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Latest update from the Vice Chancellor

Please find on this page two updates- for new students (starting in January 2021) and for returning students.


07 January 2021 - new students (starting in January 2021)

Dear Student,

I write with a further update following the recent government decision placing England into another lockdown to tackle the rise in Covid-19 cases and the new variant.

Prior to the Christmas break the University of Suffolk added measures to manage a staggered start to university to support our students and our ability to maintain a Covid-secure environment. Information can be found on our website www.uos.ac.uk/content/information-for-students. However, since then further government guidance has been received (7/01/21) so this update provides further information including our response to changes where necessary.

The biggest change is that we now know that the majority of courses will need to remain fully online until at least the middle of February and with the potential for this to be further extended into March. Government have indicated that they will review this decision on or around the 15th February and we will communicate any changes as soon as we are informed. The information below confirms which courses government are still enabling to undertake through a blended approach alongside other information relating to student learning and access to resources.

Learning and teaching on campus

As a result of the new guidance, the definition of practical subjects is being narrowed and the only courses that are able to return to a blended approach (face to face and online) from 4th January are as follows:

  • nursing (all branches)
  • midwifery
  • allied health professions, which includes:
    • operating department practitioners
    • paramedics
    • radiographers
    • physician associates (including other related physician associate professions)
  • social work
  • Education (initial teacher training)

The return dates remain the same for all students, with health and social work students returning to blended learning from 4th January onwards and all other students either continuing with their assessments and/or block teaching which is fully online.

Students on campus

With the exception of students studying on courses listed above, government guidance identifies that no other students should be on campus unless they have a compelling reason to do so. This includes the following:

  • Students without access to appropriate study spaces or facilities in their vacation accommodation
  • Those requiring additional support, including those with mental health issues
  • Students on placements where the placement provider has Covid-secure measures in place, is permitted to open based on the relevant local restrictions and is content for placements to continue.

Commuter students should only access campus facilities if they fall in the above exemptions. For the avoidance of doubt, research students should work from home where possible, but those who require access to specialist facilities will need to contact their Dean/Supervisor for further information.

Students returning to halls of residence/private accommodation

All students - unless studying on the courses listed above - should remain in their current location/accommodation until the resumption of their face-to-face teaching, wherever possible, to minimise travel over the next few crucial weeks. If you have already travelled back to either a hall of residence or private accommodation near the university, you are expected to stay and study remotely from here and not travel back home again.

International students are also encouraged to remain in the UK where possible. Government guidance asks that no other students return to campus before the middle of February at the earliest.

Asymptomatic testing for students and staff

Government guidance makes it clear that all students who have returned to a hall of residence and/or are accessing campus are required to be tested. As previously communicated, asymptomatic testing for all students will be offered between 4 January – 28 February 2021 and will continue in the old gym on the edge of Athena Hall. An appointment for your test can be made online at https://commisceo-pcs.shiftpartner.com/sign-up or by calling 0333 7726144 .

All students (commuter or in halls/private accommodation) for the practical subjects listed who will be arriving on campus from the 4th January or who need to access the campus under one of the other criteria are required to take two tests within a three-day testing window. Students should minimise social contact until two negative test results have been confirmed. In addition, students who have stayed on campus over the winter break and have had social contact with others within the previous 10 days should also be tested. Any student who chooses not to access the testing will need to self-isolate for 10 days before accessing the campus.

Library access

The Government guidance allows for the University to continue to provide access to the library, on an essential access only basis, for resources and study spaces. This is for those students on courses that are able to return to campus and for those students whose accommodation does not give suitable space for studying. Our Library continues to be open, 7 days a week. Current opening times are published online at https://libguides.uos.ac.uk/20-21-support/home The Library is following full social distancing measures, and face coverings must be worn at all times while you are in the Library unless you have an exemption.

Access to study spaces with desktop PCs also bookable. Spaces must be pre-booked using the online forms available at https://libguides.uos.ac.uk/20-21-support/study-spaces

Our resources continue to be available to you, as both online and physical collections. In order to maintain a Covid-secure book collection, it is not possible to browse, but books can be reserved online, and we will alert you once the book has been quarantined, and is available for collection. Information on this is available at https://libguides.uos.ac.uk/20-21-support/click-collect You can return your books to us at any point when the building is open, and books will be returned from your account at the end of a 72 hour quarantine period. You will not be charged any fines during this period.

Full support from your Learning and Teaching Librarians, and Academic Skills Advisors is provided remotely. You can find out more and book your appointments at https://libguides.uos.ac.uk/20-21-support/accessing-support

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to your course at this challenging time. Our society will need new graduates more than ever beyond the pandemic and we remain committed to delivering learning that supports you to progress and succeed at this challenging time.

Professor Helen Langton

Vice-Chancellor and CEO

 

07 January 2021 - returning students

Dear Student,

I write with a further update following the recent government decision placing England into another lockdown to tackle the rise in Covid-19 cases and the new variant.

Prior to the Christmas break the University of Suffolk added measures to manage a staggered return to university to support our students and our ability to maintain a Covid-secure environment. Information can be found on our website www.uos.ac.uk/content/information-for-students. However, since then further government guidance has been received (7/01/21) so this update provides further information including our response to changes where necessary.

The biggest change is that we now know that the majority of courses will need to remain fully online until at least the middle of February and with the potential for this to be further extended into March. Government have indicated that they will review this decision on or around the 15th February and we will communicate any changes as soon as we are informed. The information below confirms which courses government are still enabling to undertake through a blended approach alongside other information relating to student learning and access to resources.

Learning and teaching on campus

As a result of the new guidance, the definition of practical subjects is being narrowed and the only courses that are able to return to a blended approach from 4th January are as follows:

  • nursing (all branches)
  • midwifery
  • allied health professions, which includes:
    • operating department practitioners
    • paramedics
    • radiographers
    • physician associates (including other related physician associate professions)
  • social work
  • Education (initial teacher training)

The return dates remain the same for all students, with health and social work students returning to blended learning from 4th January onwards and all other students either continuing with their assessments and/or block teaching which is fully online.

Assessment in January

All assessments information is published in your course areas in Brightspace. To make sure you are fully up to date on any communications published to you in Brightspace, we encourage you to download the Brightspace Pulse App. Information on this is available at https://libguides.uos.ac.uk/brightspace-student-support/mobile-app

We are also making important and supportive additional variations to our assessment regulations to ensure that the impact of Covid-19 on your ability to study, complete and submit assessment, does not adversely impact your assessment marks or final degree classification.  Full information on the variations is available on the Temporary Changes to Assessment Regulations webpage.

Students on campus

With the exception of students studying on courses listed above, government guidance identifies that no other students should be on campus unless they have a compelling reason to do so. This includes the following:

  • Students without access to appropriate study spaces or facilities in their vacation accommodation
  • Those requiring additional support, including those with mental health issues
  • Students on placements where the placement provider has Covid-secure measures in place, is permitted to open based on the relevant local restrictions and is content for placements to continue.

Commuter students should only access campus facilities if they fall in the above exemptions. For the avoidance of doubt, research students should work from home where possible, but those who require access to specialist facilities will need to contact their Dean/Supervisor for further information.

Students returning to halls of residence/private accommodation

All students - unless studying on the courses listed above - should remain in their current location/accommodation until the resumption of their face-to-face teaching, wherever possible, to minimise travel over the next few crucial weeks. If you have already travelled back to either a hall of residence or private accommodation near the university, you are expected to stay and study remotely from here and not travel back home again.

International students are also encouraged to remain in the UK where possible. Government guidance asks that no other students return to campus before the middle of February at the earliest.

Asymptomatic testing for students and staff

Government guidance makes it clear that all students who have returned to a hall of residence and/or are accessing campus are required to be tested. As previously communicated, asymptomatic testing for all students will be offered between 4 January – 28 February 2021 and will continue in the old gym on the edge of Athena Hall. An appointment for your test can be made online at https://commisceo-pcs.shiftpartner.com/sign-up or by calling 0333 7726144 .

All students (commuter or in halls/private accommodation) for the practical subjects listed who will be arriving on campus from the 4th January or who need to access the campus under one of the other criteria are required to take two tests within a three-day testing window. Students should minimise social contact until two negative test results have been confirmed. In addition, students who have stayed on campus over the winter break and have had social contact with others within the previous 10 days should also be tested. Any student who chooses not to access the testing will need to self-isolate for 10 days before accessing the campus.

Library access

The Government guidance allows for the University to continue to provide access to the library, on an essential access only basis, for resources and study spaces. This is for those students on courses that are able to return to campus and for those students whose accommodation does not give suitable space for studying. Our Library continues to be open, 7 days a week. Current opening times are published online at https://libguides.uos.ac.uk/20-21-support/home The Library is following full social distancing measures, and face coverings must be worn at all times while you are in the Library unless you have an exemption.

Access to study spaces with desktop PCs also bookable. Spaces must be pre-booked using the online forms available at https://libguides.uos.ac.uk/20-21-support/study-spaces

Our resources continue to be available to you, as both online and physical collections. In order to maintain a Covid-secure book collection, it is not possible to browse, but books can be reserved online, and we will alert you once the book has been quarantined, and is available for collection. Information on this is available at https://libguides.uos.ac.uk/20-21-support/click-collect You can return your books to us at any point when the building is open, and books will be returned from your account at the end of a 72 hour quarantine period. You will not be charged any fines during this period.

Full support from your Learning and Teaching Librarians, and Academic Skills Advisors is provided remotely. You can find out more and book your appointments at https://libguides.uos.ac.uk/20-21-support/accessing-support

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to your course at this challenging time. Our society will need new graduates more than ever beyond the pandemic and we remain committed to delivering learning that supports you to progress and succeed at this challenging time.

Professor Helen Langton

Vice-Chancellor and CEO