Scotland’s colleges will stop face-to-face teaching in response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
A statement from Colleges Scotland, published yesterday, said college leaders had held a video conference meeting to discuss how to minimise the impact of Covid-19, and colleges were planning for a “phased reduction of face-to-face learning over the coming days and weeks and to expand online and remote learning, where feasible”.
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College coronavirus closures
A number of colleges have now already closed for face-to-face teaching or are doing so today – including Edinburgh College, City of Glasgow College, Forth Valley College and the UHI colleges. In its Twitter notification to students, Glasgow Clyde College said other services, including the library, would remain open.
Glasgow colleges @Glasgow_Clyde, @CofGCollege and @GKCollege cease face-to-face teaching from today. Students are being provided with guidance on continuing their studies. Please refer to your individual college for further info.— GCRB (@GlasgowColleges) March 17, 2020
Shona Struthers, chief executive of Colleges Scotland, said: “The college sector recognises that this is a fast-moving and unprecedented situation and that the overarching priority is the health and safety of its staff and students. As a sector, we are continuing to closely monitor the latest guidance from public health bodies and the Scottish and UK governments, and working on resilience and business continuity planning to take measured and appropriate precautions to minimise the impact of Covid-19.
“Colleges are planning for a phased reduction of face-to-face learning over the coming days and weeks and to expand online and remote learning, where feasible. Colleges will continue to disseminate information specifically tailored for their own institutions to their staff and students.”
The college sector in Scotland was well known for its diversity, Ms Struthers added, and so this “measured, carefully managed, and phased approach” would be done “flexibly with each institution acting according to their own specific circumstances in their regions and campuses”.
“Staff and student requirements will be at the forefront of their approach. Colleges shall continue to work in line with the latest medical advice and with staff teams to minimise the impact of the virus.”
Liam McCabe, president of NUS Scotland, said: “Institutions are following and responding to the expert advice of public health agencies, ensuring the wellbeing of students and staff alike, and are right to do so.
“While we welcome that steps are being taken to respond to Covid-19, we urge institutions to work closely with their students’ associations and unions to minimise disruption to our students’ learning, and ensure access to vital facilities and support.”
Also yesterday, the Scottish Funding Council announced that staff had been advised to work from home where possible.
Following new Government statements, SFC has revised its advice to staff. As of Tuesday 17 March, SFC staff have been asked to work from home if they are able to do so. However, the office WILL remain open. If you have urgent questions, please call 0131 313 6524.— Scottish Funding Council (@ScotFundCouncil) March 16, 2020