So here we are. Lockdown 2.0.
The announcement of a three-week extension to the current restrictions comes as no surprise and is broadly welcomed as we continue the fight against COVID-19. Progress, albeit slow, is being made and a further period of social distancing and strict guidelines on work, travel and outdoor life will help to see the back of this awful virus.
But what does this mean for us here at Northampton College? What is the impact on students and staff? What will it mean for anyone due to sit exams? What can we do to make the best of the situation, look after ourselves and come out of all this stronger, both as individuals and as a community?
Put simply, not a lot changes. The work we have all been doing remotely will continue. Lesson plans are in place to ensure learning carries on from home and all of us are now finding our feet with the various systems in place to make the transition from classroom to bedroom/kitchen/study as seamless as possible. We’ve mentioned it before in these blogs but Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams and social media platforms are proving their worth and becoming our go-to programmes for ‘getting stuff done’.
One thing that may change as we enter this second phase of lockdown is our mindset. While the first three weeks were a novelty, reality is starting to bite. The lack of face-to-face human interaction and the continual view of the same four walls is, for many of us, taking its toll. It’s an understandable side effect of the current situation and it is vital that all of us take the time to look after our own mental health, as well as safeguarding the physical wellbeing of loved ones and those around us.
A survey by the mental health charity YoungMinds, which included 2,111 UK participants up to the age of 25 with a history of mental illness history, revealed that 83 per cent of respondents said the pandemic had made their conditions worse. Just over a quarter (26 per cent) said they were unable to access mental health support and across the country there have been widespread reports of peer support groups and face-to-face services being cancelled, while support by phone or online can be challenging for some young people.
The Student Services team here at the college are acutely aware of the situation and have been busy preparing various resources to help you if you need any support right now. We have also collated a list of online platforms aimed at supporting mental health throughout the coronavirus crisis which can be accessed via https://www.northamptoncollege.ac.uk/coronavirus-online-resources.html
You can also follow the College safeguarding team on Twitter for more resources: https://twitter.com/NCsafeguarding
Take five minutes out of your day to visit this page and browse the information and resources available to you. It contains everything from tips on healthy eating to relaxation advice and even a coping calendar, as well as a series of blogs from experts and bitesize tips on looking after your mental health.
Never be afraid to ask for help. It’s there if you need it. It’s good to talk.