COVID-19 General FAQ's (Coronavirus)

Updated - 26.03.20

All staff and students are asked to regularly review the FAQs provided in this website section, which is being updated on an ongoing basis with the latest information.

The decision to close our college campuses, which has been taken in light of the latest UK Government advice, is driven by the overriding need to help protect the safety and wellbeing of our students and our staff. 

This announcement means that, as of Monday, 23 March 2020:

  • Course delivery will continue remotely including the use of digital learning, in so far as this is possible.
  • Staff should now be set up to work remotely.

The Colleges will continue to provide staff and students with updates, signposting to official government and public health advice, as well as whatever reassurances we can in the midst of so much uncertainty and unease.

Work Based Learning (Apprenticeships)

FAO Level 1/2/3 Work Based Learning students. TFS Levels 1 and 2: The Department for Economy has advised that all work placements should cease until further notice. All trainees will receive their £40 weekly training allowance and should continue to engage with online learning as directed by your lecturers. Guidance is available on our website for accessing our virtual learning platforms. Apprenticeship NI Levels 2 and 3: The Department for Economy has advised that all apprentices should progress with their studies as per timetable engaging with online learning as directed by your lecturers. Guidance is available on our website for accessing our virtual learning platforms. Please follow the guidance from your employer regarding your attendance to work. If for any reason you need support or your employment status changes, please contact your Training Support Officer:

Dungannon Campus
Barry Canavan – 077 331 4286
Denise Gourley – 077 3346 4434
Marie Holmes – 073 9173 8239
Hannah McGilly - 073 917 38223

Enniskillen Campus
Ashley Farrell – 073 9173 8238
Evelyn Slevin – 073 9173 8226
Marie Holmes – 073 9173 8239

Omagh Campus
Germain Kelly – 073 9173 8228
Barry ONeill – 077 5983 9619
Louise Henry – 073 9173 8229
Elaine Hawkes – 077 3995 1972

Teaching

All forms of face to face teaching will cease with immediate effect until further notice. All teaching and associated material will be provided online as far as possible, normally via the Canvas VLE environment.

Assessment

We are currently working hard to identify alternative forms of assessment recognising that it is highly unlikely that on campus assessment will be possible in the near future. Contingency planning for any necessary changes to normal arrangements is in progress and will be communicated as soon as possible.

Learning Resource Centres

All Learning Resource Centres will be closed.

Working from home

In line with advice from the UK Government, the College has transitioned to a working from home model where possible in line with local Business Continuity Plans. Please refer to advice from Information Services to prepare for working from home. Some areas of College operation cannot be conducted remotely. Many staff will already have discussed this with line managers and understand their role in this context. All staff will be contacted directly by local management to clarify what is expected of them over the coming days.

Colleagues will be expected to provide as much flexibility as possible when working from home and understand that they may be asked to work according to a rota or perform functions normally outside of their remit as the situation requires.

Wellbeing services

We understand that this situation may be worrying, especially if you have family or friends in the affected areas.

If you’d like to speak to somebody, further advice, support and information is available from:

We also continue to encourage all staff to continue to refer to the Public Health Agency website for the latest advice as this is constantly changing. Please note the following key changes to the health advice that were announced by the Government on 16 March:

  • If you have a high temperature and/or a new and continuous cough, you and all members of your household must stay at home for 14 days.

We would also remind you of the following measures already implemented which remain in place:

Social Distancing

You can read the latest guidance on social distancing here.

Events

All events on campus from Wednesday 18 March to Sunday 31 May will be cancelled or postponed. This position will be reviewed regularly and may be extended in advance of 30 April.

The College's Management Team fully appreciates that the implementation of these measures will raise many questions for both staff and students. Please bear in mind that in this fluid and rapidly evolving situation it is not possible to provide answers to all potential questions. We will provide further advice and guidance as soon as possible.

Keeping our people safe and well

What action is the College taking to keep students and staff safe and well?

We have followed all PHA advice and guidance and are communicating regularly with our staff and students. There is more information regarding these measures elsewhere on this page.

  • Moving all teaching material online and ceasing face to face teaching and learning activities
  • Identifying alternative forms of assessment in the event that exams can not take place
  • Cancellation/postponement of all field/Erasmus trips
  • Advising against all but essential travel.
  • Asked staff and students to adopt social distancing
  • Cancellation of all events
  • Established a working from home model in line with local Business Continuity Plans.
  • Closing key public areas as outlined

I am concerned about the impact on my mental health or that of my colleagues, what should I do?

We ask that all members of staff and students remain calm and respectful of others during this pandemic. It is a stressful time for many of us so please be sensitive to the impact it may be having on the mental health of friends and colleagues and offer any support that may be needed. This article from the World Health Organisation may be helpful.

Should I be adopting social distancing?

In accordance with public health guidance, we now advise staff and students to maintain at least a 2 metre physical distance from others. You can read the latest guidance on social distancing here.

Information and support

Where can I find the latest information about COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

This is an evolving situation and staff and students are asked to continue to visit and regularly check the following websites for the latest updates and guidance:

Where can I access health advice in relation to COVID-19?

Please follow advice published on the PHA website.

Northern Ireland now has full access to the NHS 111 helpline service on coronavirus. Callers should press 1 when they are advised. This service is provided in Northern Ireland solely for coronavirus guidance and not for other conditions. 

In the case of medical emergency, call 999.

What precautions should I be taking?

It makes sense to practice good hygiene and follow advice published on the PHA website.

Like seasonal flu, the same public health advice applies for COVID-19 (Coronavirus): if you cough or sneeze, use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose, throw it away carefully after use, and wash your hands.

Washing your hands regularly will help prevent flu and other viruses spreading. 

If you do become unwell with flu or flu-like symptoms, you should stay at home - most cases of flu are likely to be mild and can be managed at home with over-the-counter remedies. For most people it will have resolved within a week but the latest guidance advises you and all members of your household to stay at home for 14 days. If symptoms persist, you should phone your GP.

It is also important to remember that a course of antibiotics won’t help your cold or flu. Cold and flu are viruses and antibiotics are useless against them. 

If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 14 days from when your symptoms started - read the public health guidance setting out what you should do if you experience such symptoms.

Your wellbeing is the College’s first priority. Please do not let any concerns about your work or studies stop you taking this advice.

I am anxious about COVID-19 - what support is available?

We understand this news will cause concern and anxiety among our students, staff, and the wider community. 

Our immediate concerns are for the affected student and family, along with the continued health and wellbeing of our staff and students. 

We are working closely the Public Health Agency, who are responsible for taking the lead in any public health issue of this nature.  

We are also signposting staff and students to regular updates from PHA. There are a number of support services available which can be accessed via the Student Support and Engagement Team.

If you are a student concerned as a result of COVID-19, please contact Free Confidential and Immediate Support 24/7 on 0800 389 5362 or email

support@inspirewellbeing.org or via the Inspire Hub on inspiresupporthub.org/students

I have contacted the NHS 111 helpline and have been advised to self-isolate - what do I need to do?

The Public Health Agency has provided advice on self-isolation. Read the advice on the Public Health website here and on gov.uk here.

I am worried about the information circulating on social media, what should I do?

You should only refer to the latest guidance from the Public Health Agency, and other official authorities. The accuracy of information circulating on social media can not be verified and we ask all members of the SWC's community to remain calm and follow the official advice only.

Please do not contribute to the circulation or sharing of rumour on social media as this is unhelpful and causes unnecessary anxiety.