Office of the Principal

 

Covid-19 update: National lockdown and continuation of online teaching

 

Dear student

Recently, the UK Government announced a new period of national lockdown issuing new Government guidance and putting ICON College under tier 4 restrictions instructing all higher education students not to return to campus. At ICON College we want to ensure your continued safety and in this respect your studies will continue purely online until further notice. As you are probably already aware the College has considerable experience of delivering courses online and many of you have experienced our online learning methods and tools.

We will continue to make every effort to ensure your studies will be of the best quality we can provide with as minimal disruption as possible to your learning and assessment. Please be assured we monitor the pandemic situation on a daily basis through our recently established COVID 19 Advisory and Action Group (C19AAG). This team will work to keep all staff and students fully briefed with the latest information and will deal with all matters relating to COVID and provide advice on: a) any changes to programme delivery, b) facilities availability and c) mass test and trace

The College also has a COVID Plan, in liaising with the Director of Public Health, Tower Hamlets and has undertaken a COVID Risk Assessment, which will be monitored and evaluated regularly by the C19AAG in order to keep everyone and the environment safe and secure. At the same time, we have entered into a partnership with Falmouth University and the College will soon hope to offer a range of undergraduate programmes thus sharing best practice with our new partner as we manage your education and safety during the pandemic.

As Principal, I am passionately committed to ensuring you get the highest quality educational experience possible and this includes when the College is in lockdown. There is no clear path, as yet, to end lockdown and it may be that restrictions become even tougher. We all know the vaccination programme is going to play a major part in relieving all of us from the grip of this awful pandemic. Rest assured, that as soon as Government announces an easing of restrictions, we will take steps to move towards blended learning thus enabling a safe and planned return to the College. Your safety is paramount to both myself, and the team (Vice-Principal [Academic], Vice-Principal [External Affairs]) and Secratery to the Board of Governance. Be assured that we will never compromise your safety and will work tirelessly to enable you to return to a safe environment as and when the time comes.

Learning and Teaching

Learning and teaching continues online and this is expected to continue until at least mid February at the earliest when we anticipate the UK Government are due to review the situation. We cannot guess what the outcome will be but we have contingency plans in the event of an easing of restrictions and are ready to move to blended learning (some online; some in-class) when we are certain the College is fully equipped with test and trace equipment as well as the expertise to do the testing. We continue to liaise with the HEI Test and Trace team set up by the UK Government to provide us with equipment. HE COVID Planning have produced a user friendly ‘best practice’ toolkit which aims to de-mystify testing and provide insight into the successes and challenges of testing. It will help staff and students gain better understanding thereby helping to improve delivery of testing and increase student uptake. HE Mass Testing – Best Practice Toolkit.

Student Consumer Rights

The College wishes to ensure your continued rights as a consumer and is keen to ensure every student is aware of their rights under the Consumer Act 2015. The College has produced an easy to follow document that provides you with important information on your consumer rights. You can readily access the Student Protection Plan and important information on revised Consumer Right and Protection Plan on the website. The College is keen to follow government advice in the ways to support and keep students safe. Please find a copy of the regulatory letter from OfS: Regulation during the current phase of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of the government regulations above we are taking the following actions. Firstly, we have reviewed our compliance with consumer and will be providing assurance to our board of Governance of ongoing compliance. Also this webpage will be amended regularly as Government and Office for Students regulatory advice changes. In this respect we will ensure students are fully up to date with all regulations. The Office for Students has confirmed that it is soon to reissue and update their general regulatory guidance. This will be attached to this webpage as soon as it is available.

Campus Facilities

At present, we are not allowing any student to physically access our campus facilities (including the library) in person. We are keen to minimise the number of people on campus. Once again, we await Government guidance and we will continue to provide updates as further guidance is provided.

Student support

Student support services continue to be available through the Student Welfare Officer (Nasir Uddin) by telephoning or emailing the College • Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm, 020 7377 2800 or nas@iconcollege.ac.uk

Keeping everyone informed

As this situation and government advice changes, we will keep you fully updated by email and through text alerts on your mobile phone as well as our website. For routine enquiries about the college’s response to the pandemic, please contact the College on 020 7377 2800. You can also email Professor Alan Jones (Chair of the C19AAG) at alan@iconcollege.ac.uk for the current state of play regarding the pandemic as it applies to the College. Please continue to follow Government guidelines. We are keen to get students back to the campus as soon as it is safe to do so.

The College receives, on a daily basis, numerous messages from central government, the Department for Education (DfE), the Office for Students (OfS) and other local health care agencies relating to the COVID-19 situation. The messages are often complex and detailed but the College considers what is of importance for students to know. In a recent letter dated 25th February 2021 the Minister of State for Universities indicated that institutions should be putting in place measures that staff and students can understand regarding making the physical campus environment COVID-19 secure. ICON College is in the process of undertaking a risk assessment of the College physical facilities to enable staff and students to return to formal classroom teaching as and when it is safe to do so. The assessment is being made with the co-operation of the local health authorities. In addition, in her letter of the 25th February, the Minister indicated that students and staff will be advised about the return to campus by the end of the Easter holidays. Decisions will take account of the then current virus data and the DfE will give institutions one week’s notice.

Updated on 09/03/2021

The College COVID-19 Action and Advisory Group (C19AAG) is made up of both staff and students. C19AAG normally meets every ten days, or sooner if circumstances so dictate. The C19AAG sifts through external notices, advice ,recommendations and requirements issued by a wide range of organizations including the Department of Education (DfE), the National Health Service (NHS), the local health and safety executive et al. At its meeting held on the 7th April 2021, the C19AAG considered the measures that need to be put in place for any re-opening of the College campus to facilitate a return to face-to-face teaching, as and when this becomes possible and recommended by the DfE/NHS. The College has engaged fully qualified and experienced external expert health and safety consultants to undertake a risk-assessment analysis of the College facilities and their advice will dictate what the College needs to do in terms of making the premises as COVID-19 secure as is possible prior to any re-opening for general face-to-face teaching. The consultants are due to visit the College towards the end of April. Further advice to staff and students will then be provided on the College website as soon as the assessment report is received and the recommended measures have been put in place.

Updated on 08/04/2021

FREE coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests for staff and students

Our staff and students can now order free coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests at home, directly from the NHS. This free door-to-door service is for anybody who
• does not have coronavirus symptoms
• lives in England • is 18 or older
• has not been told to self-isolate
• Cannot get tests from their work, school, college or university.

One box of 7 tests comes in the post at one time. The results are instant within 30 minutes of taking the test. Staff and students can order for themselves as well as members of their bubbles. https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests

Alternatively, there is also the possibility for households with cars to drive to NHS Testing Centres and pick up to 4 boxes (depending on the test centre) per car at one time. Once at the testing vaccination centre, it takes 1-2 mins for the tests to be dropped into the car. This is a drive-thru system with no pre-registration. Most of them have an 8-13.00 pick-up slot 7 days/week. https://find-covid-19-rapid-test-sites.maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk

Pharmacies provide tests too and can be located via this link, during their opening hours: https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk

Updated on 19/04/2021

 

Stay alert and stay safe!

Professor Nurun Nabi,
MBA (Henley at Oxon), PhD (Lond), Cert. in SBM (Harvard), FInstLM, MPDSE
Principal: ICON College of Technology and Management