COVID-19: Information for students

COVID-19: Information for students


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Last updated 30 April 2021

Studying with us

During the winter months when transmission of the coronavirus was higher CAT students moved once again to studying completely via distance learning and we received great feedback on their experience.

But from 17 May 2021, students will again be able to join us at CAT for our unique on-site study visits. With the cooperation of students and staff, we will be following the same plans for on-site study visits we were able to offer students in September and October 2020, to ensure we can deliver our on-site study experiences safely.

Full distance learning will also continue to be an option for MSc students, should you prefer to study entirely from home.

Students will have received a communication from the Graduate School about the above plans but should you have further questions please get in touch. For the latest updates for other areas of CAT’s activities and Visitor Centre please visit our COVID-19: latest updates page.

On-site study visits

From September 2020 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. One of the ways that we can allow a safe return to in-person learning is to have a limit on the number of students at CAT at any one time. These measures will continue to stay in place as on-site teaching resumes in 2021.

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.
  • Face coverings will be required for indoor settings except in specific circumstances.

Students must not come to CAT if they have had COVID-19 symptoms in the previous two weeks, or if they have been in contact with anyone exhibiting symptoms during this time. Attendees will also be asked to take a lateral flow COVID test at home before travelling to CAT to limit the risk of exposure to fellow students, staff and the local community should you be asymptomatic.

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

Following Government guidelines

Whilst travelling within Wales and whilst at CAT all students must follow Welsh Government guidelines aimed at keeping you and others safe. Please note that these guidelines may be different from those in place elsewhere in the UK.

All of our plans are subject to alteration should government guidelines be updated or the situation change. We are following advice closely and will update this page if there are any changes.

We’re looking forward to welcoming students back to CAT and continuing to deliver high-quality student experiences, whether in person or via distance learning. 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

When will face-to-face teaching resume?

From 17 May 2021, we will be able to welcome students back on-site. Distance learning will continue to be an option for MSc students, should you prefer to study entirely from home.

Key measures that apply across all courses include single occupancy bedrooms, reduced occupancy teaching and eating spaces, and one-way entries and exits where possible. We’ll also be increasing the frequency of cleaning shared spaces.

We will need your help in protecting other students, staff and the local community while you’re studying at CAT. This includes following Welsh Government guidelines, respecting 2m distancing rules, wearing face coverings when indoors (with a few exceptions) and regularly washing your hands.

You must not come to CAT if you have had COVID-19 symptoms in the previous two weeks, or if you have been in contact with anyone exhibiting symptoms during this time. Attendees will also be asked to take a lateral flow COVID test at home before travelling to CAT to limit the risk of exposure should you be asymptomatic.

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

You’ll find more information on these measures in the FAQs below.

How will 2m distancing be supported while students are at CAT?

Accommodation will be single occupancy bedrooms only (see accommodation FAQ), and the cafe will serve food in specified locations, with staggered meal and break times for larger groups (see cafe FAQ).

Teaching spaces will be number limited, with changes to timetables to support this.

Where possible we will have separate entry and exit routes to help to reduce crossover of participants. These will be clearly marked.

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.

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

How will the on-site practical activities be run ensuring social distancing?

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. 

We will put in place measures to support 2m 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 be restricted to the WISE building. The Sheppard Lecture Theatre and teaching rooms in WISE will be thoroughly cleaned prior to each study visit and during breaks. 

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 to help protect themselves and others through regular handwashing.

What accommodation is on offer and how do I book?

We will be opening up our WISE bedrooms, which all have en-suite toilets and showers, but will be operating them as single occupancy bedrooms only rather than the usual shared rooms.

For parity, all students will be charged the same flat fee (£45 per night) for full board accommodation.

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 will require students to use CAT accommodation to reduce potential COVID transmission with or from the wider community. This, along with the current COVID restrictions, limits the number of students we can have on-site at any one time to 30.

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

If you need to cancel accommodation due to COVID 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?

All students, staying at CAT, will receive food through CAT catering. This will enable CAT to operate the café using social distancing rules.

CAT will provide breakfast, lunch, dinner and teas and coffees, with costs included in your accommodation costs. 

If numbers are such that we can’t maintain physical distancing in the dining area, participants will be split into groups with staggered meal times at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Self-service of meals is not possible. Catering staff and volunteers will wear masks and aprons when preparing or serving food. Food will be served at specified locations within the café area.

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. If you are travelling by car, then it is recommended that you travel as an individual to maintain social distancing. We have adequate parking for you on-site.

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 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.

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 test at home before travelling to CAT to limit the risk of exposure to fellow students, staff and the wider 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?

We are monitoring the situation daily, and all of the information on this page is subject to change based on government guidelines.

If Welsh Government guidance changes due to a worsening COVID environment, we may have to cancel courses. In these circumstances we will refund your course fees.

MSc students

How will you be offering the MSc on-site study visits in 2020-21?

Following complete distance learning since November 2020 we hope to offer on-site teaching once again from 17 May 2021.

Due to current COVID restrictions and accommodation options on-site, we are limited to 30 students on-site at any one time. Therefore to allow as many people as possible to take part in on-site study visits whilst maintaining social distancing, we will be offering teaching activities on-site through shorter study visits with smaller student groups.

On-site teaching activities will focus 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.

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 an on-site visit.

As the COVID-19 situation changes, we may be able to allow for a full week of on-site teaching, depending on the number of students wishing to join us at CAT. We will be keeping this under review and updating these pages as information becomes available.

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 2021-22?

We’re aiming to offer on-site teaching from September 2021 for new students. Depending on COVID restrictions and guidelines at the time, and to allow for as many new students as possible to take part in on-site study visits whilst maintaining social distancing, we may have to continue to offer shorter study visits and split the proposed module weeks into two visits.

In September 2020 we welcomed 60 new MSc students on-site by splitting the on-site teaching week into two blocks. Teaching activities included important induction sessions and more practical activities which were then supported through blended learning online.

As the COVID-19 situation changes, we may be able to allow for a full week of on-site teaching, depending on the number of students wishing to join us at CAT. We will be keeping this under review and updating these pages as information becomes available.

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 be in contact with newly enrolled students who are starting courses with us in September 2021 and current students with more details nearer the time.

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 once again to studying completely via distance learning and we received great feedback on their experience as staff continued to teach to a high quality.  

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 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 via distance learning.

MArch students

How will you be offering the MArch on-site teaching weeks in 2020-21?

Following complete distance learning since November 2020 we are pleased to offer on-site teaching once again from 17 May 2021. 

Due to current COVID restrictions and accommodation options on-site, we are limited to 30 students on-site at any one time. Therefore to allow as many people as possible to take part in on-site study visits whilst maintaining social distancing, we will be offering teaching activities on-site through shorter study visits with smaller student groups.

On-site teaching activities will focus 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.

As the COVID-19 situation changes, we may be able to allow for a full week of on-site teaching, depending on the number of students wishing to join us at CAT. We will be keeping this under review and updating these pages as information becomes available.

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

Because of the small group size for our MArch course, we hope to be able to run full teaching weeks on site as usual whilst supporting 2m social distancing, depending on the COVID restrictions and guidelines at the time.

We will be keeping this under review and updating these pages as information becomes available.

In September and October 2020 we were able to teach fourth and fifth year MArch students on-site on separate weeks, coming together for online sessions.

We will be in contact with newly enrolled students who are starting courses with us in September 2021 and current students with more details nearer the time.

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 study visits is preferred. 

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

We hope to continue with a blended approach as the COVID-19 situation improves, however we have successfully transferred students to distance learning previously and we have measures in place to do this again should government guidelines change.