Return to campus and COVID-19 testing (as at 31 December)
A message from Debra Humphris, Vice-Chancellor emailed 31 December 2020 to all students.
You will by now have seen the latest announcements from the Government, in light of the rapidly changing public health situation. As a result, the Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan, has written to universities to ask us to take further measures to help reduce the transmission of the virus and to help safeguard the NHS.
As you are aware, we have already planned for a phased return of our students for the new term and also for our students to be able to take the Lateral Flow Device (LFD) asymptomatic test upon return.
The Government has, however, now requested that universities move to fully remote learning until the 25 January for all students with the exceptions of those on clinical and health care, pharmacy, social work and Initial Teacher Training courses. Where placements are mandatory and cannot be rescheduled, these may also continue.
The Government has committed to reviewing the situation during week commencing 18 January.
I appreciate that this news will cause some of you concern and indeed, quite possibly some frustration. I would like to reassure you that we are committed to ensuring that you continue to receive the support that you require both academically and personally to continue with your studies.
In many cases the Government guidance will not change current academic delivery and, critically, we are confident that the move to remote learning will not impact on the achievement of your learning outcomes.
Your schools are currently considering the full implications of the Government’s announcement and will provide you with more information very shortly.
Returning to campus
The Government has confirmed that students should not move between their permanent home and student home. This is with the exception of those students on the courses listed above, those where there are concerns for wellbeing, or where an individual does not have access to appropriate study space (please see the Minister’s letter for more information).
For those who do need to return, or those students who have remained in Brighton and Eastbourne over the vacation period, please be aware that we are now in Tier 4 and it is critical that we all follow the guidance that now applies in our region. Find out more information on the Brighton and Hove City Council website.
Accommodation and facilities
University accommodation will remain open and those of you in halls will continue to be supported by our Residential Life team. A limited take-away hospitality service will also be provided on our campuses. Our libraries and learning resources will remain open. And you may recall that, in response to feedback from students from the recent Check-in survey, we lengthened the period of time you can book for individual study. This also applies to both Study Space and PC Bookings.
If you plan to return to campus you will need to ensure that you have undertaken your Covid-19 LFD test (if you are not showing symptoms) and ensure that you minimise social contact until a negative test result has been confirmed.
- If you are coming from an area where it is possible to get this test, please do so before returning to University.
- If you are unable to, please try to avoid traveling on public transport, if at all possible, and ensure that you have booked your tests before returning to campus.
- If you have stayed on campus over the winter break and had social contact over the previous 10 days you should also be tested.
- If you do not take a Covid-19 LFD test you will need to self-isolate for ten days when you return to University. The exception to this is if you have already tested positive for Covid-19 in the previous 90 days, or if you have tested negative in your home town immediately prior to returning.
The Government has confirmed that those International students who have already booked their return to the UK and are not able to change their flights can still return during this period. However, if you are an international student please ensure that you follow the guidance issued in your home country and also the UK Government’s website.
The University has remained open throughout the pandemic and it is important to stress that this will continue to be the case. Our planning continues to be informed by the Government’s guidance for universities and our continued level of close engagement with our local Public Health teams and leaders in the local region.
Your physical and mental wellbeing is our key priority. Our Wellbeing services are available for all, and if you have any personal concerns or questions or on behalf of your friends, I would urge you to use the wellbeing resources on our website. Please do also speak to your Student Support and Guidance Tutor (SSGT) if you have any particular concerns and our FAQs will be updated on the 4 January I hope will also be helpful to you.
Please do take care and continue to follow the Government’s guidance on staying safe, and we will continue to keep you updated.