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Update for students - 3 December

Dear Students,

I am writing to you about two issues: how the University will operate in the approach to Christmas, and our return in the New Year (some of you may have read about the latter in the media – please read this message though to understand the detail of how this will apply at Loughborough).

The University before Christmas

You will be aware that from yesterday (Wednesday 2nd December) Leicestershire has been in Tier 3 Covid restrictions even though Covid rates are falling fast. Details of the restrictions in Tier 3 are available on the Government website. The Government will regularly review the Tier levels for each area. Cases at the University remain very low but we need to continue to be vigilant so they remain so.

In summary, current Tier 3 restrictions mean the following:

Socialising

People cannot meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody they do not live with, or who is not in their support bubble, this includes in any private garden.

In line with the Government’s ‘Rule of Six’, people may not socialise in a group of more than six in some other outdoor public spaces, including parks. If you are a household of more than six people, you will all still be able to gather together without social distancing.

Bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants will remain closed but are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.

Teaching and learning

Teaching will continue as scheduled already in your timetable. Details were provided in the email dated 11th November which you can find here. In summary, in-person teaching will continue until the end of Wednesday 9th December and online teaching will finish on Friday 18thDecember, the end of term. Coursework and other assessment deadlines remain unchanged unless you are told otherwise. We will shortly provide more details for the online assessments in January, so please look out for this next week.

You are encouraged to plan carefully for your own circumstances such that you can minimise any interruption to your studies as you relocate from Loughborough. Please contact your School or appropriate support services if you are likely to experience significant challenges and we will do our best to support you.

Halls activity

Under Tier 3 there must be no mixing of households. Any activity in hall should continue along the same lines as the lockdown we have just been through. There may be some virtual events but unfortunately there can be no social activity which brings together households. Dining rooms will stay open as previously.

Sport

Some organised, small group, outdoor activity will resume. There will be no indoor organised activity other than where certain exemptions in law apply for elite/performance. IMS will resume in the new year if Government guidance at that time permits it. There are a variety of online challenges and resources available on the Loughborough Sport website.

The gyms on campus are now open. Indoor activity in facilities can be booked within your household groups.

Loughborough Students’ Union

The LSU building will be open Monday-Friday (8am-5pm) until Friday 18th December. The Union Building Spar Shop, Purple Onion and Daily Grind will all remain open, the latter for takeaway refreshments only. Study spaces will continue to be available in the LSU building. For an up-to-date list of all opening hours, consult the ‘COVID-10 Hub’ on the LSU website.

Sections including Action, Enterprise, Media, Rag, Societies, and Welfare & Diversity will continue with their blended delivery of activity with The Executive remaining available to contact via email and virtual meetings. Individual officers’ contact details can be found on the LSU website and their respective social media pages.

LSU will be publishing its arrangements shortly for ‘The Socially Distanced Social Club: The Enchanted Forest’.

All updates, ticket details, and officer contact details can be accessed via the LSU website, and you are encouraged to follow the Students’ Union (@LoughboroughSU) across all social media platforms for the most up to date information.

Getting a test

If you have symptoms of Covid-19 you can obtain a test through this process.

If you do not have symptoms you can obtain up to two rapid lateral flow tests from the University (at both our East Midlands and London campuses) before Christmas. You should book your test(s) very close to the point of your departure. Please note if your test returns a positive result you will have to isolate at your campus for 10 days so we strongly advise you to plan your departure and obtain a test by 13thDecember at the latest. Details on how to obtain a test can be found on the website.

The University when you return in the New Year

In line with Government guidelines, we are offering a staggered return to the University in the New Year.

The new term will officially start on Monday 11th January 2021, as planned, in week 12 of Semester 1.

Any revision lectures in week 12 will be delivered online as previously advised. For some students, particularly those students who don’t have exams at the end of Semester 1, in-person teaching will recommence from the start of the new term (11th January) and you should be back on campus for that date. If you are studying a subject that includes a practical element, eg laboratory- or studio-based work, you should also be back on campus for the first in-person class shown in your timetable to ensure you are able to participate in this. Your timetables have the latest information for you so please check them if you are unsure. The majority of our specialist spaces will also be open for you to access for project / dissertation work if you choose to do so prior to the start of Semester 2.

Semester 1 assessments (which will take place from 18th January to 3rdFebruary) will be undertaken online and students who are expecting to sit examinations will not need to be on campus to do this. If you wish to revise and undertake your online assessments on the campus, however, you are, of course, able to return to the University to do so. Our student study spaces will be available to use and we will have a system to allow spaces to be booked in advance for private study or to take an online assessment if you choose to do so.

Further information about the Semester 1 online assessments will be sent to you next week.

Semester 2 will begin on Monday 8th February, when in-person teaching will resume for all taught programmes. We would expect all students to be back on campus by this date. We will provide more information in the New Year about the structure of teaching and learning for Semester 2. Initially we anticipate that Semester 2 will have a similar mix of in-person and online teaching to Semester 1, although we will make some changes in response to feedback. We will continue to review as the Coronavirus situation evolves.

Testing on your return to campus

In order to make the campus as safe an environment as possible for everyone, we intend to continue our programme of rapid Covid-19 testing as you return to campus. Further information about the operation of this will be provided before Christmas.

Richard Taylor
Chief Operating Officer