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Update on Semester 2

07 Jan 2022

A further update on plans for Semester 2 and January assessments, which has also been shared with students

University Oxford Road

As you know, we have informed all undergraduate and taught postgraduate students that we expect you to study on campus for Semester 2. This includes those who had been learning remotely in Semester 1 as a pandemic transition.

Throughout the pandemic we have adhered to advice from the UK government and public health experts. The advice for Higher Education providers from the Department for Education is that we should continue with in-person teaching.

However we are aware that there may be exceptional circumstances for a small number of students (particularly in relation to travel restrictions and those with pre-existing medical conditions) that may make that return to campus especially challenging, given the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

In these exceptional cases, students on a small number of programmes in the Faculty of Humanities will be able to apply for an arrangement to continue remote study (for Semester 2 only).

When do students have to return to campus?

Those with on-campus examinations or assessments in January should return for these as scheduled. Other students should return in time for the start of Semester 2 teaching on Monday, 7 February.

Students returning from remote study and who need extra time to arrange travel or accommodation have been advised to let their School know.

Why do students have to return to campus?

Our programmes are designed for students to learn in-person on-campus – we believe that, for the majority of students, this gives the best possible experience.

Students on many of our programmes have been studying on campus since September 2021. It’s a pleasure to see many already thriving here, enjoying not just their teaching but the whole campus and Manchester experience.

We continue to have everything we can in place to make our campus as safe as possible. The vast majority of our students and staff are now vaccinated (including booster vaccines), free COVID testing kits are readily available to everyone, and face coverings remain mandatory on campus at present. We continually review our safety guidelines, following guidance from the UK government and local public health experts.

We understand that some students may have concerns or questions about returning, particularly if they are travelling from outside the UK. We have provided further information to answer their queries:

What if students cannot return to campus?

We recognise that concerns have been heightened by the COVID-19 Omicron variant and the impact it is having around the world. As you would expect, we are constantly monitoring the situation in Manchester, the UK and internationally. We are also listening to the concerns raised by some students and continue to adapt our approach where possible. We know that exceptional circumstances may prevent a small number of students from returning to campus, due to particular travel restrictions or pre-existing medical conditions.

Programme and Faculty teams have considered carefully whether we can assure that academic standards and intended learning outcomes could be maintained with continued remote study. Accreditation requirements, good outcomes for all students, and positive learning and student experiences have also been taken into account.

On this basis, it is not possible for us to offer remote study for Semester 2 for any programmes of study in the Faculties of Science and Engineering, or Biology, Medicine and Health. Students in these Faculties who are unable to return should use our established mitigating circumstances procedure, as appropriate.

However, students in the Faculty of Humanities who are able to demonstrate mitigating circumstances can apply for remote study on a small number of programmes. 

How do students apply for continued remote study?

To be considered for continued remote study, students will need to submit a mitigating circumstances application with evidence.

Applications will open to Humanities students on eligible programmes on Monday, 10 January at 12 noon GMT. Programme teams will email students with further information on Monday, explaining the options and how to apply. The deadline to apply will be Monday, 17 January 5pm GMT. Students will then be contacted with the outcome no later than Monday, 24 January 5pm GMT.

Whether an application is successful will depend on a number of factors. These include individual circumstances, but also whether (given the number and nature of applications) we can maintain academic standards, a positive learning and student experience and good outcomes for all students on your programme.

Those students who successfully apply to study remotely will be expected to do so for the whole of Semester 2. There will be no option to swap to on-campus study later in the semester.

Students can, of course, always apply to interrupt and recommence their studies in-person in 2022/23.

Further information

We understand that the current situation may be making some students feel anxious. We are always here to support you and would encourage any student who may be struggling to reach out to our support and wellbeing services.

If there are any significant changes to UK government guidance or our approach to teaching, we will update you again as we have throughout the pandemic. For the meantime, we’re excited to have our students back soon and are ready to welcome them to campus.

Professor April McMahon                                           

Vice-President Teaching, Learning and Students