Five concerns you may have about starting College during a pandemic - Bridgwater & Taunton College

Firstly, pleased be assured that your health and safety is of paramount importance! We welcomed the government directive that all colleges and schools should plan to deliver a full programme of education from September 2020, and we’re reviewing and following government guidelines for colleges.

Principal Andy Berry commented,

“We have learnt so much about ourselves as a College during the pandemic and I’m proud of how everyone has reacted so positively. The BTC community has shown enormous amounts of grit, determination and community mindedness and our students remained as dedicated to completing their studies as ever.

“Whether students are returning after their summer break or joining the BTC community, I look forward to welcoming them all and helping each fulfil their potential.”

While we’re getting ready for the new academic year, we’d like to address some of your concerns. If you have others, please complete the enquiry form and we’ll get back to you.

  1. What happens if Covid-19 is still an issue in September?

As part of our planning and commitment to everyone’s wellbeing, we have adopted and are following the Government’s ‘Staying Covid-19 Secure in 2020’ statement.

To reduce the number of people on our campuses, students will be taught using blended learning. This is a mixture of online learning using Teams and College attendance for blocks of specific time. As the guidelines are updated, we may adapt and change the attendance at College, but only when it is safe and sensible to do so.

The College Estates team completed Risk Assessments of all the College’s activities and adapted the way that we do things to make sure that everyone is kept as safe as possible. We have considered every activity, from arriving at the entrance of each campus in the morning to leaving at the end of the day. Designated coloured areas have been created in each building on all three campuses to enable students to remain in their bubbles and maintain social distancing. New signage, hand sanitising stations, information points and protective face-to-face screens have been installed where required.

All classrooms will have appropriate cleaning materials available so that desks and equipment can be disinfected in between uses. All our buildings are cleaned each day by the College’s cleaning contractor, and additional cleans of key touch areas will also be made throughout the day.

Social distance measures have been set for classroom, social/learning spaces and corridor use. We have also reviewed the use of our catering outlets and the timing of breaks, so that times are staggered. We will also be allowing students to eat food in designated classrooms to ensure plenty of space is available. Additionally, we have procedures in place to manage the isolation of and care after anyone who feels unwell whilst at College. All our actions will be regularly reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure we continue to maintain the best possible environment for our students and staff.

  1. How can I make friends if we’re studying at home for part of the week?

You’re right, part of the joy of college is making new friends and studying with like-minded people. Unfortunately, the pandemic may make this more difficult but your tutor will support you as you adjust and we have a dedicated team to help you transition.

Hopefully you managed to join the virtual welcome days that took place in the summer term so met your peers and tutor.

  1. Will I be behind in my studies?

We recognise that you haven’t revised or sat exams this year, but it doesn’t mean you haven’t been learning during your last few years at school. New students were sent study materials relating to their chosen course before the summer holidays – please get in touch if you would like more. Don’t panic if you haven’t received it or managed to look at it, we’ll ensure your education continues on-track once you start College.

  1. What are the affordable options if I’m travelling to College by bus?

Somerset County Council have temporarily cancelled the bus pass due to the potential need for social distancing on public transport. If you only need to travel to College a couple of times a week, the County Bus Pass is not the best value for money. The Council recommends you purchase one of the ticket options offered by the public transport operators.

If you need help with the cost of travel, we offer a bursary which you can apply for by emailing studentsupport@btc.ac.uk and visit our transport page for more information

  1. I applied for an Apprenticeship but haven’t found an employer. What should I do?

Don’t worry, you will be offered a place on a full-time study programme until you’re able to secure an employer. In the meantime, your full-time study programme will teach you the skills an employer is looking for, making you an even more valuable employee. If you would like to change to a full-time course, please get in touch with the Admissions team at admissions@btc.ac.uk and they’ll help you explore your options.

 

Term starts on Monday 7 September but different courses will start on different days. You’ll receive details over the summer including your timetable, kit list (if needed) and enrolment instructions.

There are still people at College over the summer, so you can still get in touch. For any questions or concerns about starting at College, please email marketing@btc.ac.uk.

If you’re still thinking about which course to choose, our Information, Advice & Guidance team can help, email info@btc.ac.uk or call 01278 441234.

If you’ve applied but have any questions, need to update your details or would like to change course, please contact our Admissions team at admissions@btc.ac.uk.

Alternatively, check out our website for lots more information and have a great summer!

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