We are looking forward very much to welcoming new and returning students back to college this month.
For the safety of students, staff and our wider community we ask you to follow our updated HCA COVID Code including the following key points:
- Get fully vaccinated (unless medically screened as unsuitable)
- Know the symptoms of COVID and stay off campus if you develop any of them, self- isolate and take a PCR test as soon as possible
- Test twice a week at home for COVID without symptoms with lateral flow tests
- Clean your hands thoroughly and frequently
- Catch coughs and seizes hygienically – ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’!
- Keep your space clean and clean shared resources
- Respect social distancing when practical
- Keep windows and doors open to improve ventilation when you can safely
- Wear a face covering in any poorly ventilated spaces as requested by college if social distancing cannot be maintained, unless registered exempt
- Face coverings may be worn throughout the campus and we encourage all students and staff to wear face coverings when moving around at busy times
You can read the full code here.
We will update our guidance and bring in new measures if required by the national or local situation. We follow government guidance for education and also consult regularly with students and staff and our local Outbreak Control Group.
Face to face teaching and learning is at the heart of our provision whilst we also use digital platforms to enhance teaching and learning and to support students who need to self-isolate.
We are proud of how our students and staff have looked after themselves and others through the challenges of COVID. We can each of us make a difference by behaving thoughtfully and responsibly. If you have any concerns please do not hesitate to raise them.
Take care and enjoy the start of a new academic year!
Change to guidance around wearing masks on campus
• All students as well as staff moving around the campus should wear masks (unless exempt, according to government guidelines, in which case please wear your exemption lanyard)
• Students invigilating exhibitions may remove masks when the exhibition space is empty but please wear your masks when visitors enter your space. This shows respect and reinforces the care the college is taking around COVID security which is important.
• In other studios and workshops students may remove masks when they are easily able to maintain a clear 2 metre minimum social distance
• Masks must be worn where a social distance cannot be easily maintained and when moving around near other people
• Students to continue to wear masks in IT suites where we cannot easily ventilate with outside air
Please keep up the twice weekly tests for cases without symptoms, you can collect more kits from college when you need them. Do please also remember to report the results to us through studentnet as the government requests us to ask you.
The government is now offering everybody the chance to test and this is very important part of the national COVID control programme.
Whilst we cannot supply kits for friends or family everybody can now order them Order coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests – GOV.UK
If a student or member of staff tests positive all their close contacts over the previous two days will be contacted to take a LTF test, if the LTF indicates a positive result you will be required to take a PCR test to confirm.
We will of course keep all this under-review and update you if the guidance changes.
With greatly reduced infection rates and vaccine roll out, the government has amended the guidance around face coverings in colleges in order to improve student experience, whilst also reinforcing the absolute importance of maintaining other measures to continue to reduce risk:
Existing control measures …including good ventilation, handwashing, social distancing where possible and twice weekly testing remain hugely important.
From Monday 17 May in line with the new guidance, HCA students will no longer be required to wear face coverings in college studios, class/seminar rooms and communal areas, with a few exceptions.
We will continue to expect students to wear face coverings in some situations when we are not able to implement other key measures. These include, but are not limited to the following:
IT suites where we cannot easily ventilate with outside air
Workshops where students are working in mixed groups and moving around frequently
In the study centre/library unless students are fully able to social distance
Some of you may feel anxious about not wearing a mask. That is entirely understandable and you are welcome to continue wearing a mask throughout the campus.
The government guidance for staff is that they continue to wear masks when moving around the college unless able to maintain a full 2m social distance.
Whether or not you are wearing a mask, you should continue to maintain a safe social distance whenever possible and avoid mixing between tutor groups/bubbles when you can unless you can maintain social distance. Please take particular care in the café areas to use screens and respect social distance.
The government and Public Health England also continue to reinforce the importance of frequent and careful hand washing, cleaning shared surfaces and following the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ procedure with coughs and sneezes.
Music and Performing Arts will continue to follow the specialist guidance for these activities.
HCA’s COVID Code Updated March 2021. The COVID Code is HCA’s response to the current Coronavirus pandemic and should be used in conjunction with the college’s health and safety, risk assessment, safeguarding and other relevant policies and procedures. It has been produced in line with the most recent government guidelines relating to Further and Higher Education institutions around COVID-19 and where appropriate other government guidelines have also been used as a reference point. As the situation and guidelines change the HCA COVID Code may also be subject to change.
Following the Prime Minister’s announcements, we are looking forward very much to welcoming both our degree and pre-degree students back to our Folly Lane and College Road campuses from Monday 8 March.
We will be offering all students lateral flow testing which is a simple, quick-result test to help keep staff and students safe in college. Up to one-third of people who have coronavirus are asymptomatic. By testing, we will help to reduce the spread in college through asymptomatic transmission. We therefore strongly encourage everyone to be tested. Further details on testing will follow in the next week.
The return of pre-degree students to Folly Lane will be phased through the week to ensure we have space and time to test and we will share timetables shortly.
Further details on testing for degree students will follow in the next week.
We will continue to offer a blend of on-campus and digital sessions, particularly for any larger group meetings, we will be updating the HCA COVID Code in line with the new guidelines before your return.
Extremely vulnerable students should continue to shield and any one asked to self- isolate by NHS Test and Trace must do so, but always let us know so we can support you.
Whilst we are excited to welcome you back we know that some of you may feel a little anxiety. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch through the wellbeing button studentnet to discuss any concerns.
Thank you for all you are doing to look after yourselves and others.
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.
HCA Covid Code and Risk Assessment
COVID-19 Government and Public Health England Advice
Key points to keep in mind are as follows:
- ensure you maintain social distancing, where possible, including at busy entrances, exits, under canopies, bus stops, platforms or outside of stations
- limit the number of people that you come into contact with, for example avoid travelling during peak hours
- wash or sanitise your hands regularly
- avoid touching your face
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when coughing or sneezing
- travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
- touch as few surfaces as possible
- stay outdoors, rather than indoors, where possible
- minimise the time spent close to other people, where possible
- avoid loud talking, shouting or singing
- dispose of waste safely, including items such as used disposable face coverings
- be prepared to queue or take a different entrance or exit at stations
- wait for passengers to get off first before you board
- wait for the next service if you cannot safely keep your distance on board a train, bus or coach
- avoid consuming food and drink on public transport, where possible
- respect other people’s space while travelling
- be aware of pregnant, older and disabled people who may require a seat or extra space
- be aware that not all disability is visible and some people may be exempt from wearing a face covering
Anybody travelling is urged to travel safely and only use public transport if you have to. You can find the full travel safely guidelines.
Get the latest NHS and GOV.UK.information and advice about coronavirus
COVID-19 Vaccination information
When and how do I get my COVID-19 vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccination is now being offered to everyone aged 18 and over at local sites run by GPs or community pharmacies, at larger vaccination centres and in some hospitals.
Students registered with a GP can book their appointment at a larger vaccination centre, a community pharmacy run site or at some GP run sites through the National Booking Service or by phoning 119.
You should register with a GP practice if you have not already done so. Those who are registered with a GP will receive an invitation to be vaccinated from their GP practice. Individuals can request to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments as an unregistered patient through a local GP practice.
International students will not be charged for vaccination against COVID-19. Students should make sure they are registered with a General Practitioner (GP), who will contact them directly to book their vaccine via an online or telephone system when it is appropriate to do so. Information on booking coronavirus vaccination appointments is available.
Find out more via the COVID-19 vaccination FAQs for students in higher education institutions which has been published by NHS England and provides a range of important information.
Frequently asked Questions - Lateral Flow Tests
What is the lateral flow test?
Lateral flow devices (LFDs) are one of the new tools being used to help us to detect and fight COVID-19. A lateral flow test is a swab test is a self-administered test that can detect the presence of the COVID-19 viral antigen. The test involves applying a swab to the throat and nose. Results can be seen in less than an hour and the test does not require a lab to determine the results. These tests are for people who do not have any symptoms.
Are tests compulsory?
Participation is voluntary but the Government will encourage all students to take two lateral flow tests- three days apart- before attending any face-to-face teaching and learning sessions. If, in the last 90 days, you had a positive COVID-19 PCR test through the NHS Test and Trace and your result is recorded on the national system, you will not need to take another test again.
Where can I get a lateral flow test?
You can collect your lateral flow test from both receptions at College Road Campus and Folly Lane campus. A member of staff will talk you through the testing process and inform you of how to report your results.
Should I get a test even if I have been vaccinated?
Yes, we encourage you to take the test every 3 days even if you have had your vaccination.
How do I report my results from the lateral flow test?
You will need to report your test results to NHS Track and Trace. Find more information on how to report your results to NHS Track and Trace. If you your LTF tests positive please report to college by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling Registry on 01432 845304.
I think I might have COVID-19, should I take the lateral flow test?
The Lateral Flow tests are for students and staff who do not have symptoms of COVID-19. If you are concerned that you may have Covid-19, because you have symptoms, you should immediately self-isolate and book a test through the NHS.
What do I do if I test positive?
Immediately self-isolate and inform your household.
Notify us by reporting your result through StudentNet if you are a student, or notify your line manager if you are a staff member.
Arrange to have a confirmatory PCR test through the national NHS testing programme (these tests are processed in a laboratory, so have an even higher accuracy rate).
If your confirmatory test is positive you must isolate for 10 days from your first test date. If members of your household are fully vaccinated or under the age of 18 and 6 months they do not need to self isolate.
College Level FAQ’s
Why am I being offered an onsite lateral flow test for COVID at the start of term?
The government has instructed schools and colleges to offer students onsite lateral flow tests at the start of term to try and reduce the spread of infection.
It is difficult for me to travel in for my college test why am I being asked to do this when I can just test at home?
We appreciate it can be challenging to travel into college. We are following government regulation around supervised on site lateral flow testing. The Department of Education has asked all colleges to offer students two supervised tests for asymptomatic COVID on site in order to ensure that we reduce risk from infection at the start of term.
Whilst we are strongly encouraging all students to test at home as well the government’s instruction is for colleges to reinforce the effectiveness of this with supervised testing on site at the start of the college year.
All the colleges in Hereford are following this advice in asking students to attend on site supervised testing.
We would be grateful if you can make every effort to attend on the day requested, however participation is not mandatory and you will still be allowed to access college for teaching and learning. We will continue to offer testing on site for several days after the start of teaching and learning.
Please ensure that you test at home twice a week.
Degree Level FAQ’s
Will I have to get tested when I travel to university for the autumn term?
You should expect to test before you travel back to HCA by ordering a free LFD test online or collection from your local pharmacy.
On arrival at HCA, you should expect to take two LFD tests using home test kits which can be collected at either reception. This is to reduce the risk of transmission following movement of students across the country.
Final decisions about ongoing regular asymptomatic testing in the autumn term will take into account public health advice. The position will be confirmed in the coming weeks so please refer back to this web page.
It is very important that, when testing at home, test results are reported online to NHS Test and Trace whether positive, negative or void. Reporting results helps the NHS monitor the spread of the virus, combat the virus and save lives.
Frequently asked Questions - Continuing students
I have a specific question about my course, who should I contact?
Please contact the College via email@example.com stating your course and a brief outline of your question. Staff will be able to get you in touch with your Course Leader or the appropriate member of staff, depending on your question.
Is the graduation ceremony being cancelled?
No, we know how important Graduation is to our students and as staff we enjoy celebrating both your creativity and academic achievement too. We have confirmed the dates for the graduation of the 2020 and 2021 class. More information can be found here.
If you have a query please contact the Graduation Team via email: Graduation@hca.ac.uk
I have accommodation related questions, who can I contact?
You can contact the College’s Housing Team for general advice and guidance. They can also help you find out more about our new Halls of Residence if you are progressing from a College to Degree Level course at Hereford College of Arts and interested in student accommodation.
HCA Guide to self-isolation
Stopping the spread of COVID-19 requires that all of us play our part by being socially aware and individually responsible to protect the lives of those most at risk. You may be required to self-isolate to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We have put together a guide to self-isolation to support you through your time of self-isolation. Enclosed in this document you will find a brief guide to:
- The Essentials: Food deliveries
- Community and entertainment
- Advice on health and wellbeing
- Useful contact information
View our guide to self-isolation guide
COVID-19 Reporting Procedure for Students
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- New continuous cough and/or
- Fever (temperature of 37.8 C or higher)
- Loss of or change in normal sense of taste/smell
The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and direct contact. The droplets can be inhaled directly or land on a surface that another person may then touch and which can lead to infection if they then touch their nose, mouth or eyes.
Incubation is between 1 and 14 days (median 5 days) A person is thought to be infectious 48 hours before symptoms appear and up to 10 days afterwards.
The HCA COVID-Reporting Procedure is part of HCA’s COVID Code and aligns with government guidelines to help stop the spread of infection. It is important that all students follow the reporting guidance and stay at home if required. The college will stay in touch with you and help you to keep learning during your self-isolation period or catchup if you have a period of illness.
If you have any of the common symptoms of COVID-19
- DO NOT COME TO COLLEGE but stay at home or in your student accommodation
- REPORT YOUR ABSENCE to college by telephoning Registry 01432 845304 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by 8.30am making it clear the reason is COVID symptoms
- Follow stay at home guidance
- GET A TEST
- If you have difficulty getting a test let the college know
- Stay at home until you get the result of your test and then report the result of your test to college asap by telephoning Registry 01432 845304 or email email@example.com
- If the test is positive you will need to continue self-isolation and the college will discuss how best to support your learning with you
If you live with someone who has developed symptoms of COVID-19 (this does not apply to members of your household if they have been fully vaccinated or are 18 years and 6 months old)
- DO NOT COME TO COLLEGE but stay at home or in your student accommodation
- Report your absence to college, self-isolate and do not come in until the person has had a test and then only if the test is negative
- If you are contacted through Track and Trace you must self-isolate and report your absence to college
- College will contact you to discuss how you can continue to learn whilst self-isolating
- Your household will need to self-isolate at least until the results of your test are known
If you develop symptoms at college
- Stay calm
- Put on a mask and clean hands before touching any surfaces
- Maintain a safe distance from other people
- Alert your tutor or the nearest member of staff
- The college will check with you that the symptoms are those associated with COVID-19
- If you can get home independently and safely you will be helped to leave by the nearest appropriate exit
- If transport needs arranging, you will be taken to the campus quarantine room (Folly Lane campus pods by reception 011 or 011s/ College Road ground-floor A27)
- If a symptomatic person needs to use the toilet, then the toilet area will be locked off until deep cleaned.
If you have a positive test, you must self-isolate for 10 days from the day you became symptomatic. Please report the absence using the absence reporting system above. If you have a positive test you are likely to be asked these questions:
- What date did you first become symptomatic?
- What were your symptoms?
- When did you have the test?
- Please give details of anyone in College with whom you have had close contact with (48 hours prior to developing symptoms)
Definition of close contact
- Face to face contact within 1 metre
- Extended close contact – within 1 to 2 metres for more than 15 minutes
- Travelling in a small vehicle
If your test is negative, feel well and no longer have symptoms similar to COVID-19, you can stop self-isolating. Other members of the household can also stop self-isolating (assuming that they do not have COVID-19 symptoms).
Positive test in household
If you live with someone who has developed symptoms of COVID-19 you do not need to self isolate if you have been fully vaccinated or are 18 years and 6 months old.
If you are not fully vaccinated you must self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms and report your absence to the college using the absence reporting system. If you become symptomatic during this time, then you must be tested within 5 days of the onset of symptoms and inform the College of the outcome. If the test is positive, then you must self-isolate for ten days from the onset of your symptoms. If the test is negative, then you must continue to self-isolate for the remainder of the 14 days.
Negative test in household
If a member of your household tests negative and no longer has symptoms similar to COVID-19, other members of the household can stop self-isolating (assuming that they do not have COVID-19 symptoms).
BBC’s guidance on how to wear a face covering
HCA is focused on keeping you safe and learning whether in college or at home; Follow the guidance to help us do this.
Station Approach Student Accommodation
24 February 2021
Following our update on 5 January 2021, we have been working closely with the building contractor and our insurers to confirm the earliest possible date that the building can be completed and handed over. Now that this work has been concluded, we have been advised that the target completion date is September 2021.
We are very sorry about this further delay but please be assured we are doing all we can to make sure that your accommodation is completed safely and to the highest possible standard and that we are able to plan your transfer with confidence.
If you have any queries, please do continue to contact Kath Brimfield and Siân Evans at Cityheart Living.
We sincerely apologise for this further delay to your move and look forward to welcoming you all to No. 1 Station Approach.
On Tuesday 24 March, the Home Office updated their visa guidance to provide greater certainty for international higher education students and staff in the UK currently unable to return home due to COVID-19. This covers three main issues: extensions, in-country visa switching and distance learning.
No individual who is in the UK legally, but whose visa is due to expire, or has already expired, and who cannot leave because of travel restrictions related to COVID-19, will be regarded as an overstayer, or suffer any detriment in the future.
Anyone whose leave expired after 24 January and who cannot leave the country because of travel restrictions or self-isolation will have their visas extended to 31 May 2020. Individuals must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team email to advise of their situation.
In-country visa switching
Individuals (students or staff) who cannot leave the UK due to travel restrictions or self-isolation and wish to stay in the UK long-term would ordinarily need to apply for a visa from their home country. Where individuals would normally be required to return to their country of residence to apply for a visa in a different category, they’ll now be able to apply from the UK to switch.
Tier 4 students are not normally permitted to undertake distance learning courses. However, due to the current exceptional circumstances, the Home Office will not consider it a breach of sponsor duties to offer distance learning to the existing Tier 4 students in the UK or who have chosen to return overseas but wish to continue their current studies. Sponsors do not need to withdraw sponsorship in these circumstances.
New international students who have been issued a Tier 4 visa but have been unable to travel to the UK are permitted to undertake distance learning and sponsorship does not need to be withdrawn.
New international students who have not yet applied for a visa but wish to commence a course by distance learning do not need to travel to the UK to do so and therefore do not require sponsorship under Tier 4.
Further information from the Home Office
Full details covering the above visa issues can be found at the following link:
The Home Office’s Coronavirus Immigration Helpline remains open: 0800 678 1767 (open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm – calls are free of charge if made form within the UK). The Home Office asks that customers check gov.uk first as that us the central source if the information, but if individuals remain concerned about their immigration status they can contact CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.