Frequently Asked Questions
At Plymouth College of Art, the health and wellbeing of our students, staff and visitors are of the highest importance. As new guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) is released from UK government authorities we will endeavour to keep our community informed and reassured.
To help you make sense of the latest developments, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) below. Please scroll down to find your relevant study level and topic.
If you are a current student or parent/carer and require an alternative format to the information provided or would like to raise any concerns, please speak to your Subject Leader in the first instance or email email@example.com.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Visit the NHS website for more information.
If you develop symptoms of Coronavirus (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.
You should make sure you are tested as soon as possible and when being tested tell the NHS that you are a student at Plymouth College of Art so that they can also keep us informed to support you. Find out more on our Absence Reporting page.
We are committed to regularly communicating with staff and students to ensure accurate information and support is available in adherence with the latest UK government guidance.
Following the recent announcement of the government's roadmap on 22 February, we are now into a phased reopening of the college details of which can be found here.
If you test positive after taking a Lateral Flow Test at our test centre at University of Plymouth or elsewhere this will trigger you being contacted by NHS Test and Trace with information on how to get a confirmatory PCR test. This must to taken within 72 hours of your initial PCR test. If this is negative you and your close contacts will not have to isolate. If it is positive, it confirms you have COVID-19, you and your close contacts MUST isolate, this is a legal requirement.
You must complete the remainder of your 10-day self-isolation, to allow symptoms to pass and become clear from the risk of passing coronavirus on to anybody else at the college and the wider community. Your ID card will be deactivated until this period ends, at which point you can return to campus.
Anyone who you live with must also complete self-isolation for 10 days from when you first started having symptoms.
You will also need to do the following:
- Complete the easy online Absence & Illness Reporting Form, available on the Student Portal.
- Contact your Subject Leader as soon as possible
- If you have later had positive or negative test results for Covid-19, you should complete the absence/illness form again and also email firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of your NHS Test result SMS. This allows us to get you back to campus when safe to do so
- Your nominated emergency contact or next-of-kin can also report your absence by following the same link
- Remember to advise the NHS Test & Trace team that you are a Plymouth College of Art student
The NHS Test & Trace system will ask you for:
- Your name, date of birth and postcode
- Whether you live with any other people
- Any places you’ve been to recently, such as a workplace or school (make sure to mention you are a Plymouth College of Art student)
- The names and contact details of any people you were in close contact with in the 48 hours before your symptoms started (if you know these details)
All data you provide is treated as confidential, and nobody who is contacted will be told your identity. Anyone you’ve been in close contact with will be told to self-isolate for 10 days.
Self-isolation shouldn’t need to affect your studies as we have developed an extended creative pedagogy, which features a hybrid of live online and on-campus creative practice, so you will still be supported at home. Speak to your Subject Leader for more information on virtual delivery and contact the Student Support Team if you feel you need more pastoral support.
Please note that after 10 days, if you still have a temperature you should continue to self-isolate and seek medical advice. You do not need to self-isolate after 10 days if you only have a cough or loss of sense of smell or taste, as these symptoms can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.
More information on ending self-isolation can be found on the UK Gov website.
If you have been contacted by an NHS contact tracing system, it is because you have been exposed to COVID-19, due to recent contact with someone who has now tested positive. In this case you must self isolate for 10 days, because it can take up to 10 days for symptoms to appear. Your ID card will be deactivated until this period ends, at which point you can return to campus.
You will also need to do the following:
- Complete the easy online Absence & Illness Reporting Form to let us know that you are isolating
- Contact your Subject Leader as soon as possible, who can support you to continue with your studies.
During the next 10 days, please:
- do not leave your home for any reason – if you need food or medicine, order online or by phone, or ask friends and family to drop it off at your home
- If you live alone, please let us know if you need additional support such as a basic package of essential provisions
- do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for essential care
- try to avoid contact with anyone you live with as much as possible
Should anyone else isolate?
During this period, people you live with do not need to self-isolate if you do not have symptoms (a new continuous cough; a high temperature of 37.8C or above; or a loss, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell). People in your support bubble do not need to self-isolate if you do not have symptoms. If you live with someone at higher risk from coronavirus, try to arrange for them to stay with friends or family for 10 days. Find tailored guidance for close contacts depending on whether you live with them or not here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance
If you start to experience symptoms:
During the next 10 days, if you get any one of the symptom of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) while you're self-isolating:
- Book and have a test done to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible (remember to take your QR code with you, this is currently essential)
- anyone you live with must start to self-isolate until you’ve been tested and received a negative test result
- anyone in your support bubble must self-isolate until you’ve been tested and received your result
If you test negative (the test did not find coronavirus) but you are a direct contact of a confirmed case:
- keep self-isolating for the rest of the 10 days – as you could get symptoms after being tested, we do not need a copy of your test results at this stage
- anyone you live with can stop self-isolating if they do not have symptoms
- anyone in your support bubble can stop self-isolating if they do not have symptoms
If you test positive you have coronavirus you must:
self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started – even if it means you're self-isolating for longer than 10 days
anyone you live with must self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started
anyone in your support bubble must self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started
please confirm your results by sending us a screenshot of your positive test result which you may have received as an SMS by email to email@example.com.
The NHS test and trace service will get in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they have had, so that it can alert those contacts where necessary, and notify them if they need to self-isolate to help stop the spread of the virus.
We recommend that all students, parents and guardians download the NHS COVID-19 app, which can update you about the alert level in your area, help you to book a test, check-in to public venues and alert you if you’ve been near other app users who have tested positive for the virus. The College’s own internal Track and Trace system is designed to complement this service and your support adherence to the protocols mentioned above will help us achieve comprehensive contact tracing.
If you do receive a positive COVID-19 test result or are identified as a close contact of somebody who has, the NHS Test and Trace system will contact you to ask for:
• your name, date of birth and postcode
• whether you live with any other people
• any places you’ve been to recently, such as a workplace or school
• the names and contact details of any people you were in close contact with in the 48 hours before your symptoms started (if you know these details)
The NHS Test and Trace service will not ask for bank details or payments; details of any other accounts (such as social media); ask you to set up a password or PIN; or ask you to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087.
All data you provide is treated as confidential, and nobody who is contacted will be told your identity. Anyone you’ve been in close contact with will be told to self-isolate for 10 days.
When the thermometers at our entrances say ‘LO’, this means that the person's body temperature is lower than the average temperature, that there is a reflection from their glasses, the person is slightly damp or their hair has obscured the temperature reading. In this case, we advise that glasses are removed and the forehead is wiped if damp or the obstruction is removed before trying again. 99.9% of the time the reader will give an accurate reading. If this does not work, a member of the college team will read your temperature with a handheld contactless thermometer. During college opening hours, the entrance area is staffed at all times but if for some reason it is not, please ring the bell for attention which is situated on the table next to the reception desk, and someone will come to read your temperature with the handheld device.
Home test kits are available to all our staff and students. We strongly recommend that you perform two Lateral Flow tests before attending campus and continue to test weekly thereafter. Test kits can be collected from the main reception areas of Tavistock Place and Palace Court. You will need your Student ID to pick them up. All results, whether positive or negative, must be logged on the NHS website here. Please report your results as a staff member or student of the college and use our SITE ID BEVI.
Before returning to campus, the Government advises that all students should take two rapid asymptomatic Covid-19 tests, three days apart. LFT kits can be collected from college (details in previous question above). They are also widely available in many pharmacies or can be ordered to you home address by following this link
What you need to do depends on where you have been in the 10 days before you arrive in England.
If the country you are travelling from is on the “Red List” of countries, you must quarantine in a government hotel. If this applies to you please contact us, we may be able to assist with arrangements. If the country you are travelling from is on the Red List you CANNOT use the “Test to Release” scheme.
Please see the government website here for more information on returning to the U.K from abroad.
Please do not worry about the impact of this on your Tier 4 visa. Please get in touch with our Admissions team to raise any concerns, who will make sure this does not impact on your visa. You can email them on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels have been asking for clarity on how they will be assessed with work that is developed and submitted during a lockdown. When you submit work, you will also be able to submit up to 200 words of ‘Assessment Intent’ on an Assessment Intent form, which can be accessed via the Registry pages on the Student Portal (follow the link to make a copy). This optional statement, to be submitted along with your coursework, will support the understanding of work you have produced and be used as part of the assessment process by academic staff. Within this statement, you will have the opportunity to articulate what you had originally intended but has now been affected by lockdown. This might include an indication about the quality of outcome(s) or finish within an artefact or completion of final work that may have been achieved under normal circumstances.
We are also using an updated Covid-19 Grading Matrix (which can be found on the Curriculum Ops pages), where our approach to marking work made under lockdown conditions means that marks will not be reduced due to submitting work-in-progress.
The HE Hardship fund remains open and UG and PG students are welcome to apply for financial support to contribute to essential living costs if in crisis. Students can apply to this fund more than once but we process each application on an individual basis and may request further info/evidence to process. Please contact email@example.com if you need any assistance. It is designed as a one off payment that does not need to be repaid to help you cover the cost of necessities. The fund is not intended to offer ongoing support in a way that would replace Student Finance payments, ongoing loss of earnings or benefits, but is instead designed as a form of support that could contribute to essential living costs, bills and accommodation, food, childcare, medication or travel.
As the Hardship Fund is designed as a crisis payment for essential living costs we normally advise students not to apply for funding to purchase materials needed for your course. If you feel that you are unable to complete your work due to a lack of materials or IT equipment, please speak to your Programme Leader in the first instance and if necessary, upload a supporting statement from them via the hardship application form to let us know why it is vital that you access funding for materials.
It’s easy to apply: follow the instructions on the online application form and show evidence of your most recent bank statement (either forwarding a digital copy or screenshot, or submitting a photo of a paper copy - let us know if you need any help with this). Please note that it can take up to six weeks to process a payment, though we always aim to complete this much sooner.
If needed, we will create additional tech access and tutorial videos to support you and upload these on the Student Portal. The college also subscribes to Linkedin Learning, which has over 16,000 online courses and videos, including a wealth of resources on Adobe software.
The Assistant Heads of School, Subject Leaders and our Head of Learning Resource Environment have worked together to identify which equipment was needed by each School, targeting resources according to need and giving us enough time to prioritise these loans and allocate equipment. We purchased a range of additional resources to help with loans for remote working, coordinating with academics to ensure fair and transparent communication about equipment and availability. Please let your Subject Leader know if you feel that you have been unable to access resources that are needed to complete your work.
Individual students are able to turn on subtitles as academics cannot automatically turn on subtitles for every Google Meet participant. All our Learning Lab videos are captioned via Youtube. If you’re unsure how to do this, watch a video on how to turn on captioning in Google Meets and read this guide on how to turn on captions on Google Chrome.
The college routinely uses Google Classroom as an online learning resource. All briefs are already shared via this platform and curriculum staff are working hard to transfer resources for forthcoming weeks to this location to support online teaching. Google Classroom will also function as a hub for class discussions and feedback during the suspension of face-to-face teaching.
We will be delivering live weekly briefings and lectures via Google Meet, a video conferencing app which is provided free as part of our students Google Suite. All students will be provided with information on how to use the app and guidelines for appropriate behaviour. Every student will also be issued with an online pack which includes important contact details for academic staff as well as other college services.
We will continue to support our Pre Degree students with guaranteed progression to our undergraduate programmes and will liaise closely with the awarding body for UAL qualifications to respond rapidly to alternative measures to ensure students achieve the qualifications they deserve.
Students requiring safeguarding, welfare or financial support should email our Safeguarding Officer Carol (firstname.lastname@example.org) or ring on her work phone 07866 129691 (9-4pm Mon-Fri). Student Services have also set up The Big White Wall which will offer students support for their well-being 24 hrs a day. See www.bigwhitewall.com and follow the instructions with your college email address.
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of a roadmap for ending the current national lockdown restrictions in England, our Palace Court and Palace Studios campus opened for all Pre Degree students and staff from 8 March 2021. We will request (where possible) that staff and students complete one asymptomatic Covid-19 test before returning to campus and at least once weekly thereafter.
Due to the continued need for social distancing measures and face coverings to safeguard students and staff within Palace Court and Palace Studios, we return to a hybrid learning timetable, starting on Week 1. This will then follow a three-week cycle, similar to the one that was in place before Christmas. Taught sessions will be timetabled in a three-week cycle - a balance of face-to-face learning opportunities both online and on campus all structured ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff.
Further details including an example of these timetables can be found in the most recent Pre Degree mailer here.
We make unconditional and conditional offers based upon predicted UCAS points, interviews and academic discussions. Alongside your qualifications and previous experience, at Plymouth College of Art we are interested in your individuality and interests, abilities and potential - we know there is more to creative applicants than just your qualifications or what can be captured on a form. If you would like to discuss your application or offer please email email@example.com
If we have made you an unconditional offer based upon a portfolio of work or an academic interview this offer remains unconditional and your place will be guaranteed with us.
If you have been offered a conditional place we may try to contact you again to discuss this offer so that we can ensure your progression to study with us is not disadvantaged. The changes to your assessment will not affect your offer.
We will continue to work with all relevant sector bodies to ensure that your application is not disadvantaged and that we take the necessary steps to support your progression.
We will contact all Open Day, Campus Experience Day, and Applicant Day attendees a week before their event to confirm whether it is still going ahead at one of our Plymouth College of Art campuses. This communication will also include specific pre-arrival instructions to ensure you are prepared to follow COVID procedures in place when you arrive on campus.
There are lots of ways you can get to know our courses, facilities, staff and students without visiting us in person. We host regular online events covering a variety of topics, including student Q&A, subject talks and admissions advice sessions, and have recordings from previous events which you can request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book an online informal 1:1 chat with an academic to get to know your course of interest better by filling out the following booking form or emailing email@example.com. Our students are also available online to chat to through our Unibuddy service and can answer any questions you have about our courses and student life at Plymouth College of Art. If you’d like to view our state-of-the-art facilities and workshops you can take a look through our virtual 360 tour or you can book a personalised narrated online tour from one of our staff by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find out the latest information on student finance and covid-19 from Student Finance England here and some helpful FAQs here relating to Covid-19. If you’re studying at the moment or you’ll be starting a full-time, undergraduate course after 1 August 2020, you can apply online for student finance as normal. If you are self-isolating or unwell, you do not need to worry about sending evidence now if you’re not able to. Student finance England have said that if you send them evidence later than normal they’ll make sure you don’t lose out on student finance because of this. If you have any questions about your application, the best thing to do is contact Student Finance England directly.
If you are applying for a Student Visa you should be aware that there are changes at the UK border due to Covid-19. You are advised to check the UK Government advice on entering the UK and any current travel bans before you apply for your visa. If you are travelling from a country where travel to the UK has been suspended, and your application for a student visa is successful, you will not receive your visa until the travel suspension has been lifted. Applications for Student Visas continue to be processed from all locations.
If the visa application centre is closed in your country, due to coronavirus restrictions, you can apply online and choose a centre in another country worldwide to submit your application. Before submitting your application, you will need to ensure you are able to travel to the selected country. This facility is available until 30 June 2021.
The UK visa system changed in October 2020 and the “Tier 4” Visa was replaced by the “Student Visa”. All international students who intend to study a course at Plymouth College of Art for the 2021/22 academic year should apply for a Student Visa. Further information in regard to eligibility and application can be obtained from https://www.gov.uk/student-visa.
English Language tests are available in most countries but may be temporarily suspended due to coronavirus restrictions. If you are unable to attend an approved English Language testing centre the College will accept the Duolingo online English Language test. For further information about the level required for the Duolingo test and the other English Language qualifications accepted by Plymouth College of Art see https://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/international/language-requirements.
If you are planning to travel from outside of the UK to return to study, you will need to make sure you comply with all travel restrictions including pre-departure testing (see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-people-travelling-to-england). Please also check the travel advice issued by your carrier and check what you need to do before entering the UK (see https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control).