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COVID-19

Last Updated: 25 February 2021

Return To Face-To-Face Learning – March 2021

The government has announced a return to schools and colleges for 16-18 year olds and some other students from 8 March 2021. To help reduce the risk to those who return to college, we will offer Lateral Flow Tests to staff and students.

Because we have so many students, we will be inviting people back into college over a 3 week period starting from Monday 8 March, although a small number of students might be invited in for a test before this date.

We are still working through some of the detail of exactly who can return to college and when, so please bear with us. Please keep an eye on this page for updates and – if you are a student of ours – on your student email account and mobile phone as we will be contacting people by email and SMS text message too.

What this means for you

Please wait for us to contact you. We will send you an email or SMS informing you of when you should come in for your Lateral Flow Test and start face-to-face lessons. If you are extremely clinically vulnerable, you will not be able to return until after Easter.

Please do not return to college until the time and date stated in your email or text.

Questions and answers

What is a Lateral Flow Test (LFT)? 
It’s a swab test either from the back of your throat or your nose, or both. Within 30 minutes you will get a positive or negative test result, which will be sent to you through the NHS test and trace system on your phone. We know these tests are about 50% effective in identifying asymptomatic cases, but if you have 2-3 tests, the accuracy improves significantly. 
Can I get tested at college? 
Yes. All of our centres have a testing area ready for use and each test centre will be open Monday to Saturday, 8am to 7pm, from 1 March.
Should I return to college on 8 March? 
You will receive a SMS text message and an email informing you of when you should return. You may be asked to return on 8 March, but it could be later than that.
How do I know when to return to site? 
You will receive a SMS text message and an email informing you of when you should return.
I am an adult student, should I return to college? 
Adult students will continue with a blended delivery based on their qualification needs. We will send you an email or SMS if or when we would like you to return to college.
Are tests compulsory? 
No, they are voluntary, but we hope that everyone will be happy to be tested. We strongly believe that the more people who are tested, the better we can help protect each other.
What happens if my test is positive? 
You will need to go home and self-isolate, continuing with home study if you feel well enough.
How will I study from home if I am self-isolating? 
Your teacher will set you work as required.
How many tests do I need to do? 
You need to have a negative test before coming to college, and then we will test you every 3-5 days thereafter until the end of March, after which, home testing will begin.


When we are open, keeping our staff and students safe is our priority, and we have many safety measures in our buildings – including social distancing, face coverings, one-way systems, extra cleaning and hand sanitiser stations.

We have created a student handbook, which contains further details, including our policy on face coverings and more.

We are also asking all of our staff and students to download the NHS COVID-19 app (Apple Store or Google Play).

We have also put together a quick and easy reference table for what to do and when you can return to college for some of the most common scenarios in our ‘new normal’:

What to do ifAction neededYou can return to college…
I have COVID-19 symptoms• Do not attend college • Get a test • You need to self-isolate for 10 days • Your household needs to self-isolate for 10 days, even if your test results are negativeIf your test result comes back negative and you have had no symptoms for 48 hours, you do not need another test and can return to college. If your results come back positive, please see below.
I have tested positive for COVID-19• Do not attend college • You need to self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started • Inform the Safeguarding Team immediately on 020 7697 1717 • Your whole household needs to self-isolate from when your symptoms started • Household members do not need to get tested, unless they develop symptomsAfter 10 days have passed, you feel well and have not had a fever for at least 48 hours. You can return to college after 10 days even if you still have a cough or loss of taste/smell – these symptoms can last for several weeks once the infection is gone.
Somebody in my household has COVID-19 symptoms• Do not attend college • The household member with symptoms should get a test • Your whole household needs to self-isolate, while awaiting test results • Inform the Safeguarding Team immediately on 020 7697 1717If the household member tests negative and you do not have any symptoms
Somebody in my household has tested positive for COVID-19• Do not attend college • Your household must self-isolate for 10 days from the day symptoms started (or from day of test if no symptoms) – even if they test negative during those 10 days • You do not need to get a test unless you develop symptomsWhen you have completed 10 days of self-isolation (even if you tested negative during the 10 days)
Someone in my class has tested positive •Do not attend college • Teachers will arrange online learning for the class for 10 days • You need to self-isolate for 10 days – your household does not need to self-isolate unless you start having symptoms • You do not need to get a test, unless you develop symptomsWhen you have completed 10 days of self-isolation (even if you tested negative during the 10 days)
NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 App has identified me as a ‘close contact’ of somebody with symptoms or confirmed COVID-19• Do not attend college • You need to self-isolate for 10 days (as advised by NHS Test and Trace) – even if you have tested negative during those 10 days • Your household does not need to self-isolate unless they are a ‘close contact’ too, or unless you start having symptoms • You do not need to get a test unless you develop symptomsWhen you have completed 10 days of self-isolation (even if you tested negative during the 10 days)
I have travelled and need to self-isolate as part of a period of quarantine• Do not take unauthorised leave in term time • Consider quarantine requirements and FCO advice when booking travel If you are returning from a destination where quarantine is needed: • Do not attend college Contact the Safeguarding Team immediately on 020 7697 1717 • Your whole household must self-isolate for 10 days from the day symptoms started (or from day of test, if no symptoms) – even if someone tests negative during those 10 daysWhen you have completed 10 days of self-isolation, even if you tested negative during the 10 days
I am not sure who should get tested for COVID-19• Only people with symptoms need to get tested • People without symptoms are not advised to get a test, even if they are a ‘close contact’ of someone who has tested positiveWhen the conditions listed above matching your situation have been met