THE Southern Regional College has announced it will suspend all classes in its buildings from tomorrow.
All six colleges of Further and Higher Education in Northern Ireland have taken the decision to suspend all face-to-face delivery from 5pm on Friday, 20 March. The suspension will last until further notice.
The decision, which has been taken in light of the latest UK Government advice, is driven by the overriding need to help protect the safety and well-being of their students and staff.
In a letter, the heads of all six colleges said that changes would come into effect from Monday, 23 March.
"Delivery will continue remotely including the use of digital learning, in so far as this is possible.
Colleges will remain open to staff only.
Where practical, staff should work remotely.
The absence of students and the size of campuses will ensure that we can all comply with the need to remain socially distant.
"We understand and deeply regret the unavoidable disruption this will cause to the lives of our learners and our staff. We are giving as much notice as possible to allow time for students, parents, carers and the business community to make the necessary arrangements.
"Each college is continuing to work through the ramifications and practicalities of the decision at a local level.
"We are hugely proud of the way in which the entire Further Education College community is responding to this dynamic and deeply challenging situation. Our employees’ unwavering commitment to our learners, and to each other, is as admirable as it is unsurprising.
"The colleges will continue to provide staff and students with updates, signposting to official government and public health advice, as well as whatever reassurances we can in the midst of so much uncertainty and unease.
"We look forward to welcoming our students back on campus in due course."
The letter is signed off by Brian Doran Southern Regional College, Marie-Therese McGivern Belfast Metropolitan College, Terri Scott Northern Regional College, Leo Murphy North West Regional College, Ken Webb South Eastern Regional College and Michael McAlister South West College.