When will staff (support and teaching) be expected to return to working on campus?
We are working across the College to plan for the start of the new session 2020/21. At this point we are planning for a blended approach to teaching and learning, with mostly online delivery and some limited on-campus delivery for priority groups for the beginning of term from the week beginning 7 September – this is subject to change in line with guidance from the Scottish Government. In order to ensure it is safe for a limited return to campuses the College is currently assessing all spaces to put provisions in place to enable some staff and students to safely be on campus where necessary.
While planning for the new term, the College's main priority and guiding principle continues to be to ensure the health and safety of all of our staff and students. To keep everybody safe, for the foreseeable future, we will continue to work from home and deliver the majority of our learning and teaching and support services online. Only those student groups, courses, and services which are identified as a priority will be on campus for the start of the session and we are currently working on planning for the safe delivery of those courses and services.
Guidance will be provided to all staff on when they will be able/expected to return to campuses as soon as it is available.
Support staff are expected to continue to work from home over the summer break and teaching staff should return to working from home after the summer break on Monday 10 August.
How will the College ensure it is safe for staff to return to campuses?
Please be reassured that we are following government advice and guidance when making all decisions and we will not welcome any staff or students to our campuses until it is safe to do so.
Risk assessments are currently being undertaken within all departments across the College in collaboration with the Health and Safety team and trade unions to look at which measures need to be put in place to ensure a safe return. Risk assessments can be accessed via the SHE Portal, through the Staff Intranet.
This work will continue over the summer to make sure it is safe for our buildings to reopen.
If I'm required to come to campuses to work at some stage, I will need to use public transport to get to work – will this be safe?
We are currently developing travel plans and guidance for staff and students, and are in regular contact with public transport providers. The guidance will cover how to travel safely to and from campuses and will include information on sustainable travel options. You should follow government guidance at all times when using public transport. We will share any additional information on travel arrangements and campus opening hours as soon as we are able to.
Will campuses be cleaned more thoroughly and regularly to help keep staff and students safe?
The College's cleaning provider ISS UK has developed a new protocol in line with guidance from Public Health, the World Health Organisation and the Health and Safety Executive to ensure the appropriate level of cleaning and hygiene response is applied across all campuses. Read the protocol.
As of Monday 27 July, ISS UK staff have been conducting extensive cleaning of all College premises.
What does blended learning mean in practice?
Guidance is currently being collated to aid teaching staff with their understanding of the blended learning approach the College will be adopting, and how they will deliver courses from the start of the next session. Due to the necessary introduction of social distancing measures it is likely that most theoretical aspects of courses will be taught online for the beginning of term with practical aspects being delivered on campus only where it is safe to do so. We are also looking at the possibility of moving practical aspects of courses to semester two (25 January 2021 onwards), where possible, when it is anticipated that measures will have been reduced.
Will staff receive training to help with the new delivery of teaching methods?
A staff training programme is currently being developed, to support delivery for the new session 2020/21. This training includes a variety of content to help staff improve their skills on Moodle and Microsoft Office 365. This training will be available to staff from August, ensuring they have the skills and resources required to provide online teaching and support to our students.
Will PPE equipment be provided to staff?
The College has started to purchase key PPE equipment and materials and further risk assessments are currently being conducted in order to establish whether more PPE is required across the College. For job roles, or courses, which may require working within the recommended social distancing parameter (currently 2 metres in Scotland) appropriate PPE will be provided for staff and students.
The College is currently considering if the wearing of face coverings should be mandatory for those attending campuses, and if this approach is adopted, what exemptions would then apply for certain individuals.
Are students aware of the plans for the new 2020/21 session?
A Communications plan has been developed to ensure we are keeping all deferred, new and returning students up-to-date with progress on plans for the new term and to support them in the process of becoming an Edinburgh College student. All key updates will be provided to students by the Communications team. You can see all student communications on the 5R Plan Update staff intranet page.
Any staff communicating with their students should ensure that they are aware not to come to campuses unless they are instructed to do so.
Where do students go if they need support?
Our Student Experience team is continuing to provide a support service to all deferred, new and returning students whilst working from home. We hope to be able to provide support services on campus as soon as it is safe to do so and in the meantime students should contact the relevant teams online.
I'm struggling to continue to work from home due to a lack of IT equipment and office furniture, is the College going to help?
The College has now established a process to help staff get the right IT and working from home (WFH) equipment. As of Monday 27 July, all staff who indicated via the staff survey that they required IT or WFH equipment, have been contacted with an IT and WFH equipment request form. This form must be filled in by the staff member, approved by their SMT Head, and then sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The staff member must indicate collection or delivery details (the College will deliver to all EH postcodes if required). Collections and deliveries will commence from Monday 10 August.
I am currently shielding and I'm not sure when it will be safe for me to come into campuses, what should I do?
The Scottish Government has announced that it has paused shielding from 1 August. We will continue to monitor government advice on shielding and communicate with staff accordingly.
Your health and safety is our main priority. If you are still required to shield when you are due to return to working on campuses, please speak to your line manager.
Have staff been involved in creating the new plans for the beginning of new 2020/21 session?
Yes. As part of the College's Restart (5R) Plan, all staff were given an opportunity to help shape and drive the necessary changes for the beginning of term. Union representatives are involved in all sub groups, as well as staff from across curriculum and support areas. Staff engagement will continue to play a key role in shaping the future priorities of our College into the new term and beyond.
How do I keep up-to-date with progress on planning and when will we know more?
Planning has continued over the summer. From week beginning 10 August, all staff will be informed of plans for session 2020/21. This page and the staff intranet 5R Plan page will also be updated regularly. Please continue to check this page for the latest information and advice.
I have read the above and still have questions, what should I do?
We have tried to provide as much information as we can at this point but understand staff may still have questions. Please email 5RPlan@edinburghcollege.ac.uk and we'll get back to you.
Please note: The information in these FAQs is subject to change and will be updated regularly in line with Scottish Government Guidance.
Updated 6 August