Supporting the Class of 20/21

As a college community, we’ve learned a lot during our time off campus, which has served us in good stead as we prepared for the start of the 2020/21 academic year, which began in earnest on 7 September for South Lanarkshire College students.  Students and staff at the College are now working together in the new “norm” of a blended learning approach.  This involves a mixture of remote and classroom learning to meet the safety guidelines published by the Scottish Government. 

To ensure the student experience remains positive and that students and staff are kept safe and well during these strange and uncertain times, the College has adopted a wide range of safety measures, including absolute adherence to the Scottish Government’s FACTS approach – the wearing of face coverings in social spaces; avoiding crowded places; cleaning hands regularly; maintaining two metres distance; self-isolating with any symptoms.  Other measures include:

Building modifications

We have introduced a suite of changes to our class layouts to allow us to manage physical distancing of 2 metres for our staff and students.  To create additional teaching space, we have adapted some of our existing spaces, such as our library and bistro area.  We have utilised Perspex screens across the campus to create physical barriers; corridor doors are retained open by electro-magnets linked to our fire alarm system; and we have introduced proximity sensors in corridors to open doors.  There are hand sanitisers at key places across the College and in every classroom and everyone in the building must wear a face covering in social spaces.

Signage & Safety Screens

Signage and floor markings are now in place across the campus to inform our college community of the requirements for physical distancing, building circulation and of one-way traffic.  We have segregated access to and exit from the building.  There are screens in place in key areas where physical distancing may not be appropriate, for example, reception areas, food court etc..

Hygiene

An enhanced cleaning and sanitisation regime has been introduced across the College, including regular use of a hygiene misting machine.  Non-touch hand sanitiser and sanitising wipes are available in all rooms. 

Minimising numbers on campus

The College is undertaking a significant proportion of teaching, learning and business delivery off campus – this will continue until Scottish Government advice confirms an easing of  restrictions for colleges.  We have reduced numbers on campus to around a third of our usual cohort.

Staggered class times

During the current disruption, most learning will take place off-site.  Where learning takes place on campus, we have introduced staggered class times for students in each of our faculties.  This will reduce the pressure on key areas such as entrances, corridors, toilets and during break and lunchtimes.  

Groups

Users of the College will remain within their work area/class group as much as possible and not visit other offices or class areas unless absolutely necessary.  Students are asked to book appointments to access support services including counselling, financial advice or IT support.   All services remain available to students and staff on an appointment basis.

Catering

A restricted food service is available in the College which is now takeaway only. 

Toilets

There is clear signage on each door and the College will be operating toilet facilities with entry limited to a maximum of two people at any one time.  Our new hand-dryers are non-touch.  There is much increased cleaning and sanitisation.

Learning & Teaching

We have increased our utilisation of digital technology to support remote delivery of teaching and learning.  This includes access to new software to support distance and interactive learning, as well as the introduction of web cameras for split mode delivery (in class and to home).  The College is addressing digital poverty by providing a significantly increased number of laptops for long-term loan to our students.   

The College is providing a click, contact and collect service to allow students to continue to use the College library and is significantly increasing our stock of e-publications.

Our Principal Aileen McKechnie spoke of the changes and settling into our new ‘norm’. Aileen said:

2020 has already been quite the unprecedented year – and it’s not over yet!  Despite the global pandemic, despite the extraordinary public health challenge that we all faced, here at South Lanarkshire College, we remained a place of learning and teaching, adopting new approaches to how we worked, how we supported students and staff, how we taught, how we assessed.  College staff made huge efforts across the summer to ensure we were as ready as we could be to welcome our 2020/21 students back from Monday, 7 September.  I’m confident that we have put the safety, health and wellbeing of everyone in the College community at the very forefront of our planning and we’re delighted to see our 2020/21 students coming onto campus to start their blended learning journey at South Lanarkshire College.  We wish them all every success”.