COVID-19

Advice and Guidance

March 2021

At WaterBear, we’ve been closely following the advice and guidance set out by the Government in the wake of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. It remains our priority to ensure the safety of all students, staff and visitors to the college.

Our courses have, from the very beginning, been designed to be flexible, enabling students to study their courses whether or not they are able to attend college. We’re very pleased to say that, having recently been put to the utmost test, this flexible learning model has stood up to the challenges of Covid-19.

In January of this year, the government announced another lockdown in England. Unlike the lockdown of November 2020, schools, colleges and universities (save for a very few exceptions) were not exempt from the strict lockdown rules and therefore had to restrict face-to-face teaching and learning activities. At WaterBear, we subsequently moved all our teaching and learning online, but continued to provide bookable access to onsite facilities for those students needing it to continue with their work and projects. We also provided additional resources (laptops, mics, interfaces, etc.) for students who were unable to travel to the college.

As of March 8th, we are very pleased to have re-opened the doors of WaterBear for onsite teaching and learning. However, as we are still in the middle of the pandemic, it’s very important for anyone visiting our campus buildings to follow our guidance, to keep us all as safe as possible. Some of the measures we have put in place include:

1. Smaller class sizes. A commitment to keeping class sizes smaller has always been and will remain a central component of the WaterBear ethos. We will always continue to manage class sizes in future to ensure we adhere to social distancing advice.

2. Learning model. Our curriculum delivery model has always been flexible to allow for a blend of onsite and online activity. This model has helped us ensure smooth transitions between onsite and online learning.

3. Enhanced health and safety precautions. We have adapted our buildings by initiating a raft of additional precautionary measures, to help combat the threat of Covid-19. These include the use of PPE, floor signage, posters, signs, increased cleaning rotas and managed building usage to ensure we remain as safe and secure as possible. We also acquired additional space in Brighton for our teaching and learning, meaning there is even more space available for socially-distanced activities.

4. Ongoing advice and guidance. No one really knows how long the threat of Covid-19 will last, and to what extent, although with the recent commencement of the mass-vaccination programme and clear roadmap out of lockdown, we are confident there is now a bright light at the end of the tunnel. We are keeping up to date with all the latest government advice and guidance which will inform the actions we take and the advice we give. Our staff and tutors have received training and guidance, which is ongoing. The advice we give to all students and visitors who might have reason to attend the WaterBear buildings remains as follows:

What to expect when onsite at WaterBear and how you can do your bit to help:

1. Take 2 lateral flow tests per week, if asymptomatic.

2. Wash and sanitise your hands regularly.

3. Maintain social distance of MINIMUM 1m – avoid all physical contact.

4. Only come to college buildings for scheduled activity.

5. Leave campus buildings promptly after activity.

6. Help us to keep clean and safe – always follow instructions.

7. Bring your own headphones / drumsticks / picks, etc. Do not use any other equipment apart from your own.

8. Wearing of face coverings in common areas (outside of classrooms) is compulsory.

As has always been the case at WaterBear, we will continue with our blended learning approach, meaning that all lecture content and materials will be available online, whether or not you’re studying an online or on-site course. This provides additional comfort for anyone not able to come to the college in person, for whatever reason, who doesn’t want to miss out or fall behind with their studies.

Rest assured we’ll continue to do all we can to ensure everyone’s safety at WaterBear. We’re all hopeful that the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown will mean we’ll be approaching normality again within a few months. In the meantime, continuing to follow the advice and ‘do our bit’ to limit the spread of the virus will help keep WaterBear safe and secure for all.

If you have any further questions or would like to chat with us, please drop us a line on info@wbear.io, or call us on 01273 726230.

For up to date advice and guidance on the Coronavirus pandemic, please refer to the NHS (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/) and Government (https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus) websites.

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