With the reopening of schools and colleges earlier this week, I thought readers may be interested in getting a student’s perspective of how these first few days have gone.
My role as the President of the Student Union at Gower College Swansea has allowed me to interact with a wide range of students over the past few days, and therefore the comments I make are representative of the feedback I have received from right across the College.
The first thing I would say is that students (just as much as our parents and guardians) are looking for all institutions to take these current challenges seriously. We want to be safe so we can continue with as much face to face teaching as possible to achieve our qualifications and use these as the springboard for the next step of our journey.
For this reason the use of face coverings was never going to be an issue for the majority of students. I believe the College has dealt with this well in terms of requiring all staff, students and visitors to wear them whilst recognising there will be some students who will need some flexibility.
Walking into the College on the first day was an exciting experience for all of us. We were greeted by senior staff, handed face coverings and were taken to our classrooms.
We were all given a range of information on the changes that have been put in place to ensure our safety. Staff also made sure that we have access to digital devices to allow us to access online materials and to test out methods of online teaching.
I have to say that the College does look very different with signage, barriers, partitions and one way systems, but this just shows the huge amount of work that has gone on across all of the campuses in getting the College ready for us.
But possibly the biggest challenge for us is how we will be managed in classes so we are taught together, have breaks together, have lunch together – and by taking this approach we can reduce the risk of transmission even further.
The College’s approach to A Levels where each individual subject is taught on a separate day is very supportive, continues to reduce the risk and has been well received by students – although a whole day of maths strikes me with fear!
But of course going to College is a choice and those students will have chosen maths and so ultimately it’s their fault!
Cleary it’s not ideal that we’ll be unable to catch up with friends in other classes, but if it reduces the risk of having to self-isolate either now or in the future, then it’s an inconvenience that we can manage. After all we’ll catch up with them all on social media during the evening and the Student Union is also there to connect students from right across the College.
So well done and thank you to the staff at Gower College Swansea – it’s been a great start to the year.