Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Advice – North West Regional College
 
 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Advice

Online For You - College Information and Advice
North West Regional College is closely monitoring the situation regarding novel COVID-19 (coronavirus), and is adhering to the latest advice from the UK Government – details can be found here .

We want to make staff, students and College friends aware of the latest information and reassure you about what we are doing to provide support. You are encouraged to review the FAQs provided in this section, which are being updated regularly with the latest information.

Student Support FAQs

I would like to study full time at the College in September, can I still apply?

Yes, of course! You can apply online via www.nwrc.ac.uk/apply and our Admissions Team will follow up with you about your application.

I have an interview / information session scheduled, what should I do?

All information sessions and interviews have been postponed until further notice. Some courses may still require an ‘online’ interview. If an online interview is required, someone from our Admissions or Curriculum Teams will contact you through the email address that you provided when you applied.

Will this impact on my application or offer?

No, postponing your interview will not impact your application or your offer. We will be in touch with you regarding next steps at a later date.

Will this impact on my application or offer?

No, this will not impact your application or your offer. We will be in touch with you regarding next steps at a later date.

I have applied for a course but no one has contacted me?

Our admissions process is managed online and all correspondence is via email. Please check your email for up to date correspondence. It might be worthwhile checking your junk mail also.

I have made an application and received notification of an audition, what should I do?

Our tutors will contact you directly to clarify this with you but you will be required to submit an online audition.

I have received an email stating that I am on a waiting list, what should I do?

You have the option to select a second choice, you can do this online via your online account by selecting the course on the website, click apply now, then log into your account to add to second choice. Alternatively please email ols_admissions@nwrc.ac.uk and our admissions staff will arrange this for you.

When can I apply for Part-Time courses starting in September?

You can apply for part-time Access and Higher Education courses (Level 4 and above) online now via www.nwrc.ac.uk/apply

Our Part-Time Prospectus for all other courses is planned to be available by May 2020. This will provide further information on how to apply.

Who should I contact if I have an Admissions query?

You should email ols_admissions@nwrc.ac.uk and someone from our Admissions Team will respond.

Can you update me on my upcoming examinations and assessments?

All Colleges are working with associated Awarding Bodies in relation to examinations and assessments during these unprecedented times. We will also act on advice provided directly by the Department for Education, Ofqual, CCEA and our other Awarding Bodies, and will communicate with you accordingly.

Where can I find the latest up-to-date information?

For additional up-to-date information regarding examinations and assessments please visit:

NWRC is doing everything possible to deliver online teaching and learning and will keep you informed via your Tutor. Please keep an eye on our website for the latest information.

Who should I contact regarding an examinations or assessments query?

You should contact your tutor in the first instance. Alternatively, you should email examinations@nwrc.ac.uk.

Staff are working remotely to assist you during these unprecedented times.

Will I still get paid the last instalment of the Further Education (FE) Grant?

Yes, the Education Authority will pay the Term 3 instalment directly into your bank account.

Please keep in contact with your course co-ordinator in the College and make sure they are aware of what the plans are for the continuation of the course.

Will I still get my EMA payments?

The Minister for the Economy has confirmed EMA payments will continue and the College will confirm positive attendance if you are working online.

We are still waiting official confirmation of the details.

I am a Higher Education student. Will I still get my Loan and Grant payments as normal?

Yes. The Student Loans Company are paying maintenance grants and maintenance loans in the amounts students expect, based on their previous assessment.

Will I still get my Hardship Fund payment?

The Final two Hardship Fund payments have been made to existing student and the payment dates will be the 7th and 30th of April.

Most students will still receive the final Hardship Fund payment.

Where can I find more information?

Visit the Education Authority’s Answers and Questions webpage to find detailed answers to a wide range of Student Finance questions.

It also covers many other aspects of College life, including Free School Meals, Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) and Transport.

Who should I contact regarding a Student Finance query?

If you have any further queries please email the NWRC Student Finance Team studentfinance@nwrc.ac.uk

Our College is now delivering online learning and support to all our students during the period of College closure. During the closure the College are committed to protecting the data protection rights of our students, staff and stakeholders.

The College’s Data Protection Officer has put together a short FAQ for our students on how the College will continue to comply with the GDPR.

How can I view the College’s Privacy Policy or Data Protection policies?

Our Privacy Notice and Data Protection policies are all available on our website www.nwrc.ac.uk/privacy

Like all College teams, the Learning Link team is operating remotely and can of course be expected to respond to queries during working hours. Support, advice and guidance is available remotely for Learning Link registered students and is being administered very effectively so far thanks to the flexibility of students, the hard work of Learning Link staff and the support of NWRC’s IT Services & TELS team.

Below are some potential queries (and answers) that students or staff may have regarding NWRC’s learning support service at this difficult time.

I usually avail of the Study Skills service in college – is this service available remotely?

Yes, the Study Skills service is available remotely to Learning Link registered students. Andrew Maguire is leading on the remote provision of Study Skills and queries regarding the service can be directed via andrew.maguire@nwrc.ac.uk.

‘Zoom’ software is being used to aid the service’s effectiveness; a thorough explanation of how to use ‘Zoom’ will be given to Learning Link registered students upon indicating to Andrew their desire to avail of the Study Skills service remotely. Proof-reading and Assistive Technology training is being provided remotely via the Study Skills service.

I normally receive in-class support from a Support Worker – can a Support Worker still provide me with non-medical help?

Yes, albeit remotely. The Support Workers’ manager has worked hard to put contingency plans in place in recent days and is liaising regularly with the Support Worker team who are all aware of the options available to support students remotely where practicable.

I am a prospective student, hoping to start at NWRC in September. I have a learning difficulty and/or disability and indicated so on my online college application. I’m worried that I will start my course in September with no learning support or reasonable adjustments in place for me.

The College’s online application system continues to be in full operation – when a prospective student with a learning difficulty and/or disability applies online for their chosen course, their ‘ticking’ of the Learning Support box will ensure that a Learning Support Referral Form is posted to their home address.

They should then complete this Learning Support Referral Form and post it to the Learning Link (address is on the front of the Learning Support Referral Form) along with evidence of their learning difficulty and/or disability (e.g. a Statement of SEN). This is then filed until the summer. It won’t be until June (i.e. when the 2019/2020 academic year is wrapped up) when the manager of the Learning Link will go through the 2020/2021 Learning Support Referral Forms in detail to distribute caseloads to the Learning Link team so please don’t worry – you will be met with a member of staff before September and reasonable adjustments will be put in place in time for your studies beginning in September.

If you apply online to start a course in September and submit a Learning Support Referral Form (and evidence) to the Learning Link before September, you will be invited in over the summer to discuss what reasonable adjustments you need putting in place for your studies commencing in September. As a guide, reasonable adjustments may include:

  • Examination Access Arrangements (e.g. Extra Time, use of an electronic Reader Pen, Rest Breaks)
  • Study Skills sessions
  • Support Worker provision (non-medical helper)
  • Individualised Learning Plan
  • Medical Plan
  • Assistive Technology loan
  • Specialist Equipment loan

Please note that the above is not an exhaustive list – whatever reasonable adjustments you genuinely require to ‘level the playing field’ for you here at NWRC will be put in place for you, where practicable.

I am an existing student, registered with the Learning Link. I need a bit of help and guidance at this difficult time from a member of the Learning Link team. Who do I contact?

You may have previously emailed a member of staff at the Learning Link – please feel free to contact them directly with any queries as Learning Link staff are checking their email accounts regularly throughout the working day. Alternatively, you can email learninglink@nwrc.ac.uk.

Any query that you have is of genuine importance to us. We will provide support, help and guidance remotely, to the fullness of our capability, under these difficult circumstances.

I’m concerned about the impact on my mental health, what should I do?

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means that life is changing for all of us for a while. It may cause you to feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, bored, lonely or frustrated. It’s important to remember that it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. Remember, this situation is temporary and, for most of us, these difficult feelings will pass.

There are some simple things you can do to help you take care of your mental health and wellbeing during times of uncertainty. Doing so will help you think clearly, and make sure you are able to look after yourself and those you care about. See below for a list of resources which can help.

Mental Distress Helplines:

  • Lifeline Freephone Helpline: 0808 808 8000 (available 24/7)
    • Deaf and hard-of-hearing Textphone users can call Lifeline on: 18001 0808 808 8000
  • Samaritans116 123 (available 24/7)
  • Childline0800 1111 (see website for helpline availability details)
Is the counselling service still available? 

The college counselling service Inspire are still available for telephone counselling and are available 24/7 for support. This is a freephone number and a confidential service. You can speak with a counsellor by contacting 0800 389 5362

Inspire also provides an Inspire Student Support Hub. This provides instant access to a range of online information, guidance, screening and intervention tools tailored to your well being needs. Visit: www.inspiresupporthub.org/students. The College Pin number is: 2019

Can I still contact the Safeguarding Team for support? 

The college Safeguarding Team understand that this is a particularly difficult time for our students, and we want to remind all students that we are still here to offer support and answer any queries that you may have. You can contact us by emailing – Safeguarding@nwrc.ac.uk

Inspire Wellbeing At Work (For College Staff)

Now more than ever, it’s important that we take care of our emotional and mental wellbeing. The new challenges that all of us are facing may leave us feeling overwhelmed and caught up in the never-ending current of thoughts, feelings and emotions. Coming back to and focusing on the present moment can help us to meet these stresses with clarity and confidence.

For that reason, we’ve brought forward the launch of our new Inspire Mindfulness Institute website so that it’s available to you right here, right now at www.inspirewellbeing.org/mindfulnessinstitute

Discover how mindfulness can help us to gain control and meet the challenges of our working lives and our wider world, gain insights from our leading mindfulness experts, and be inspired to take the first steps on your own mindfulness journey.

The site outlines the range of innovative mindfulness-based and compassion-focused training programmes we offer, but more importantly, it’s packed full of information and resources that you and your teams are free to use to help build self-capacity and to develop your own mindfulness practice.

Please take a look at our Mindfulness March e-zine and share with your teams.

Please also be sure to visit the Inspire Support Hub. We’ve added a new video, ‘C-eeing is believing’ – a mindfulness exercise from our Lead Mindfulness Practitioner Frank Liddy to help catch our breath, to pause and to positively redirect our attention.

Whatever the individual circumstances you and your teams face, our priority will continue to be your wellbeing. If you have any specific queries, please contact your Account Manager directly, who will be happy to help.

Best wishes,

The Inspire Team

Important information for TfS and AppNI participants

NWRC recognises the challenges that everyone is facing at the moment. NWRC lecturing staff will continue to engage and deliver online training with Trainees and Apprentices during these challenging times. We strongly advise that you make every effort to engage with NWRC lecturing staff and keep up to date with important training material.

Our Employment Liaison Officers will continue to be in touch with you also to discuss and review your progress on the programme.

Training for Success (TfS) Information – Skills for Your Life and Skills for Work

The Department for Economy (DfE) have advised that all TfS placements would cease until further notice. It has also been confirmed that all TfS trainees should continue to receive the £40 weekly training allowance until further notice. NWRC will continue to make weekly payments accordingly.

If you have any questions regarding your TfS payment or TfS question in general, please email trainingsupport@nwrc.ac.uk and someone will be in touch with you.

Apprenticeship Northern Ireland (AppNI) – Apprenticeship Level 2 and 3

DfE have advised that Apprentice’s remaining in employment, even on reduced working hours, are permitted to stay on the AppNI programme. If you are an Apprentice and have been made redundant or have any concerns, please contact your Employment Liaison Officer immediately if you have not already done so.

Who should I contact regarding a Training for Success or ApprenticeshipNI query?
Training and Skills

Springtown and Strabane Campus:

Limavady and Greystone Campus:

Health and Social Care
Pharmacy

 

For all other queries relating the TfS or AppNI please contact our Training Support Team on trainingsupport@nwrc.ac.uk.

Keep well and stay safe – thank you!

Will I still be able to progress to University in September if I can’t complete my exams?

UCAS appreciate this is a difficult and uncertain situation for applicants planning to start university in the autumn, and they are committed to work together to ensure that your hard work to date will not go to waste, and that no-one is unfairly impacted in this process by the COVID-19 virus.

It’s important to remember that places are not decided on grades alone. Information in your personal statement and reference are part of the decision-making process along with your interview, portfolio, audition, and any other information that’s relevant to your potential to succeed on an undergraduate course.

Not all universities have made a decision on my application yet. Will the other universities I’m waiting to hear from get back to me?

If you applied by 15 January and you’re still awaiting a decision from one of your choices, unis/colleges have until Wednesday 6th May 2020 to decide whether they’re making you an offer.

Please note UCAS have now extended this deadline for university / college responses by 2 weeks given the current situation.

I’ve received an unconditional offer from a university that isn’t my first choice. Should I take it?

UCAS’ advice to students who have received an unconditional offer is always to consider whether this is the right institution and course for you before you make any decision.   We would also stress the importance of continuing to remain focused on completing the requirements of your current course even if you are considering accepting an unconditional offer.

Successful completion of your current course of study will prepare you much better for commencing an undergraduate degree in September 2020.

Who should I contact regarding a UCAS or University related query?
Where can I find more information, guidance and support?

COVID-19 (coronavirus) Up-To-Date Information:

Education:

Mental Wellbeing –  Information and Resources:

Mental Distress Helplines:

  • Lifeline Freephone Helpline: 0808 808 8000 (available 24/7)
    • Deaf and hard-of-hearing Textphone users can call Lifeline on: 18001 0808 808 8000
  • Samaritans116 123 (available 24/7)
  • Childline0800 1111 (see website for helpline availability details)

Other help and support:

The above link includes helplines and a diverse range of help and support organisations and resources, including across mental health and wellbeing, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, alcohol/drugs, gambling, benefits/financial advice and caring. There is a separate PDF resource for each Health and Social Services Trust area in NI.

Click here to view the PDF for the Northern area.

Accessing Technology Remotely FAQs

How do I access my student network folder from home?

Log on to your student email and drop an email to ITSupport@nwrc.ac.uk and request a transfer from your network folder (U: Drive) to your Office 365 OneDrive (available from www.office365.com). All staff and students have 1Tb of storage on their OneDrive which is accessible 24 days a week, 365 days a year. When emailing the IT Support be sure to mention the campus that you are based in as this help us to find your network files quicker.

For speed of access we would ask that you make the request through your @live.nwrc.ac.uk College assigned email account. We will accept request from personal emails, but these take longer to process as we have to perform security checks on non-College assigned email addresses. Your online security is important to us.

It it important that you log into your Office 365 portal BEFORE requesting a transfer as the facility will not be available to IT Services admins until the student has logged on.

How do I get access to Moodle from home?

You can access Moodle from home by going directly to iLearn.nwrc.ac.uk. There is also a Moodle link available at the bottom of the College website – www.nwrc.ac.uk.

I have forgotten my password, to Learning Assistant or Turnitin, what should I do?

Both Turnitin and Learning Assistant have links on their log in screens for forgotten passwords. Simply follow the on-screen instructions to reset your password.

IT Services FAQs

How can I access IT technical support while I’m at home ?

The IT Services Helpdesk hours are 08:00 to 17:30 Monday to Thursday and 09:00 to 16:00 on Fridays.

A specially assigned email address has been set up to deal with IT technical support during this period – ITSupport@nwrc.ac.uk

I’m having trouble accessing my online learning tools, what should I do?

If you have an issue accessing tools such as  Moodle, Turnitin, Learning Assistant (e-portfolio) etc, please email: TELS@nwrc.ac.uk

How can I get access to my Office 365 Apps?
Can I download Microsoft Office at home?

Yes.  IT Services have allocated a licence that allows both staff and students to download Microsoft Office 365 from the Office 365 Portal – Visit: www.office.com and sign in using your normal College email and password.

Contact the IT Services Helpdesk for a detailed step-by-step guide should you need additional help.

I just want access to my Email from home.  Do I have to remote into the College to get access?

No.  If you just want access to your College email please do this through www.office.com

How do I get access to Teams?

To support Moodle many lecturers are creating Teams facilities to act as an online platform for the online delivery of College courses.

Lecturers can send you direct invitations to your College email – Please note, guest accounts (such as your personal Hotmail / Gmail / BTInternet account etc.) will not be supported.

Lecturers can also share a link with you or provide you with a code to join up.

How can I create a Team for my students?

All Curriculum Manager have the ability to create Teams for their staff and assign rights to those staff to invite students as members. TELs Staff, TEL Mentors and IT Services can also assist in the creation of Teams.

General Information

A ‘coronavirus’ is a common type of virus. Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.  Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.  Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China.

The NHS website has more information about how coronavirus is spread and answers common questions about the virus.

The Department of Health and the Public Health Agency are keeping abreast of the changing situation around COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and are liaising with partners across the UK and the Republic of Ireland including Public Health England, Health Service Executive (RoI) and our local Health Trusts on this issue.

As this situation is rapidly changing the most up-to-date information and guidance can be found below:

The Public Health Agency recommends that the general cold and flu precautions should be taken to help prevent people from catching and spreading COVID-19 (Coronavirus), and we would recommend that you follow the Public Health advice on this.

To help protect yourself from catching any flu-like virus during these winter months, the advice is that you should:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze.
  • Bin the tissue, and to kill the germs, wash your hands with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds), or use a sanitiser gel

This is the best way to slow the spread of almost any germs, including COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

The Department of Health and the Public Health Agency (PHA) are keeping abreast of the changing situation around COVID-19 and are liaising with partners across the UK and the Republic of Ireland (RoI) including the Health Service Executive (RoI) and our local Health Trusts on this issue.

The World Health Organisation has declared that this is a public health emergency, and the UK Chief Medical Officers have therefore raised the risk within the United Kingdom to High.

The following is guidance based on the recommendations of the UK Chief Medical officers.

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days, even if you do not have symptoms:

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath, even if your symptoms are mild:

  • Mainland China outside of Hubei province
  • Italy outside of the lockdown areas
  • South Korea outside of the special care zones
  • Cambodia
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

If you need personal health advice specifically in relation to COVID-19 (coronavirus), you should call the NHS 111 service or your GP.  Please do not attend your GP or emergency department without phoning in advance.

Read more about what you should do if you are asked to self-isolate

The Public Health Agency has issued information to educational settings which provide advice for pupils, students, staff and parents or carers regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which you can view here.

For official advice and health concerns:
  • UK Government website
  • Department for Education coronavirus helpline 0800 0468 687
  • Call NHS 111 for immediate health concerns
For queries specific to College life:
  • Staff please contact your Line Manager or Head of Department in the first instance
  • Students please contact your tutor in the first instance