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Coronavirus: Advice and Information

New students in 2020/21 whose grades are affected by Coronavirus

We understand that this is a very stressful time for applicants who have been working hard towards their GCSE, A-level and Diploma qualifications and are now unsure about how those qualifications will be awarded.

Point Blank remains absolutely determined that no applicant will be disadvantaged by the current crisis. We are currently reviewing all of our admissions processes and requirements in the light of the cancellation of exams to limit the impact on our future students, including looking at different ways to assess your application beyond results.

The Government is also introducing new guidance on how students will be graded this year and more details will be available shortly. Once these details are published, we will contact all affected applicants to notify them of our updated admissions process for admission from September 2020. 

For those of you still yet to apply regardless of whether your grades are affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible as our places are filling up fast. 

While our buildings are currently closed to visitors, our staff are all working hard behind the scenes to keep our teaching and admissions processes running smoothly. Our Admissions team are open as usual and are on hand to give you all the support you need and answer any questions you might have. You can access them via email admissions@pointblankmusicschool.com

While there is not currently a fixed date when we will be able to reopen, the situation is not permanent, and we are looking forward to welcoming our new students to Point Blank.

If you have any questions then please don't hesitate to contact us. In the meantime, please click here for more information on our normal entry requirements. 

 

Temporary Campus Closures

In light of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, we have suspended all on-campus activities at Point Blank London and Point Blank LA. We have made this decision in order to protect our students and staff, who's well-being is our top priority.

Our London and LA buildings are currently closed to staff and students. We currently plan to reopen both campuses for the start of next term, however, we are monitoring the situation closely and will follow government advice as appropriate. 

Whilst our campuses are closed, our students are learning remotely from home, with classes and 121s delivered online through our state-of-the-art e-learning platform. Fortunately, we are experienced in running a highly effective and successful Online School and have processes and procedures in place to ensure the smooth operating of the School during this time.

In accordance with our Student Protection Plan, we have arranged for classes to take place remotely, providing students with an experience that is as close as possible to our on campus experience.

This includes delivering lectures and classes online wherever possible, facilitating 1-2-1 personal tuition and interaction with seminar groups and peers online, as well as providing regular updates via email and our website. All of our Student Support services are also be available remotely throughout this period.

Guidance for London staff and students can be found on the Point Blank VLE (login required).

Current students should contact our Student Services team with any questions or concerns by emailing support@pointblankmusicschool.com or calling us on 020 7729 4884.

Prospective students and those due to join us in April should contact our Admissions team with any questions or concerns by emailing admissions@pointblankmusicschool.com or calling us on 020 7729 4884.

Services for our Online School students remain unaffected and will continue as normal. 

To stay updated on the situation, we recommend following the BBC Coronavirus news feed and WHO (World Health Organisation) advice.

 

Staying Healthy

We encourage you to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from the Coronavirus. Hand sanitizer is available throughout the School and we encourage all students, staff and visitors to use this upon entering/exiting the building and periodically throughout the day. It is worth noting that there is no significant evidence to suggest that wearing a surgical mask prevents the spread of the virus.

Reduce the risk of spreading the virus:

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

• Throw all used tissues in the bin as soon as you have used them

• Wash your hands thoroughly after coughing and sneezing

Reduce the risk of catching the virus:

• Wash your hands with soap and water frequently throughout the day

• Use a hand sanitizer gel and use anti-bacterial wipes on your desk

• Don’t touch your nose, eyes, or mouth if your hands are not clean

If you are experiencing symptoms or are concerned that you may have picked up the virus, please call NHS 111 for urgent medical advice and support.

Please DO NOT come into the School, or go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home and avoid close contact with other people (where possible) until you have the all clear.

For the latest advice and information visit please the Public Health England, the NHS and the World Health Organisation.

 

Visa Advice

Advice from the Home Office

Some Tier 4 students or Tier 2/5 employees may be prevented from attending their studies or employment due to illness, the need to serve a period of quarantine or the inability to travel due to travel restrictions caused by coronavirus.

Sponsors do not need to report student or employee absences related to coronavirus which they have authorised.

Sponsors do not need to withdraw sponsorship if they consider there are exceptional circumstances when:

 A student will be unable to attend for more than 60 days

• An employee is absent from work without pay for four weeks or more

Decisions on whether to withdraw a student from their studies or terminate an employment are for sponsors to make.

The Home Office recognises the current situation is exceptional and will not take any compliance action against students or employees who are unable to attend their studies/work due to the coronavirus outbreak, or against sponsors which authorise absences and continue to sponsor students or employees despite absences for this reason.

The Home Office will keep this under review, especially if the length of absences means a potential repeat of period of studies become necessary.

General Support 

We understand that some students may be concerned about friends and family members in China or be experiencing feelings of isolation. For more general support, students should contact their institution’s wellbeing support services, their students’ union, or phone UKCISA’s Student Advice Line on +442077889214 (1–4pm UK time, Monday–Friday).

If you are unable to attend classes because you are in an affected area or are following advice from Public Health England, this will be considered an authorised absence, and it should not affect your visa in most cases.

You need to contact support[at]pointblankmusicschool.com to tell them that you are absent and the reason why, as well as an expected return date (if you know it). They will update your attendance record to show that your absence is authorised.

We do not anticipate visa implications for most Tier 4 students with quarantine or travel restrictions. But if you will be absent from study for more than 60 days (including any absences for other reasons before the quarantine/travel restriction began), you may need specific advice. 

For immigration support, please call the Coronavirus Immigration Helpline on 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or email CIH[at]homeoffice.gov.uk

FAQs

Is Point Blank London open?

No, Point Blank London buildings are currently closed, but we are delivering our courses online during this period.

What precautions is Point Blank taking?
Point Blank’s Executive Team is overseeing and monitoring the situation. We have been meeting regularly to assess the impact and to determine appropriate actions. As a result, we have decided to suspend on campus activity for the time being as outlined above. 

What is the risk to students and staff?
As the situation develops the risk increases, hence us deciding to close our buildings for a short time. That said, we encourage everyone not to panic, but to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from the virus by following the advice issues by the NHS, Public Health England and the WHO. 

Should students and staff continue to attend lectures and other teaching activities?
As outlined above, our London buildings are now closed until the start of the new term. All staff and students should teach and study remotely until advised to return to on campus activities. 

What should I do if I can not attend online classes due to self-isolation or illness? 

For international students who are unable to attend classes because they are in an affected area or are following advice from Public Health England, given the situation, this will be considered an authorised absence, and it should not affect your visa.

Equally, for UK students who need to self-isolate or become ill, this will also be treated as authorised absence. 

We will support you in minimising any impact any absence might have on your academic progress. If necessary, we can assist you in applying for extenuation from any imminent deadlines. 

All student absences should be reported support[at]pointblankmusicschool.com in the first instance. 

Staff should contact their Line Manager in the first instance as usual. 

Should students or staff with underlying health conditions take additional precautions?
We recommend that any students or staff, with underlying health conditions, who have any personal concerns contact their GP, or NHS 111, for advice.

Should students and staff wear masks?
In some countries the wearing of face masks is common. Public Health England does not recommend the use of face masks but individual decisions to wear one should be respected unless doing so itself presents a health and safety concern. There is no significant evidence to suggest that wearing a surgical mask prevents the spread of the virus.

Who should students and staff contact if they are feeling unwell?
In the first instance, they should call their GP or NHS 111 for advice. They should not attend their GP practice or NHS drop-in centre in person without first seeking advice.

Useful Links

The Department for Education (DfE) has launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education for concerned students, parents and staff.

You can contact the helpline by calling 0800 046 8687 or emailing: DfE.coronavirushelpline[at]education.gov.ukThe helpline is open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. 

You can find the latest information and advice on COVID-19 and guidance for educational settings at GOV.UK.

You can also download the Public Health England Coronavirus Factsheet here. 

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