Information for students about preparations for the 2020/21 Academic Year
This information was published to all current students on 29/05/20 in our regular all student bulletin. View copies of all student updates issued during the restricted campus operations period.
We know many of you are keen to find out what the next academic year holds, how your course will be taught, and what will resources and support will be available, both on campus and online.
We are starting to reopen parts of the Edgbaston campus from next week for some essential activities, and we are planning for the campus to be open in September for teaching. The University is planning to welcome as many students as possible from its global community for the start of the next academic year, guided as always by advice from the UK Government and Public Health England.
As previously confirmed, term dates for next year will remain as they were originally scheduled in order to help our students to start to make plans for the autumn.
Given the uncertainty about the COVID-19 crisis through the next academic year, we are preparing to teach both on-campus and online from the start of the autumn term. We are working on the basis that lectures will initially take place online because current social distancing measures make large gatherings impossible. However, putting lectures online creates more (socially distanced) space on campus for other activities to take place, including some seminars, tutorials and lab activities where possible. Nearer the start of term we expect to have further clarity about the mix of online and on-campus teaching, based on the government guidance at that time.
Student and staff safety is a key priority and these steps will increase our resilience, while also ensuring that we continue to follow government guidance and maintain safety and social distancing on campus. The campus experience may feel different at first as we apply new precautions to keep everyone safe, but our strong community will help us all to adapt and support each other.
To help us plan for the next academic year we have developed a Framework for Educational Resilience 2020-21 and work to define what this means for each course is underway in academic departments, with input from Student Representatives and the Guild of Students. As part of this, we remain committed to ensuring that students can continue to access a high quality teaching experience, as well as a wide range of campus support services such as the Library, including access to study spaces and PC clusters, Careers Network and Student Wellbeing teams, both in person and at a distance as appropriate. As such, and consistent with the guidance from the Office for Students, there will be no change in the fees charged for degree programmes.
We recognise that students are keen to firm up accommodation plans for the next academic year. For University accommodation next year, we have extended the application deadline to offer students some much needed flexibility. We are also in discussion with local large private accommodation providers to encourage them to be as flexible as possible for next year and will update students on these conversations as soon as possible.
We can reassure you that we are taking steps to ensure that campus is a safe and secure environment when you return. We will be adhering to government policy but also ensuring that we use our own academic expertise which has contributed to the national and international fight against Coronavirus. Work is ongoing to develop a full set of measures that will be in place by September, and we will keep you updated in the coming weeks as our plans take shape.
We are grateful for all of your ongoing understanding and patience at this time. This remains a fast moving situation and we cannot say with any degree of certainty what the government’s social distancing advice will be from September so we will continue to keep the situation under review and update students as and when we can through these regular bulletins.