During such unprecedented and uncertain times, I feel it is really important that we do all we can to support each other. At Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT) we’ve introduced several measures to help support our staff, students and the wider community while the country is being asked to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus.
On Monday 23 March 2020, we began teaching classes online in a bid to continue education for our students during the Covid-19 pandemic. With students and teachers working from home, we are using online tools such as Google Classrooms to ensure lessons go ahead. We are incredibly fortunate to have the technological skills at BCoT to get these up and running – innovation is the key to our success and I am enjoying seeing these classes in motion.
It is really important that all our students get the support and tools they need during this uncertain time, so we have not closed the doors to the college completely: vulnerable students are still able to come into college and measures have been put in place to help continue their education and support.
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Reassuring our workforce
Without the help of the staff at BCoT, education could not continue, therefore I think it is crucial to support them as much as we can as a college. The decision was made to continue to pay staff their salaries if they needed to take time off due to the virus. As a senior leadership team, we have also reassured our staff that redundancies would not take place owing to Covid-19.
I believe that communication is essential in ensuring staff are reassured. I have sent daily updates to staff on how the college is managing this crisis and we’ve even had our very first all-staff video call. I know there are many questions that we want to try to answer, so we have set up a dedicated email address for staff to send any questions they may have during the evolving crisis, which we answer and communicate back to everyone so that all staff get the same information. I am encouraging staff to stay in touch with each other using technology and will continue to keep everyone updated using these tools, too.
As a college, I feel we have a duty to support our wider community and those who are most vulnerable. We have fantastic links with the local council and businesses, and we are using this to offer a range of services to the Basingstoke community.
We have reached out to offer places at our nursery for the children of local key workers, giving those helping on the frontline the flexibility needed to continue their crucial roles in society without the worry of childcare.
Last week, we donated food including homemade biscuits, chicken chasseur, frozen sausage meat and puddings made by our hospitality team. As well as giving food donations, we also have plans to help the local community if they are in isolation and need shopping by purchasing items needed and delivering to doorsteps.
Positivity through adversity
I am incredibly proud of how staff and students have prepared for this unprecedented time. I am confident that our students will continue their education to the best of their ability and I thank the staff at BCoT for their flexibility in teaching under such difficult circumstances – we truly are pulling together and showing that the education of our students is what is most important.
It is crucial that everyone feels supported and I believe BCoT plays a pivotal role in this. Basingstoke is our community and we are committed to helping in any way that we can.
Anthony Bravo is principal of Basingstoke College of Technology