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Update for students - 28 January 2021

Dear Students,

Following the Chief Operating Officer’s email sent to you last Friday, I am writing to provide an update on our plans for the start of Semester 2.

I know that many of you are keen to come back. Our plan is to begin a carefully phased return to campus for in-person learning activities shortly. This will enable us to maintain as safe an environment as possible for all those on campus and ensure we comply with Government guidelines.

The first groups of students to return to in-person teaching and practical work

The first students to come back will be:

  • those on a limited number of programmes identified by the Government, where there is a significant medical/health component or teacher education;
  • undergraduate finalists on specified programmes that require access to laboratory/specialist spaces in order to undertake programme-critical project work.

For students included in the first bullet point above, teaching will recommence in the week beginning Monday 8th February 2021. You will be advised by email shortly if you are on one of these programmes, which are a small number of those in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS) and the School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering (AACME). The in-person teaching will primarily be for practical work. Lectures and seminars will remain online in the first instance.

Finalists, and some Part C undergraduate masters students, who need to use laboratory/specialist space for individual project work will need to follow an online registration process to request access to facilities. If you are in this group of students, return will start from the week commencing 8th February, phased over a period of time. This will mainly be students in our Engineering Schools, Science, Design and the Creative Arts, where access to facilities is critical for substantial project work to be completed. Please note that lectures and seminars will remain online in the first instance.

We will also do our best to make sure that every final year undergraduate student has the opportunity to complete a project which does not require access to physical campus facilities for individuals that prefer to do this. You should meet and discuss this option with your supervisor if this is your preference.

Students in the above groups will be sent further information by their School shortly, including information about what to do if you do not wish or are unable to return for in-person teaching and learning.

Please remember that IT IS A REQUIREMENT that students returning to the University book and take a free rapid Covid test at our on-site Test Centre before accessing accommodation or any facilities. Book your test now via the website. You will then need to take a test at least once a week while you are on campus.

Schedule for the return of other students to in-person teaching

For students not included in the above, lectures, seminars etc will be online for the first three weeks of Semester 2, ie from 8th to 26th February. On or around 15th February, subject to Government guidelines, we shall announce which further groups of students can return to in-person teaching from 1st March 2021.

You can 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.

If you meet one of these criteria and choose to return, IT IS A REQUIREMENT you have a free rapid Covid test at our on-site Test Centre before accessing accommodation or any facilities. Book your test now via the website. You will then need to take a test at least once a week while you are on campus.
Timetable for Semester 2
Due to the changes in Government guidance regarding in-person teaching, we need to delay the publication of the teaching timetable for Semester 2. We apologise for this and now aim to release the timetable on 1st February. This will show the delivery mode for your sessions for Weeks 1-3 and will be further adjusted for later weeks as appropriate.

Adjustments to teaching periods and Semester 2 exams

We have two over-riding priorities with regard to learning, teaching and assessment. First, to maintain quality and standards. Second, to ensure students can graduate or progress to the next year of study with confidence, having completed work that ensures learning outcomes are fully delivered.

To achieve this we have taken the decision to make some changes to the teaching periods to give sufficient time to conclude learning and teaching and ensure robust and fair assessment so that everyone has the best opportunity to demonstrate their learning.

There will be an additional teaching period for one week commencing Monday 19th April, prior to the formal start of term on Monday 26th April. Term will also now end on Friday 25th June instead of Wednesday 23rd June.

The additional teaching period from 19th April will not be used for all subjects (subjects with practical elements are most likely to be timetabled). Please look out for information about this from your School. The practical classes for this additional week will show in your online timetable in the coming weeks once it is clearer which students can return to campus from 1st March.

These arrangements will also apply for postgraduate taught students whose practical work has been affected. Every effort will be made to ensure that the Semester 3 period in the summer is not impacted negatively by any need to catch up with delayed in-person activities. We will further prioritise the return of postgraduate taught students who  are not in the first group of students to return and have teaching involving access to specialist facilities in the coming weeks.

Semester 2 exams will be held online in the same way as in Semester 1.

Hall of residence accommodation fees

Students who have been advised that they should return to campus will be charged hall of residence fees from the published return date.

The University will rebate the cost of accommodation up to 1st March for any student who has been advised not to come back to campus and stays at home.

We will write to students in residence with more detail over the next few days.

Supporting your wellbeing

Please remember that we have a range of support available to you. There are online self-help resources here and you can also access support from our mental wellbeing team should you wish to speak with someone about your health and wellbeing concerns. If you ever feel that you are in crisis or need help urgently, please see the information here.

You can also access the LU Wellbeing app, which is free to download on any smart device and can be found on the App Store or Google Play.

And finally…

Our over-riding concern is the health and safety of all members of the University community. The plans noted above take this into account, permit a phased return to study within Government guidelines, and provide a framework where every student can be confident about their academic progress. However, we can only deliver this if all of you follow the COVID regulations which are currently in place. This includes making sure if you’re symptomatic that you book a test through Connect and Protect. Please help us to maintain a safe campus by following these rules.

I hope that you and your families are staying safe at this time.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Bob Allison