Jun 24 2020
I wrote to you at the end of last month to update you on our plans for the next academic year, including our return to campus for the start of term, and how we are adapting your course so that it combines face-to-face activity with online teaching and learning support.

I wanted to give you an update on the progress we’re making and give you more information about the changes we’re implementing on campus to keep you safe and what activities you can expect to be available to you. Our plans are based on the current guidelines but, as we know, things are changing all the time and we may need to adapt our plans further if new or different restrictions are introduced.   

Your course

We are adapting your course to combine face-to-face and online teaching and learning support. This looks like a mixture of tutorials and small group seminars in person on campus, interactive online sessions with your tutor and classmates, and online lectures.

We are planning to welcome students to campus from the start of session on Monday 21 September. If travel restrictions are in place or your personal circumstances mean you are not able to arrive on campus for the start of term, you won’t miss out. You will be able to start your course online and work as part of your class wherever you are. Our flexible approach means that if you are not able to come to campus for the start of term, you will be able to engage with your studies online, and you can then join the class on campus and in person when you are able to.

Keeping you safe

The health and safety of our community remains our highest priority, and so we are putting in place social distancing measures, which will reflect government guidelines at the time, which are designed to protect everyone on campus. This will apply to all buildings and public spaces.
We are organising the campus to ensure students and staff can move around easily and safely and there will be restrictions on the number of people who can be in one room at the same time. You will be reminded to frequently wash your hands, as this is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of catching coronavirus (Covid-19). Hand sanitiser will be available across campus.
Face coverings are not currently compulsory in the UK. While wearing a face covering does not offer protection to the user, it does help to reduce the risk of the spread of infection. By wearing a face covering you help to protect others and play your part in helping to protect the whole campus community. We will be encouraging everyone to wear face coverings when they feel it’s appropriate to do so. 
If you will be living in Halls, you will be provided with additional health and safety information, guidance and support.
Campus life

Campus life will be different because of the pandemic, but we want to reassure you that there will be lots of social activities available and plenty of opportunities for you to meet with your friends. We are developing a range of activities that will meet social distancing requirements, and there will be lots of online activities too. Our library, cafes, bars, shop and sport facilities will be open, although things may be slightly different in the larger spaces to allow for social distancing. Booking systems may be in place for some areas. Clubs and societies are looking forward to welcoming you back, whether face-to-face or online.

Travelling to campus

We will be increasing our provision for parking on campus to allow you to travel to campus by car and park for free. We will also continue to ensure social distancing remains in place on our College buses in line with government guidance.

Arriving on campus from outside the UK

If you’re travelling back to campus from outside the UK you may have to self-isolate for 14 days. Our health, wellbeing and academic support teams will be able to provide you with support online during this period.

Supporting you

I have spoken before about how we are living through events that are unprecedented in our lifetime and the importance of reaching out for support if you need it. We are committed to supporting your mental health now and next academic year and I want to reassure you that wellbeing support will continue to be available to you, both online and in person.

Staying connected

Our flexible learning approach means that if you are not able to come to campus for the start of term you will be able to engage fully with your studies online, including staying connected to classmates and tutors. There will also be plenty of opportunities to get involved socially online, with a programme of virtual events open to all students.

You can find more information in our FAQs on the student intranet which we will continue to update.

The new academic year will be different for us all, but I want to reassure you we are working hard to ensure that you can continue to engage with the activities that are important to you and that you can succeed in your studies. I will be writing to you again next month, and I continue to look forward to welcoming you back to campus for the new academic year.
Best wishes
Professor Paul Layzell