September 1st

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!

Thank you

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.