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COVID-19: Information for students

COVID-19: Information for students


Home » Courses and Training » Graduate School » COVID-19: Information for students

Last updated 11 March 2022

Studying with us

Between March 2020 and March 2022, in response to COVID-19, we delivered Graduate School modules through a mix of on-site and distance learning following the Welsh Government guidelines in place at the time. During this time, we implemented measures to keep students and staff safe on-site which included reducing the number of students on-site at any one time and operating single occupancy accommodation.

With the cooperation of students and staff, from 28 March 2022, we hope to be able to offer shared occupancy accommodation once more, allowing more students to study together on-site.

We will continue to operate some of our COVID-19 safety measures, and we ask students and staff to follow these to ensure we can deliver our study experiences as safely as possible.

Students will continue to receive communications directly from the Graduate School about any updates to our on-site delivery and COVID-19 considerations, but should you have further questions please get in touch.

For the latest updates on COVID-19 considerations for other areas of CAT’s activities and Visitor Centre please visit our COVID-19: latest updates page.

On-site study visits

From March 2022 we are continuing with a range of measures to support everyone’s safety and wellbeing, whilst continuing to deliver a first-class learning experience. Although many COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted by the Welsh Government, to offer a safe experience of studying on-site we ask that students and staff continue to be respectful of others who may be concerned about levels of COVID-19 in the general population. Please follow these measures when on-site:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitiser if access to soap and water is not possible. This is especially important after using shared equipment and before eating and drinking.
  • Continue to wear face coverings on a voluntary basis in indoor settings, except when eating and drinking.
  • Remember the importance of ventilation indoors: open available windows, doors and trickle vents.
  • Carry out frequent lateral flow tests, ideally a day or two before coming on to site and the day you leave. Students should test 24hrs before travelling to

CAT will also continue to carry out enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures, including regular cleaning of communal spaces and touchpoints, and provision of hand sanitiser stations.

More detailed information on these and other measures can be found in our FAQ section below.

Following Government guidelines

Although many restrictions have now been lifted by the Welsh Government, all our plans are subject to alteration at short notice should government guidelines be updated, or the COVID-19 situation change. Please note that Welsh Government guidelines may be different from those in place elsewhere in the UK.

If you have any queries, please get in touch – we’re getting a lot of enquiries at the moment so it may take us a little longer than usual to respond.

FAQs

General information for all students

Can I attend a module on-site for face-to-face teaching?

Since May 2021, we have welcomed students back on-site for study visits. Distance learning also continues to be an option for MSc students, should you prefer to study entirely from home.

From 28th March 2022, we hope to also offer shared accommodation once more, allowing for more students to study on-site at any one time.

We will continue to have some measures in place to ensure we can operate our modules on-site as safely as possible. This includes cleaning shared spaces, ventilation and hand sanitiser stations.

To protect other students, staff and the local community, we will need your help while you’re studying at CAT and ask that continue to be respectful of others and follow voluntary measures when on-site where possible, including wearing face coverings when indoors, continuing with social distancing and regularly washing your hands.

We also ask that students carry out frequent lateral flow tests, ideally weekly or before coming on to site and not to attend on-site if they test positive for COVID-19.

If you have been shielding due to being in a vulnerable category for COVID-19, please inform us of this when booking.

How will the on-site practical activities be run?

We believe in learning through doing, and practical sessions are an important part of our on-site student experience.

We aim to keep the practical activities as interactive as possible whilst ensuring the safety and wellbeing of staff and students.

Where practical, and if necessary for the activity, we will put in place measures to support social distancing during indoor and outdoor sessions. This will mean adapting some practical activities – your tutor will provide you with details during the module.

What cleaning and hygiene arrangements will be in place during the on-site teaching blocks?

Whilst CAT has a range of indoor and outdoor teaching locations, indoor classes will mainly take place in the WISE building with communal spaces, toilets and touch points cleaned regularly.

Hand sanitising stations will continue to be available around the WISE building and the CAT site.

We ask all students to help protect themselves and others through regular handwashing.

 

 

What accommodation is on offer and how do I book?

Our WISE bedrooms will be available to students, which all have en-suite toilets and showers, and from 28 March 2022 we hope to be offering these as shared rooms once more if all remaining COVID-19 restrictions are lifted by the Welsh Government.

Our bunkhouse-style eco-cabins will also be open to students and will be offered as shared rooms with shared facilities, including self-catering, with enhanced cleaning arrangements for communal spaces and facilities. As we will be operating shared rooms again, normal accommodation rates will apply. Students will also be able to book their meals for the week ahead for the study visit.

Details of how to book accommodation will be sent to students who have previously chosen to take an upcoming module on-site.

I won’t need accommodation on-site for the study visit, can I still attend?

We encourage students to use CAT accommodation during the study visits for the full CAT experience?

Staying on-site will also reduce potential COVID-19 transmission with or from the wider community, but if students live locally or wish to camp locally while attending the study visit this will be possible.

If you are a student living locally or wish to camp locally to take an upcoming module on-site, then you will be asked to confirm this with Student Support to ensure they are aware of your preference and know the number of students wanting to attend the study visit.

Students who live locally or wish to camp locally and are attending a study visit without staying in CAT accommodation will still be able to pre-book food at CAT.

What happens if I have to cancel my booked accommodation? What’s your refund policy?

If you need to cancel accommodation due to COVID-19 you’ll be able to transfer credit for accommodation for a future module.

For cancellation for other reasons, please refer to our standard Fees Terms and Conditions.

How will the cafe operate?

If students have pre-booked their meals, CAT will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner, and teas and coffees are included in the costs paid for tuition. Meals will be available from the café. Students who live locally or wish to camp locally and are attending a study visit without staying in CAT accommodation will be able to pre-book food at CAT.

At times there may be multiple modules running or multiple groups on-site, and as such, we may stagger meal times if all students can’t be accommodated in the dining area together.

If you have any food allergies please notify us in advance so we can make arrangements for you.

I will be travelling from outside Wales – are any additional measures in place?

If you are travelling from outside Wales but from within the Common Travel Area (UK, Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands), please note that Welsh Government guidelines may be different from those in your area. Please check the latest guidelines before planning your travel.

If you are travelling from outside the Common Travel Area, please note that additional restrictions may apply, or may be introduced during your stay. You may need to quarantine before coming to CAT. Please check the latest FCO foreign travel advice as well as Welsh Government guidelines before planning your travel.

What is the best way to travel to CAT for the on-site teaching?

How you travel to CAT is a personal preference.

We’re only three miles from Machynlleth, with a Sustrans cycle route linking us to the town. The route is around 45-60 minutes on foot or 15-25 minutes by bike through the beautiful Mid Wales countryside, including a short section that crosses grazing lands.

Buses (34 and T2) or taxis from Machynlleth are also available.

If you plan to travel by train or bus, please refer to Welsh Government guidelines on using public transport before planning your trip.

What happens if someone becomes ill whilst at CAT?

Should a student fall ill whilst here, we would ask that they make arrangements to return home safely, avoiding public transport.

Whilst arrangements are made, the student will be asked to remain isolated, with food and other essentials being delivered to them safely.

The room will remain unused for a minimum of 72 hours and then deep cleaned.

What if someone becomes ill after being at CAT? What provisions are in place?

Should a student fall ill within a week of being on-site, we ask that they contact us so that we can contact anyone who was on-site at the same time, so that they can follow government guidelines on self-isolation and testing.

Please note that in these circumstances we will not divulge the names or details of individuals in our communications with the student cohort.

Students’ contact information may also be shared with NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect if required within 21 days of your visit. Please see our Privacy Notice for details.

Why are you asking us to take a lateral flow test before coming to CAT?

We are asking all attendees to take a lateral flow COVID-19 test at home 48 hours before travelling to CAT, then again before leaving CAT, and then 48 hours after the end of your study visit, to limit the risk of exposure to fellow students, staff and the local community should you be asymptomatic.

We hope attendees will see this as the best way to keep their families, friends and the wider community safe, and as a way to support them to stay on-site safely and to help face to face teaching continue.

Guidance on how to access tests from home varies from country to country within the UK, so please check your local government guidance. https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests

What will happen if the situation or government regulations change?

Although many restrictions have now been lifted by the Welsh Government, all our plans are subject to alteration should government guidelines be updated or the situation change.

If the situation does worsen, we are well placed to revert back to running modules via distance learning only, as we did at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MSc students

How will you be offering the MSc on-site study visits in 2021-22?

Since May 2021 we have been able to offer on-site teaching, with a limited number of students on-site. The offer of on-site teaching will continue for the 2021-22 academic year, and from March 2022 we hope to be able to offer shared rooms on-site again, allowing for more students to study on-site at any one time.

We hope to move forward with weeklong study visits for most MSc modules, with on-site teaching activities focusing on more practical activities, supported through blended learning online, including streamed and recorded lectures, interactive tutorials and seminars, and one-to-one tutor support. If you originally chose to take an upcoming module on-site then we will be in touch with more details about how you can book your visit.

All MSc modules are also available via distance learning, should you prefer to study entirely from home. You can choose whether to join an on-site study visit on a module-by-module basis.

How will you be offering the MSc on-site study visits in 2022-23?

Since May 2021 we have been able to offer on-site teaching with a limited number of students on-site. The offer of on-site teaching will continue for the 2022-23 academic year, and from March 2022 we hope to be able to offer shared rooms on-site again allowing for more students to study on-site at any one time.

We hope to move forward with weeklong study visits for most MSc modules, with on-site teaching activities focusing on more practical activities, supported through blended learning online, including streamed and recorded lectures, interactive tutorials and seminars, and one-to-one tutor support. If you originally chose to take an upcoming module on-site then we will be in touch with more details about how you can book your visit.

Due to the number of students wishing to study on-site, for some modules we may offer shorter study visits to allow as many people as possible to take part in on-site study visits safely.

All MSc modules are also available via distance learning, should you prefer to study entirely from home. You can choose whether to join an on-site study visit on a module-by-module basis.

We will provide newly enrolled students starting in September 2022 with information prior to the start of the course if anything changes.

What are the alternatives to joining on-site study visits?

The unique structure of our MSc courses allows us to offer students the option to study on-site, via distance learning or through a mix of both, which provides real flexibility. If you prefer not to join us for on-site visits you can simply take that module via distance learning.

During the winter months, when transmission of the coronavirus was higher, CAT students moved to studying completely via distance learning, and we received great feedback on students’ experience as staff continued to teach to a high standard.

If you choose to take a module via distance learning, you will be part of an active and lively online community. Alongside a mix of home and overseas students, you will study with the same lecturers and tutors who teach on the residential study weeks, including CAT’s in-house teaching staff and a range of expert visiting and guest lecturers.

All students, whether joining us in person or studying at a distance, use our awarding bodies’ online learning environment platforms (either Moodle or Canvas) for access to lecture recordings, slides and notes.

You’ll also be able to join online seminars and discussion groups, take part in practical exercises, have individual contact with your tutor and the student support team, and access books and articles online.

You can read more about online learning on our distance learning pages, and you can read  some recent student experiences of studying via distance learning on our blog.

MArch students

How will you be offering the MArch on-site teaching weeks in 2021-22?

For MArch students we have been able to run on-site teaching since May 2021. Due to the number of students on the course, we have been able to run full teaching weeks on-site with our COVID-19 safety measures and will continue to do so unless the situation changes.

On-site teaching usually focuses on more practical activities, and these will be supported through blended learning online, including streamed and recorded lectures, interactive tutorials and seminars and one-to-one tutor support.

How will you be offering the MArch on-site teaching weeks in 2022-23?

As we did in 2021-22, MArch students will be able to attend on-site teaching as usual. Due to the number of students on the course, we have been able to run full teaching weeks on-site with our COVID-19 safety measures and will continue to do so unless the situation changes.

On-site teaching usually focuses on more practical activities, and these will be supported through blended learning online, including streamed and recorded lectures, interactive tutorials and seminars and one-to-one tutor support.

We will provide newly enrolled students starting in September 2022 with information prior to the start of the course if this changes.

Can I still take the MArch course via distance learning as on-site visits resume?

Owing to the highly practical nature of this course, attendance on-site for teaching is required.

Under normal circumstances, the course is only offered on-site, with students attending monthly study visits at CAT and supported outside of these through online learning.

We hope to continue with our ‘normal’ approach as further restrictions are lifted, however we have successfully transferred students to distance learning previously and we have measures in place to do this again should Welsh Government guidelines change.