Covid 19 Photo Oct 2020 87

Covid-19

The latest college guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) for students, staff, applicants and visitors. If you have any questions please email health@pca.ac.uk

As of Tuesday 5 January 2021, England left the national tier system to enter a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19.

Plymouth College of Art will be closed to staff, students and visitors (with some exemptions), with all learning being undertaken online, and under current guidelines will continue to do so until national guidance changes. During this lockdown period, you must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. More information on the new restrictions is provided below.

Students should remain where they are wherever possible, and will need to study online until at least mid February.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of a new coronavirus disease known as COVID-19 in March 2020. The pandemic has since spread worldwide, causing respiratory symptoms and putting all individuals at risk of infection.

NHS England has identified the following symptoms of COVID-19:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

If you have one or more of these symptoms, medical advice is clear: you must self-isolate for at least 10 days. Anyone else in your household must also self-isolate for 10 days from when you started having symptoms.

  • If your test is positive - you must complete the remainder of your 10-day self-isolation. Anyone who you live with must also complete self-isolation for 10 days from when you started having symptoms.
  • If your test is negative - you and others who you live with no longer need to self-isolate. If you live with someone who has symptoms of Coronavirus or has tested positive, you should self isolate for 10 days and report this to us through the absence/sickness reporting procedure. More guidance on when to self-isolate and for how long is available on the NHS website.

Please remember to fill in the Absence & Illness Reporting Form again after receiving a COVID-19 test result and report positive or negative test results by email to healthupdates@pca.ac.uk.

National lockdown rules: stay at home

The following information has been taken from gov.uk/coronavirus.

As of 5 January 2021, under new lockdown rules, you must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary.

You may leave your home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person

  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home

  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one

  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)

  • attend education or childcare - for those eligible

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid February for all except future critical worker courses (a list of which can be found on the gov.uk website).

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.

For further details on the rules around lockdown, click here to visit the gov.uk website.

Protection

The NHS has issued the following advice on the best way to slow the spread of almost any germs, including COVID-19. It is vital that all staff, students and visitors to the college follow these simple actions to continue protecting one another from the spread of COVID-19.

Remember to:

  • Wash your hands often - use soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and always when you get home or into work.
  • Use hand sanitiser gel - if soap and water are not available.
  • Wear a mask - You must wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces.
  • Use a tissue or your sleeve - Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Remember, don’t use your hands, and make sure you dispose of the tissue straight away. Wash your hands after catching it.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Make space stay at least 2 metres apart, or 1 metre with a face covering or other precautions in place.

For full information on what to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms, how to get a test, how to report an absence and what measures Plymouth College of Art is taking to maintain a ‘COVID-safe’ campus, please read our FAQs.

This video from the NHS shows the best way to wash your hands. Instructions are also available in an alternative format on the NHS website.

Online Teaching

The college is committed to supporting students and ensuring minimal disruption to your studies at this challenging time whilst complying with the latest government guidance. In line with government requirements, all undergraduate and postgraduate teaching was moved online from Monday 7 December 2020 and after further announcements in early January, teaching will continue as online only (with no access to campus) until at least mid February 2021.

If you need any advice or additional support regarding your studies for this online period please initially contact your Subject Leader.

In line with the government guidance announced in January 2021, our Palace Court and Palace Studios campuses will only reopen for vulnerable students and children of key workers. All other learning must be undertaken online.

Undergraduate and postgraduate teaching will begin online during the week beginning 11 January 2021. Due to the lockdown rules announced in the new year, undergraduate and postgraduate teaching on-campus will be pushed back until mid February. It is recommended that students should remain wherever they are and study online until this point. This includes commuter students who travel to and from the college daily.

Undergraduate and postgraduate deadlines for all hand-ins will be moved three weeks later than their original submission date. For undergraduate students due to submit modules on 18, 19 & 21 January, you will now be given a three week extension to 8, 9 & 11 February. For postgraduate students due to submit modules on 2 or 4 February, you will now be given a three week extension to 23 or 25 February. These extra three weeks are given to complete your work, in light of the restrictions of Covid-19 during trimester one.

Dissertation submissions (Module 304) is also getting an extension to 5 March, with supervisors available to give academic advice right up to the submission date.

We want to reassure students that we will take into account the impact that this national lockdown will have on your work and our staff are highly experienced in the assessment and marking of work-in-progress. Visit your student email inbox for more information.

We had previously announced that from Monday 11 January up until Saturday 6 February 2021, undergraduate and postgraduate students could book self-directed learning (subject to availability) in the college studios and workshops by using Connect 2. However, new lockdown guidance from the government means a delay to on-campus teaching of several additional weeks (planned return to on-campus learning will be pushed back to mid February), so students should not be coming to campus for self-directed learning.

We will advise all students about campus access via email as soon as we can.

Visitor Information

Due to the nationwide lockdown, we are not able to welcome visitors back on-site to experience our state-of-the-art facilities in-person for small-group tours, open days and campus experience events.

Find out about the virtual events we have coming up by visiting our What’s On page, and book a place at one of our upcoming Online Open Events or take a Virtual Tour.

Testing

As part of the mass asymptomatic COVID-19 testing scheme for university students in England coordinated by the Government’s Department for Education and the Office for Students, Plymouth College of Art and University of Plymouth worked together to set up an Asymptomatic Test Site for students in the Main Hall at University of Plymouth campus, just a five minute walk from our Tavistock Place building. This was part of the Government’s NHS national Test & Trace scheme to enable students to travel home safely during the Government's ‘Travel Window’ of 3-9 December 2020, before the Christmas break.

This testing centre was only for students without COVID-19 symptoms (asymptomatic) - to help confirm that they do not have COVID-19 as they may be unaware that they are infectious. Getting tested before travelling home for the Christmas break was to help keep you, your family, friends and home communities as safe as possible, and help break the line of transmission amongst those who might be infected, but are not aware of it. Testing took place between 8am and 8pm every day from Monday 30 November to Monday 7 December, inclusive.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 (any of the following; new continuous cough, high temperature, loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell) then you should stay at home (self-isolate) for 10 days, report your symptoms to us through the absence/sickness reporting procedure, and arrange to have a test.

After closing at 6pm on Friday 18 December 2020, our campus was due to reopen for students from Monday 11 January 2021, however new lockdown restrictions imposed in early January 2021 mean that the campus will remain closed until at least mid February. Our joint testing site at the University of Plymouth will remain open from Monday 4 January to Tuesday 2 February. If you live in Plymouth or the surrounding area or have already returned from your holiday address to Plymouth before lockdown rules were enforced and you need a rapid response Lateral Flow Test, you can still book one. Government guidance on travel dictates that you should not travel back and forth from your term time and holiday address during lockdown, however if it is necessary for you to travel in order to return to University, you should arrange to have a Lateral Flow Test before you travel in order to avoid spreading the virus. Check your college email for further details and for the link to book your tests.

For more detailed national guidance on returning to university in 2021, click here for FAQs from the Office for Students (OfS).

We understand that you’ll have questions about returning to campus along with many other queries. We will send out further updates via email and text message as soon as we have details confirmed and ready to share with you.

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