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21/10/2021

Many of you will have seen the advice issued earlier this week by the Director of Public Health over additional measures to be implemented in schools and other education settings following the rise in COVID-19 cases in Suffolk.

Our existing advice to staff and students recommends and encourages the wearing of face coverings in communal areas, particularly in crowded or enclosed areas. Following the latest public health advice, from Monday 1 November 2021 all staff and students should wear face coverings in communal areas, unless exempt for medical reasons. Although not formally coming into force for another week, we request that staff and students start to adopt this practice from Monday 25 October 2021.

I do hope this step will be seen as one intended to support and encourage safe behaviours across the whole of our University community.

We do not expect to make any further changes to the way in which the University operates at the current time, including our academic delivery.

For further information please refer to https://www.uos.ac.uk/content/information-staff.

With best wishes

Prof. Helen Langton

Vice-Chancellor

 

Previous updates:

As you will no doubt be aware, from Monday 19 July COVID-19 guidance is due to change once again. From Step 4  in the government’s roadmap, there will no longer be government-imposed restrictions on the approach to teaching and learning in Higher Education (HE). However, in line with all other settings HE providers are advised to implement sensible and proportionate control measures to reduce any potential risks to staff and students.

This email is to provide you with an update on the guidance we are putting into place for those coming on to campus over the summer. Our plans for the new academic year will be published in due course as we finalise arrangements.

Face coverings

From 19 July, face coverings will no longer be a government-imposed restriction for students, staff and visitors either in teaching and learning environments or communal areas. Staff and students may still choose to wear face coverings and are recommended to do so in crowded or enclosed areas.

If you need to use the lifts, please wear a face covering and lift capacity is being limited to a maximum of two people for the time being.

Social distancing

Although the rules on social distancing have been relaxed, we are recommending the 1m rule. Please also be mindful that your peers and colleagues may not share the same enthusiasm as you for social contact. Our one-way system around the campus will remain in place for the time being.

Learning and Teaching

Some teaching is scheduled for the summer months, primarily Health courses, or taught postgraduate courses. We will continue to observe all hygiene measures in learning and teaching spaces, including the use of sanitiser, however there is no longer a requirement to wear a face covering in teaching spaces except where this is clearly signposted. More generally, the University remains supportive of those staff and students who choose to continue to wear a face covering.

Testing

Everyone who is coming to campus should continue to test twice a week. Home testing kits can be collected from reception until August. Testing kits can also be collected from local pharmacies and ordered online for home delivery. If you do test positive, please report this to academicregistrar@uos.ac.uk as quickly as possible so that we can respond rapidly to protect our community.

Contact tracing

Contact tracing will remain an important part of minimising transmission of COVID-19, therefore please continue to scan the QR code when you arrive on campus via the NHS COVID-19 App. By scanning a QR code you enable NHS Test and Trace to send notifications. If you are unable to access the NHS COVID-19 App, please complete one of the Track and Trace postcards at reception each time you are on campus.

Social contact

From Step 4 the guidance on social contact changes. Please use the Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do guidance to find out more.

Cleaning on campus

Our cleaning teams are already doing a fantastic job at keeping the campus clean and we have increased our cleaning schedule which will remain in place. Hand-sanitiser stations will remain throughout the building. We are also keeping the campus buildings well ventilated.

Learning and Teaching

Some teaching is scheduled for the summer months, primarily Health courses, or taught postgraduate courses. We will continue to observe all hygiene measures in learning and teaching spaces, including the use of sanitiser, however, as noted there is no longer a requirement to wear a face covering in teaching spaces.

The Library Building

The Government guidance is that library services and study spaces must continue to be provided in a COVID secure way. This means that the following measures will be in place until we are advised otherwise:

  1. Study spaces must be pre-booked, for individuals, or small groups of up to four learners.
  2. Books can be requested online using the existing click and collect service.

The Library will remain open 7 days a week, and additional information is published online.

The vaccination programme

If you haven’t already, we strongly advise all students take up the offer of both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccination is now being offered to everyone aged 18 and over at local sites run by GPs or community pharmacies, at larger vaccination centres, in some hospitals and at ‘pop-up’ events. Please visit the National Booking Service for more information or call 119. 

Travelling

If you are planning to travel home please make sure you take a COVID test beforehand. The government has information on how to ensure you travel safely.  If you are planning to travel to outside the UK this summer, please read and adhere to the latest government guidance.

International students

Full information for our international students can be found on our website. Please go to the COVID-19 information webpage https://www.uos.ac.uk/content/academic-year-2021-2022 and click on the International Students section. We will continue to update these pages as further information becomes available, so please keep checking these webpages. You will also be contacted directly by our International Team with further guidance.

Additional measures

Please take a common-sense approach to ensure we minimise transmission of COVID-19, and other illnesses. Regular handwashing, using hand-sanitising stations and not coming on to campus if you are feeling unwell will all help.

Looking ahead

We are currently updating the website pages with information for the new academic year and will be emailing students in due course. Please visit https://www.uos.ac.uk/content/academic-year-2021-2022 for the latest information.

As per previous communications, we are planning for a full campus experience for our students this September, with a return to face to face teaching and on-campus delivery, enhanced with a rich blended experience of live streamed lectures and seminars. Further guidance on Learning and Teaching will be issued shortly. If the situation with COVID-19 changes, we have plans in place ranging from a blended learning approach to, if necessary, a full online teaching and learning experience.

Thank you for your continued cooperation and adherence to the guidance.

Professor Helen Langton
Vice-Chancellor and CEO