Having been closed since mid-March due to the Covid-19 restrictions the team here at Cork English College were thrilled to reopen the doors and welcome back our students & staff for classes. For close to 6 months classes have been conducted online with a lot of positive feedback but nothing beats working with students on a face-to-face basis.
Reopening was no simple task and involved months of Zoom calls, consultations with Health & Safety professionals and careful planning. We worked with all relevant stakeholders to formulate our reopening plan and based much of our new measures on governmental and professional advice. As well as that, we surveyed staff, students and partners to gauge their expectations & answer their concerns, all in a bid to realize the ideal return to school.
Our main building on St. Patrick's Bridge has undergone significant changes since we closed. We have erected protective screens in our reception, offices and meeting rooms. Hand sanitiser stations have been installed in every area of the building, including the entrance & exit, corridors, bathrooms and of course classrooms. Additionally safety signage and stickers have been placed all over the building. We are asking all students to wear face masks at all times in the building and sanitise at every opportunity. Each student has been assigned their own specific desk in a specific classroom, with class start, break and finish times staggered to limit the flow of people in the building at a given time. We also have a one way system in place - one stairway to travel up and a second to travel down, meaning both students & staff get plenty of exercise in!
Our primary aim since the very beginning has to create a safe environment for both students & staff. Thus far the return to school has gone exceptionally well, with a number of students commenting on how the stringent new safety measures have made them feel comfortable and relaxed, meaning they can enjoy their return to face-to-face learning alongside their friends.
Even already we are planning ahead to meet the "new normal" head on. Our online classes CEC Virtual will continue and we intend to complement the classes with an all new self-study package as well as a 100% online Cambridge CELTA Teacher Training course. A programme which is designed to up-skill & prepare candidates for the world of teaching English as a Foreign Language with an internationally recognised qualification.
Reopening our doors was the culmination of months of hard work and we wanted to thank all of those who've supported us. Most especially all of the team in Quality English & our QE colleagues around the world. To quote author Frank Clark: "One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way."
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