Update for staff and doctoral researchers - 07 May 2021
Dear Colleagues and Doctoral Researchers,
On Monday 17th May we anticipate that the Government will take the next step in its roadmap to gradually ease us out of lockdown. Details are available on the Government website.
We will write to students early next week outlining our response to the Government’s latest developments and will share a copy of that message with colleagues. As always, our plan will enable us to maintain as safe an environment as possible for all those on both campuses.
Learning and teaching
We anticipate that the Government guidelines will permit all students to return to University from 17th May and recommence in-person delivery. We intend to offer some in-person teaching on as many of our programmes as possible from this date.
We are likely to discourage any students not currently in the UK from returning at this point, given Covid rates and variant risks elsewhere. Any in-person delivery will therefore also need to be accessible online, or have an option for students to access a separate online session if appropriate.
The weeks of 17th and 24th May are weeks 11 and 12 of the Semester and many modules are close to the end of their delivery and moving towards revision sessions. We know from feedback that students who are on campus will really appreciate the opportunity to attend in-person teaching / revision sessions in the run up to the exam period. If you feel that there are academic (e.g. your module has been re-designed on the assumption of online delivery this semester) or personal reasons for not delivering your scheduled teaching in-person in these weeks, please speak to the appropriate senior staff in your School. We will be sympathetic wherever possible. Existing exemptions from in-person teaching will continue to apply for the rest of the Semester.
The teaching leadership teams within Schools have been working on a plan for which sessions will return to in-person teaching to maximise opportunities for as many students as possible to attend. The sessions that we would like colleagues to deliver in-person, together with details of any live online MS Teams sessions, will be adjusted in the coming days and will be colour-coded as normal on the teaching timetable. The rooms for the in-person sessions will be added to the timetable shortly.
When teaching in-person, staff should continue to maintain a 2m distance from students. If this is not possible, a higher standard of respiratory protection should be used. Please speak to your line manager if you are likely to need a higher standard of respiratory protection.
Exams will take place online through Learn from 1st to 23rd June inclusive. The timetable was made available to students on 28th April.
Some programmes will have catch-up activities before the end of the academic year. This is for students whose practical teaching, and access to specialist facilities and other activities were postponed from the spring term. Students and staff have already been advised if this is the case on specific degree programmes.
Staff returning to campus
The Government guidance from 17th May remains that staff should work from home where possible. Doctoral researchers and colleagues who wish to work from campus for some or all of their time, because it is helpful to their own wellbeing, may also do so. Managers may determine that colleagues and doctoral researchers need to work from campus for all or some of their time, to support the optimal delivery of our activities. Where that is the case, they should do so. This includes spending some time on campus to familiarise themselves with the arrangements. Line managers will discuss this with colleagues. Updated risk assessments have been undertaken and there are a range of health and safety measures in place across campus to help everyone stay as safe as possible.
Now that all our students are able to return to campus, it is important that staff are on site to offer support and contribute to the Loughborough experience that our students have been unable to enjoy in full over the last few months. As the Vice-Chancellor said in his newsletter last week, our plan is to have a gradual, phased return to working on campus. For more specific information on returning to campus please refer to your Dean or Director in your School or Professional Service.
Colleagues working from campus should maintain social distancing and wear face coverings where required, even if you have had a negative Covid test and/or received a Covid vaccination.
All colleagues who are working on campus for any period, including those who have been vaccinated, should obtain a free and rapid Covid test at least weekly in order to keep our community as safe as possible. In Loughborough you can do this by booking here. At our London campus, testing is available on Monday to Friday between 10am and 2pm on the ground floor. Further information is available on the Covid website and there is also an FAQ under the Working on Campus section.
Events over the summer months
Plans are being finalised now for a number of major events that will take place over the coming months.
- Our Covid-secure Campus Tours for 2021 entry applicantsresumed in early April and will continue throughout the summer. We will look to increase the capacity and scope of these visits in line with the Government roadmap. Our next Virtual Visit Day will take place onWednesday 26th May. The Undergraduate Open Days for 2022 entry prospective applicants will be held online as Virtual Open Days with the first taking place on Saturday 3rd July. We are currently reviewing plans for the September in-person events on campus, which will depend on Government rules at that time.
- The University Degree Shows will run from 18th to 27th June. These will be in-person supplemented by an online digital show.
- The Hall of Residence Balls will be held from 24th June to 11th July in a marquee on Shirley Pearce Square, subject to Government rules at the time.
- Graduation will take place over a two-week period, with ceremonies for the 2020 cohort being held from 19th-23rd July and the congregation for our 2021 graduands taking place from 26th-30th July. There will be an increased number of smaller ceremonies held in an open-sided marquee on campus. You can find days of specific ceremonies here.
- Clearing and confirmation will take place on campus, as it did last year. We anticipate being able to hold Open House events in Loughborough to provide students with an opportunity to visit the campus.
A Dynamic Working Group has been established to reflect on what we have learned from the pandemic and consider how the University should adopt hybrid ways of working as we move forward from Covid-19 and lockdown.
The Group will make recommendations that enable us to use the lessons we learned around remote working over the past year, to provide an enhanced working experience for colleagues, while preserving Loughborough’s sense of community and the delivery of a first-class student experience.
The Group is chaired by Professor Andy Dainty, Dean of the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering.
Further detail can be found here.
It has been a very challenging 14 months for colleagues and our students. The scientific advisors to Government appear cautiously optimistic about the future. Over the coming months we will seek to facilitate the ceremonies our 2020 and 2021 graduates are so keen to have, prepare safely for activity on our campuses for the new academic year, and clearly identify the elements of the ways of working we have developed that are beneficial and to be retained. In the meantime though, thank you again for all you have done over what feels like an immensely long and challenging period.
Chief Operating Officer