Full-time students from age 16 to 19 will return to face-to-face learning in the majority of cases, though some classes will still be delivered remotely as happened in the autumn term. Apprentices will follow the same format.
Part-time courses for adults over 19 will move to a mixture of face-to-face and online lessons, depending on individual course requirements, and practical sessions and assessments will be prioritised.
Higher education students will also resume a mixture of virtual and face-to-face delivery, determined by tutors and in consultation with students. Practical lessons for land-based, computing and creative arts courses will resume at colleges, alongside any other courses that require access to specialist facilities and equipment.
The colleges will continue to implement strict Covid-safe measures in order to welcome students back, including the introduction of a new Covid-19 testing regime as per Government requirements.
Testing will be offered to all full-time students and apprentices, and those under age 19 will be tested where consent is given, with one test offered per week for three weeks from March 8. Following the third test at the college students will be issued with home test kits.
The college group has reviewed the measures already in place at each of its colleges and sites, and will be continuing all of its COVID-safe measures which included social distancing and the wearing of face coverings before the latest national lockdown.
Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG, said: “We’re very pleased to see the Government announce that students will be able to return to face-to-face learning in our colleges from March 8th.
“We know that while we have had impressive online engagement amongst our students during lockdown, the wider benefits of face-to-face teaching alongside the need for access to our specialist practical facilities are essential to our students’ success.
“Staff across our sites in Warwickshire and Worcestershire are implementing plans that we have formulated over the past few months for all students to make a safe return to our colleges.
“The health of our staff and students remains our top priority, as it has been throughout the pandemic, and we have had robust health and safety measures in place since the start of the year to protect our staff and students.
“The existing measures will now be supplemented by an initial on-site Covid-19 testing facility at each of our colleges as per the government guidance.
“It’s vital that we are able to return to face-to-face learning, particularly for students in which there is a significant practical element involved in their course.
“I would like to thank all of our staff for their tireless work during lockdown to continue delivering learning remotely and would like to thank all of our students for their understanding and flexibility.”
For further details on the measures being introduced by WCG to make its colleges Covid-19 safe go to www.wcg.ac.uk
Pictured: Royal Leamington Spa College