Carmel College move to online lessons due to more than 200 students self-isolating

Carmel College will move to an online timetable next week after revealing more the 200 students are self-isolating due to coronavirus.

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 12:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th October 2020, 12:42 pm
Carmel College

The college has been working closely with Public Health England and the local authority’s test and trace, and health and safety teams, following a string of positive cases among students and their families.

Currently, there are 10 active confirmed cases among students.

However, more than 200 students are isolating as a result of either being a close contact of those cases or others in their family or community.

This has led to the college to move to online learning for all students to reduce the impact on lessons and the local community further.

Carmel College principal Mike Hill said there is no evidence of transmission in the college.

Mr Hill said the college expects the move to be a short-term measure, with the expectation to fully re-open again on Monday, November 2.

Mr Hill said: “We appreciate the concern from public health. As a student goes through their week at Carmel they are, in effect coming into contact with over 60 different households.

“Whilst there is still no evidence of transmission in the college we are obviously seeing no reduction in the rise of the disease in our local area (Carmel students are travelling to and from all the Liverpool City Region high risk areas).

“Significant numbers of college students are also having to travel some distance on public and college transport, which again poses a high risk.

“We take our role and presence in our local community very seriously and we hope that this move also reassures those that live, work and travel near the college.”

All lessons and planned sessions next week, such as tutorials, one-to-ones, catch up workshops and learning support, will continue online.

Students’ lessons will run at the same time as per their timetable and will be delivered live through Microsoft Teams.

Mr Hill said: “We have ensured that all our staff have the equipment to deliver outstanding online lessons and many of them will continue to work from the college next week.

“We also have external A-level resit exams continuing all next week and these students will still come into college.”

Sue Forster, director of public health at St Helens Borough Council, said the two-week break should give the college enough time to clear the number of people having to isolate.

She also stressed the importance of those instructed to isolate to do so properly, which means they cannot mix with anyone from outside their household in any setting.

Ms Forster said: “We know that this might be a worrying time for parents and the wider community but we want to reassure everyone that this is an opportunity to reduce the risk of any further impact on classes due to Covid-19.

“Combining the remote lessons with half-term week will give the college two weeks to hopefully clear the number of people having to isolate either due to testing positive or being a close contact of someone who has.

“It is really important that those who are isolating make sure they do so properly which means they should not be mixing with anyone from outside of their household, either inside or outside.

“Only by isolating properly for 14 days can we break the chain of transmission. There are no shortcuts to tackling this and we all have a responsibility to follow the rules which are there to try and protect our most vulnerable people.”

From Wednesday, St Helens and the wider city region was placed under Tier 3 lockdown restrictions, meaning the region is now a “very high” risk area,

Public health data published on Wednesday showed that, between October 5 and 11, 785 positive cases were reported in St Helens.

That equates to a seven-day infection rate of 436.0. per 100,000 people.

St Helens’ director of public health said we are at a “crucial moment” and urged members of the public to play their part to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.

Ms Forster said: “Our case numbers are high and continue to grow and we are seeing hospital admissions increasing quickly now as a result of Covid-19, this is a crucial moment in managing this virus and we all have to play our part to reduce the risks for those more susceptible to serious illness.

“Once again the most important message is for everyone to follow the basics of regular hand washing, wearing a face mask, keeping at least 2m distance from anyone outside of your household and limiting the people you come into contact with, particularly socially, wherever possible.”