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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’re committed to keeping our community informed and reassured. To help you make sense of the latest developments and what to expect on campus going forward into the new academic year, we’ve compiled the following provisions that have been made to ensure a safe return to our campuses and buildings whilst utilising facilities and services wherever possible.

Please take a moment to read through the information below, which will help you to settle in smoothly on campus. If you have particular queries about your course you should contact your Subject Leader.

Looking after each other

When visiting and studying at Plymouth College of Art, the main steps that we’re asking all staff and students to follow to keep everyone safe are:

  • Swipe your ID card when entering and leaving (This is essential for Track & Trace)
  • Follow hygiene guidance
  • Take a quick forehead temperature check upon entry - For ages 11 to 65, a normal temperature is between 35.9°C to 37.6°C
  • Follow the one-way systems
  • Remember to keep a 2-metre social distance between yourself and others
  • Use a face covering when appropriate - see below
  • Clean your study or workspace before and after use - see below
  • Keep windows open and dress warmly anticipating the campus will be well ventilated

Your support and diligence is vital to looking after both yourselves and our whole community. It will help us to ensure access to our amazing workshops, studios and social spaces can continue throughout the academic year, minimising disruption to your studies and keeping us all safe.

Bring your ID card

To ensure we are able to keep to a safe number of staff, students and visitors on campus at any one time and operate an effective Track and Trace system, all staff and students are asked to carry and use their ID card at all times.

You will be asked to swipe your ID card when:

  • Entering any campus building
  • Passing through internal doors and areas with ID Card readers
  • Exiting the campus

For your safety, the ID cards of any students or members of staff known to test positive for Covid-19 will be temporarily deactivated to block access to the campus until their period of self-isolation is complete.

If you do not bring your ID card you will be refused entry to the building and asked to return home to your student accommodation. In an emergency our Tavistock Place main-reception may be able to provide a temporary replacement card, costing you £5. This is a solution reserved for rare circumstances and offered at the college's discretion, so we encourage you to bring your ID card every time you come and go to the college campus.

Two-metre Distancing

All areas within the college have been set out to enable us all to maintain 2 metres distance, and your timetables have been developed based upon the total safe numbers of staff and students (room capacities) for each studio and study space. However, at times it will be unavoidable that social distancing will reduce to between 1 metre and 2 metres, such as when passing through corridors. Current government guidance advises we keep 2 metres away from each other as a precaution, or 1 metre away when you can reduce the risk by taking other precautions.

Face coverings

The UK Government guidance for the use of face coverings continues to be updated and the college maintains close contact with local and national health and education authorities to ensure we are ready to respond quickly. As an additional safety precaution, we will ask everyone to wear a face covering where distancing within college buildings could be less than 2 metres.

This includes:

  • Moving through communal areas within the College such as passing others in corridors, canteen, bathrooms and reception areas
  • Entering and leaving the College
  • Moving from your place of study/work to another location in the College
  • Whilst entering, queuing or leaving communal spaces such as the canteen, library, ERC, computer suites and IT helpdesk
  • Where distancing may be less than 2 metres (see below)​

Once settled in your workspace it is currently not necessary to wear face coverings except when there may be specific activities where 2m distancing cannot be maintained, which may include some types of group work.

All staff and students must carry and supply their own face coverings. Remember, there will be people who cannot wear a face covering, or who may rely on reading your lips when talking to you and this should be dealt with sensitively.


Some people in and around the college campus may be exempt from wearing face masks. This is a personal choice, not law, and we must all be sensitive to individual needs.

It is important to remember that an individual’s reasons for not wearing a face-covering may not be immediately obvious. In this case, an exemption card, badge, lanyard, phone graphic or home-made sign can be a helpful tool when moving through the college buildings.

Those who have an age, health or disability reason to not wear a face-covering should not be routinely asked to provide formal evidence or confronted when going about their studies. We ask that the college community acts with compassion, discreetly pointing out the need to wear a face-covering if possible, without assuming that someone has acted without care. Taking collective action will help establish new social norms and keep the college community safe, however, we must also make space for empathy and understanding.

If you are someone who would benefit from carrying an exemption card you can click the download buttons below to save a version for printing or showing on your phone. If you need help with printing, please visit the main-reception at Tavistock Place.

As nationwide guidance develops we will continue to review the college’s rules around face-coverings and regularly update the website’s COVID guidance and FAQs.

Keeping our campus clean

We’ve implemented increased cleaning protocols that include regular and routine deep cleaning, as well as the ability to carry out specialist deep cleaning as required. However, we all have a responsibility to maintain a clean work environment to look after one another and ensure that our college stays as clean as possible.

Ways that you can help include:

  • Regularly wash your hands (for more than 20 seconds) and use the sanitising stations around the campus at frequent intervals
  • Sanitise ‘general access’ work stations including desktop, computer mice and keyboards before and after usage with the sprays and single-use wipes provided, keyboard covers are in place to make this easier
  • Sanitise specialist resources when you use them, technical staff will show you how

Wrap up warm

Across the college we have adopted an “open window” approach to ensure all our spaces are kept as well-ventilated as possible with fresh air. This will mean studios and communal areas will be chilly at times and warm clothing will be a must on cool days. Bring some extra layers and be reassured that there are no recycled air ventilation systems used in our buildings.

Accessing student services & resources online

All our fantastic services to students are available remotely and we encourage everyone to use these services online, but do please ask if you need any service face-to-face.

The Student Portal provides information and access to all our services, with booking forms available to make appointments for the services listed below through a system called Connect-2. If you have a query the easiest and quickest way to receive an answer is to use the relevant general email address provided in the portal (e.g.,,,, etc).

Booking non-timetabled activities

You’ll be able to arrange activities outside of your timetabled sessions but these must be booked in advance through our Connect-2 system (accessible via the Student Portal) online. Activities include:

  • On campus - access to workshop spaces/specialist resources for individual work
  • Workshops Wednesdays (online cross-disciplinary workshops)
  • On campus - access to computer rooms
  • On campus - library workdesk access (library resources and book loans are accessed on-line)
  • Most appointments are online for the Learning Lab, academic skills, library, IT support/helpdesk and careers staff, unless otherwise agreed in advance

Please note:

  • For wellbeing, counselling, disability support and any queries around finance and financial support, please email

The Students’ Union will have their own booking system for in-person events on or off campus.

Absence Reporting

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), report this to us through the absence/sickness reporting procedure, and arrange to have a test.

Absence reporting step-by-step for students:

  • Complete the easy online Absence & Illness Reporting Form, available on the Student Portal and the college website
  • 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 with a copy of your NHS Test result SMS. This allows us to get you back to campus when safe to do so
  • Remember to advise the NHS Test & Trace team that you are a Plymouth College of Art student
  • Your nominated emergency contact or next-of-kin can also report your absence by following the same link

For more information visit our Coronavirus Absence Reporting page.

More Information

For more details on the college's response to COVID-19, please refer to our Local Outbreak Management Plan (Oct 2020).

If you have any questions please email