From Peter Mayhew-Smith, Group Principal and CEO, South Thames Colleges Group
28 February 2020
Dear students and families
Corona Virus (Covid-19)
The Colleges in our Group have been monitoring Coronavirus (Covid-19) developments very closely.
We are also taking measures to ensure that everyone is clear about their and our responsibilities during this time of growing uncertainty.
Our Colleges will remain open for learning until we are asked to close. Please attend all lessons on time and ready for your studies. We have followed Public Health England’s advice and are offering additional hygiene facilities and measures on our sites.
We will make sure you are kept up to date with any changes and will remain in close contact with the relevant authorities throughout this time.
Although the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk of contracting this virus from low to moderate, the risk remains quite low in our area and most diagnosed cases in the UK are mild. Symptoms are similar to flu symptoms and include:
• Shortness of breath
If you have returned from any of the following areas since 19 February, even if you do not have any of the above symptoms, you are advised to stay indoors and contact NHS 111:
• Specific care zones in South Korea (Daegu and Cheongdo)
• Hubei Province in China
• The quarantined towns in Northern Italy: Bertonico, Casalpusterlengo, Castelgerundo, Castiglione d'Adda, Codogno, Fombio, Maleo, San Fiorano, Somaglia, Terranova dei Passerini - all in Lodi province in Lombard y - and Vo' Euganeo in Padova province, Veneto.
If, however, you have recently returned from any of the following areas in the last 14 days and present the above symptoms the government advice is to stay indoors for a period of 14 consecutive days and to contact the NHS helpline (111) or your GP. You should not go to your GP practice in person and should avoid any contact with other people.
• Mainland China
• Hong Kong
• South Korea
This advice has also been applied to individuals who have spent time in and have returned from the following areas since 19 February 2020: • Northern Italy (see above for guidance for quarantined towns)
The government has clearly advised against closing colleges and we are following this advice. We will let you know if this advice changes. If you would like more information, the following website is regularly updated: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19information-for-the-public
All students and visitors to the college are advised to use hand sanitisers or wash their hands on arrival and follow PHE advice included in the attachment to this notice.
If you become unwell at College, please tell a member of staff and let them know if you have travelled to any other countries in the last 14 days. If a member of staff thinks you have symptoms of coronavirus, they will call NHS 111 for advice. If you become unwell at home and have reason to believe you may be at risk you and/or your parent / guardian should call HNS 111 for advice and inform the College.