Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates, Advice and Guidance

Latest statement from the College

Updated: 12 April 2021.

Following the latest announcements regarding the road map for the relaxation of current national lockdown measures, we are working through the guidance which has been issued to establish detailed plans for our return to College. We will, of course, communicate further information as we move forward, but we would like to make all students and their families aware of four key points arising from the latest announcements, and the approach which we will be adopting.

Return to onsite delivery

Onsite delivery for students is expected to resume from Monday 8 March, with the majority of planned learning hours being delivered face to face (some teaching may still take place remotely). The only exception to this approach is in relation to University Centre students not enrolled on practical or practice-based courses. For these students a return to onsite teaching will be reviewed after the Easter break.

We know how keen our students are to return to face to face learning, however it is important that our approach is carefully managed to ensure a safe environment for students and staff, in which the risk of transmission is substantially reduced. ** It is therefore our intention to implement a phased return for students over a three-week period from the 8 March. Tutors will be spending the next few days developing appropriate timetables which will be shared with students in due course. During the week commencing 1 March, your tutor will be in touch with the specific arrangements for the delivery of your timetable up until the Easter break. If you have not received this information by lunchtime on Thursday 4th March please contact your tutor directly via TEAMS.

Information for Higher Education Students returning to campus after the Easter break (if you have not already returned)

The Prime Minister’s televised statement on 5 April, in relation to the easing of lockdown restrictions, did not reference universities. We therefore await further information and will provide an update via email and the website to students once this has been announced.

Practical based subjects will return as planned w/c Monday 12 April as per government guidance. All other HE students will continue to receive high quality teaching via on line delivery until further notice.

We appreciate this is an extremely frustrating time for all HE students and we want to reassure all students that your tutors, Student Engagement Officers (SEO) and the College student support staff are on hand to ensure all students are supported to successfully complete their course.

Please contact one of the SEOs if you feel you require either academic or pastoral support.

Asymptomatic Testing

Students have the option to collect three weeks’ worth of home testing kits from College:

Visit COVID-19 Home Testing page

Face Coverings

An additional measure the government is recommending the wearing of face coverings in classrooms and learning spaces for an initial three-week period. It was already mandatory for students and staff to wear face coverings in the communal spaces in College, but this requirement is now extended to learning spaces.

All students must supply their own face covering and ensure that they have this with them every time they are onsite.

There are exemptions that apply to learners who are unable to wear a facemask whilst either in college or travelling on college transport. These exemptions include:

  • Underlying chronic breathing conditions (demonstrate medical exemption)
  • Physical or mental illness, disability or impairment
  • Accompanying someone who relies on lip reading where they need to communicate

There will be exceptions to the guidelines and each learner will be treated fairly and on an individual basis. If you have an exemption card from Student Services, please ensure that you have it with you at all times as College staff will be asking you to present this card if you are not wearing a face covering (you can read more on this in the Q&A section below). If you do not have an exemption card, but believe that you should have one, please visit Student Services in the POD to discuss this.

Face Visors

The latest guidance has also highlighted that transparent face coverings (face visors) are unlikely to offer appropriate protection and should not therefore be routinely worn as an alternative to face coverings. From the 8 March therefore all students (unless exempt) need to ensure that they are using a face covering rather than a face visor, unless this has been specifically recommended as part of a risk assessment.


If you have any questions or concerns about any of the information above, please contact us.

Attending College

The information below was last updated: 5 January 2021.

Yes. It is compulsory that you wear a face covering in all areas of the College. This includes classrooms, workshops, other designated teaching spaces, Reception areas and building entrances, as well as canteens/cafes when you are not eating/drinking.

All students must supply their own face covering and ensure that they have this with them every time they are onsite.

Wearing a mask is one of the important measures that the College has put in place to keep everyone as safe as possible and failure to do so, without an acceptable reason, would be in breach of the Student Behaviour Policy and may lead to disciplinary action.

The latest guidance has also highlighted that transparent face coverings (face visors) are unlikely to offer appropriate protection and should not therefore be routinely worn as an alternative to face coverings. From the 8 March therefore all students (unless exempt) need to ensure that they are using a face covering rather than a face visor, unless this has been specifically recommended as part of a risk assessment.

Please remember a face covering must also be worn if you are travelling to College using public transport. If you are not travelling by public transport, please ensure you bring with you a face covering. If you have any concerns about wearing or obtaining a face covering, please speak to a member of Learner Support or The POD Student Services.

There are exemptions that apply to learners who are unable to wear a facemask whilst either in college or travelling on college transport. These exemptions include:

  • Underlying chronic breathing conditions (demonstrate medical exemption)
  • Physical or mental illness, disability or impairment
  • Accompanying someone who relies on lip reading where they need to communicate

There will be exceptions to the guidelines and each learner will be treated fairly and on an individual basis. If you have an exemption card from Student Services, please ensure that you have it with you at all times as College staff will be asking you to present this card if you are not wearing a face covering. If you do not have an exemption card, but believe that you should have one, please visit Student Services in the POD to discuss this.

There will be exceptions to the guidelines and each learner will be treated fairly and on an individual basis. If you have an exemption card from Student Services, please ensure that you have it with you at all times.

During the national lockdown, all students will learn remotely and so will not be required to attend onsite (unless an exception applies – in which case you should have been contacted separately regarding this).

Following the start of our phased return on 8 March 2021, the majority of learning for the vast majority of students will take place face to face, however some learning will still take place remotely. For University Centre students who are not enrolled on practical or practice-based courses all learning will continue to take place remotely. For these students a return to onsite teaching will be reviewed after the Easter break.

We are working through the planning of this delivery, and students will be sent an updated timetable to reflect this approach as soon as possible.

If you are categorised as 'clinically extremely vulnerable' or have received a shielding letter from the NHS, please contact Student Services on 0151 353 4444, so that we can advise about your attendance.

Yes. We take your health and safety and the wellbeing of all our learners and staff very seriously. Our plans involve detail planning to ensure social distancing can be maintained and that all appropriate health and safety measures are in place in line with the national guidance. We have introduced aspects such as one way systems to minimise the chances of contact with others and enhanced cleaning systems. There may be times when you are completing work at home whilst the other half of your group attend onsite. We will also arrange for you to join your class remotely at times through Microsoft Teams.

We have placed a number of images and videos on our website of how we have set up the College and we will continue to do this over the next few months.

During the closure of education settings, you will follow your normal College timetable, but you will be attending classes remotely. Once our phased return commences on 8 March, this may vary depending on your course, however we would anticipate that your average week may look like this:

  • Specific times when you will attend theory and practical lessons. Some of these classes may also have the other half of your group joining you remotely through Microsoft Teams (we are calling this the “split classroom”).

  • Specific times when you will be expected to attend Microsoft Teams sessions at home that may mean, for example, you join a class remotely that is taking place in the College or that you are completing work on Microsoft Teams whilst your tutor is available online to support you.

  • Specific times when you will attend a tutorial session, both onsite or remotely, to meet with your Progress Coach or other member of staff.

  • You may have work to complete at home and you will then email this to your tutors every week.

  • If you are studying maths and English then there will also be specific times when you will attend these, both onsite and remotely.

Firstly, please don’t worry. As part of your induction to the College in September you should have received clear and simple training onsite that will support you to learn online. During the first lockdown, we found that all learners quickly grasped what they needed to do to engage with their teachers online and we are confident that this will be the case for you, too. Please be assured that your staff will support you throughout your course and this includes ensuring that you gain the skills to access what you need to online.

Please do not worry. If additional resources are required, and delivery possible, arrangements will be made as soon as possible. Please be aware that it may take some time to organise IT equipment, but we will aim to get you access to what you need as quickly as we are able to. Please email enquiries@hughbaird.ac.uk with any concerns, or call the College on 0151 353 4444 and ask for The POD Student Services.

The College will continue to be guided by government requirements and advice from Public Health England (PHE). You can be sure that when we are able to open to more learners and you are able to attend onsite more regularly, we will ensure that you can do so. We do anticipate, however, that most courses will continue with an element of online learning in the future. We have learned so much over the last few months about what makes for great online learning and we are keen that you continue to be able to experience this in some form.

Yes, but we would ask that, if possible, you plan ahead and make an appointment. Whilst we will be making many of our Student Support services available online, we recognise the importance of maintaining a face-to-face service and all learners will continue to be able to access all of the support we offer in person at the College.

During the national lockdown, the libraries will be closed. The library has 24/7 access to over 3,000 e-books and e-journals. Find out more here.

Library staff are still available to answer any queries that you might have:

Following our return to site on 8 March, it is our intention that all libraries will be open as ‘normal’, please revisit this page for further updates around this.

Being concerned about the current situation is natural. If you need support/advice with your mental health/wellbeing, you can access external services via our Mental Health Support Portal. Access the Portal here http://bit.ly/38NGVtD.

Social Distancing Measures

Below you can watch videos that show you the social distancing and safety measures we have in place around our campuses.

NHS Advice

Find out how to protect yourself or check if you need medical help via the NHS website:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19