Covid-19 – Student Guidance on attending Aspire Classes

Update 15th July 2021:

As you will be aware, the government has announced that it will be lifting most Covid-19 restrictions on 19th July. Given that we are close to the end of the 20/21 Academic year and in order to continue to protect the health and wellbeing of our staff and students as far as we can, Aspire has decided not to immediately remove its Covid-19 health protection measures, but to keep them in place until the end of July. Please see below for more details.

1. Introduction

This guidance has been prepared to support students returning to classroom based learning at Aspire main Centres (Centres) or external venues. It outlines the steps that Aspire has taken, and will continue to take, in order to keep students safe whilst learning at Aspire.

It also outlines the precautions Aspire expects you to take when you are visiting one of our Centres or an external venue in order to keep both you, your fellow students and Aspire staff safe.

Aspire will continue to base its Student Guidance on up-to-date government and public health guidance in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19), and all guidance is therefore subject to change.

2. Risk assessment

Steps Aspire Sussex has taken
Aspire has conducted a detailed COVID-19 risk assessment, including individual risk assessments for each of its Centres. Through this assessment, we have identified measures that we believe it is essential for Aspire to take until further notice.

Aspire has also requested that the external venues that it uses provides information about the risk assessments they have carried out and/or the health and safety measures they have put in place and have reviewed these before agreeing that an external centre is safe for Aspire to use.

Steps expected of you
To read and follow this guidance document and to follow any guidance specific to the Centre or external venue in which your course is held.

3. Cleaning our Centres

Steps Aspire Sussex has taken
Aspire Sussex has taken steps to ensure that its Centres will be cleaned thoroughly and has put in place enhanced cleaning regimes during each day. In addition Aspire Sussex has provided Sanitiser and Wipes at each Centre for students and staff to use.

Steps expected of you
Students should clean their desk area at the start and end of each class. Aspire will provide the wipes for you to do this.

4. Hygiene

Steps Aspire Sussex has taken
Aspire has purchased sanitiser and wipes for use by students, visitors and staff.

Steps expected of you
We ask all students to maintain high levels of hygiene whilst in Centres and external venues.

On arrival at a Centre, please apply hand-sanitising gel.

Regular hand washing, for at least 20 seconds each time, with warm soapy water is strongly encouraged as this is still considered the best method of preventing the spread of Covid-19. This is especially important before eating and after using the toilet.

Avoid touching your face and avoid sharing objects such as pens, calculators, staplers etc. as much as possible.

5. Social/Physical distancing

Steps Aspire Sussex has taken
In line with government guidance, we have taken steps to implement social distancing at Aspire Centres. Current guidance is that we maintain “1 metre plus”.

Aspire is taking steps to limit the number of students and external visitors to our Centres. We have risk assessed every room in each of Aspire’s Centres and have reduced class sizes to a safe level. In some Centres, additional entry and exit points or one-way systems may be in operation.

Aspire has arranged for informative guidance to be prominently displayed in the Centres.

Steps expected of you
Please arrive for your class no more than 10 minutes before the class start time.

It is not mandatory to wear face coverings in classrooms but it is mandatory to wear a face covering in communal areas, unless a person is exempt, until the end of July.

Inside the Centre/external venue, please adhere to the mitigations that Aspire has put in place. It is important that you do this, for your own safety and the safety of others.

Please read the posters and other information displayed in Centres and ask staff at the Centres for clarification is you are unsure about anything.

Please do not attempt to rearrange classroom furniture or recommission any desks that have been decommissioned.

Avoid unnecessary physical contact, for example hand shaking, with other students or staff.

6. Kitchens and Refreshments

Steps Aspire has taken
Aspire has taken the decision that there will be no kitchen/refreshment facilities and all ‘refectory’ areas will be closed to students at the present time. This includes vending machines. This decision, based on government guidelines, is subject to regular review and as soon as it is deemed safe these facilities will be re-instated.

Steps expected of you
Do not use the kitchen areas to prepare food or drink, warm up food or drink or to wash up.

Please bring your own refreshments.

We suggest that you bring flasks and/or cans and bottles of drink along with food that can be eaten without the need for plates or cutlery. Whatever you bring to class will need to be taken home with you for cleaning, as the kitchens will not be available for washing up.

We recognise that it is important to keep yourself hydrated and that some people need to eat at very regular intervals, therefore if you do eat and drink during your class, please be thoughtful about it as you will be required to lift your face covering to do so.

7. Travel to class

Steps expected of you
If it is possible for you to walk to class, you are encouraged to do so. If not, it is recommended that you drive. If neither of the above is possible and you need to use public transport, you are advised to wear a face covering in line with government guidance.

9. Continue to be mindful of the spread of Covid-19

Steps Aspire Sussex has taken
In addition to the steps outlined above, Aspire has taken the following steps to minimise the spread of Covid-19:

  • Offering on-line student assessments wherever possible
  • Offering a mix of on line and face to face courses, with reduced class sizes in face to face courses.
  • Ensuring processes are in place to register the details of every person entering Aspire’s Centres.
  • Encouraging the opening of classroom windows to increase ventilation

Aspire will support the NHS Contact Tracing Scheme (Test and Trace), which you can find more details about here: NHS Test and Trace Aspire holds contact details for all Aspire Students and these contact details will be shared with the NHS Test and Trace service where needed.

Steps expected of you
We encourage students without Covid-19 symptoms to take regular Covid-19 lateral flow tests in line with government guidance. Lateral Flow Tests

You can order Lateral Flow tests on line, collect tests from a test site or pharmacy or get a tests at a test site. The government is currently encouraging everyone to take a lateral flow test twice weekly.

Be aware of the symptoms of Covid-19, which are currently understood to be:

  • New, persistent cough
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fever (38.0° C [100.4° F] or greater using an oral thermometer)
  • Loss of or change to your normal sense of taste or smell

If your tutor starts having any of the above symptoms of Covid-19 whilst at Aspire, he/she will end the class and you will be sent home.

Do not come to class is you have tested positive for Covid-19, please self-isolate in accordance with government guidance.

If you start having any of the above symptoms whilst at Aspire, you should inform your tutor and go home immediately, avoiding public transport if possible.

Whilst still on the premises, avoid touching anything and wash your hands; use a separate toilet from others, if possible; cough or sneeze into a tissue and put it in a bin, or if you do not have tissues, cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow.

If you have Covid-19 symptoms, for your own health and safety and the health and safety of the students in your class, arrange a Covid-19 PCR test. PCR Test

If you test positive, please self-isolate in accordance with Government Guidance. If you do not have a Covid-19 test, you should self-isolate in line with Government guidance Stay at Home Guidance.

If you start having any of Covid-19 symptoms at home, or feel that you have come into close contact with someone who is displaying symptoms, you should inform your tutor or your Centre and you should not come to your class. As above for your own health and safety and the health and safety of your fellow students, arrange a Covid-19 test. If you test positive, please self-isolate in accordance with Government Guidance. If you do not have a Covid-19 test, you should self-isolate in line with Government guidance

If you receive a positive Covid-19 test result we encourage you to engage with the NHS Trace and Test service and to provide the Trace and Test service with Aspire Sussex as a contact if you have attended an Aspire Sussex Class or visited an Aspire Sussex Venue for other reasons prior to receiving the positive test result.