In line with the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, as of 19th July restrictions have now been eased. Although the rules have been relaxed, a careful and measured approach is required for us to ensure a safe return to our centres. Our duty of care to our learners, staff, and visitors remains our highest priority.
For information on getting tested, vaccines, coronavirus news and data, and support for businesses and residents, go to the Essex County Council Coronavirus hub .
What safety measures are we taking?
We continue to follow guidance set out by the Government, Essex County Council, and Public Health England and review our procedures on a regular basis to ensure that we are doing everything we can to minimise the risk of infection in our centres.
Our centres are open to learners and visitors; however, we have retained the following safety measures to protect our learners, staff and visitors:
Ensure good hygiene for everyone
- Sanitising stations at the entrance to all centres. Inside all classrooms and outside toilets / receptions and refreshment areas.
- Posters are visible around the centres reminding people of the importance of hand hygiene and “Catch it, bin it, kill it”
- Learners to ensure they wash and/or sanitise their hands regularly. For example, when entering a centre and a classroom and after using the toilets.
- Learners to not leave used face coverings on surfaces but instead place in a bin or in their bags.
Maintain appropriate cleaning regimes
- ECC use a company called Mitie, who will continue to clean our centres in line with the corporate cleaning contract.
- The premises team will provide cleaning of high touch areas during service delivery times.
- Classroom cleaning rotas will be in operation to ensure classes receive cleaning during service delivery times.
- Learners and staff are required to clean down areas they have used when finished. There are anti-bacterial cleaning materials available in every classroom and communal areas.
- Tutors are required to sign a class cleaning log so we can ensure rooms are being kept clean and everyone is doing their bit.
- We have the correct PPE for staff to use should someone begin to display Covid-19 systems. Rooms and areas will be closed and deep cleaned before they can be used again.
Keep occupied spaces well ventilated
- Windows and doors are to be kept open whenever possible. This means, you may wish to have additional clothing layers with you. Please keep noise levels down when moving around the building so not to disturb those in classrooms.
- No fans or air conditioners that recirculate air are in operation. Only clean air coolers are permitted and in use where available.
- We have asked that ACL staff only come into a centre to work when necessary. Therefore, there may only be one or two of the Customer Services team available at any one time. Please be patient if they are not able to help you straight away.
Follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19
- ACL recommend all learners and carers to do regular self-home testing, ideally twice weekly or before they come into a centre. We can provide you with tests, but you can just as easily collect boxes of tests from your local chemist.
- We will ensure you are kept up to date with the latest advice and guidance from public health. We will do this using our website, social media pages, newsletters and the virtual learning platform.
- Learners, staff and visitors must follow public health advice on when to self-isolate.
- Please do not come into the setting if you think you may have symptoms or other reasons requiring you to stay at home due to the risk of passing on COVID-19 (for example, you are required to quarantine or have had a positive test).
- Staff will request you leave our centres and make your way home, should you appear to develop symptoms, no matter how mild.
- Should this be you, and you need to wait to be collected, we will ask you to wait in a room, on your own, (unless you have a carer, who needs to wait with you). The room will have all windows open and should a member of staff need to come into close contact with you, they will wear appropriate PPE. After you have left, we will completely sanitise the room.
- Learners who receive a positive LFD test result should self-isolate in line with the stay-at-home guidance. You will also need to get a free PCR test to check if they have COVID-19. Whilst awaiting the PCR result, you should continue to self-isolate.
- If the PCR test is taken within 2 days of the positive LFD test, and is negative, it overrides the LFD test result, and you can return to our centres providing you do not have COVID-19 symptoms. If you have a negative LFD test result can continue to attend our centres for your learning.
Outbreak Management Plan
- ACL has an Outbreak Management Plan that meets Department of Education requirements. The Business Operations Manager is responsible for implementing this following an outbreak.
- The ACL Senior Leadership Team will be kept informed of the situation.
- ACL will also need to keep ECC informed and will do so in line with ECC Policy.
- Should there be a positive case, ACL will inform the staff, learners, carers and visitors who were in close contact. We will do this by email, phone or mail.
- Following a local outbreak, we will follow Public Health guidance and if need be request staff and learners to carry out increased testing.
- In the event of a local outbreak, we will inform staff and learners that face coverings in communal areas and/or classrooms are compulsory until told otherwise by Public Health.
- Some ACL activities may be limited during a local outbreak. ACL will ensure all those affected are made aware.
- We may need to temporarily move to remote or online teaching but will make those affected aware.
- Public health may ask us to restrict attendance to centres, or to certain groups of people.
ACL will continue with these additional safety measures
- Department of Education have said social distancing and face coverings are no longer a requirement for teaching and learning activities in an educational setting.
- We will, however, endeavour to create as much space for learners as possible, depending on the course and room sizes.
- Room layouts are fixed and should not be altered.
- Social distancing will be encouraged in communal areas in accordance with ECC guidelines.
- All toilets are in operation.
- Face Coverings to be encouraged in communal areas and moving around the building where social distancing cannot be maintained, unless exempt.
- One-way systems will be replaced by “Keep Left” systems, but we recommend you still keep a good distance from other people moving around the centre.
- Please do not arrive more than 5 minutes before the start of your course and leave promptly when it has finished.
- You will still need to record your presence using either the NHS Track and Trace app or asking our customer services staff to record your details on our secure record. Carers and visitors will also need to record their attendance.
- Please read all the safety notices that are around the centre and follow the guidelines for your own safety.
- Please continue to carry out home testing on a twice weekly basis. Those who collect testing kits from ACL, will need to be registered on the Test Register system by Customer Services and then record the test result on the Test Register App.
Coffee Shops in centres will be opening again from September 2021
- Please do not touch produce unless you are intending to purchase it.
- Try not to lean against counters and keep social distancing.
- We will have screens at points of service and ask that you do not remove or move around them as they are there for you and our staff’s safety.
- There will be customer self-service for cutlery and condiments. If you require them, please ask and staff will hand them to you.
Hair and Beauty
- Hair and beauty courses will be run in line with industry standards.
Courses starting September
We have launched a wide range of online and in-centre courses starting over the coming months. Our courses have been adapted to provide multiple delivery options that ensure you receive the best learning experience possible, be that at home or in our centres.
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A special thank you
We feel incredibly lucky to have such a compassionate community that looks out for one another. Even though it has been a difficult time for many of us over the past year, our learners and staff have shared so many great experiences together, achieving wonderful things that have such a positive impact on lives. We would like to say a special thank you for the ongoing support from our community and all those who continue to inspire others to improve their lives through learning.
As always, if you have any concerns or questions, please contact us.