COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Information for students, staff and visitors content

Information for students, staff and visitors

Last updated: 30th November 2020

West Highland College UHI is delighted to have welcomed students from all over Scotland, the UK and further afield to study with us this year.

Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all of our staff and students. So please familiarise yourself with the guidelines below in order to protect you, your friends and family and our local communities.

We've made a number of changes at our college centres to ensure the health and safety of our staff, students and visitors and have prepared some general guidelines for everyone.

We are working with the NHS to finalise options for those wishing to undertake voluntary COVID tests before returning home from Termtime addresses for the festive period - more detailed information is being provided to students as we have it.

In addition, the following general information may be useful, but please contact us on 01397 874000 or email info.whc@uhi.ac.uk if you need more information or advice.

Logo for Protect Scotland, an phone app to aid contract tracing for COVID 19

General Advice content

General Advice

General Advice

UPDATED October 29 2020

We are working closely with NHS services and Health Protection Scotland who are taking the lead in responding to this situation and we will take direction from them. Please continue to go to the NHS Inform website for the latest health related information, including advice on self-isolation if you develop a cough or fever.

Meanwhile the following information might be of use:

Christmas travel plans content

Christmas travel plans

Christmas travel plans

Updated December 1st, 2020

The Scottish Government are continuing to formulate plans to make returning a home at Christmas as safe as possible for our students, staff and our communities.   This is the latest information as we have it, but the guidance remains under review and you should continue to ensure you are fully up to date by referring to the Government Guidance here.

You should continue to check your student emails and our social media as we are regularly update the information we have to provide specific guidance for students at West Highland College UHI. 

As soon as we have detailed information it will be communicated here on our website, in your student emails and announced on our social media. 

We are currently contacting all students who are in term time accommodation to ensure their details are fully up to date. You can help us by:

If you need any assistance with this, feel free to call 01397 874000 and we’ll be happy to help.

 

Christmas Travel

We are finalising options for those wishing to undertake a voluntary COVID test before returning home from a term time address for the festive period.

We are working with the NHS to enable you to access a PCR test from either Broadford or Fort William. Due to the very specific nature of our West Highland College UHI centre locations, it is important to note that the PCR Test we are offering is the same one accessed by people with COVID-19 symptoms through the usual NHS Test and Protect channels. The PCR test will provide a confirmatory positive or negative COVID-19 result and is different from the Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) being used by most other universities and colleges in Scotland. We are providing our students with access to the PCR test because it is more appropriate for our multi-campus structure. Unlike the Lateral Flow (Asymptomatic testing) you will only require one test. 

At present we are not able to give an exact date for our testing but need to identify which students feel that they would like a test. Please would you therefore contact us on 01397 874000 or email Customer Services to give us your details, including which site (Broadford or Fort William) you would want to take your test.  We will then contact you with further information when this becomes available to us.

PLEASE NOTE If students are planning to fly outside of the UK for the festive period, this will mean you may require a specific COVID-19 test to do so.  Please refer to the guidance on the UK Government website.

 

Further questions you may have:

Is it compulsory to take a COVID-19 asymptomatic test before I travel?

The current guidance is that the tests (if you are travelling within the UK) are voluntary.  If you are travelling outwith the UK please refer to the guidance on the UK Government website.

How do I book my voluntary COVID test?

At present we are not able to give an exact date for our testing but need to identify which students feel that they would like a test. Please would you therefore contact us on 01397 874000 or email Customer Services to give us your details, including which site (Broadford or Fort William) you would want to take your test.  We will then contact you with further information when this becomes available to us.

I am not showing symptoms, do I have to take a test?

Students are being offered a voluntary test to limit the risk of transferring infection to family and friends when returning home.

How do I do the test?

Full instructions will be provided at your test appointment  and the following instructional video will also be available there.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCqo7MhQT6U

Where can I find further information?

We would urge you to also refer to the Student Information Scotland website which has more relevant information for you to consider, including limits on household mixing and how to travel.  It also provides information on exceptions to travel if you have a positive test.

I am planning to return home at the end of term – do I need to do anything differently now?

The Scottish Government are advising students who want to return home to voluntarily reduce social mixing for two weeks before going home.

 I find the new Tier/Levels system difficult to understand and am not sure what  to do if I return home - where should I check?

You will need to keep up to date with the latest information about Scottish Government COVID-19 levels You may need to check both where you are currently living, and where you may be travelling to.

 

What happens if I live locally, but am planning to visit family who live outwith the area?

We are working with the Scottish Government, the NHS and Public Health Teams to determine what your options will be, please refer to the latest Scottish Government on travelling over the festive period here.

Please keep referring to our website and emails as we will provide updated information as soon as it becomes available.

 

I am planning to stay in the area over the holiday period – will there be any support?

We are currently exploring options and will be providing information about what support may be available in the local area. This will be shared on our website and through social media.

All students have access to Togetherall, a digital mental health support service which is available online, 24/7, and is completely anonymous so you can express yourself freely and openly. 

The university's health and wellbeing Facebook page provides regular updates, resources and links to help you to maintain your mental wellbeing.

And don't forget to look out for a range of HISA events and activities in the next few weeks to keep you busy and connected.

What arrangements will I need to make for my return in Semester 2?

We are currently awaiting further guidance and information from the Scottish Government in relation to this. We have been informed that it is likely that the return after the New Year will not be normal, and that an update will be provided in the coming days.  As a precaution, we would advise you to pack any relevant study materials that you may need for study from home with you when travelling home in case your return is delayed for any reason.

Please note: More information is becoming available on a daily basis.  Please keep checking your student email, this page and the Scottish Government Guidelines for the latest information.

Access to our buildings content

Access to our buildings

Access to our buildings

Access to our buildings for both students and staff is by prior arrangement only and the majority of students and staff will continue to work remotely. Our buildings will be closed to visitors and members of the public.

Initial priority for access to centres is for students on courses that have a highly practical element and need access to specialist equipment and facilities. Except for these practical courses, all other courses will be delivered through scheduled, online connected learning time and flexible learning time. More detailed information about how our courses will be delivered is available on our website; select a particular course and then select the “Study Mode” tab. These pages are being updated regularly.

Café facilities on our sites content

Café facilities on our sites

Café facilities on our sites

In our Fort William and Portree campuses, we are providing areas for students and staff to eat snacks and lunch, but for the time being there will be no on-site vending or catering. Students should bring their own packed food and we are looking at ways of providing hot water for drinks. This situation will be reviewed and updated regularly in line with Scottish Government guidelines.

Information for students arriving from outside Scotland – Coronavirus content

Information for students arriving from outside Scotland – Coronavirus

Information for students arriving from outside Scotland – Coronavirus

We’re delighted to welcome students and staff from outside Scotland who have to come live and study here in the West Highlands. Please be aware that the COVID regulations and guidance here in Scotland may be different from your home, so please familiarise yourself with the relevant information here Coronavirus in Scotland.

Scotland has a published route map identifying how Scotland is transitioning out of lockdown.

Information for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens or a family member of an EU citizen content

Information for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens or a family member of an EU citizen

Information for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens or a family member of an EU citizen

We continue to welcome applicants and students from the European Union and beyond. For those already studying with us  Please make sure you have the most recent information regarding your status here.

Local area restrictions content

Local area restrictions

Local area restrictions

Our college centres are currently in Tier 1 of the Protection Levels Framework

However, there are local area restrictions in certain areas of Scotland. The Scottish Government website provides information on these. You must remain vigilant to any local changes and abide by any local restrictions that may be put in place if we are unfortunate enough to have a localised outbreak.

Quarantine arrangements content

Quarantine arrangements

Quarantine arrangements

If you are travelling to Scotland from a country not exempt from quarantine requirements you must complete a passenger locator form and self-isolate for 14 days. This is a legal requirement and it is essential that you comply.

Please check the Scottish Government website for the latest advice as this may change at short notice. If you are in quarantine, you must stay away from others and stay in one place for the full 14 days and this must be at the address you provide on the passenger locator form.

For students it can include:

  • Your own home or accommodation
  • Staying with friends of family
  • A hotel or other temporary accommodation

We are expected to take non-compliance of quarantine requirements very seriously and sanctions will be determined on a case-by-case basis, but may include the full weight of the disciplinary process.

What to do if you develop symptoms content

What to do if you develop symptoms

What to do if you develop symptoms

Joint open letter from Scotland’s senior clinicians to college and university students, Common Cold, Flu-like Symptoms and COVID-19 Symptoms, 10th September 2020

ANYONE with the symptoms of COVID-19 should go online to the NHS Inform website to book a test. If you cannot get online please call 0800 028 2816. You should self-isolate at home straight away along with other members of your household.

If you develop any of the symptoms of COVID-19 while you are in Scotland, you and your household should self-isolate. The symptoms are:

  • new continuous cough
  • fever/high temperature (37.8C or greater)
  • loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

A new continuous cough is where you:

  • have a new cough that’s lasted for an hour
  • have had 3 or more episodes of coughing in 24 hours
  • are coughing more than usual

A high temperature is feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back (you don’t need to measure your temperature). You may feel warm, cold or shivery.

Self-isolation means you should remain at home and should not go to your placeof study, to work, public areas or use public transport. You should not go out to buy food or other essentials.

If you are a student living away from home, please contact us and we will support you in arranging for food or supplies so contact us at student.services.whc@uhi.ac.uk - we're here to help.

What do I do / who should I tell if I feel unwell or need to self isolate? content

What do I do / who should I tell if I feel unwell or need to self isolate?

What do I do / who should I tell if I feel unwell or need to self isolate?

If you are self-isolating, please inform your teaching team so that they are aware. Additional support or questions can be directed to Student Services by email to student.services.whc@uhi.ac.uk or by telephoning 01397 874000.

We have committed to supporting any of our students who need to self-solate and have plans in place for this.  We are also mindful of the guidance from Universities Scotland and have committed to these core standards, so please contact us for any support you might need.

Togetherall - support for your mental health content

Togetherall - support for your mental health

Togetherall - support for your mental health

We also offer access to Togetherall, a confidential online support service operated by healthcare professionals, which is available 24/7.

HISA - social groups and activities content

HISA - social groups and activities

HISA - social groups and activities

As you will no doubt be aware, this will not feel like a normal start to University or College life. Opportunities to socialise will be much more restrictive, although there will be more opportunities for online socialisation.

Our Highlands and Islands Student Association (HISA) have been working tirelessly throughout the lockdown period to redevelop existing activity and introduce some totally new opportunities for students across all centres and Academic Partners. HISA can be found through a number of ways including their website, and social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). Please do get in touch with them and see what’s on offer.

Guidance for meeting with friends and family content

Guidance for meeting with friends and family

Guidance for meeting with friends and family

It is important to know the guidance on seeing friends and family in Scotland. Students living in accommodation should not have large groups of visitors, and that any visitors attend properties in a safe manner when doing so. Guidance can change quickly, and locally, so please be aware of any local restrictions which may be put in place.

Effective October 9:  There has recently been updated guidance for students planning to travel home over the October Holiday period.  Please familiarise yourself with this.

Alongside the new  measures announced by the First Minister on 7th October.  In their guidance they give specific, and limited, reasons why students may need to travel, and also about mixing of households.

It is important that you keep monitoring the news and the  government guidelines, and to respond to these as requested.

 

How to make and wear a face covering content

How to make and wear a face covering

FACTS content

FACTS

Remember – the best protection for us all in these times is to follow the FACTS:

Face coverings in enclosed spaces
Avoid crowded places
Clean your hands and surfaces regularly
Two metre social distancing
Self-isolate and book a test if you develop coronavirus symptoms

How to handwash effectively - a film from the World Health Organisation content

How to handwash effectively - a film from the World Health Organisation

Risk assessment content

Risk assessment

Risk assessment

Do I need to register with a new GP? content

Do I need to register with a new GP?

Do I need to register with a new GP?

The Scottish Government has urged us to remind students that you should register with a local doctors' practice to access healthcare support. To register please complete this form. You should then contact a local practice and ask for their email address where you can send your completed form. The link above also provides details of local GPs. If you have problems finding a GP please call 01382 425664 and they will inform you which practices you can register with.

FAQs for new applicants content

FAQs for new applicants

FAQs for new applicants

For more information please check our Frequently Asked Questions for Applicants or contact admissions.whc@uhi.ac.uk