As one of the county’s largest community institutions, Shrewsbury Colleges Group has been doing all it can to support a huge range of people and organisations during the outbreak of COVID-19.
As soon as the Government made the decision to close schools and colleges, SCG quickly enacted a plan to roll-out home learning for its entire student population.
Students have been provided with work to ensure continuity in their learning and the college moved to online delivery across the wide range of 16-19, adult and Apprenticeship courses.
Teachers have looked at other ways to help the students with their studies, with the College purchasing licences for MathsWatch, for example, a resource for students and staff to use to progress online learning in Maths.
All vulnerable students and their primary caregivers were contacted so the College could ensure these students were either safe at home or were coming into the College to be looked after.
Vulnerable students are continuing to be supported in college where necessary, with staff identified as key workers helping them.
The College has continued to pay bursary fees to students as well as money in lieu of the free college school meals they normally would have received, and students have been assisted in accessing free meals offered by Tesco’s and Morrison’s, for example.
The College is also providing support for other students in the local area. A section of the SCG website has been dedicated to providing learning resources to help Year 11S prepare for the next steps in their education.
Across all of the subject areas offered at SCG offers, fun and interesting articles and activities to help the Year 11 students carry on learning during this difficult time are being posted. The resources are available here.
SCG staff have also answered calls from medical institutions in the town to provide hundreds of items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Dr. David Martin, Senior Partner at Severn Fields Medical Practice in Sundorne contacted the College.
Via his wife, Jane Martin, Professional Development Manager at SCG, he put the call out for much-needed PPE and a team at the College ‘raided’ the science labs to find such items.
They were able to put together a package including 85 sets of safety goggles, 2000 pairs of disposable gloves and 100 disposable aprons.
These were delivered to Severn Fields, and the College was also able to help The Riverside Medical Practice in Roushill and The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital with items.
The College has also contacted The Princess Royal Hospital in Telford to offer any assistance.
Dr. Martin said: “I would like to thank the College for the generous gift of protective equipment for frontline staff at Severn Fields Medical Practice. This has been invaluable at a time when such PPE is in short supply and has enabled medical staff to continue to provide the level of care to our patients, any of whom may be suffering without symptoms, from Coronavirus. I would also like to recognise those staff who enabled this loan: Lucy Fuller, Jamie Hopkins, Colin Arndt, Ted Coxon, and Paul Petersohn.”
Amanda Lloyd, Practice Manager at the Riverside Medical Practice, said: “On behalf of the Partners, Management and Staff we thank the College most sincerely for the donation of PPE equipment. We are indeed working in challenging times and as such are extremely thankful for the gesture.”
Hear our Commercial Manager Ted on BBC Radio Shropshire talking about the PPE the college has donated.
Principal of Shrewsbury Colleges Group, James Staniforth, said: “The College may be physically ‘closed’, for the majority of staff and students during these unprecedented times, but we are very much open in every way possible.
“We have taken the advice to close, apart from providing essential assistance to some of our vulnerable students, and our IT department has worked around the clock to establish remote working from home.
“Our students and staff are our priority and we are doing everything we can to make learning and working from home as simple and stress-free as possible. We are communicating with everyone on a daily basis as remote ways of working are established and improved.
“As well as the educational support we are providing, I have been humbled to hear of the quick thinking of teams of staff in the College to help our vital NHS institutions to continue to help people.
“As well as helping out several medical organisations with supplies, the Health & Social Care team identified more PPE from London Road after The RSH put a further call into the College.
“We were able to supply a second round of items including 10 large plastic boxes, more masks, hats and aprons and every pack of laminating pouches and blue tack the College had.”