COVID-19: Information for students

COVID-19: Information for students

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Studying with us

Since September 2020 with the cooperation of students and staff, we have been able to deliver our on-site study experiences safely. But considering the wider status of COVID-19 in the UK and Wales, following the completion of on-site teaching activities in October 2020 we will move to teaching via distance learning only for the winter period when transmission of COVID is likely to be its worst.

This means all teaching activities from November 2020 will be taking place virtually.

We are well placed to deliver our courses through distance learning thanks to our existing blended learning approach. Between March and August 2020 all CAT students were studying entirely via distance learning, and we received great feedback on their experience.

All students will have received a communication from the Graduate School about the above plans but should you have further questions please get in touch.

What measures should you expect on-site when study visits can restart

Following our move to Distance Learning over the winter, we will look forward to welcoming students back to study on-site at CAT when possible. From September we put in place a range of additional measures to support everyone’s safety and wellbeing whilst continuing to deliver a first-class learning experience. These measures will continue to stay in place when on-site teaching resumes.

Key measures include:

  • Support for 2m distancing through reduced occupancy of study rooms, bedrooms and café spaces, with staggered breaks and mealtimes for larger groups.
  • Enhanced cleaning and hygiene arrangements, including regular cleaning of communal spaces and touchpoints, and provision of hand sanitiser stations.
  • Bedrooms will be single occupancy only, with additional single occupancy accommodation provided in the local area as needed.
  • Face coverings will be required for indoor settings except in specific circumstances.

Following Government guidelines

We would also advise students to follow any Government guidance and regulations that are in place local to their home-base as these may be different from those in place elsewhere in the UK. Also when travelling to CAT all students must follow Welsh Government guidelines aimed at keeping you and others safe.

More detailed information on these measures can be found below in our FAQ section and will be communicated with students.

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.


General information for all students

When will teaching activities move to Distance Learning?

Following the completion of October teaching activities, all future teaching activities from November will be taking place via distance learning for the winter period.

Further information on how each module will be run will be communicated individually with students.

Why are you moving to Distance Learning for the winter period?

Wherever possible for the 2020-21 academic year for both our MSc and MArch courses we planned to deliver some face to face teaching as part of our blended learning approach, particularly where either practical activities or social educational techniques are a key feature of the academic experience, and we can deliver the activity safely. To date, we have been able to deliver this on-site experience safely.

However, as part of our COVID-19 risk assessment, we also have to consider how much time will be spent on-site, the nature of the practical activity, the relative risk of student travel to CAT when considering the time spent on the on-site academic activity, and the wider status of COVID-19 in UK, and more specifically in Wales, which often operates under different guidelines and regulations.

When will face-to-face teaching resume?

We hope to welcome students back on-site after the winter period. Should the trend in COVID-19 cases reverse and show improvements, and Welsh and UK Government regulations and guidelines change, we will revert to teaching on-site at CAT as soon as possible. We will continue to update students on any plans should the situation change.

What measures will continue to be in place when face-to-face teaching activities restart?

To support 2m distancing accommodation will be single occupancy bedrooms only, and the cafe will serve food in specified locations, with staggered meal and break times for larger groups.

Teaching spaces will be number limited, with changes to timetables to support this. All indoor teaching, cafe and accommodation spaces will be well ventilated, and we will be making the most of our outdoor teaching and eating spaces.

Outdoor activities will support 2m distancing and this will mean adapting some practical activities – your tutor will provide you with details during the module.

We ask all students to please be patient with others and follow the 2m social distancing rule at all times whilst on site.

Enhanced cleaning and hygiene arrangements will be in place. Communal toilets, spaces and touch points will be cleaned regularly during the day. Hand sanitising stations will also be available around the WISE building and the CAT site. We ask all students, when on-site, to help protect themselves and others through regular handwashing.

When indoors at CAT all customer-facing staff and students are required to wear face coverings or masks – please ensure that you bring a suitable face covering with you. There will be some exceptions to this rule, and when outdoors face coverings are optional, unless you are engaged in a teaching activity in which the risk assessment dictates that you wear face coverings or PPE for safe working. Your tutor will advise you of these situations in advance of the activity.

What happens if someone becomes ill whilst at CAT?

Should a student fall ill whilst here we would ask that arrangements are made to return home safely, avoiding public transport, and to enter self-isolation.

Whilst arrangements are made the student will be asked to remain isolated in their room, 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 you to 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 any 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.

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

If you need to cancel any accommodation booked due to our move to distance learning or due to COVID you will be able to transfer credit for accommodation for a future module or receive a refund from our WISE reception team.

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

What will happen if the situation or government regulations change?

We are monitoring the situation daily, and all of the information on this page is subject to change based on government guidelines and the COVId-19 situation in the UK. Should the trend in COVID cases reverse and show improvements, and Welsh and Government regulations and guidelines change, we will revert to teaching onsite at CAT as soon as possible. We will circulate any information of this type as soon as we receive it.

MSc students

How will you be offering MSc courses in 2020/21?

Wherever possible for the 2020-21 academic year for our MSc courses we planned to deliver some face to face teaching as part of our blended learning approach, particularly where either practical activities or social educational techniques are a key feature of the academic experience, and we can deliver the activity safely.

From September we welcomed students on-site for study visits to allow as many people as possible to take part in practical on-site activities whilst maintaining social distancing. On-site teaching weeks were split into two blocks, with one set of students arriving on Sunday evening and departing on Wednesday morning, and another group arriving on Wednesday evening and departing on Saturday morning.

On-site teaching activities was also supported through blended learning online, including streamed and recorded lectures, interactive online practicals, tutorials and seminars, and one-to-one tutor support. We will continue with this format when we restart on-site study visits after the winter period.

From November we will be reverting our MSc modules to distance learning, for the winter period.

What should I expect if I haven’t taken a module via distance learning before?

By taking a module via distance learning you will continue to be part of an active and lively CAT community online. You will have the opportunity to take the module via an intensive route if you originally chose to study on-site for the module or via an extensive route if you chose to take the module via distance learning from the start.  You will be allocated into intensive or extensive routes based upon the study preferences you’ve previously indicated. Should you wish to amend this please contact our Student Support team as soon as possible

Alongside a mix of UK and international 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 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 online books and articles.

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

MArch students

How will you be offering the MArch course in 2020-21?

Because of the small group size for our MArch course, from September we were able to run full teaching weeks on site as usual whilst supporting 2m social distancing.

In September fourth and fifth year students were taught on separate weeks, coming together for online sessions and in October both fourth and fifth-year students will re-join to study at CAT during the same teaching week. You can view the dates of these weeks here.

Social distancing measures will continue to be in place during the October on-site study week as outlined above but should students want to change their plans for visiting we advise they get in touch with our Student Support team as soon as possible.

From November all teaching activities will take place via distance learning for the winter period.

How will activities on the course run via distance learning over the winter period?

Owing to the highly practical nature of this course, on-site attendance is usually preferred. but students were successfully transferred to complete distance learning from March to August this year, and we have measures in place to do this again following positive feedback on their experience. Further details will follow and will be sent to students individually.