National Lockdown as at 5 January 2021
A message from Debra Humphris, Vice-Chancellor emailed 5 January 2021 to all students.
Last night’s announcement by the Prime Minister of a further national lockdown has extended the period during which universities are required to teach the majority of students remotely.
I appreciate that this will add to the frustration you will be feeling at this time and I want to assure you that the University is considering in detail the full implications of the Government’s guidance, to ensure the quality of your learning experience is preserved. Much of the guidance, however, remains as published last week and reiterates the messages I shared with you in my email of 31 December. The lockdown will mean that, with the exception of subjects listed below, you will be taught and assessed remotely until mid-February at the earliest.
Travel and testing
As per Government advice, you should not be travelling. Only those students in one of the following subject areas, where face-to-face study is continuing, are permitted to travel:
- Clinical and health care
- Social work
- Initial Teacher Training
There are some further exemptions including where international students have pre-booked travel, 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).
If you have recently returned to campus, or will return in the coming days, you should book one of the University’s LFD/asymptomatic tests as soon as possible. Please remember that if you do not take a test, you must self-isolate for ten days.
I understand that our international students may have some further specific concerns. We are continuing to seek clarification from the Government on a number of issues and will write to you specifically with an update in the very near future. In the meantime, please remember that the current guidance is that international students are being encouraged to study remotely wherever possible. Where this is not possible you will need to follow government advice, including that of your home nation before travelling and around quarantining in the UK when you arrive.
University libraries will be operating a click and collect service. Students who do not have appropriate study space at home will be able to access computer pool rooms, and we are seeking ways to ensure that study space in our libraries will also remain accessible. If you have concerns about access to suitable IT to support your remote learning, please speak to your school. School specialist teaching facilities such as studios, laboratories and workshops will not be accessible unless advised otherwise by your school. A limited take-away food service with restricted opening hours will also be available on our campuses.
Learning Outcomes, Assessments and Mitigating Circumstances
I know that many of our students will be concerned about what the ongoing pandemic means for your learning and assessments. Throughout this period, our schools have worked hard to ensure that your learning is not impacted adversely, and they are continuing to do this. Should you have particular concerns please speak to your course tutor. We will also be writing to you shortly about our approach to mitigating circumstances and would like to assure you that this has sufficient flexibility to consider specific circumstances in which you may feel that your academic outcomes have been impacted by Covid-19.
I know how deeply disappointing this latest news is. Your health and wellbeing remains our very highest priority. Please use the many resources on offer and speak to your Student Support and Guidance Tutor (SSGT) or course leader should you have any particular concerns. Please do take good care of yourself and your friends.
Please also look at our updated FAQs, and I will keep you up to date as further information becomes available and further decisions are taken. Thank you for your patience and for continuing to follow the Government guidance through this difficult and unsettling time.