We are all very much looking forward to the full resumption of the campus-based learning that is so very special in HCA. As we cannot be sure of the course of the pandemic, we are preparing for different scenarios which we have outlined below.
Firstly, if the pandemic is under control, we will operate along very similar lines to those we did before the lockdown. We know that hands-on learning, thinking through making, workshop ideas exploration, face to face individual and small group tutorials, and campus community is hugely important to the HCA student experience and this will remain central. We are however committed to continuous improvement, and during the lockdown, we have discovered some new ways of using digital technologies that our students have appreciated. We will now continue to use them to enrich our campus-based learning. It also gives students more flexibility when they cannot attend campus.
In our second scenario and the one that seems likely at this time, we are planning to deliver our programmes with very high levels of campus access and teaching and learning while facilitating physical distancing of a full 2m if still required. As you will know, part of the distinctiveness of HCA is our personal scale and smaller year groups. The College Road Campus is also relatively spacious, and this will allow us to make adjustments as necessary. However, in this situation, we would need to make some changes to our previous practice and offer, for example, events with larger audiences online. We will make changes to the timetabling and access to some of our workshops to ensure a safe number of people working in spaces depending on the processes. This may mean extending hours and changing timetables to avoid creating pinch points and busier periods on campus.
Maintaining a rich social experience is also a key concern. In this, we have the very creative help of our energetic new SU team. They are currently developing a whole range of social events and will be sharing these with you through the summer. As we also offer pre-degree programmes on our Folly Lane campus, we have remained open throughout lockdown for a small group of students as directed by national policy and are currently extending this access to welcome our first years Extended Diploma students back in. This experience gives us confidence that physical distancing, though undoubtedly presents some inconvenience, does not undermine the sheer pleasure of working and learning together in an exceptional specialist arts community.
In our third scenario, in the event of a resurgence of the pandemic, we may be forced by external guidance or regulation to restrict access to the campus for a lockdown period. If this is the case, we will use all the lessons learnt by ourselves and other institutions through the last few weeks to continue your programme, maintaining our individual and personal approach, while focusing on bringing you back to campus as quickly as possible.
How we can prepare you for the start of your degree
We know you have all been through strange and difficult days, and your experiences of the pandemic may have varied considerably. Some of you will be itching to jump back into full-time education at full acceleration while some you will understandably be more uncertain. Over the summer we are developing a programme of student buddies to help students make friends before they start. There will be fun, creative competitions as well a range of digital inductions to HCA life and the offer of one to one or small group well-being development conversations for those who would like them. This programme is still in development and there will be further information to come.