Coronavirus

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Last updated: 5th May 2021

We will continue to keep this page updated to provide information and advice to Inverness College UHI staff, students and employer partners.

NEW: Lateral Flow Testing

The Scottish Governnent has published its updated strategic framework, which sets out their priorities and a timeframe for easing restricictions due to COVID-19. 

This framework means that for most students in the 2020/21 academic year, the situation will not change, and learning will continue to take place remotely. However, we are now permitted to bring up to 10% of the daily student roll back on to campus. 

Priority to return to campus for face-to-face teaching has been made for students who require access to complete essential practical activities or assessments.

Courses and class groups included in a phased return to campus from 8th March are detailed here. If your course is listed, there will be further guidance coming out to you. Please do not return to campus until you have been contacted by your course leader. Details will also be included in your Celcat Timetable.

Students authorised to return to campus should read and familiarise themselves with the Student Guide: Return to Campus

  • Study space can be booked in our Learning Resource Centre. Students must bring their own laptop or tablet and book in advance.

Further information is provided in the relevant sections below:

Information for students content

Information for students

Information for students

The Scottish Government published its updated strategic framework on 23 February. This sets out their priorities and a timeframe for easing restrictions.

This framework means that for most students, the situation will not change and learning will continue to take place remotely.

There are a small number of exceptions for some subject areas and groups of students.

Priority to return to campus for face-to-face teaching will be made for students who require access to complete essential practical activities or assessments. 

Return to our main Inverness College UHI campus and Scottish School of Forestry for these students will be managed in a controlled and cautious way.

  • Phase one of re-opening will see a very small number of students return for face-to-face teaching from Monday 8th March. This includes postgraduate research students.
  • Phase two will see more students return to our campuses from Monday 15th March (up to 5% of the daily student roll).
  • Phase three will see additional number of students return to campus after the Easter break. However, this will be reviewed in line with emerging guidance from the Sottish Government.

Courses and class groups included in these phases are detailed here. If your course is listed, there will be further guidance coming out to you. Please do not return to campus until you have been contacted by your course leader. Details will also be included in your Celcat Timetable. Students authorised to return to campus should read and familiarise themselves with the Student Guide: Return to Campus

It is important you continue to check your online timetable and student email regularly to keep updated. As ever, please reach out to your PDA/PAT or our student support team if you are experiencing any difficultiesWe’re here to help you.  

Students authorised to return to our campus over the coming weeks should read and familiarise themselves with the  before they come back. 

Keep up to date: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

In line with Scottish Government guidance, the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership is following a blended approach to learning, including a combination of video conferencing, inventive online technologies and real time support from lecturers and other staff, as well as face to face teaching, where it is safe and important to do so.

It is important you stay in touch with your lecturers, and discuss any concerns or difficulties with your PDA or PAT, in the first instance, or by emailing studentsupport.ic@uhi.ac.uk

It is important that we all do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19 to protect ourselves, each other and our communities. As such, I am urging you today to stick to the Scottish Government guidelines, support each other, and, together, we will get through this.

It’s also essential you continue to follow the Scottish Government’s FACTS, an acronym for:

If you haven’t already done so, please download the Protect Scotland Test & Trace app, which allows contact tracers to inform you should you have been in close proximity to anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

Our main switchboard number – 01463 273 000 – is operating in a limited capacity. Please leave a message and this will be directed to the appropriate team. You can also visit our Contact Us page to email a team direct.

Student Support

Our Student Support Centre is located behind the main reception at our Inverness Campus site. If you have a question about courses or progression options, a course application, student funding, careers and employability, or general support, please contact out Student Support Team. Email studentsupport.ic@uhi.ac.uk or telephone 01463 273208, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You can also visit our Student support page.

Students also have access to Togetherall, a digital mental health support service which is available online, 24/7, and is completely anonymous so you can express yourself freely and openly.

Further information is also available on the Student Information Scotland website.

Please speak to your PDA or PAT if you are having difficulties with ICT and accessing material remotely.

For funding enquiries, email funding.ic@uhi.ac.uk (further education students) and student.support.ic@uhi.ac.uk (higher education students).

We have created an online virtual support centre in Brightspace, The Bothy, a warm, nurturing and friendly space where all students can receive the ongoing help, support and advice they need to help them settle into college life and safely navigate their learning journey. Within this space, you can access weekly wellbeing activities, advice on assistive technology, transition guides, access to support networks within the local community, careers and employability information, and workshops designed to help you reach your full potential.

If you have a disability, health/mental health issue, or a specific learning difficulty that could affect your studies, our Additional Support Needs team can help. Visit our additional support needs page for more information.

If you are struggling with wellbeing, please reach out to our wellbeing team. Visit our wellbeing page.

You can also follow the Student Support Team on social media.

Twitter: @IC_support_UHI

Facebook: @studentsupportinvernesscollege

Instagram: @student_support.ic

ICT Support

Our ICT helpdesk remains online. Email ict.ic@uhi.ac.uk or telephone (01463 273525).

If you require urgent IT assistance then the UHI Servicedesk is also available for online chat this service is available from 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday and on a Saturday between 12noon and 4pm. You can also log your problem via the self service platform.

Skillzone

Skillzone continues to operate remotely, offering support and help to students to develop their study skills such as essay writing, referencing, time management, giving presentations and much more. Help and support is available, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Email SkillZone.ic@uhi.ac.uk.

Students also have access to the Study Skills module and Tips for Remote Learning, via Brightspace.

We are currently running regular drop-in sessions and group meetings for students, in:

  • ICT basics
  • Study Skills
  • Reading Aloud - aimed at ESOL students
  • Maths Support

These sessions are run via Cisco Webex Meetings. Email SkillZone.ic@uhi.ac.uk for more information.

Follow the team via social media.

Facebook: @SkillZoneIC

Library service

Our library facilities remain online. For further information visit our Library website. You can also email library.ic@uhi.ac.uk.

Books and other resources can still be returned via a freepost address or using the dropbox in the atrium of our main Inverness College UHI campus. A click and collect service is also available. Details here.

Students should book a time slot for click and collect or book return here.

Learning resource centre

Study space can be booked in our Learning Resource Centre. Students must bring their own laptop or tablet and book in advance.

Early Learning and Childcare Centre

Our Early Learning and Childcare Centre, which provides childcare places for 0-5 year-olds, is open.

The Centre is usually open Monday to Friday 8.15am to 5.15pm. The centre is currently delivering the funded 1140 hours and has funded places available for eligible 2 year-olds, 3 and 4 year-olds. If you require childcare, please contact the Early Learning & Childcare Centre on ICChildcare.Centre.ic@uhi.ac.uk or telephone 01463 273549. 

Residences

Our on-site student residences remain open, as normal. Email student.accommodation@uhi.ac.uk for more information.

Hair and beauty salons

Our hair and beauty training salons will remain closed to the public, initially, however, it is our intention to reopen this facility to the public at a date later in the year. Our Breagha Commercial Salon will remain closed for the 2020/21 academic year.

Sheiling training restaurant

Our training restaurant remains closed. It is our intention to open the restaurant when it is safe to do so. Our Corrie Restaurant and SSF café are open as normal for staff and students.

Information for applicants content

Information for applicants

Information for applicants

We continue to welcome applications for courses starting in January 2021 and September 2021. Please email admissions.ic@uhi.ac.uk if you have any questions regarding an application.

All face to face interviews for courses have been suspended. Instead of holding face to face interviews, we will be making offers based on applications only. This allows us to continue to make decisions on places for courses starting in 2020. Applicants with interviews suspended should receive decisions shortly. There may be some exceptions and in these cases, interviews will be facilitated online. We endeavour to make decisions as quickly as possible. All offers will be sent by email (please check your junk folder if you haven't received an email from us in your mailbox).

Detailed information for new and returning students is available here, including course delivery arrangements, induction, timetables and start dates. Please contact studentsupport.ic@uhi.ac.uk if you have any questions.

Information for employers content

Information for employers

Information for employers

Update from Georgie Parker, Director of External Relations:

The Scottish Government published its updated strategic framework on 23rd February regarding the easing Covid-19 related restrictions. 

Although the vast majority of training and assessment will continue to take place remotely, we can resume face-to-face teaching for a small number of students (less than 5%), with priority given to students who require access to complete essential practical activities or assessments, or, where activities can take place outdoors. 

Modern Apprentices in Construction, Engineering, Motor Vehicle and Forestry are included in this initial priority group and employers will be contacted directly by their Business Solutions Advisor to arrange block release attendance.

Phase one of re-opening will see a very small number of apprentices return for face-to-face teaching at our main Inverness College UHI campus and Scottish School of Forestry from Monday 8th March.  These will gradually increase over future weeks, within limits set by Scottish Government and taking into consideration local and regional case rate data.

Due to the periods of closure over the past year, there is a significant amount of practical training and education that has been delayed.  Please be assured that we are doing everything we can to increase our capacity moving forward, including making adaptations to our estate which we will update you on in due course.

Over time, we will also seek to resume commercial courses within Government guidelines and where it is safe to do so.

In the meantime, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Business Solutions team, who continue to work remotely, if you require any support: business.ic@uhi.ac.uk or you can call me on 07949 229561.

Modern Apprenticeships

Block release attendance at College for Modern Apprentices was suspended for the second time in January 2021.

Assessors have continued to maintain contact with all Apprentices, including via their online portfolio, and Business Solutions staff have worked remotely with employers and Apprentices throughout this period.

Face-to-face practical workshops will begin to re-start in March 2021 onwards, with required attendance dates being communicated to employers by Business Solutions. College attendance will be subject to conditions laid out in in our Return to Campus Protocol and Student Guide: Return to Campus. These arrangements will be subject to constant review.

Our experience of providing remote and online learning, together with access to a wide range of video conferencing and online portfolio solutions means that remote assessment and reviews should enable Apprentices to continue to make progress with their learning programme.

However, if you feel your Apprentice’s progress is being hampered in any way, please contact your Business Solutions Advisor, Assessor or business.ic.uhi.ac.uk.

New Apprentices for 2020/21 Academic Year

New Apprentices commencing this academic year can be signed up with support from their Business Solutions Advisor at the start of their employment and an assessor will be allocated to work with them remotely.

New Apprentices who need to attend block release at college as part of their programme can do so once our current apprentices have completed their outstanding work resulting from the latest lock-down. Business Solutions Advisors will be in contact with employers to agree block release start dates for new Apprentices in due course.

Please contact your Business Solutions Advisor, your Assessor or email business.ic@uhi.ac.uk if you have any questions or concerns.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Currently, Foundation Apprentices will not be required to undertake work placement activity on employers’ premises. We still need to ensure that there is employer involvement each Foundation Apprentice and will be contacting employers with details as to how this will work over coming weeks. The Foundation Apprenticeship is an important and growing part of the Apprenticeship family and we very much appreciate the support that employers provide for this programme.

Higher and Graduate Apprenticeships

Many of our Higher and Graduate Apprenticeship programmes have always had a significant proportion of online or remote teaching, learning and assessment, enabling their progress to continue throughout the Covid outbreak.

We will contact employers to make the necessary arrangements to any required attendance at college as and when this arises.

Flexible Workforce Development Fund

The Scottish Government has extended the delivery period for 2019/2020 academic year flexible workforce development fund courses. FWDF funded courses for which applications were approved can now be delivered into 2021.

Most of our FWDF courses can be delivered remotely – with trainers delivering content live to groups or individuals. Your Business Solutions Advisor can arrange delivery dates with you.

FWDF courses requiring access to practical workshops of face-to-face delivery are currently on hold and we will continue to risk assess the resumption of these courses.

In the meantime please speak to your Business Solutions Advisor or email business.ic@uhi.ac.uk if you have any questions.

Short courses

Many of our short courses can be delivered remotely, with trainers delivering content live to groups via video conference.

Short courses requiring access to practical workshops of face-to-face delivery are currently on hold and we will continue to risk assess the resumption of these courses. If, for health and safety or legislative reasons, you need a particular practical course to be delivered in the meantime please contact your Business Solutions Advisor or email business.ic@uhi.ac.uk to discuss your requirements.

Events and room bookings

All room bookings and external events have been postponed until further notice. Email events.ic@uhi.ac.uk with further questions or concerns.

If you wish to speak to a member of our senior management team about any aspect of our work with employers, please contact Georgina Parker, Director of External Relations.

Email: Georgina.parker.ic@uhi.ac.uk

Telephone: 07949 229561

Useful links:

Coronavirus advice for businesses

COVID-19 Restrictions Fund: Support for businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions

Highlands and Islands Enterprise: COVID-19 support

Information for staff content

Information for staff

Information for staff

Further to my email on Tuesday and following a review of national, regional and local Covid data, we have made the difficult decision today that our buildings will remain closed and face-to-face, on-campus learning will be suspended until February 8th.

Staff, who are not in the shielded category (staff who have not received a letter from the Chief Medical Officer saying that they are to shield) can book access to the building to retrieve materials or equipment that they need to enable them work remotely.  Access is available via the booking system next Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and then Tuesdays and Thursdays each week thereafter.

Staff who are shielding but need to access equipment should contact their line manager.

I am sorry that we have had to come to this decision at the start of a new year, but the current course of this pandemic represents a very serious threat to our region and we have a responsibility to protect our students, staff and wider communities.

I want to ensure that we all stay connected and that you have an opportunity to ask questions, share ideas and provide direct feedback to me, so I will be holding a range of meetings for staff to book into over coming weeks.  These will be posted on i-connect.

In the meantime, please take good care of yourselves and each other.


Staff should visit the Sharepoint site or i-connect for full information on campus operations, remote working, safety and wellbeing, including changes we've made in the building to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Useful support links content

Useful support links

Useful support links

Useful links:

Financial support

Child Poverty Action Group – provides guidance on potential sources of support that may be available when clients are without money because of benefit delays, sanctions or some other crisis.

Citizens Advice Bureau – provide free, confidential information and advice to assist people with money, legal, consumer and other problems.

Coronavirus and claiming benefits – contains help relating to Universal Credit.

Coronavirus Food Fund – The Scottish Government has announced this fund which can be accessed via local authorities

Federation of Small Businesses – a UK organisation representing small and medium-sized businesses.

Job Retention Scheme – further information on the government scheme to provide business support to UK employers.

Martin Lewis: Money Saving Expert – guidance and support for those impacted by Covid-19

Scottish Welfare Fund – helps families and people in Scotland who are on low incomes through Crisis Grants and Community Care Grants.

Shelter Scotland – campaigns to end homelessness and bad housing and provides advice, information and advocacy for those in need.

Student Information Scotland - A guide to student finance in Scotland.

Support for those affected by Covid-19 – guidance document created by the UK government.

Universal Credit – a benefit payment that will help with your living costs.

Mental health

Togetherall

Mental Health Foundation

Mind

Student Minds

Anna Freud

Scottish Association for Mental Health

World Health Organisation

Bereavement

Cruse Bereavement Care

Our Student Support team is also posting regular updates on social media.