In applying Scottish Government direction on when restrictions can be changed, colleges will consider a range of evidence on the progress of the pandemic in Scotland using the principles set out in Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making and the colleges’ commitment to fair work, which was set in the context of the current crisis in a joint statement with the STUC and Scottish Government.
In implementing this guidance, colleges should consider the following:
- the health, safety and wellbeing of students, staff, visitors, contractors and the wider community will be the priority in decisions relating to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in colleges
- colleges will review their teaching, learning and assessment to ensure that there is the required flexibility in place to deliver a high quality experience which allows learning to take place safely
- colleges will regularly review the welfare and mental health needs of students and staff and take steps to ensure preventative measures and appropriate support is in place and are well communicated as restrictions are eased
- colleges will recognise that students and staff may have been affected by the pandemic in a number of ways (e.g. through bereavement or experiencing anxiety related to the pandemic)
- following appropriate risk assessments, colleges will introduce measures specifically designed to protect staff and students in specialised training facilities, such as practical workshops and hairdressing and beauty salons and other specialised vocational training facilities and spaces
- colleges will engage with staff and students, including trade unions and student associations to ensure a safe resumption of college activities
- colleges will take an equality, human rights and risk-based approach to protect health and safety of staff and students. Trade unions, student associations and staff will be fully engaged in this process
Additionally, in planning for the use of facilities, colleges will consider and plan around:
- the most up-to-date guidance on working from home and other public health measures
- the capacity of spaces and how many students and staff can be accommodated as safely as possible
- the circumstances of staff and students including those with caring responsibilities with contingency plans should individuals be shielding or self-isolating
- consider that staff and student availability may also be affected by public transport availability and restrictions
- availability of PPE, other equipment and/or face coverings appropriate to the activity or location
- the organisation of staggered breaks and other flexible working patterns to support physical distancing in accordance with government guidelines
- protocols to minimise the use of shared equipment, hot desks and other facilities to ensure safe usage
- supporting accessible services required in increasing the number of individuals on-site and how they can be provided as safely as possible
- what measures, in addition to those that were in place during the lockdown phase and earlier phases will need to be in place to accommodate additional numbers (including additional cleaning measures and queue management systems where appropriate)
Colleges will follow a risk-based approach to protect the health and safety of staff and students. Staff and students will be fully engaged in that process, through trade union and student association representatives.
These principles complement but do not supersede the established mechanisms in place in colleges through health and safety committees to consult on matters relating to health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace.