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Latest advice and information regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated 31 March 2020

Newbold College of Higher Education advice and updates regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

*LAST UPDATED 31 MARCH 2020*

Cancellation of 2020 Summer School in English and British Culture Study Tour

As we all attempt to adjust to the effects the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having on our everyday lives, we at Newbold have had to make some tough decisions.

Unfortunately, this includes our decision to cancel the upcoming 2020 British Culture Study Tour and the Summer School in English this year.

Given the government-advised travel restrictions currently in place in the UK and around the world, the disruption to the flight and travel industry, and the level of global uncertainty we are all operating under, we do not believe that it is viable to go ahead with either programme this year.

We apologise for the inconvenience this causes, but as always, the health and wellbeing of our students and the wider community is at the heart of every decision we make.

We will be processing full refunds for this programme and students who have applied will receive an email with further information.

For any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@newbold.ac.uk and we would be happy to help.

*LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY 20 MARCH 2020*

COVID-19 Update on Library, Dining Area and Buildings

Friday 20 March 2020

As we continue to monitor the fast-changing situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) we are constantly reviewing how this affects our College community and are responding accordingly.

While the business of the College remains fully operational, most of our students have now returned home to ready themselves for distance learning and our staff are transitioning to remote working. Entry to the following buildings will be limited to staff who require access:

  • Salisbury Hall (Reception will be staffed 09:00 to 12:00 on Wednesday until further notice)
  • Roy Graham Library (resources and support will remain available online)
  • Murdoch Hall
  • Moor Close, Schuil House and Keough house (access strictly limited to residents only from 25 March)
  • Bartlett Hall (Moor Close) Dining Area (food service will be limited to takeaway)

For the safety of our staff, only urgent maintenance requests are able to be actioned at this time – this includes Family Housing, staff housing, and Halls of Residence.

Many people are now self-isolating as they adhere to the Government advice surrounding coughs and fevers. We continue to recommend you follow Government advice regarding social distancing, to stay indoors where possible and only visit essential places.

You should also read the Government’s instructions on self-isolation for households.

We look forward to resuming normal operations as soon as possible, and to welcoming our students back on campus.

*LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY 19 MARCH 2020*

Update on Newbold’s English Language Centre

Tuesday 17 March 2020

As Newbold continues to respond to the changing situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) it is inevitable that our responses will impact the way that we operate, at least temporarily.

On Monday 16 March we announced that we would be extending the mid-semester break by an additional week, and that when Theology, Business and Humanities classes resume on 30 March they will do so via distance learning.

We have been thinking long and hard, trying to find the best way to take care of our students in the English Language Centre (ELC). It is with regret that we have decided not to teach ELC classes for the rest of the semester.

In the ELC, we believe in teaching English as a tool for practical communication. This means that immersion, one-to-one student support, and the variety of British cultural experiences form a large part of the quality of the learning environment. We cannot see how we could provide our help at the same level online.

We will be offering refunds of 50% of the semester’s tuition fees as well as free online support for the remainder of the semester for any students who wish to continue studying using their textbooks from home.

*LAST UPDATED: MONDAY 16 MARCH 2020* 

Transition to Distance Learning

Dear Newbold community,

Given the continuing escalation of the situation around the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the College’s commitment to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the Newbold community, we have been closely following the latest UK government actions and advice.

We are committed to sharing relevant information and advice on the situation, and how these impact on the diverse international community on our campus.

Last Thursday the UK Prime Minister announced that the country has moved to the ‘delay’ phase in its response to the virus, including new guidelines for those with either a high temperature or a new continuous cough to self-isolate for seven days.

Many schools, universities and childcare centres around the world have closed in recent days, and while the UK is not currently following this pattern, we need to consider our situation as a residential learning environment – particularly with our shared, dormitory-style accommodation.

Newbold’s Crisis Management Group has considered many different scenarios in trying to strike a balance between government decisions and how they affect our community as we continue to respond to the challenges of COVID-19. Therefore, we are taking the following steps.

  • Extension of the mid-semester break: In order to allow sufficient time for the measures below to be implemented appropriately, we are extending the mid-semester break by one week. This means that the break will conclude on Sunday 29 March.
  • Move to distance learning: All DTS/DBH modules/classes will be taught online from Monday 30 March, immediately following the extended mid-semester break.

Given the nature of our English language courses, we are still making appropriate arrangements for our English Language Centre.

We will continue to keep students updated as to how distance coursework will be delivered, as it relates to your particular course or programme.

  • Halls of Residence: In the event of students in residence contracting the virus and their health deteriorating significantly, the College is not equipped to provide appropriate medical care, nor do we have facilities that allow for adequate self-isolation. Thus, as our teaching moves online, students living in Schuil House, Keough House and Moor Close are strongly recommended to make plans to return to their permanent residence as soon as possible, with a final deadline of Wednesday 25 March, unless they receive prior permission to remain longer. This permission is likely to be offered to international students and those who need to remain in the local area for good reason, and would be granted by the Senior Leadership Team on the recommendation of the Residential Life Manager.

If you are a lodger/boarder in Moor Close or if you live in Family Housing, you will be able to remain in your accommodation as per your tenancy agreement.

  • Cafeteria and Library services: The Cafeteria and Library will continue to operate for any students who do remain in campus accommodation, although the way these services operate is likely to change.
  • Staff working arrangements: As we move to distance learning, staff may choose to work from home if appropriate and after consultation with their supervisor.
  • Travel: All College-related international travel has been cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future.

Domestic travel is likely to still go ahead as planned for the time being, although this will be under constant review.

We continue to encourage all members of the Newbold community to reconsider the necessity of any personal international travel, and for staff and students to notify us as per the previous notification if they plan to travel internationally.

  • Cancellation of campus events and external bookings: Given the situation, it is unlikely that we will be able to proceed with any campus events, external bookings, or guest bookings at least until the end of the academic year (mid-May).

These arrangements will be in place for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year or until the situation stabilises.

What to do if you feel unwell

Please remember to take care of your health:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Sneeze into a tissue and bin it
  • Avoid touching your face

Seek NHS advice by calling 111 or go to www.111.nhs.uk/covid-19 if you have:

  • A high temperature
  • A new continuous cough
  • Shortness of breath

Return to your residence. Seek NHS advice. Update the College (on 1742 or 7650 if you are in the Halls or Residence or Moor Close); contact your student representative for Family Housing; or call your line manager if you are staff. Follow the NHS advice as it relates to your situation.

What happens next?

As this is a rapidly-changing situation, we will keep you informed about online teaching, campus services and any other relevant decisions or significant changes at Newbold as soon as we are able and as we continue to respond.

Stay updated on the situation as it relates to Newbold, by visiting www.newbold.ac.uk/coronavirus, and by checking your student email. Students and staff who have not already done so, please download the Piota app, subscribe to the ‘Urgent’ channel, and make sure that notifications are turned on.

If you have any questions or concerns about how any of these changes might affect you, please contact our Academic Registrar, Ms Serena Santona, at ssantona@newbold.ac.uk

Please take care of each other and continue to pray for one another – particularly those who have been directly impacted by this virus – and for God’s guidance as we continue to respond to the situation surrounding COVID-19.

*LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY 11 MARCH 2020*

Health and Travel Advisory

This statement will be regularly updated based on the latest advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), World Health Organisation (WHO), and Public Health England (PHE).

The health, welfare and safety of students, staff and other members of the Newbold community is a top priority for College leadership, especially following the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Members of our Crisis Management Group (CMG) are conferring regularly to monitor the situation closely and follow PHE and FCO advice to protect the health of all members of our community. The CMG will meet regularly for the foreseeable future.

We are aware that several cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Berkshire, with further cases in Bracknell and Wokingham, but have not been advised by PHE of any direct implications relating to these cases.

The College will continue to operate as normal and to abide by FCO government advice. We recommend that those travelling internationally either to or from Newbold continue to follow government travel advice as relevant to their origin and destination.

We will continue to update our advice according to government guidance and information so please check back here for the latest.

For advice or guidance, please contact us by email at: info@newbold.ac.uk

Government health and travel advice

Health advice

Public Health England (PHE) advises the following measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus:

  • If you cough or sneeze catch it with a tissue, put the tissue in a bin and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or hand sanitiser
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or hand sanitiser before cooking and eating, on arrival at any childcare or educational setting, after using the toilet, and before leaving the house
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Do not share items that come into contact with your mouth, such as cups and bottles
  • If unwell do not share items such as bedding, dishes, pens and towels.

You can also view PHE’s advice on the coronavirus for places of education.

If you think that you may have the symptoms of the coronavirus please call NHS 111 for advice.

Travel advice for staff and students

Based on information from various government sources and following consultation with relevant staff and the College’s Crisis Management Group, Newbold has issued the following advice to staff and students for any College-related or personal travel, as at Tuesday 10 March 2020. This advice may change as we continue to monitor the situation:

  • We will be carefully monitoring and reassessing the need for any College-related international travel.
  • All UK College-related travel and activities will go ahead as planned, but staff and students have been asked to consider any risk and postpone travel if feasible.
  • We are encouraging staff and students alike to reconsider any personal travel both internationally and within the UK, and to consider avoiding flights and airports and other forms of public transport, particularly over the coming breaks.
  • We are asking that staff and students notify us of any international travel they are planning to take so that we can best safeguard the health of our community. Staff and students travelling to countries, areas or regions for which the UK government provides advice for returning travellers may be asked to isolate themselves for fourteen days before returning to campus.

Remember to practise good hygiene, including:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water thoroughly, or using hand sanitiser, regularly
  • Covering your mouth with a tissue or your sleeve if you sneeze, or sneezing into a tissue and discarding it in a rubbish bin immediately
  • Being aware of your health both before travelling and on your return
  • Avoiding contact with those who are unwell

Please refer to the following websites for advice on COVID-19 and implications for health and travel: