Latest information COVID-19:

Whilst there are no confirmed or suspected cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19), as a group, Education Partnership North East are taking precautionary steps across our colleges to minimise potential risk to both students and staff.

As you will have seen and heard, Coronavirus is a type of virus that can cause mild respiratory or flu like symptoms. As with flu, older people, and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease), are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

As a preventative measure, we have implemented a mandatory clearance protocol, which applies to any staff member or student (including a staff member/student with a close family member or friend) who has returned to the UK in the past 14 days after travelling within, or transiting through an affected area categorised as:

  • High Risk; and/or a
  • Specified Affected Area


This protocol is based upon Public Health England information, and ensures appropriate steps are taken in the case of potential exposure to the virus.

Students with suspected, or diagnosed Coronavirus must not attend any college delivery sites or any healthcare setting if there is a risk that they could spread the virus. Unless an emergency requires them to dial 999, the NHS advice is do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

Only use the 111 service if:

  1. You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  2. Your condition gets worse
  3. Your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

Public Health England advise against travel to High Risk or Specified Affected Areas. However, if you or your young person are planning to travel to any of these countries in the coming weeks or months, please contact the on campus Safeguarding Team. Please be aware that your young person must not return to college afterwards until they have made a telephone call to the Safeguarding Team for clearance. 

Guidance is changing regularly, so please ensure that you look at the current Government advice.

Following the guidance issued by Public Health England and the Department for Education in relation to hand washing and other hygiene practices, the following precautionary steps will be introduced across all college campuses: 

  • placing alcohol-based hand rub in locations such as reception, refectories and student services.
  • ensuring the provision of anti-bacterial soap in toilets and washrooms.
  • providing an increased supply of boxes of tissues in locations such as reception, refectories and student services
  • sharing information with students through their tutorial sessions
  • providing important updates via staff and student email, college websites and social media channels.


Measures to reduce infection transmission and mandatory health clearance protocol

Reducing the risk of infection:

  • It is common practice for staff and visitors to shake hands/ make physical contact as a form of greeting. 
  • We advise that all staff avoid any form of contact when greeting all people.   
  • To avoid awkwardness, it may be useful to explain that we have a ‘greeting protocol’ in place (until the UK risk level returns to low).

Trips, visits or meetings

Staff physical attendance at external business-related meetings ie. chaired meetings:

  • Only for essential meetings within the region, that have no more than 5 external members.
  • No attendance under any circumstances at meetings out of the region
  • Before cancelling meetings, the option for virtual conferencing opportunities, and/or rearrangement will be explored.
  • Where apologies need to be given, the College's business continuity plans for COVID19 will be explained


Staff physical attendance at external events etc. ie. conference, training, awards ceremony's:

  • No attendance under any circumstances at events with more than 5 participants in or out of the region
  • Before cancelling events, the option for virtual conferencing opportunities, and/or rearrangement will be explored.
  • Where apologies need to be given, the College's business continuity plans for COVID19 will be explained.


College trips and visits with students 

  • All overseas trips and visits (including transiting) will not be approved 
  • No new trip or visit to be planned. 
  • Any previously approved trips are being reviewed on a case by case basis via Susan Laws for approval 
  • Any trips or visits already planned that have not been given approval as above must not go ahead.
  • For Directions and Pathways students undertaking independent life skills training – Associate Principal or Faculty Director must be consulted.


No events or meetings in primary, acute and secondary health and care settings will take place for the foreseeable.

Changes to our Mandatory Health Clearance Protocol:

We have amended our College screening protocol as follows:

  • No staff member must come on site if their have signs or symptoms of COVID-19. This is regardless of where you have travelled in the UK or overseas.
  • You must not visit any College premises, off site College delivery centres (including subcontractor premises) or attend any on site meetings before clearance
  • Staff must make telephone contact with People and Development (P&D) during office hours.

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature above 37.8 degrees celsius
  • a new, continuous cough


A College Occupational Health screening (questionnaire) must be completed where a secondary contact, such as family member/friend, has:

  • Has been diagnosed with COVID19
  • a high temperature above 37.8 degrees celsius
  • a new, continuous cough

The risk level within the UK is moderate.

  • We will close our campuses/ college in response to a suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 case under the advice of Public Health England PHE. The Chief Executive will make the decision on closure working with PHE.  
  • We are close to finalising our decontamination/deep clean protocol for each College site and are sharing with the cross-college leadership. Your line manager will provide you with updates. 
  • The Department for Education have established a new helpline for staff, students & parents: Opening hours: 8-6pm (Mon- Fri) Phone: 0800 046 8687 Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk

If you have any concerns, please contact the designated Safeguarding Team at the appropriate college campus:

Email: safeguarding@sunderlandcollege.ac.uk

Bede Campus: 07785419309 / City Campus: 07785419300 / Washington Campus: 07785419766