Coronavirus outbreak: North East colleges suspend 'face-to-face learning' and won't be serving hot meals

Sunderland College, Hartlepool Sixth Form and Northumberland College have all suspended face-to-face learning for all university-level courses and adult provision as well as stopping the sale of hot meals.

By Poppy Kennedy
Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 10:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 4:46 pm

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Education Partnership North East says it will affect Higher National Diplomas, Higher National Certificates, foundation degrees, top-up degrees and courses for adults (aged 19+) such as maths and English, Access to HE, hobby courses and professional qualifications.

The college is aiming to resume its adult and university-level learning after the Easter break on Monday, April 20. The suspension will allow adults to focus on the needs of their family and themselves.

Sunderland College's city campus.

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Ellen Thinnesen, chief executive of Education Partnership North East, said: “These are, without a doubt, unprecedented times during which our priority is to protect our students and staff and their respective families.

“We have robust plans and procedures in place to maintain the majority of our curriculum delivery and business critical functions to support staff and students, however, this break in adult and higher education learning will enable us to put further contingency plans in place, including the development of remote learning aids, so study can continue off-site if necessary.”

To safeguard the wellbeing and safety of its students, the college group has also cancelled all non-essential college events, plus third-party and private hire events using college facilities.

Commercial enterprises across the college group, which provide students with a realistic working environment and include hair and beauty salons, restaurants and a travel agency, will be closed to the public from tomorrow morning.

In addition, catering across all college campuses will no longer include hot meals and will be limited to pre-packaged food, however, priority will be given to those students receiving free meals.

Distance learning courses and further education (up to Level 3) including vocational courses and A-Levels, remain unaffected.

The colleges across Education Partnership North East continue to have no confirmed cases of COVID-19.

For further updates, please check the dedicated section on the relevant college website.