HEREFORD'S new university will not be able to open as planned in September due to the impact of the coronavirus.

The New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering was expected to officially open its first cohort of students.

NMITE leaders say they have been working hard to open at the start of the next academic year.

However, construction work at their Blackfriars Street site and at Hereford Enterprise Zone had to be paused during the lockdown.

And the validation process of the future higher education institution’s academic programme has also been delayed.

During the validation process new courses are scrutinised before their introduction to assure their standards.

However, despite the setbacks, NMITE’s president Elena Rodriguez-Falcon said she’s determined to make the vision come true.

“We won’t be able to open in September,” she said.

“Construction work on Blackfriars and at the Enterprise Zone had to be paused and the validation process was too.

“That is all now up and running again and we hope to hear about validation in the near future.

“But the flexibility of the course is it can have different entry points, so we do not have to wait for a specific time to start.

“Reflecting on the project we mustn’t forget that it has only been in the making for a couple of years.

“We’ve stuck to a vision and we want to deliver it so that Hereford can have the institution it has wanted for 800 years.”

Ms Rodriguez-Falcon said the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge on the higher education sector across the world with most higher education institutions switching to remote learning.

“One of the universities in Mexico has four days of classes and 10 days in lockdown as a way to beat the coronavirus.

“It’s something we should consider.”

She said NMITE has been prudent with their finances and Herefordshire Council have commissioned them to produce thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment.

In April, NMITE converted its administration offices at Gardner Hall, Hereford into a makeshift factory producing vitally needed PPE items for both NHS acute hospitals and local care homes.