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Covid-19 Planning Information for Higher Education students

Update 26 February 2021 regarding Prime Minister’s Statement on the re-opening of universities and colleges

This update is for our Higher Education (HE) students. Students studying Further Education (FE) courses should read this

Dear Student

Following the recent Government Guidance released on Monday 22nd February 2021 we are now working to deliver some practical elements of your award via face to face on site from Monday 8 March. Non practical elements will continue to be delivered online.

As practical elements are many and varied depending on what you are studying your award leaders will contact you and tell you what is being delivered and when. Please ensure you log into your VLE site on a regular basis as this is where the details will be published.

We are looking forward to seeing some of you on campus again. The Government is scheduled to release more information before the Easter break about their plans for the reminder of the term and we will continue to review these guidelines and update you as soon as possible.

Covid testing

Before you return to College we ask that you complete a Covid test at a local testing centre. You can find details of your nearest public test centre here.

Testing is voluntary but strongly encouraged as it is an essential part of ensuring that we keep the College safe for all students and staff as well as protecting our friends and family at home.
Please remember you must not come into the College if:

  • you have one or more coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.
  • a member of your household (including someone in their support bubble or childcare bubble if they have one) has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.
  • you are required to isolate because you have been told to do so by NHS Test and Trace or you have returned from overseas.
  • you have had a positive Covid-19 test.

If you are unsure whether you should attend in person or not, please talk to your award leader or lecturer before coming into college.

If you do have a positive Covid-19 test result, you will need to self-isolate in line with the government's stay-at-home guidance. Those with a negative test result can continue to attend college unless they have individually been advised otherwise by NHS Test and Trace or Public Health professionals.

The Covid-19 protective measures in place during the autumn term remain in force. These include washing your hands regularly, using hand sanitiser when available and keeping your distance from other students and members of staff. Please wear your ID badge at all times as this identifies you as a student enrolled at the College.

In addition to our previous measures, you will be asked to wear a face-covering when indoors, including in all classes. The only exceptions to this are where a face-covering impacts your ability to take part in strenuous activities/exercise or if you are exempt from wearing a face-covering according to the government definitions.

College Transport

This will restart on Monday 8 March with all routes operating as usual. As before you must wear a face covering whilst boarding and travelling on the bus unless you are exempt. Social distancing whilst waiting for buses to arrive and subject seating areas on the buses will continue to be in place. Anyone who does not comply with these measures will be subject to disciplinary procedures.

Transport fees

Information on transport fees due for the balance of this term and the summer term will be published early next week.

Residential students

College accommodation will reopen to our residential students on Sunday 7 March 2021. Before travelling to College we ask that you undertake a Covid test at one of the public testing sites. You can find details of your nearest testing site here.

Please be aware that the current government guidance means that you should not return home again until the Easter break.

Residential fees

The accommodation charges for the Spring Term will be reduced in proportion to the amount of time that you were unable to stay on campus. The payment due for the balance of this term and the summer term will be published early next week.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming you back into College and we are certain that if we all work together and follow the guidance we can do our part in securing a route out of all lockdown measures in the near future.

Thank you for your continued resilience during this difficult time.

Cleeve Jenkins
Dean of HE

Further Guidance can be found on the Office for Students website

Dear Student,

In line with the recent announcement from the OfS entitled: ‘Student Guide to coronavirus, Returning to university 2021’ please note that we will continue to run courses online until at least the 8th March 2021.

Your studies will therefore continue as is. If you have any questions or concerns please speak to your Award Leader in the first instance.

Further information can be found here

Statement in response to the OfS guidance for providers about quality and standards during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, February 2021.
Letter from the Minister of State for Universities - 2 February 2021
Safety Arrangements for Covid-19

** UPDATE - 5 JANUARY 2021 **

Dear HE Student

As you have become aware the Covid-19 Pandemic and its latest variance has forced the Government to instruct all universities and colleges to deliver all* its academic programs on-line from Tuesday 5 January 2021.

I am writing to you today to tell you that my team and I continue to work extremely hard to ensure that your studies and learning are affected as little as possible during these challenging times. Our support and teaching teams planned for such eventualities before we commenced term in September 2020.

Where practical elements of your awards are scheduled in the coming months our teams are meeting regularly to monitor the situation and add alternative assessments where required. I would like to assure you that we have a range of alternative arrangements at our disposal to ensure your studies continue with as little disruption as possible.

Important quality control methods such as Academic Board where your input is extremely import to our staff and managers, will continue to take place. You will be kept in contact with by your Award Leaders and lecturers and detail of timetables and assessments will continue to be published on your VLE (Moodle) and updates on our website.

I understand that there will be some anxiety around the current situation. We have a dedicated mental health and wellbeing page on your VLE and there are links to specific staff within the College that can help with this if you need it as well as study skills. This service will continue to run as normal.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued resilience and dedication to completing your studies throughout these times. Please ensure you check your VLE pages and our website for updates and if you have any questions please contact your award leader in the first instance.

Cleeve Jenkins

Dean of HE

Additional official guidance* https://www.officeforstudents....

Important Update for HE Students

We continue to work hard to ensure your safety during the ongoing pandemic, which is of paramount importance and to follow government guidance. Following the latest guidance we want to ensure that the spread of the virus does not potentially travel back home with you. As such we have organised for you to be tested via our University partner, Northampton.

Unfortunately, we are not able to offer testing to commuting students to the College/University, however by ceasing teaching from 9th December (moving all teaching online until the end of term on the 18 December) this will give you time to isolate from your last face-to-face session to ensure you are not spreading the virus.

Below are all the details you need to know about the tests and the process of booking a test if you are eligible for one.

About the tests:

We will be using Lateral Flow tests, which are only for people who do not have coronavirus symptoms. These will be able to determine whether you are carrying the virus but without showing symptoms, so you can isolate and prevent the virus from spreading and be able to travel home for Christmas, knowing you are protecting your loved ones and reducing the spread of the virus.

The tests are simple and safe and will give you a rapid result. You will need to book two Lateral Flow tests three days apart before going home. Two negative test results mean that you can return home immediately, within 24 hours of the test and between 3-9 December.

The two tests conducted close to each other are a measure to pick up any case that was missed in the first round or newly developed cases.

If you have symptoms of Coronavirus you will need to self-isolate and book a test for people showing symptoms, which can be done on the Northamptonshire County Council website. You will also need to advise the residency staff at the college.

Booking your test:

Students without symptoms are strongly encouraged to undertake testing before travelling home.

While there is no formal requirement for a student to self-isolate if they have not accessed testing prior to travelling home, we encourage you to take part in the testing to reduce the risk of unwittingly infecting anyone at home you may come into contact with.

You can book your test via the Eventbrite link sent to you by your tutor.

Test results:

If you have two negative results from the Lateral Flow test, please travel home between 3 to 9 December if:

  • You are not symptomatic, or after isolating if they have been symptomatic, tested and advised to do so by NHS Test and Trace
  • Teaching will continue online until the end of term, which remains Friday 18 December. All students must engage fully with their studies online until the end of term.

Advice on travelling as safely as possible can be found in the end of term guidance from the Government.


The College is planning to deliver its Higher Education Awards from September 2020 as normal, which means the same as it was in September 2019. This means that predominantly the courses will be delivered onsite, with some blended online lectures. As we are asking students to return to College as normal, much work has been done in order to protect the health, safety and well-being of you and your colleagues. For example, all spaces that you will be taught in have undertaken a thorough health and safety risk assessment. This means that aspects such as social distancing measures, hand sanitisers, information in the form of posters about health and safety are placed in areas were you will enter and exit each teaching space.

Were possible we will be operating ‘bubbles’. This is likely to mean that the practical sessions you will be taught will be delivered in groups that will stick together for each practical session until it is safe to mix student groups again, following government guidelines. The timetabling has taken into consideration a 2 metre social distancing rule, where this is the case a two week rotation with alternating face to face asynchronous on line teaching will take place.

Delivery of Awards in the event of a second spike involving regional or national shut down

If a local spike occurs and the Government guidance is to lock down the campus, a range of measures are already in place to ensure that your course will continue to be taught.

In this event delivery of your award will move to 100% online. A timetable has been produced where practical assessments will be moved to a later date. Modules that contain fields trips and outings will have the theory delivered first and the trips are scheduled to be delivered later in the year. Where possible we will offer virtual trips to zoos/aquariums where these are closed or restricted.

Our work placement modules are designed to include remote working, these modules again have been timetabled to run in the last term to avoid as much disruption as possible.

Our commitment to you

If there are any areas where its extremely difficult to create the right working environment for you, we will support and help you to create the best possible working home environment with the correct hardware and software.

As well as this we will support you to succeed, by helping you stay on track through personal tutorials and student learning support. You will continue to have remote access to the learning resources within the Library as well as your Moodle pages. If you require academic writing and numeracy skills, we can offer these online.

We will also support your health and well-being with virtual drop in centres that can accessed by appointment.

Course Content

The content of the course will remain the same as previous years. This means that the modules within the course structure will remain the same and that you will complete 120 credits per year. As stated above there may be a difference in how these modules are delivered e.g. they may move towards more of an online delivery method. Further details of how this will work will be in your handbook.

The length and duration of the course will remain the same as previous years. Therefore you will study 35 weeks teaching.

The Course costs will remain the same as previous years. For further detail please use this link.

Assessments throughout your course will remain in place and be offered throughout the year to avoid any bunching. Further detail of this will be in your hand books.

Our blended learning approach through student centred learning includes traditional teaching and learning, and a combination of online lessons and practical sessions and tutorials. We have broken down the teaching into these sections:

  • Active learning
    • These sessions are the normal timetabled lecturers or seminars, lead by your lecturer online.
  • Flexible learning
    • A range of online resources that are linked to your timetable will be made available to you on your Moodle pages, you can access these in a flexible way that suits you.
  • Group Learning
    • You will have group online lessons that enable you to share and develop ideas which is critical to your understanding and development.
  • Independent Learning.
    • Using the resources of the three sections above this is your time to gather your thoughts, read, research, focus on your argument’s ready to discuss at your next group learning session or maybe active learning session. You maybe asked to complete set exercises that are based on your research.

All this information will be explained to you and placed on your Moodle site.

We will also publish this information using these areas listed below:

  • Prospectus and detailed information on life at the institution
  • Open days, offer-holder days and campus tours
  • Talks in schools on topics including student finance, university life and personal statements
  • Attendance at careers and higher education fairs
  • Internal Pre-entry careers advice
  • Online and telephone information and advice
  • Offer Bespoke support to particular groups

The Office for Students has set up a Corona Virus Hub with more information for students in relation to support, help and guidance which can be accessed here:

https://discoveruni.gov.uk/corona-covid-19-information/

Student Space is run by Student Minds, and is providing a range of support for students through the pandemic. This includes access to dedicated support services for students via phone and text, online information and resources and support for students to enable them to access resources at their own universities. More information is available on this link:

https://studentspace.org.uk/

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