Shetland College has reported that the expertise of its senior staff meant it was well placed to respond to the unfurling Covid-19 crisis.
Principal Jane Lewis told Wednesday’s Shetland College Board meeting that a number of staff, including depute principal Susan Berry, had been involved at a national level in activities to prepare for the reopening of campuses.
“We feel we are very well positioned to respond to what is a very changing picture in terms of providing a safe environment for college activities,” she added.
Prof Lewis outlined a number of changes at the college which had taken place during the pandemic and to prepare for the return of staff and students.
Students are being offered an extended induction period to help them prepare for the different mode of teaching, which will see less time spent physically in the college building.
Prof Lewis said the new methods would be in place at least for the first semester – possibly longer.
She said it had been a “very strange” year due to Covid-19 – but praised staff and students for their work throughout.
College activities continued throughout the pandemic with staff working from home, although at reduced capacity.
Although the college had been unable to hold a graduation ceremony, Prof Lewis said celebrations had been held online.
“We hope to celebrate with our achievers in due course when restrictions allow,” she added.
The college has bought new equipment to help prepare for the return of staff and students.
It has also purchased a contactless payment card machine.
“Students were extremely keen on this, even before the present crisis,” said Prof Lewis.
“But obviously it’s essential in the current crisis to have contactless payment facilities.”
Although the college is operating at reduced capacity, Ms Berry said all students were scheduled to have at least one session a week in the building to meet in person with staff and fellow students.
The college also reported a number of successes for staff and students.
Stephanie Pagulayan, who is studying an for an MA in art and social practice and Barry Nisbet, who is taking a BA in applied music, both made the semi-final in the Converge Creative Challenge – a programme celebrating academic entrepreneurs.
The HISA Awards 2020 also saw student support officer Caroline Hepburn win the
‘Hidden Heroes’ category, while health and care lecturer Iain Morrison was highly commended in the ‘Above and Beyond – Staff’ category.
Student Lana Smith was highly commended in the ‘Most Inspiring Student – The
Student’s Choice’ category.