NAFC Covid Update
The NAFC Marine Centre hopes to be able to resume some face-to-face teaching from the 1st of February, if Shetland remains in COVID Protection Level 3. Until then the Centre will, where possible, continue to offer remote learning to students who were due to attend classes during January.
The situation in Shetland differs from that in mainland-Scotland where the First Minister indicated last week that face-to-face teaching in colleges and universities would not resume before the end of February under the COVID Protection Level 4 restrictions in place there.
NAFC will review the situation by the 22nd of January or if there is any change in Government advice or Shetland’s protection level.
The Centre will be directly contacting persons who are booked on courses, and all students are asked to monitor their college email accounts for the latest information which will also be posted on the college’s website.
While the Covid restrictions have affected NAFC’s activities over the past year, they have had a minimal impact on the delivery of the Centre’s aquaculture training, most of which is delivered online. Modern Apprenticeships in aquaculture, the CPD Aquaculture Management course and short aquaculture training courses have all been delivered online largely as normal during the pandemic with support from Centre staff working mainly from home.
The nautical and engineering department was also able to move much of its training for students on long courses online last year, and this resumed at the start of 2021. Where that was not possible, measures were put in place to safely allow students to complete the practical elements of their courses on campus during the autumn term. Staff and students have adapted well and there are encouraging results from the external examinations that students have undertaken following online learning. Some scheduled courses have been postponed in the hope that they can be delivered face-to-face, but the Centre is gaining approval to increase the remote delivery of these courses should that be required.
NAFC’s student support service has also moved fully online since the lockdown began in March with regular timetabled sessions with all classes where issues can be quickly identified and solutions found. Individual advice and support have also continued (online) as usual with regular themes of finance, mental health and accommodation being covered. Additional help has also been provided in recent months around connectivity and digital poverty. Support staff are always available and students are encouraged to keep in touch at all times. Students have been very understanding of the situation and although they would prefer to be on campus, with all the excellent facilities, have adapted well to remote learning.