Published on 24th August 2020 at 15:27.
Last week, your full-time Officer team met with University management and discussed the following:
Safe return to campus
Around the world, we’re beginning to see how universities are adapting the coming academic year for Covid-19.
Your Officers enquired about the University’s minimum criteria for a safe return to campus.
The University’s Covid Safety Group is meeting to discuss safety protocols, including the potential for mandatory mask-wearing when indoors and one metre social distancing rules.
Your Officer team is increasingly concerned that once students are back on campus, they will not have access to Covid testing in a consistent way. The University suggested that regular testing would not be available on campus or nearby.
In a situation where teaching would have to be moved entirely online, the University is ready to do so. They are keeping an eye on the situation across Europe while also being mindful that the situation may be different in the UK.
Officers raised questions around what study and social spaces will be available to students once term starts. In-person interactions are a priority for students, particularly those involved in societies.
These spaces help combat isolation and are necessary for those spending long days on campus. The University is the middle of creating a plan that will line up with alternating timetables. At the moment they are gathering data from individual schools on how study/social spaces are used, which will inform their plans.
Extra support / extensions
Some students have expressed concerns over the quality of their learning experience in the context of the switch to online learning. Many have asked for extensions to their registration period to allow them to extend their study time and access to resources, so that they can get more out of their courses.
Due to a motion passed through the Senate, continuing support for students is mandated. Senior management are enthusiastic about this and are keen to support students through this.
A student had reached out to the officers as they were made aware that they had not been given the same extension period as the rest of the university. Management confirmed that they have taken up this issue and the situation will be resolved.
Some students raised concerns about the University’s no-detriment policy. The no-detriment policy applies to deferrals from the A2 assessment period in the 2019-20 academic year to September, but not January. If a student has an outstanding deferral from earlier than the A2 assessment period (the first Covid-affected period), the No-Detriment policy does not apply.
If someone's original deferral period has been affected by the Covid period in an additional way, the University suggests that they go through the appeals process. Students can always contact the SU Advice service if they need help navigating this system.