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Our plans for teaching and learning in Semester 2

06 Dec 2021

All students returning to on-campus study

Following wide discussion across the Faculties over recent weeks, we appreciate that both staff and students are keen to understand the plans for teaching delivery in Semester 2.

We can confirm that, as previously planned, we expect all undergraduate and taught postgraduate students to return to on-campus study for Semester 2, unless there is a major change in UK government guidance.

We know there continue to be some uncertainties, most recently with the new Omicron COVID variant. We are confident that our campus is a safe environment and we will continue to act in line with any UK government guidance and regulations, as we have always done. The safety of our students and staff will always come first.

Any changes being communicated for Semester 2 do not apply to postgraduate research students (PGRs) as there is already an expectation that PGRs conduct their research on campus, unless they are on approved off-campus activities such as fieldwork or are researching remotely under the UKVI concession (which expires on 6 April 2022). Similarly, this does also not apply to anyone on our specialised distance learning courses.

Students that have in-person assessments on campus during the January exam period are being advised that they should ensure they return in time for these. Otherwise they should return for the beginning of Semester 2 on 7 February. Students should ensure that they arrive in time to complete any required quarantine period before their exams or teaching activities start.

As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to assess the current situation in relation to COVID and the Omicron variant, review any emerging UK government guidance over the coming weeks and be ready to make any adaptations if necessary.

Studying on campus

Most of our programmes are designed primarily for in-person on-campus teaching and interaction with lecturers and other students, though increasingly with additional enrichment through digital resources.

Some programmes also require specific in-person activities or assessment to qualify for accreditation or recognition (for example by the relevant professional bodies), which can only be delivered on campus.

We also believe that being on campus is important for students to get the most out of their university experience. As well as in-person teaching, being here in person allows students to make the most of all our facilities and services – the Library, study spaces, wellbeing support, the Students’ Union, sports and societies. And, of course, they are here in our great city.

Safety on campus

We understand that some staff and students may have concerns about returning, especially with the current uncertainty around the Omicron variant. Throughout Semester 1, our campus has been a COVID-safe environment and case numbers have been very low. We are continually reviewing our COVID safety guidelines.

The vast majority of our students and staff are now vaccinated – returners can also get vaccinated for free after they arrive. In-line with recent UK government guidance, face coverings are mandatory in all indoor spaces across campus. We also encourage everyone on campus to get regular COVID tests, by collecting free testing kits from campus or ordering them to their home address. Find out more about vaccination and testing on campus.

Visas and travel

We are advising students who are travelling from overseas to join us on campus in January or February 2022, to be aware that UK government rules for travel and quarantine vary depending on where they may be travelling from, and to check the guidance regularly before they travel.

For those students living in a “red list” country, travelling to campus for the first time  this academic year and needing to undertake quarantine in a UK government approved hotel, we will pay the cost of their required stay. Students can find out how to apply for the quarantine hotel cost support fund here. We are also in the process of negotiating a preferential rate for PCR tests with a dedicated booking portal, and will communicate more details on this soon.

If students need to apply for a student visa, and have not yet done so, they can find information about this on our visa guidance web pages.

Find out more

Our student FAQs give more information about studying on campus, COVID safety, travel, and other things that they may need to consider before returning. As always, we are also here to support any students who may be feeling anxious or need help making the transition back to campus, through our support and wellbeing services.

Any students who are not able to return may wish to explore what is best for them - which may involve an interruption of studies. Our student FAQs cover this topic and tell students who to contact to discuss their options (this varies between Faculties).

We commend and thank all of our staff for your continued dedication to supporting our students, and indeed we are all grateful to our students themselves - for their perseverance and continued commitment to their studies. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to campus in the new year.

Professor April McMahon
Vice-President Teaching, Learning and Students