Studio Covid-19 Measures
Covid-19 Updates: The JQ Set has re-opened with new measures in place as laid out below.
Re-opening 17th May 2021:
The JQ Set is getting ready to re-open from 17th May 2021, in “Step 3” of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
Why am I not allowed to re-open in Step 2 from the 12th April, alongside non-essential retail, close-contact businesses, indoor sports/leisure, etc? Well, the government guidance states that for all those business venues allowed to open in April, “indoor events that bring people together – even if they do not mix with other households – must not run until Step 3. This is only permitted if there is an explicit exemption” – and adult education settings are not explicitly exempt in the guidance this time around.
I’m honestly gutted, but they’re the rules.
Please check back on these measures before attending your course – I’ll send you a link to them in a reminder emails to make it easy!
As a quick summary – you’ll be asked to:
- Bring your own apron and filled water bottle to class
- To wash your hands before going to your bench and more regularly during class
- To clean the handles of the individual bench tools you have used at the end of class
You can read more about these and other measures being introduced to The JQ Set in the notes below.
Normal social distancing guidance
Please follow the normal social distancing guidance in the workshop. These rules can be found on the NHS website here, please check that you are up to date with any changes.
At the time of writing, the guidance says:
• try to stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone you do not live with (or anyone not in your support bubble)
• wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
• use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
• wash your hands as soon as you get home
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
• put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
• do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Please space yourselves 2m apart if waiting to enter the workshop, and wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before going to your seat. We are switching to disposable paper towels. Social distancing in the workshop will mean that some of the areas (like the shared equipment area) can only accommodate 1 person at a time, and you should avoid passing each other in narrow areas (ie wait at a wider space). See seperate section for the bench layout and spacing.
Please don’t come to class if you feel unwell.
Handwashing and sanitising
Students are asked to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds as soon as they arrive at the workshop, before going to their bench. They should also wash their hands regularly during class (especially after using tissues or touching their faces) and before they leave. The handwashing station is in the wc – please wipe the taps before and after use.
The will be hand sanitiser provided at the entrance to the workshop, at the hot drinks station (see section below) and at the shared equipment area in the teaching studio (pickle pot, ultrasonic, barreller etc). There will also be smaller bottles of hand sanitiser dotted around the studio for ease, and it’d be great if you could bring your own.
Aprons, masks etc
Students should bring their own aprons from now on. Once used in the workshop, it won’t be suitable for use in the kitchen so please don’t bring your lovely cooking apron! There will be aprons available for a hire fee of £5 in case you forget yours (this is to cover the cleaning/ironing after each use – it’s not my favourite part of my job!).
Masks will not be compulsory for students, in line with the official advice obtained from the government’s website gov.uk that says that wearing face masks in classrooms in educational settings is not recommended. People may wear masks if they wish, I am leaving it as a personal decision, but please be aware that for long-term wearing they can get quite hot, stuffy and uncomfortable. Touching and adjusting your mask will increase the risk of spreading the virus through contact. I am putting in lots of other measures in place, so please think carefully if masks in the workshop are a practical choice for you. Any student seen repeatedly fiddling with their mask will be asked to remove it and wash their hands.
Gloves and visors are not appropriate for the tools used in workshop as they may cause injury, and there is plenty of soap and sanitiser for you to use as often as you’d like. Disposable aprons will not offer heat protection to clothes, so please ensure the apron you bring to class is suitable.
Class size and schedule
Education and training are exempt from the new social distancing rule about groups of 6 people (which states that from Monday 14 September, when meeting friends and family you do not live with you must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors). However, in light of the new local Birmingham restrictions, I have taken the decision to limit class sizes to 5 students plus 1 tutor. Education and training are exempt from the local restrictions too, but this feels like the right response at this time. We will review this policy as and when the latest restrictions are changed.
I’ve adjusted the class schedule so that there’s at least 2 days between each class, and still only a single class on each day. This will keep the different student groups separated by 48 hours to help reduce the risk of contact contamination on anything that might have been missed by the cleaning schedule, and keeps the number of different people using the space very low.
Tools and equipment
Extra bench tools will be provided so that there are enough for one per student, except for the pendant motors (and the tools stored elsewhere, such as the hammers, mandrels, doming punches, stamps etc).
There will be alcohol (isopropyl) spray and disposable paper towels provided for students to clean the handles and touch points of bench tools at the end of the class (or between uses for the pendant motor and tools stored elsewhere). More info in the Cleaning section.
The class schedule will be adjusted so that there will be several days between classes, to reduce the risk of infection from any residual surface contaminants.
I will still be teaching through demonstrations, but there won’t be anymore gathering around my bench (sad face). There will be a camera and TV screen set-up in the workshop so that you can see what I’m doing from your seats. That’s the plan anyway, please bear with me if the technology is a bit glitchy, I don’t have a full camera-crew tv set like the shopping channels!
Bench spacing and screens
The existing bench layout will stay the same, as 3 “hubs” of 4 benches facing each other. For smaller class sizes (5 or less students) we will only using benches that are diagonally opposite each other, which keeps people seated 2m apart. Students walking past benches through the walkway to the side will be within 2m of others temporarily.
In the event of a bigger class size (more than 5 students), I will be installing perspex screens between benches as cough and sneeze shields (and will install fans too, see ventilation section). These screens, along with all the other measures I’ve laid out, will enable the use of the 1m+ guidance and the use of all the benches.
Drinks and refreshments
Students should bring their own ready-filled water bottles to the studio.
There will be a hot drink station set up in the teaching studio where students can make their own teas and coffees using a hot water urn. Thoroughly cleaned mugs will be provided at the start of class – keep hold of it for refills or feel free to bring your own from home. There will be a hand sanitiser station for students to use before touching anything in this area.
There is no food allowed in the teaching studio.
The workshop is normally closed and locked to students over the 1 hour lunch break for the daytime classes. In light of these new circumstances, I have considered trying to provide an area for students to eat their lunches here, but for safety reasons food cannot be eaten at the benches, and there isn’t the room to provide socially distanced seating elsewhere in the teaching studio.
Please be aware that although our lovely Jewellery Quarter cafes are open, they may be providing a takeaway service only and you will need to make your way to one of the great open areas we have in the JQ – Golden Square on Warstone Lane (near the Rose Villa Tavern), St Paul’s Square, or feel free to go exploring for a bench somewhere. You may have more luck with booking a table at a pub or restaurant – please be aware that you shouldn’t drink alcohol before picking up your jewellery tools!
In light of the current situation, I’ve introduced extra cleaning procedures. I will be providing cleaning wipes and hand sanitiser for students to use before using the shared tools and facilities. Bench tools will be cleaned before and after class by each student.
Touch points such as handles, switches, taps, and the coat rack will be cleaned with alcohol (isopropyl) spray and disposable paper towels before and after each class by me (Pippa).
The toilet facilities will be cleaned thoroughly before and after each class by me, and there will be alcohol (isopropyl) spray and disposable paper towels for students to clean touch points (taps, handles etc) before each use.
The shared equipment and tools will cleaned in the same way as the touch points in the workshop (by me), and there will be a hand sanitiser station for students to use before touching anything in the area.
Students will need to clean their bench tool handles, lights and other bench touch points before and after each class with alcohol (isopropyl) spray and disposable paper towels. I’m sorry to have to put this on each of you, but I’ll be more at risk if I do this myself, and you’ll know which tools you’ve touched!
Fresh air and ventilation
The windows and rear door will be opened before class and left open until a while after class to increase the fresh air ventilation rate and distribution. I might have to rethink this in winter, brrr!
In the event of a bigger class size (more than 5 students), I will be installing fans to increase the ventilation rate in the worksop (and will install perspex screens between benches too, see bench section). These fans, along with all the other measures I’ve laid out, will enable the use of the 1m+ guidance and the use of all the benches.
Updated: 7 September 2020 – For the latest advice for face coverings in educational settings
Updated: 10 September 2020 – For the new social distancing rules (groups of 6 people)
Updated: 13 September 2020 – For the new Birmingham local restrictions
Reviewed: 14 October 2020 – No changes required for Birmingham Tier 2, we’re doing everything right!
Reviewed: 2 November 2020 – No changes required for national lockdown, we’re doing everything right!
Reviewed: 2 December 2020 – No changes required for Birmingham Tier 3, we’re doing everything right!
Updated: 23rd March 2021 – To include re-opening info (No changes made to Covid-19 measures)