Following Government guidance, JLC students have returned to the college building this week.
After being tested, students entered their classrooms for the first time in over three months and were able to see their friends and teachers. Many students were eager to return to college after waiting patiently for so long, attending their lessons in the two-week transitional period of half days, before returning to JLC full time.
We spoke to some JLC students about their thoughts on coming back to college, testing, social distancing and support they received. JLC always listens to its students to help everyone feel welcome and Principal Leon Riley is often found wandering round online lessons to gain student feedback. “I always try to improve JLC to make it better for learners. There are lots of things I have changed from IT to the food trolley on the basis of student feedback.”
JLC’s rightful slogan is ‘this is the place’. The college can now gradually become again the physical place for students to meet, learn and grow in themselves, their ideas and in their education. As Leon Riley says, “a college without its staff and students is just a building!”.
Now we’ll hear what our students have to say!
- How have you felt about the return to college?
Jemma Patterson: Returning was something of a relief for me. I’m quite extroverted and like the physical company of others and with living in a household of two, social company is very hard to come by. Being back to college does bring some normality back into my life. Students are at an age where being social is important, so I feel like JLC is handling COVID very well as it must be hard to plan a socially distant college.
Calum Wood: The return to college has been relatively swift and seamless. Staff copiously reassure students that classroom routine should return to ‘normal’ as soon as is physically possible, accommodating student needs.
Student 3: Overall, I have been a bit anxious to return to college with having such a long break however, once I was back, I was excited to see everyone.
Andy Petch (Area Lead of Sports and Health): I have enjoyed returning to site and seeing my students face-to-face. I look forward to the sport provision starting again after Easter. Student-wise, the vast majority of my classes have returned back on site for lessons and seem to enjoy being back. Those learning remotely have accessed the lessons and engaged with the groups.
- Do you think the support JLC provided in returning to college has been helpful? (Do you feel safe returning, regarding social distancing, etc?)
Student 2: The Zoom call with Leon about the testing helped to settle my nerves and visualise how it was going to work. I know most classes have recorded seating plans as an extra distancing measure.
Calum Wood: The explanatory Youtube video demonstrated how the day and COVID-19 testing would be organised, advocating for students to work together to ensure safety for all. COVID-19 testing had some problems on the first day, such as privacy and timing, leading to missed classes, and missed opportunities. However, Leon’s resources opened a channel of communication for questions.
Jemma Patterson: I did find the consent form easy to follow once aware of it and I feel like the social distancing is good within the college, especially now masks have to be worn constantly.
- If you consented, how did you find the coronavirus test in college and the testing process?
Student 3: I was tested relatively quickly. Some people had to wait, however, it was no doubt due to the large number of people that needed to be tested on Monday morning.
Andy Petch: The documentation and support has been easy to follow with simple links to click for consent. The floor markings and signs around college have been helpful for social distancing, hand sanitisers and masks. I had a couple of tests in college, where people were supportive and friendly, putting you at ease and now do my own at home.
- Overall, how do you feel about JLC’s handling of COVID?
Calum Wood: Measures are in place to protect students, with masks being worn at all times and all areas being well ventilated. Staff are doing all they can, accounting for unchangeable facilities e.g. classroom size.
Student 2: I think that through the last few months of online learning, all of my teachers have answered emails of any questions and have been really supportive with any help with college work. Overall, I’m just happy to see my friends again and I feel safe doing this in college!
Andy Petch: I think JLC have done everything they can to keep staff and students safe, desks have been spaced out and people seem to be adhering to social distancing. If I was to give some advice to students, I’d say try and get some fresh air outside in your breaks and use in-lesson breaks to chat to those in your class to give your eyes a rest rather than swapping from one screen to another. On the whole, I would say JLC is very brilliant!!
If there are any questions or queries students would like to raise please contact your AA, reception or a staff member you trust.
Article: Chloe Smith, Journalism Internship Student.
Photo Credit: Anna Holt, Photography Student.