Update for students - 2 November
In his announcement on Saturday the Prime Minister described a number of further national restrictions that will run from Thursday 5th November until Wednesday 2nd December. Importantly however, he announced that universities would remain open. Whilst the Government’s actions have implications for our activities at Loughborough University, we shall remain open and continue to operate from our campuses in the East Midlands and London.
The number of students at the University testing positive for Covid-19 and those self-isolating is falling. There are no significant reports of transmission of infection in the context of teaching and learning. Transmission is largely associated with residential accommodation (both on campus and in town) and social distancing breaking down in social settings.
The vast majority of the student community at Loughborough continues to behave responsibly to protect both themselves and others. As I have said before, I am hugely grateful to you for this. A small minority of individuals show an unacceptable disregard of others in how they are behaving. One example occurred on Saturday around halls of residence. We are now taking disciplinary action where, for the first time, a small group of students are likely to have their studies suspended for the rest of this academic year. We will take robust action where poor behaviour jeopardises the welfare of others in our community.
The Government recognises that students have been welcomed back to campus and with the safety measures that we have in place to minimise the spread of the virus at Loughborough, the University as stated will remain open. The new rules say that students at university who are living away from home must not move between their permanent home and student home during term time.
The Government has stated that students will be allowed to return home at Christmas. The University said in September that this was also our clear position. We recognise that not all students will be able to return home (e.g. because they are from overseas) and we will support students who remain here. We shall publish further details shortly. We shall also announce how students who may need a Covid test before leaving (e.g. because they live at home with vulnerable people), even if they are not symptomatic, will be able to obtain one (at no cost) from the University.
We are going to have to make some changes to the way in which we do some things. We expect detailed guidance from Government tomorrow and will write again with the detail.
The teaching and learning framework being implemented by the University will continue to operate largely unchanged with a mix of in-person and online delivery. Labs and other practical / studio classes will run as normal with work to be submitted by published deadlines. You will need to factor this, and the Government’s statement that students should stay at their campus until the end of term, into any decision you choose to make if you are considering returning home before Thursday.
Life will continue to be challenging for some time to come. In previous emails I have given students the commitment that my colleagues and I will do all that we can to keep the University open, maintain our taught programmes and preserve the campus environment as a safe place to study, socialise and participate in sport.
How we do this over the next four weeks will be a challenge but with your support and loyalty I know that we can do it.
Professor Robert J. Allison
Vice-Chancellor & President