vaccine rollout.
Current restrictions being eased from this week (as of 19th July):
- Face coverings will no longer be required in public spaces (although government suggests in busy places people make their own decisions and are sensible)
- Social distancing laws will be relaxed
- There will be no limit on people meeting indoors or outdoors
- Curfews on bars will end and nightclubs will reopen
From 16th August
- People over the age of 18 who have been double vaccinated and young people under the age of 18 will no longer need to self isolate if they have been in close contact with a positive Covid case. They will only need a negative PCR test.
It’s important to note that any students who did need to self isolate would be able to continue their learning online while at Kings.
Given the new regulations, we have been reviewing our policies for students starting at Kings from September, and the following will apply:
- Face coverings will not be mandatory, but students and staff are still advised to continue to wear them, particularly in communal places.
- Social distancing rules will be relaxed, but we would like students and staff to be respectful of each other and socially distance where possible. Desks are all set up for social distancing and will remain so.
- All students will be tested (lateral flow tests) on their first day of school and then again 3 days later. We will then encourage students to continue self-testing at home twice a week.
- Kings will fully support students if they need a PCR test, need to self isolate, or would like to arrange their vaccination. Students over the age of 18 will be able to book their vaccination as soon as they are registered with a GP practice.
- Quarantining on arrival: the rules on this are changing all the time, but in the UK we operate a traffic light travel system, and students travelling from a ‘green’ country test just take a PCR test before travelling and then on day 2 – there is no quarantine required. Students travelling from an ‘amber’ list country have to quarantine for 10 days and they need to take a test on day 2 and day 8, but can opt in to a day 5 test to release programme. ‘Red’ list countries mean you have to quarantine in a government arranged hotel, but the government are working on changing this.
- In an exciting and important update, it was announced on 28th July, that as of 2nd August, European students from 'amber list' countries (except France) who have had both vaccinations can come to the UK without the need to quarantine. Students will still need to take either a lateral flow or PCR test pre-departure and a PCR test on the second day after they arrive.
At the end of the session, participants were invited to ask any questions, with detailed answers being provided by Lucy, Anna, and Kings London Principal Adam Whitbread too.
Q: Testing in the UK – how does it work?
The main form of testing in the UK currently is known as ‘lateral flow’ testing – we have a huge stock of these tests at school and give them out every 3 weeks. These tests are designed for use on people who don’t have any Covid symptoms.
PCR tests are the second type of test, and designed for anyone who is displaying one or more Covid symptoms – we can book one to be sent to student’s home address (next day delivery) and we help them send it off to be tested. It is usually about a one day turnaround.
There are also walk-in and a drive-through centres for PCR testing locally. They are usually no more than a 10 or 15 minute walk.
It’s important to note that all of the above testing methods are FREE in the UK.
Q: If we do get a student who tests positive at Kings, what happens?
We have emergency numbers in case anyone needs to self isolate, or if you are feeling anxious about anything. We are able to stay aware of any changes to students’ circumstance through this.
Every case is different as it depends whether a student is in homestay or residence etc… there are lots of factors to consider.
If a student is too unwell to study it wouldn’t affect their attendance, but if they don’t feel too bad and don’t have symptoms, they can study online.
If they are in a residence we provide everything to their door – many (all in Bournemouth) of our residence bedrooms have an en suite bathroom, so they are very self contained. Food, snacks, toiletries, stationery etc are provided to the student’s door.
We also online activities any student with Covid, or who is self-isolating, can join in with to keep them entertained and connected!
With homestay, if it is just the student who is positive not the family, the student would try to keep to themselves as much as possible, with things being brought to their room by their host parents. If other members of the household have Covid too, they can mix and have a bit more freedom within the house although we generally advise that students keep to themselves as much as possible in order to prevent any possible elongation of isolation.
Q: What are the practical measures that we have in the college to prevent the spreading of Covid?
- We have hand sanitiser everywhere.
- We have lots of hand washing sinks too.
- We also provide face coverings at reception, so they are there if you need them as soon as you enter.
- Hygiene is top of the agenda at all our sites!
Q: Is it still possible for students who are unable, or who would prefer not, to travel to the UK to study with us online?
Yes, absolutely. There is still the option of online study for those students who aren’t able to get here, or who don’t yet feel comfortable travelling far from home. Your experience in person may be fuller, but you wont be treated any differently or less importantly if you need to start with us online, and we are now very experienced at online learning provision.
A big thank you to everyone who participated in the webinar, and please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any further questions.
Anyone who would like to watch a full recording of the webinar can do so here:
Please note that a webinar for any US-bound students has also been held, details of which can be found here.