Finally, after what has seemed the longest, harshest, toughest winter in living memory, we are returning to campus. Face-to-face teaching, chatting with friends, catching up with classmates – all of the things we previously took for granted are back on the agenda – and never have we appreciated them more.
Monday, March 8 is a date that seems to have been circled in diaries and marked on calendars for what seems an eternity but it’s here, and it feels good!
Northampton College is a very different place today to how many of you may remember it. Now an official lateral flow test centre, it has been transformed into a state-of-the-art facility able to ensure you and your loved ones remain protected, with rapid COVID-19 testing available to all students and staff.
It’s vital all of us continue to follow the guidelines, keep getting tested and adhere to the advised precautions to make sure this is not another false dawn and that this time, to quote Gary Barlow, we’re ‘Back for Good’.
The remainder of this academic year will continue to see a ‘blended’ learning model made up of a mix of classroom sessions and some at-home learning. This will limit the number of students on campus at any one time and allow us to better manage the testing capacity available.
It’s so important that all of us make the most of this opportunity to maximise our learning. While the vast majority of students have coped superbly with the switch to online sessions over the past few months, we know there is no substitute for face-to-face teaching in the classroom. Now is the time to push on and put in the extra effort to make sure you get the grades your hard work, adaptability and courage in the face of the challenge presented by COVID-19 deserves.
Whether it’s your main study programme or your maths and English, make the most of these coming weeks because it will really make a difference. It’s time to make it count.
As with any community, Northampton College is only as good as the people who live and work within it. Without those familiar faces, the hustle and bustle of everyday college life, the chatter and the excitement it has felt a lonely, isolated and, at times, sad, place to be around.
Today marks the start of a new chapter. A chapter defined by optimism and a sign of better times ahead with a fortified, resolute community made stronger through adversity and with a determination to succeed, no matter what.
Welcome back everyone. Let’s do this.