Following the rise in Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases across parts of England the Government has required all universities to restrict and delay the anticipated return of students in January, to reduce the potential transmission of the virus across different parts of the country.
For the majority of (taught) students, on-campus teaching was not due to start until 1 February when the second semester begins. Ahead of that date we are planning for the online assessment period (between 9 – 23 January) to continue as scheduled and the UoBe Festival (week commencing 25 January) will be delivered virtually.
The Government has identified a small group of taught subject areas that can return to campus study and placement activity from 4 January and where in-person teaching can continue, including: Medicine & Dentistry, subjects allied to medicine and health (including all branches of nursing and physiotherapy), Education (initial teacher training) and Social Work. If you are on one of these programmes your School will have confirmed this.
We are awaiting further clarification on the position for Research Students. Our current understanding is that PGR students can continue to access specialist facilities on campus, where these facilities are essential to your research, but where you are able to continue your research activity from home you should do so. We will provide further information as soon as more detailed guidance becomes available.
On returning to campus, the Government has also identified where there may be exceptions to the delayed return advice, including:
Students without access to appropriate study spaces or facilities in their vacation accommodation.
Students who have remained in their university accommodation over the vacation period.
Students who may require additional support – including for mental health and wellbeing.
Students on placements where these can continue, based on the local restrictions and where the placement provider has Covid-secure measures in place.
International Students who have remained in the UK or have already arrived in the UK.
There is also very clear guidance about the steps necessary to ensure the safe return of students, including the completion of two asymptomatic COVID tests, at least three days apart, in advance of any return to on-campus activity.