Coronavirus

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Last updated: 16th October 2020

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

COVID-19 Statement - Monday 28th September (updated Friday 2nd October)

Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. Please read this joint open letter from Scotland’s senior clinicians to college and university students with advice on what to do if you develop cold or flu-like symptoms during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In line with Scottish Government guidance, the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership is following a blended approach to learning in 2020/21 Semester 1 (August 2020 to December 2020). This includes 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.

Further Education (SCQF level 1 to 6 courses) students started on 31st August 2020, with Higher Education (SCQF level 7 to 12 courses) students beginning their studies on 7th September.

Inverness College UHI, 1 Inverness Campus, and the Scottish School of Forestry, are open to authorised staff and students only. The majority of staff and students will continue to work remotely to begin with in Semester 1 (August to December) and our buildings remain closed to visitor and members of the public.

Our Early Learning and Childcare Centre is also open, with childcare places available for 0-5 year-olds. The Centre is 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 .

We've made a number of changes on site to ensure the health and safety of our staff and students. Before you return to campus, please Read our Return to Campus Guide for Students.

You can also watch our return to campus guides, here:

(Please note, these videos are in the process of being updated. Students attending the Scottish School of Forestry do not need to sign in/sign out on entering/exiting. Students at Inverness College UHI, 1 Inverness Campus, need to sign in/sign out when entering the Corrie Restaurant only).

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Importantly, only staff and students authorised to return to campus should enter the building. For students, this is either to attend a face to face class, to use a PC or access study space in our learning centre, or to drop-off/collect items. Our learning resource centre must be booked in advance - book PC access here and study space here. Students must also book in here to access the building to drop off/collect items such as books, form or equipment. See student services and support for more information.

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.

University-wide information including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) can be found here: www.uhi.ac.uk/coronavirus

Visit the #thinkuhi social media wall to see what's happening across the partnership

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

Information for students content

Information for students

Information for students

Most of our students will continue to study remotely, in part or in full, in semester one. 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

As you will be aware, the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 is rising, especially in the student population.

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:

As tighter restrictions come into force, please carefully consider the choices you make over the coming weeks when socialising with others.

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.

For students coming onto campus, please follow the rules (see return to campus videos) and work with us so we can ensure studies on site can continue. Students are reminded of their responsibilities under the Student Code of Conduct and actions open to the College if these guidelines are breached.

Student Support

Our Student Support Centre, located behind the main reception at our Inverness Campus site, will continue to operate remotely at the start of Semester 1. If you have a questions 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: https://www.inverness.uhi.ac.uk/students/student-support/student-support-team/

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).

Updated 15th April 2020: Student funding advice including how to apply for discretionary hardship funds.

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: https://www.inverness.uhi.ac.uk/students/student-support/additional-support-needs/ for more information.

If you are struggling with wellbeing, please reach out to our wellbeing team. Visit: https://www.inverness.uhi.ac.uk/students/student-support/wellbeing/ 

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 will be online to begin with in semester one. 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 at  uhi.bomgarcloud.com this service is available from 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday and on a Saturday between Midday and 4pm.  You can also log your problem via the self service platform at uhi.unidesk.ac.uk.

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 will remain online in semester one, but this will be periodically reviewed. For further information, visit: https://libguides.uhi.ac.uk/InvernessCollegeLibrary You can also email library.ic@uhi.ac.uk

A click and collect service is available for resources not available as e-books. To borrow Library books, please choose the Click and Collect or Postal Loan service

A drop-off service is also available - books can be returned to a dropbox located in the Atrium at Inverness College UHI, 1 Inverness Campus. Students Books will be quarantined for 72 hours before being discharged from your library account. If you would like to post the books back to us, please package them safely and send them to use using the following Freepost address (there is no charge for this): Library, Inverness College UHI, FREEPOST IV326, 1 Inverness Campus, Inverness, IV2 5NA.

If you are entering our campuses to collect or return books, you must complete this access request form and await authorisation before coming on to campus.

Learning resource centre

Our learning resource centre at Inverness College UHI, 1 Inverness Campus, which provides access to study space, PCs and printing, will be open for individual study and will be limited to those who have pre-booked access. Please do not enter the learning resource centre if you have not pre-booked. PCs (including access to printer) in our learning resource centre can be booked here. Study space in our learning resource centre can be booked here.

Our library/learning resource centre at the Scottish School of Forestry does not need to be pre-booked.

In line with Scottish Government guidance, face coverings should be worn at all times in our library/learning resource centres, unless exempt.

Early Learning and Childcare Centre

Our Early Learning and Childcare Centre is also open, with childcare places available for 0-5 year-olds. The Centre is 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 in semester one. 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.

Graduation

The current pandemic gives us many health and safety challenges and we have made the difficult decision to hold no graduation ceremony in 2020. We will hold a ceremony to celebrate the achievements of this year's Graduands once Scottish Government guidance allows and we determine it safe to do so.

We cannot call our ceremony a graduation as you will receive official confirmation of your award as normal this summer, have your award conferred and officially graduate (in absentia, without attending a ceremony). Your name will be included in our 2020 programme.

However, our celebration will be called The Graduates’ Ceremony and it is our intention this will be as close to a formal graduation as possible – students will still be able to hire robes, there will be official photography, and family and friends will be present to recognise your achievements as you cross a stage.

We will continue to work with the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA) and will be in touch with you as soon we have more information regarding the date and format of our ceremony.

 

Information for applicants content

Information for applicants

Information for applicants

The next academic term will start as planned. Further Education (SCQF level 1 to 6 courses) students will start on 31st August 2020, with Higher Education (SCQF level 7 to 12 courses) students beginning their studies on 7th September. 

We continue to welcome applications for courses starting in September 2020, 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

Coronavirus advice for businesses

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

Highlands and Islands Enterprise: COVID-19 support

Update from Georgie Parker, Director of External Relations:

In March, we moved our Business Solutions Team and Assessors to work remotely in line with government guidance that those who can work from home should do so. That advice remains in place in Scotland, so remote working has continued.

We also had to suspend delivery of face-to-face teaching during lockdown and have since resumed, on a very small scale, face to face teaching and training where access to workshops and equipment were essential. Our initial focus was to bring back students who had their on-campus, practical training sessions disrupted in order to complete their work and our plan is to commence delivery of this year’s scheduled sessions once those learners have completed.

Measures to prevent transmission of Covid-19 on-campus require us to significantly reduce the occupancy of our workshops, labs and classrooms. This may mean that college attendance patterns will be different to typical years. To date, I am happy to confirm that the measures adopted by UHI have been successful in reducing transmission.

Moving forward into the winter months, our Business Solutions Advisors and Assessors, together with the majority of College staff, will continue to work remotely. The technology available to us should enable us to continue to support employers and their apprentices. However, where face-to-face visits are absolutely necessary we have put in place an approval process which requires our staff to seek a Covid risk assessment for the site from the employer and for assessors to undertake a risk assessment for their visit activity, ensuring the employers measures are considered.

This is not to vet or pass judgement upon the employer’s Covid arrangements but to enable the college to exercise its duty of care for staff, some of whom may be in higher risk groups and to take your own arrangements into account.

I feel that this risk-based approach to our working practises is appropriate, as we continue to play our part in restricting the transmission of Covid-19 in our communities. If you have any questions or feel that our service falls short of your expectations, even under the current circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact me on 07949 229561 to discuss or send me an invitation to meet on teams/skype on Georgina.parker.ic@uhi.ac.uk.

Modern Apprenticeships

Following the suspension of face-to-face teaching in March due to Covid-19, Modern Apprentices on block release at College returned to their employers. 

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

Face-to-face practical workshops required to complete Apprentices’ whose block release was cut short by lockdown will resume from August 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 from the last academic year.  Business Solutions Advisors will be in contact with employers to agree block release start dates, which will likely commence in November, December or in January 2021. 

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.

Scottish Government announced on 15th August that additional funding will be allocated to FWDF and other funded programmes will also be made available to employers.  We will update employers on the detail of these as soon as we have it.

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

Information for staff content

Information for staff

Information for staff

Following the temporary closure of our buildings, Inverness College UHI, 1 Inverness Campus, and the Scottish School of Forestry, will re-open on Monday 24th August for authorised staff and students only. The majority of staff will continue to work remotely in Semester 1 (August to December) and our buildings remain closed to visitor and members of the public.

The Early Learning and Childcare Centre will also re-open on 24th August, with places available for the children and babies of staff and students.

Staff should visit our Sharepoint site 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

https://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/students/support/big-white-wall/

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/

https://www.studentminds.org.uk/coronavirus.html

https://www.annafreud.org/what-we-do/anna-freud-learning-network/coronavirus/

https://www.samh.org.uk/about-mental-health/self-help-and-wellbeing/coronavirus-and-your-mental-wellbeing

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

Bereavement

https://www.cruse.org.uk/get-help/coronavirus-dealing-bereavement-and-grief

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