Update for students - 23 February 2021
It is important that you read this email with care and understand its contents.
In his announcement on Monday 22nd February, the Prime Minister outlined revisions to the national restrictions that will come into effect over the coming weeks. We have considered how these will impact on the University’s operations. Our plans will enable us to maintain as safe an environment as possible for all those on campus and ensure we follow Government guidelines.
Learning and teaching
Students studying programmes requiring practical teaching or specialist facilities such as laboratories, studios and workshops are asked to return to the University for Monday 8th March. Details of programmes in this category can be found here. Practical classes and other work requiring the use of specialist facilities will resume from 8th March. Lectures and seminars for these students will generally remain online until Easter.
It is a requirement that all students and staff have a Covid test at least once a week in order to be allowed access to campus buildings and facilities. The tests are free, rapid and available through the University testing facility which operates out of the Martial Arts Centre in the student village.
Lectures and other classroom-based teaching for all other degree programmes will continue to be delivered online until after the Easter vacation. The current Government guidelines say that we should not ask students to return if their programme of study can reasonably be continued online.
You may also return to campus if you meet one of the following criteria:
- you have already arranged international travel to the UK,
- you do not have adequate space/facilities at home to study,
- your mental health would be negatively affected if you remain at home,
- you are part of an elite sport performance pathway.
There will be further Government announcements before the start of the summer term including a review of return for all other students. If this review permits, all students will return to the University at the end of the Easter vacation. The week commencing Monday 19th April (the fourth week of the Easter vacation) has been designated a ‘catch-up’ week for those on programmes requiring practical teaching or specialist facilities, and other activities postponed from the spring term, and students will be notified shortly by their Schools about what will be happening.
All students using University facilities will need to have a regular, free Covid test throughout the summer term. You can find more information about the rules and restrictions currently in place here.
Students not currently in the UK
We are very conscious that the current situation brings particular challenges for students who are not currently resident in the UK. If you are on a programme that has been asked to return for 8th March, we recognise you may not be able to accomplish this. Instead we ask for you to make your best efforts for return and be here no later than 19th April. We will support students who may need to catch up because of this.
If you are currently outside the UK, please find further detailed information on returning to the UK and the teaching and learning on your programmes for the remainder of Semester 2 here.
To assist with your travel planning, we have put together an overview on our website of the Covid tests you will need to take before you travel to the UK and once you are here. The site also provides information about quarantine when you arrive in the UK.
Once your quarantine period is complete, you will be required to take a free Covid test at least once a week. You should book this using the Connect and Protect form.
Covid testing for UK-based students
If community testing facilities are available in your home area you should, if possible, take a test before you travel back to Loughborough.
If you are travelling from an area which is currently undergoing surge testing you must have a test before you travel. If the test is positive, you must not travel until your period of self-isolation is complete. Where this is the case, we shall make sure that you can catch up on any missed work.
When you return to the University, please remember that you must book a lateral flow Covid test on your arrival and before you access any part of the campus. The only exception is those that have had a positive test within the last 90 days. You should do this using the Connect and Protect form.
Once on campus, all students will be required to take a free Covid test at least once a week. This is essential because we already know that it is having a positive impact on how we can minimise Covid transmission in the student community.
If you are currently based outside the UK, please follow the separate instructions regarding testing when travelling to the UK from overseas, as outlined on our website.
Hall of residence accommodation fees
Students with practical teaching who have been advised that they should return to campus will be charged hall of residence fees from 8th March.
If you have been advised that you should not return until a given time, we will continue to rebate residence fees. Rebates will only be applied where students have followed the process for claiming as set out in previous communications to you from the Student Accommodation Centre. Please be aware that as part of our welfare checks we will be ensuring that any student claiming a rebate is not resident on campus.
All rebates will be refunded to your account during April and will show on the statement you receive at the end of that month.
Supporting your wellbeing
I know that the current situation is unsettling for some of you. If you are feeling anxious or worried, please remember that there is help available.
Student Services (E: firstname.lastname@example.org, T: 01509 222765) offers a range of support, mental health and wellbeing and financial advice. The Centre for Faith and Spirituality (E: email@example.com, T: 01509 223741) offers a space for reflection and has chaplains of various faiths.
Loughborough Students’ Union’s Welfare and Diversity team can also offer guidance and support.
The University has been able to increase its hardship funds to support students in challenging financial circumstances. More information is available here.
Should you wish to take a leave of absence for 2020/21 or you do not wish to continue your studies with us you may find it helpful to consult our information on Leave of Absence and Transfers. Should you have any queries or concerns about your academic programme this Semester, please contact your School for further information.
Sport and other campus activities
For the immediate future, the restrictions on non-academic activities remain significant. You are able to mix within your household. You may meet up with one person not in your household, outdoors for the purpose of exercise. From 8th March, you will be able to meet one person outdoors for recreational purposes in addition to exercise.
Outdoor sports facilities can only be used by students in pairs or within households. Exemptions apply to elite athletes.
The Government has announced that, provided their criteria for reducing rates of Covid are met, outdoor sport can resume from 29th March. Gyms and pools can open from 12th April. Where possible we shall re-open our facilities. It is our intention to hold sporting fixtures (including IMS) from the week commencing 19th April, Government guidelines permitting.
LSU have informed us that their Socially Distanced Social Club will resume when outdoor licensed areas can recommence activity. At present this is likely to be from 12th April. Indoor venues could re-open from 17th May.
LSU is working with the University so that other sections and societies can recommence in-person activity and will publish details through their channels.
I am pleased that we can begin to return and bring energy back to our campus in a careful and phased manner. If you are returning to the University, please continue to maintain the highest standards of behaviour. This includes making sure you have a regular Covid-19 test.
Thank you for patience and support during this period.
Professor Bob Allison