National lockdown to come into force on Wednesday 6 January

The Prime Minister announced yesterday that a new national lockdown will come into force at 00:01 on Wednesday 6 January.

FE Programmes

During the period of national lockdown, Hereford College of Arts will remain open to vulnerable students and the students of critical workers only. All other students will learn remotely until February half term.

HE Programmes

Our HE programmes will remain online until mid-February and students will not be able to access the campus except as regulation allows in a small number of exceptional cases.

All students should regularly check college email for further updates.

All students are reminded that they can contact the college for support with wellbeing through the Wellbeing button on Student Net. No wellbeing issue is too big or small if it is concerning you then let us know so that we can help or point you in the right direction of someone who can. 

4 January 2021

The Folly Campus will be open for staff, and a minority of students with particular needs such as EHCP plans this week, but all other students will start their term remotely from Tuesday January 5. We will work out a phased return for face-to-face teaching through the following week beginning January 11. Staff will be in contact with the small number of students who can access campus from the start of term.

31 December 2020

Yesterday the government made a number of headline education announcements that have a major impact on the start of the term across schools, colleges and universities.  We have now received more detail around the changes. I am truly sorry for the further disruption this will cause, but as you will all be aware, the pandemic has entered a particularly challenging phase.   Urgent new measures are being put in to help reduce the risk of further infection and deaths as the vaccines are rolled out.

What this means for HCA’s degree programmes:

The HE campus will be open for staff, but the government is asking institutions to suspend face-to-face teaching at degree level until 25 January (with a review period on 18 January) and to restrict any student access to campus to a very small number of exceptions.

The government is very keen to limit any further student travel and asks residential students who have not already returned to their term-time accommodation to stay in their vacation accommodation if they can until the start of on-campus teaching.  We appreciate some of you may have already travelled or may be unable to change plans and we’re not asking you to travel again if this is the case.

I know this will be hugely disappointing for you, as it is for staff, but as we have throughout this most difficult year of pandemic, we will work with you to find ways to keep your learning on track and to support wellbeing.  This will involve the staff teams taking a detailed look next week at all the current plans and how we can redesign them in the light of these new restrictions.

The government has made it very clear that it does not consider face-to-face teaching at degree level in itself a Covid risk. Indeed, there have been very few cases nationally of any infection through face-to-face teaching at degree level. Still, they are concerned about any travel and other social contacts during this critical period of the pandemic.

Lateral Flow Testing for Covid

I am very sorry that this means the lateral flow testing organised for returning degree students on Monday 4 January and Tuesday 5 January will now be postponed until we can give you full campus access again. This is particularly disappointing given the high degree of engagement and positivity about the pilot that you have shown. However, we will rearrange the testing programme and hope to be able to offer an on-going facility to test ‘close contacts’ in future to reduce the risk of your needing to self-isolate and further disruption once you are back on campus.

This is not the start to 2021 we would have wished for, but tough measures now will help keep us and the wider community safe. As a college community, you have shown huge resilience, creativity, and ability to achieve despite exceptional circumstances over the last year. We will tackle this new challenge together. I know you may have many questions and concerns and we are expecting further regulatory detail from the government on Monday.  Course teams and other staff will work with you to ensure we can keep you learning remotely, and we will keep sharing information and answers to queries as we work out how best to support you in your different environments, when staff are back at work next week.

Although this is a challenging start, we have so much to look forward to and to be optimistic about for 2021, please enjoy the new year as best you can.

23 December 2020

As you will be aware there have been a number of government announcements over the last few days about the start of the new term for schools and colleges, with regard to the possible staggering of the start of face to face teaching and learning for some school and college students, and the roll out of Covid testing for schools and colleges.

Having considered the guidance, and in particular the expectations regarding student groups with end of year qualifications to work towards, we are planning to start face to face teaching on campus from the first week back, although we are staggering the on campus start for some groups through the week as follows:

HE students

  • Return on Wednesday 6 January

FE students

  • Students have been emailed the timetable for their group returns

Given the very volatile situation with regard to the development of the pandemic nationally we will continue to review the position and cannot rule out further changes, so we are asking you to check college emails again and keep an eye on this section  of the website in the New Year for further updates.

Covid Testing

We are currently working with the Herefordshire Outbreak Control Hub on a pilot mass testing of our degree students on our College Road Campus in the first week of January. All degree students, whether or not they are local or returning to residential accommodation, have been asked to take the test to keep the college community as safe as possible. Time slots have been emailed to degree students HCA student email address.

The testing of our degree students will give us valuable insight into how we might implement testing at Folly Lane. We will share an update at the beginning of term and thank you for your patience and understanding as we work this out.

Testing will be an additional measure to help prevent the spread of infection but social distancing, hand cleaning, wearing face coverings and keeping work spaces clean will remain absolutely central to the battle against Covid.

18 December 2020

January Return to Campus

The government has made a number of recent announcements concerning the start of the January term which apply to differently to different student groups.

We can confirm that degree teaching will start again as planned on Wednesday 6 January. We are offering all degree students Covid testing immediately before and will confirm details shortly by email and with updates on this site.

The FE term for students based at our Folly Lane campus is due to start with face to face teaching on campus on Tuesday 5 January. We are reviewing the new guidance and will update students and parents by email and on this by Thursday 24 December on any changes in plan.

Stay safe.