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Coronavirus Info

College Coronavirus Updates

The College has moved to Stage 5 of the Pathway out of Restrictions. This move facilitates the full return to face-to-face teaching for all students in the new academic year and as ‘normal’ an academic learning environment as possible.  

However, all other mitigations contained within the Framework for the Safe Resumption of On-Site Educational Provision and Related Activity must remain in place and should still be adhered to.  This includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • wearing face coverings at all times on campus (lecturers will be permitted to remove face coverings when they are delivering a class);
  • the continued use of good hand hygiene;
  • maintaining 2 metre social distancing outside the classroom environment (with the exception of canteens);
  • office environments – where an employer requires a person to come into the workplace social distancing of 2m should be maintained as per PHA guidance;
  • ensuring that surfaces are regularly cleaned and sanitised;
  • risk assessments and safe systems of work should be updated in line with existing HSE guidance and to reflect today’s changes, before the re-opening of premises and activities conducted on and off premises;
  • continuation of the agreed track and trace procedures; 
  • continue with the provision of Lateral Flow Self Testing (LFT) at FE college campuses for staff and students. 
  • as per the new rules on self-isolation any staff or learner (18 or over) who has been identified as a close contact and has been fully vaccinated is no longer required to self-isolate but should take a PCR test on day two and day eight of the 10 day period following the last contact with the positive case.  
  • young people (5 to 17 years) who are not fully vaccinated and are identified as close contact should self-isolate and book a PCR test as soon as possible. If the PCR test is negative they should take a PCR test eight days after the last contact with the positive case. (23/8/21)

Covid‑19 Guidance

The College has produced guidance for both staff and students outlining the actions to take to help prevent the spread of Covid‑19.

Reporting Forms

If you have any Covid‑19 symptoms or have tested positive on a Lateral Flow Testing kit do not come into College. Please use the appropriate absence form to notify the College.

If you have been absent from College due to Covid‑19 you must complete the Covid‑19 Return to Campus form before returning to College.

Student Support student.support@nrc.ac.uk
Admissions admissions@nrc.ac.uk
Canvas CILT@nrc.ac.uk
Careers careers@nrc.ac.uk
Counselling support@inspirewellbeing.org
Education Support educationsupport@nrc.ac.uk
Exams Ballymena/Magherafelt: ta.exams@nrc.ac.uk
  Newtownabbey: na.exams@nrc.ac.uk
  Coleraine/Ballymoney: cr.exams@nrc.ac.uk
HR hr@nrc.ac.uk
IT Support servicedesk@nrc.ac.uk
Library nrc.library@nrc.ac.uk
Safeguarding safe@nrc.ac.uk
Student Finance StudentFinance@nrc.ac.uk
Students’ Union studentsunion@nrc.ac.uk
The Clinic 028 7034 6028 or https://sh24.org.uk/

Further guidance for staff on the Covid-19 safety measures is outlined within the Addendum Version 1.3 of the Framework for Safe Resumption of On-site Educational Provision and Related Activity issued by the Department for the Economy

Prior to returning on-campus all staff must:

  1. Complete the Covid-19 Practical Online Training Module and ResilienceTraining.
  2. Complete the Health Declaration Form.
  3. Read carefully and comply with the guidelines on Canvas.

We would also encourage you to download the contact-tracing smartphone app – Stop COVID NI mobile App.

Face Coverings:

  • Staff and learners must wear face coverings in common/public areas unless an exemption applies;
  • Learners must wear face coverings in classrooms/training rooms unless an exemption applies;
  • Lecturers will be permitted to remove face coverings when they are delivering a class.  Lecturers must try to maintain social distancing of 2m in the classroom when they are not wearing a face covering, and where this is not possible, a face covering/visor/PPE should be applied; and
  • Staff will be required to wear face coverings when moving about the office environment unless an exemption applies.

Social Distancing:

  • Classrooms/training rooms – there is no requirement for social distancing, although it is advised that social distancing should be maintained where possible;
  • Common/public areas – social distancing of 2m should be maintained (with the exception of canteens);
  • Office environments – where an employer requires a person to come into the workplace social distancing of 2m should be maintained as per PHA guidance, please refer to PHA Returning to the Office and NI Direct

Track and Trace:

  • Colleges should continue to use the existing track and trace procedures for identifying and informing close contacts. 
  • As per the new rules on self-isolation any staff or learner (18 or over) who has been identified as a close contact and has been fully vaccinated is no longer required to self-isolate but should take a PCR test on day two and day eight of the 10 day period following the last contact with the positive case.  
  • Young people (5 to 17 years) who are not fully vaccinated and are identified as close contact should self-isolate and book a PCR test as soon as possible. If the PCR test is negative they should take a PCR test eight days after the last contact with the positive case.

The full rules on self-isolation can be found at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-self-isolating

Below are some of the controls introduced by the College to help prevent the spread of Covid-19:

Campus

  • Social distancing markers – 2 metres outside the classroom (with the exception of canteens).
  • Screens and barriers.
  • Hand sanitising stations/sanitiser wipes provided to wipe down work area and equipment used before and after class.
  • Enhanced cleaning of touch points.
  • Queue control – limited access to areas.
  • Specific seat arrangements in offices to ensure safe working distances.
  • Meeting and shared spaces – large gatherings prohibited - reduce capacity of spaces.

Catering and Social Spaces

  • Staggered lunch-times.
  • Designated zone areas to allow catering and cleaning resources to manage peak times.
  • Staff and students encouraged to bring food and beverage items from home.

Learning

  • The College has moved to Stage 5 of the Pathway out of Restrictions, effective from Monday 16 August.  This move facilitates the full return to face-to-face teaching for all students in the new academic year and as ‘normal’ an academic learning environment as possible.  Stage 5 has been enabled by the agreement to remove social distancing in the classroom environment.
  • ​​Each classroom has an easy guide sheet on the teaching desk to ensure that staff are familiar with the procedures and that these can be shared with students.
  • Clean and wipe down workstations and equipment before starting and finishing classes.
  • PPE in teaching environments will be in line with guidance available at the time.
  • Contact tracing – e-registers must be marked within the first 15 minutes of every class.

Safety Champions

  • Each campus will have a dedicated safety champion to help you stay safe and adhere to the guidelines.

Student Life

  • Online and on-campus services including student support, library, student finance, education support and careers.

Working from Home

  • To help reduce the number of persons onsite, some staff who are not in student facing roles will still work from home. Advice on working from home is available and further resources on online learning are available on Canvas.
  • See guidance for maintaining data protection security whilst working from home.
  • It’s important to check in with your manager at least once a day; remain connected by keeping communication lines open.
  • If you encounter problems with your IT, you should email the Service Desk at servicedesk@nrc.ac.uk

Reporting Forms

Should you have any queries please email marketing@nrc.ac.uk.

Our priorities are to save lives, to protect student achievement, and to ensure that you can return to College as safely as possible.

Student Guidance

This Student Guide is designed to provide you with important information returning to college following the Covid-19 pandemic. This guide will be referred to along with the ‘Positive Behaviour Policy: Covid19 Addendum’ during your College induction.

In order to comply with the Public Health Authority, students are expected to act in a responsible manner at all times, which will include (but not limited to) the following instructions:

  • Do not attend college if you have any symptoms of Covid-19, or ill health no matter how mild,

Or/and if

  • You suspect that you may be contagious,

Or/and if

  • You have had recent contact with someone who has been confirmed as having contracted Covid-19 and have to self-isolate based on NI Direct guidance.

Who should be on site?

The College has moved to Stage 5 of the Pathway out of Restrictions, effective from Monday 16 August.  This move facilitates the full return to face-to-face teaching for all students in the new academic year and as ‘normal’ an academic learning environment as possible.  Stage 5 has been enabled by the agreement to remove social distancing in the classroom environment.

How should I travel to college?

  • If possible, travel by foot, by bike or car.
  • If you have no alternative but to use public transport, please ensure you follow PHA and Translink guidance on the use of face coverings.

When on college premises

  • Please ensure that you are wearing your college ID badge when on site and that it is available for showing to a member of staff when asked.
  • Upon arrival on site, students are requested to follow the signage to car parking and park in allocated spaces only.
  • Comply with 2 metre social distancing guidance outside the classroom (with the exception of canteens).
  • Wear a face covering at all times whilst on campus, (including situations where the 2 metre social distance can be maintained) unless you have an exemption or are working in a single person room.  Those exemptions must be identified with an appropriate lanyard.
  • All students are required upon arrival on site to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Regular hand washing and use of hand sanitiser is promoted across College.
  • Use tissues if needed – Catch it, Bin it, Kill it.
  • Bring bottled water from home; canteen and vending facilities will be limited.
  • Students are required to adhere to all College signage.
  • Bring with you all the equipment you require for class i.e. pens, pencils, paper, rulers etc. You will not be permitted to share this equipment.
  • Wait outside class rooms until asked to enter by your lecturer. Ensure that you maintain social distancing while doing so.
  • Follow all instructions given to you by any member of staff. Failure to do so may lead to disciplinary sanctions.
  • You are not permitted to smoke or use e-cigarettes on any part of the campus grounds.

What should I do if I have concerns?

  • If you feel worried or anxious at any time talk to your lecturer in the first instance, or any member of the Student Services or Estates Team
  • If you see someone not adhering to the social distancing rules, report this in confidence to your lecturer or any member of College staff

What about PPE

  • All staff, students and visitors will be required to wear a face covering whilst on campus, (including stations where the 2 metre distance can be maintained) unless they have an exemption or are working in a singe person room.  Those with exemptions must be identifed with an appropriate lanyard.
  • The College will monitor all PHA advice and amend our procedures and advice accordingly.

End of timetabled classes

  • Once your timetabled classes have finished, the expectation is that you leave the college premises and return home.
  • Loitering in the corridor, canteen, or social areas is not permitted.
  • Personal study can be facilitated in the campus libraries by appointment only

Reporting Forms

  • If you have any Covid-19 symptoms do not come into College.  Please use the absence form to notify the College. 
  • If you have been absent from College due to Covid-19 you must complete the Covid Return form before returning to College. 

Below are some of the controls introduced by the College to help prevent the spread of Covid-19:

Campus

  • Social distancing markers – 2 metres outside the classroom (with the exception of canteens).
  • Screens and barriers.
  • Hand sanitising stations/sanitiser wipes provided to wipe down work area and equipment used before and after class.
  • Enhanced cleaning of touch points.
  • Queue control – limited access to areas.
  • Specific seat arrangements in offices to ensure safe working distances.
  • Meeting and shared spaces – large gatherings prohibited - reduce capacity of spaces.

Catering and Social Spaces

  • Staggered lunch-times.
  • Designated zone areas to allow catering and cleaning resources to manage peak times.
  • Staff and students encouraged to bring food and beverage items from home.

Learning

  • The College has moved to Stage 5 of the Pathway out of Restrictions, effective from Monday 16 August.  This move facilitates the full return to face-to-face teaching for all students in the new academic year and as ‘normal’ an academic learning environment as possible.  Stage 5 has been enabled by the agreement to remove social distancing in the classroom environment.
  • Clean and wipe down workstations and equipment before starting and finishing classes.
  • PPE in teaching environments will be in line with guidance available at the time.
  • Contact tracing – e-registers must be marked within the first 15 minutes of every class.

Safety Champions

  • Each campus will have a dedicated safety champion to help you stay safe and adhere to the guidelines.

Student Life

  • Online and on-campus services including student support, library, student finance, education support and careers.

1. Do I have to wear a face covering? 

Staff and learners must wear face coverings in common/public areas unless an exemption applies; 

Learners must wear face coverings in classrooms/training rooms unless an exemption applies; 

Lecturers are permitted to remove face coverings when they are delivering a class.  Lecturers must try to maintain social distancing of 2m in the classroom when they are not wearing a face covering, and where this is not possible, a face covering/visor/PPE should be applied; and 

Staff are required to wear face coverings when moving about the office environment unless an exemption applies.  

2. I’ve been in contact with someone who has Covid-19 symptoms or who has tested positive? 

The full rules on self-isolation can be found on the NI Direct website.   

3. I am displaying Covid-19 symptoms or have tested positive. 

If you are displaying Covid-19 symptoms do not come into College. You must inform the College of your absence by contacting your course co-ordinator/line manager and stay at home. Please follow the Public Health Agency guidance. If you test positive, please notify the College and follow advice given to you by the Contact and Trace team. 

4. I’m in College and have Covid-19 symptoms. 

If you become unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature/fever or loss or change in normal sense of smell/taste in College you must inform your lecturer/line manager immediately. For students, your lecturer should then make arrangements to have you sent home immediately by contacting your parent/guardian. An isolation room is also available for the student to wait until they are collected. 

5. A student/lecturer in my class has gone home with Covid-19 symptoms. 

Unless you are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms or advised otherwise by the Public Health Agency you should continue to come to College. Free LFT testing kits are available for collection in the Library should you wish to test at home for reassurance. 

6. A student/lecturer in my class has tested positive for Covid-19. 

The PHA will identify the individual’s ‘high risk’ contacts, including those from the College and contact them directly. 

The PHA has advised that there is no need to send the rest of the class or other individuals home. Free LFT testing kits are available for collection in the Library should you wish to test at home for reassurance. 

Lateral Flow Testing at the College

Test kits are available free for staff and students to collect from campus libraries. Lateral flow testing is a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but who may still be spreading the virus. One in three people with Covid-19 have no symptoms.

Help us to keep the College safe for staff, students and visitors by testing at home twice a week.

If you have any questions not answered below contact your line manager or course co-ordinator.


Lateral Flow Testing FAQs

What should you do after the test?  

If anyone tests positive you, your household, any support bubbles you are part of should self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance for 10 days.  

You should report a positive result to both NHS Test and Trace and the College. 

You should order a confirmatory PCR test if you have tested positive. The confirmatory PCR test should be taken within two days of the positive LFD test. 

If the result of the test is unclear (void) you will need to do another test.  

Negative and void results should be reported to NHS Test & Trace

A negative result does not guarantee that you are not carrying the virus. So, you should continue to follow social distancing and other measures to reduce transmission such as regularly washing your hands.  

If you or anyone in your household gets symptoms of the virus you should follow national guidelines on self-isolation and testing.  

Do staff need to give consent?  

Staff do not give written consent to take part in the home testing programme.  

Please read the following link on how personal information and test results are shared and the College wide privacy notice and the NHS England privacy notice.  

Do students need to give consent?  

Students do not give written consent to take part in the home testing programme unless the student does not have the capacity to provide informed consent in which case consent in writing must be completed by the parent or legal guardian.  

Please read the information below on how personal information and test results are shared and the College wide privacy notice and the NHS England privacy notice.

Reporting problems or issues with testing  

If there is an issue with the test kit, for example something is missing, please report it by calling 119 and please also tell the College. 

If an accident or injury happens whilst using the test kit, please seek medical care by calling 111 (or 999 if it is an emergency). Please also report what happened using this website:https://coronavirus-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/   

What type of tests will be used?  

We will be providing staff with Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests for use at home. They are a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of Covid-19, but who may still be spreading the virus.   

The tests are easy to use and give results in 30 minutes.   

Further information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/understanding-lateral-flow-antigen-testing-for-people-without-symptoms   

Are LFD tests accurate?  

Lateral Flow Device tests identify people who are likely to be infectious. These individuals tend to spread the virus to many people and so identifying them through this test is important.   

These tests have been widely and successfully used to detect Covid-19 in asymptomatic individuals and are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The speed and convenience of the tests supports the detection of the virus in asymptomatic individuals, who would not otherwise have got tested.  

The tests are highly specific, with low chance of false positives. They are also very sensitive and are able to identify the majority of the most infectious yet asymptomatic individuals. Extensive evaluation has been carried out on the tests and it shows that they are both accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community for screening and surveillance purposes.   

It is important to remember that these tests are only an aid to help stop the spread of the virus and you should continue to follow other guidance such as on wearing face coverings and social distancing.   

How are LFD tests different to PCR tests?  

There are 2 main types of test to check if you have coronavirus:  

  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests check for the genetic material (RNA) of the virus in the sample - you send the sample for processing at a lab; and 
  • Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests detect proteins called ‘antigens’ produced by the virus - they give rapid results within 30 minutes.  

What does it mean if I have a positive result? 

If you have a positive antigen LFD test result you, your household and any support bubbles you are part of should self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance for 10 days. You need to report your result to both NHS Test & Trace and to the College. 

You should order a confirmatory PCR test if you have tested positive. The confirmatory PCR test should be taken within two days of the positive LFD test. 

You can book a test here.  

What does it mean if I have a negative result? 

A negative result does not guarantee that you are not carrying the virus. So, you should continue to follow social distancing, and other measures to reduce transmission such as wearing a face mask and regularly washing your hands. 

Negative results need to be reported to NHS Test & Trace but not the College. 

What if I have a void result? 

If the result of the test is unclear (void), you should take another one. If the next test is also void, you should take a PCR test. You can book a test here

Void results need to be reported to NHS Test & Trace but not the College. 

Do I need to send the test to a lab? 

No. The LFD tests supplied do not need to be sent to a laboratory to get a result and can give a quick result in around 30 minutes. Guidance on self-testing is contained in the ‘Instructions for Use’ leaflet, which comes with the test kit. There is also a useful video to show you how to administer the test.  

How do you report the result? 

Once you have taken the test, you will need to report the result online (whether it is positive, negative or void) using this service. You also need to notify the College of a test result. You will receive a text or email from NHS Test & Trace confirming that you have reported your test result.  

How will personal information and test results be shared? 

To report your result, you will need to share some information about yourself, so that your test result can be traced. 

You need to tell NHS Test & Trace: 

  • your name 
  • your test result 
  • the reference number on the test kit 

You will also need to notify the College of a positive test result.  

Under UK law, Northern Regional College will collect and store test result data because it is in the ‘public interest’. 

The College will only share information with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) if the test kits used are found to be faulty. If this happens, DHSC will use our information to contact people who used the faulty tests, so that they can be tested again.  

When you report test results online, you are sharing information with DHSC. They will share it with your GP, local government, NHS, and Public Health Agency. This is so that they can offer you health services and guidance if you need to self-isolate. They might also use your data anonymously (without your name or contact information) to research COVID-19, and improve our understanding of the virus. 

For more information on how personal data is used for testing please see the detailed privacy notice Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing: privacy information - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Should you have any queries please email marketing@nrc.ac.uk.