Easter Break and graduation ceremonies
A message from Ruth Whittaker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students) emailed to all students 25 March 2021.
As the end of the Spring Term approaches, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your continued resilience and commitment to your studies in what I know are challenging and unusual circumstances. I also want to recognise the exemplary way in which you have conducted yourselves, both on and off campus, which has helped to keep everyone safe.
The Department for Education (DfE) recently confirmed that students will be allowed to return home for the Easter break. To minimise the risk of transmission however, we continue to advise you to remain in term time accommodation wherever possible.
If you do decide to travel home for the Easter break, you should ensure that you book a university test before travelling. You should also book a test before you return to the University where local testing facilities are available. If you test positive at either of these tests you will be legally obliged to self-isolate for ten days and you should not travel.
All students returning to university after spending time at home for the Easter break must book a university test as soon as possible after returning to university.
We continue to await Government confirmation of when remaining courses can return to campus, and will share an update on this as soon as possible.
Rule of six
Meanwhile, from next Monday 29 March, the Government’s lockdown restrictions will ease further in line with the roadmap out of lockdown in England. Up to six people or two households will be allowed to meet outdoors (including in private gardens). Outdoor sports facilities will also be allowed to reopen and formally organised outdoor sport can restart. Sport Brighton is planning for a phased return to activity and will provide detailed updates via social media channels. The official stay at home guidance will end, but some travel restrictions will remain in place.
Whilst this is clearly very positive news, many restrictions will remain and it is important that we all continue to stick to local and national guidance to help keep everyone safe. In particular, social gathering indoors remains prohibited and I must ask that you maintain the admirable behaviour you’ve shown during the last 12 months, for a short while longer.
Finally, with public health restrictions projected to ease in the coming months, I am pleased to provide an update on our future plans for graduation ceremonies. Recognising the enormous value that students and staff place on being able to meet in person to celebrate graduates’ achievements, the University is keen to return to face-to-face ceremonies at the earliest safe opportunity.
I can confirm that we are planning a week of face-to-face ceremonies to take place in February 2022. These events will be open to all those successfully completing their award between March 2021 and January 2022.
In reaching this decision, we considered whether we could offer in-person graduation this summer and concluded that this would not be feasible owing to the likely ongoing public health risks associated with large indoor events. We also investigated the possibility of holding ceremonies in the autumn, but unfortunately the Brighton Centre – the only suitable local venue for an event of this scale – is not available.
We hope students will welcome this news and will be content to wait a short while longer in order to enjoy a future in-person celebration of their achievements. More details about this will be shared in due course.
Thank you for your ongoing patience and support, and best wishes for an enjoyable Easter Break.