Here are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions regarding our recent update for students and stakeholders.

When will my course start?

There will be a range of start dates for courses to ensure we can accommodate safe numbers of people on campus and adhere to social distancing guidance. For most full time courses, the start date will be week beginning 21st September 2020. Every student will receive updated confirmation of their course start date soon.

How much time will I have in College, and what about practical classes?

Each team is looking at this to get the right solution for the students on their courses. We need to limit the number of people on campus at any given time so we can adhere to social distancing guidance. That means that at least some of your classes and learning will be done remotely (like online sessions or activities that you will complete from home).

If you have practical classes that take place in kitchens, workshops, salons or labs (for example), it’s likely you will be on campus / accessing College buildings for around 1 day a week. Where lecturers feel they can deliver your practical elements of courses or units with less than 1 day per week on campus then they will do so, and some courses may need to be in for more than a day.

We will continue to review this as guidance changes, and it may mean increasing or reducing your time on campus.

Will I have to do remote learning rather than coming to College?

In order to limit the number of people on campus at any given time, all courses will have an element of remote learning (like online sessions or activities that you will complete from home). All courses will make use of online learning sites (like Microsoft Teams and My Learning, which you might’ve already used if you’ve been at College) for at least part of the learning, if not all. We’ll refer to learning and attending classes like this as remote learning.

What if I need access to a computer, or want to study in College because I can’t at home?

We will make every effort to support you accessing computers and software that you need to complete your studies. We are looking at arrangements for students who may need to study on campus outside class time and we will communicate more information when it’s available.

When will I get my timetable?

We are currently working on timetabling for all courses and will confirm with each student as soon as we can. Once you have been issued with a timetable, we will do our best not to make any more changes to it, however we may need to make changes based on Scottish Government’s guidance. Any changes will be communicated to each student.

What about funding?

Your course funding will start from the new start date for your course and continue as normal. We will ensure that the updated course dates are incorporated into funding arrangements. 

What about travel to College campuses?

We will be considering travel arrangements alongside timetables so we can do our best to support you getting to and from campus safely. This is likely to be complicated, so we’ll work with partners like Stagecoach and Xplore where we can, and keep you updated as more is known.

My course includes a work placement, what will I do?

We are looking at how we can continue to give students the chance to gain work experience as part of your course (where applicable). We will work closely with our placement providers to agree when and how students can safely go out onto work placement in line with the appropriate guidance. We are also looking at other ways for students to gain the skills required by employers until they can safely go to the work placement. We will share more information about the plans as they progress.

What about Support Services?

As with the delivery of your course, all student support services are reviewing how they can deliver their services to students successfully. More information will be provided to you about accessing these services when we have more information. In the meantime, you can contact us:

Will I be tested for Covid-19 before I come to on campus / access College buildings (or regularly afterwards)?

The College is following Scottish Government guidance on arrangements for Test and Support. This guidance doesn’t currently require routine College-based Covid-19 testing as part of our reopening activities, but if this guidance changes then testing will be put in place as needed.

What if I am shielding?

Current guidance confirms those groups that should follow the shielding requirements. This will also be supplemented for those that are required to self-isolate under the Test and Protect strategy. The College is fully supporting this guidance and will expect that any student who meets the official criteria will follow the shielding / isolation guidance – including not coming onto campus / accessing College buildings.

Will SQA and other Awarding Bodies that give my certificate/s make allowances for the disruption to learning?

As you would expect, the national discussions with SQA and other awarding bodies have been focused on students who have been studying this year (2019-20). Discussions are now focusing on students studying with us next year (2020-21) and discussions are taking place around the need for further changes to recognise the disrupted learning. There are no outcomes from these discussions yet, but this work will continue and all involved are keen to ensure that arrangements are developed that reflect the challenging situation we’re in. 

Is it safe to reopen – should the College wait a bit longer?

Yes, it will be safe to reopen for the new academic year based on the Scottish Government’s guidance. The Scottish Government has planned out how all sectors of Scottish society can begin to move on from lockdown and return to (near) normal life in a planned, phased and safe basis. This guidance is based upon the most up to date scientific information available, including the assessment of the risks surrounding COVID-19 and the risks associated with living in lockdown. The College is, and will continue to follow the official guidance available.

How long will these arrangements be in place?

The Scottish Government Route Map guidance outlines four phases for moving from lockdown, with lower restrictions and a move towards near normal activities growing with each phase. These guidelines currently anticipate that Phase 1 will start at the beginning of June 2020, with Phase 2 following over the summer, and Phase 3 being reached in August 2020. Phase 4 is estimated at some point over the remained of the current calendar year. Please note though that these timings are subject to change depending upon the scientific evidence.