CAMPUSES at Borders College will be closed until at least February 12 following coronavirus guidance from the Scottish Government.

Staff and students had been hoping to return to classrooms on January 18 - with online lessons taking place until then.

However, online learning will now be extended after the college confirmed that the proposed return date has been scrapped.

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A spokesperson for Borders College said: “Following recent Government guidance, the college has made a decision to continue online learning until Friday 12 February.

“All campuses will remain closed to Borders College students and staff until this date at least. The Senior Management Team will review this again in February.

“We understand this will be difficult for all of our student community however; our absolute priority has to be the safety of everyone at Borders College.

"If students have any immediate concerns about this, they should contact their Course Tutor.”

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The Scottish Government released updated guidance on the return of colleges on Friday (January 8).

The guidance states that “colleges will follow the level guidance for their local authority area which in practice means with limited exemptions the majority of college students' studies will be on line in January and into February”.

It adds: “The current state of the pandemic, the impact of suppression measures and the roll out of the vaccine will all be taken into account in considering whether it is possible for a return at any point.”

Information regarding the return of university students was also mentioned in the government update.

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The guidance states that university students should not expect to be back on campus until the start of March.

Richard Lochhead, minister for further education, higher education and science, said: “We will review plans in light of the state of the pandemic nearer the time, but right now even the very limited number of returns that were previously planned for phase 2 of the restart dates, cannot happen until at least the middle of next month for the majority of students, supported by rapid-result testing on arrival.

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“We would like to thank everyone for their patience and fortitude in dealing with the pandemic over past months, and we understand this is more difficult news – but we want to give students and staff as much certainty as we can so they can plan effectively. That’s why we are setting this plan out now.

“As we have all seen, this virus moves fast and changes quickly but even in light of that reality, hopefully by setting out a clear plan that gives certainly for at least the next two months, everyone can now plan with a greater degree of confidence.”