Advice and Guidance

January 2021

At WaterBear, we’ve been closely following the advice and guidance set out by the Government in the wake of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. It remains our priority to ensure the safety of all students, staff and visitors to the college.

Our courses have, from the very beginning, been designed to be flexible, enabling students to study their courses whether or not they are able to attend college. We’re very pleased to say that, having recently been put to the utmost test, this flexible learning model has stood up to the challenges of Covid-19 and it’s something we know will serve our students very well through this next phase.

In September, we welcomed new and returning students back to the WaterBear college and we’re very pleased to say that our city-wide campus has remained open for business. We were very happy to see our students on-site and have ensuredthat precautions remain in place since then to ensure the ongoing safety of everyone. 

This month, the government has announced another lockdown in England, lasting until at least mid-February.  Unlike the lockdown of November 2020, schools, colleges and universities (save for a very few exceptions) are not exempt from the strict lockdown rules and must restrict face-to-face teaching and learning activities,. At WaterBear, we are therefore moving our provision to a fully online model until we are able to welcome our students and staff back on site. 

In the meantime, some access to college facilities may be available in certain circumstances, on request. If anyone is onsite, it’s very important that they follow our guidance, to keep us as safe as possible. Some of the recent measures we have put in place include:

1. Smaller class sizes. A commitment to keeping class sizes smaller has always been and will remain a central component of the WaterBear ethos. This is one reason why we were still able to keep our doors open before the current lockdown. We will always continue to manage class sizes in future to ensure we adhere to social distancing advice.
2. Learning model. Our curriculum delivery model has always been flexible to allow for a blend of onsite and online activity and in response to the current lockdown, allstudents have had college activities moved online. We will keep this situation under constant review and return to a full programme of onsite activities as soon as we are able. 
3. Enhanced health and safety precautions. We have adapted our buildings by initiating a raft of additional precautionary measures, to help combat the threat of Covid-19. These include the use of PPE, floor signage, posters, signs, increased cleaning rotas and managed building usage to ensure we remain as safe and secure as possible. We also acquired additional space in Brighton for our teaching and learning, meaning there is even more space available for socially-distanced activities.
4. Ongoing advice and guidance. No one really knows how long the threat of Covid-19 will last, and to what extent, although with the recent commencement of the mass-vaccination programme, we are confident there is now a clear light at the end of the tunnel. We are keeping up to date with all the latest government advice and guidance which will inform the actions we take and the advice we give.  Our staff and tutors have received training and guidance, which is ongoing.  The advice we give to all students and visitors who might have reason to attend the WaterBear buildings remains as follows:

What to expect when onsite at WaterBear and how you can do your bit to help:

1. Catch it, bin it, kill it!
2. Wash your hands regularly.
3. Maintain social distance of MINIMUM 2m – avoid all physical contact.
4. Only come to college buildings if arranged and approved in advance.
5. Leave campus buildings promptly after activity.
6. Help us to keep clean and safe – always follow instructions.
7. Bring your own headphones / drumsticks / picks, etc.  Do not use any other equipment apart from your own.
8. The wearing of face coverings whilst in the college buildings is not mandatory.

As has always been the case at WaterBear, we will continue with our blended learning approach, meaning that all lecture content and materials will be available online, whether or not you’re studying an online or on-site course. This provides additional comfort for anyone not able to come to the college in person, for whatever reason, who doesn’t want to miss out or fall behind with their studies.

Rest assured we’ll continue to do all we can to ensure everyone’s safety at WaterBear. None of us know how long this situation will last and when we’ll be able to fully return to normal. Following the advice and ‘doing our bit’ to limit the spread of the virus in the meantime will help keep WaterBear safe and secure for all.

If you have any further questions or would like to chat with us, please drop us a line on info@wbear.io, or call us on 01273 726230.

For up to date advice and guidance on the Coronavirus pandemic, please refer to the NHS (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/) and Government (https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus) websites.