Update for Undergraduate Students - 11 September
Dear Undergraduate Students,
We are very much looking forward to the beginning of the new academic year and welcoming students back to our campuses.
We are writing now to let you have some more details of our plans for learning and teaching, including how we are adapting delivery to accommodate social distancing so we can keep the campus community as safe as possible.
There are recent reports of a rise in infections nationally. Our plans will need to adapt in light of these developments. It is important for us to emphasise that for the University to operate effectively on campus this year, all students must adhere to the appropriate social distancing requirements.
Please be reminded that formal teaching for the start of the 2020-21 academic year will now begin on Monday 5 October 2020.
As the Vice-Chancellor indicated in his message to you at the start of June 2020, our intention is that teaching in person will remain a significant element in the Loughborough student experience.
Our main planning scenario for the start of term is based on current Government guidelines which include social distancing being in place at the start of the new academic year. In this scenario, our teaching spaces will need to operate at reduced capacity with each classroom typically able to accommodate about one third of the normal number of students. Over the last three months, we have been reviewing the use of space on our campuses to maximise the accommodation available for in person teaching. Therefore, we plan to fuse in-person and online teaching delivery, running in person teaching where it is reasonable, practical and possible to do so.
Working together to reduce risk
We are very mindful of the need to keep our campus community of both students and staff as safe as possible, and therefore please bear with us if we are not able to offer as much in person teaching as we would ideally like, especially towards the start of the academic year. More details of the health and safety protocols that we have put in place are available here.
Staying safe is a team effort; your behaviour is not just about reducing risk to yourself, but also the possible impact on other members of our community and their families who may be vulnerable. To stay safe and protect others we all have a responsibility to minimise the opportunity for the virus to spread.
We have carefully reviewed our curriculum to identify which material best lends itself to on-line delivery, be that through high quality “on demand” pre-recorded sessions or live interactive classes. We have also upgraded our teaching technologies. You can expect a new look and feel to Learn and an enhanced interactive on-line experience with staff and other students through Microsoft Teams.
We have also made some changes to the online timetable system so that each session will show a room number if it is in person, or will have a link to a live interactive online session, and it will indicate if there are any on-demand sessions which you should view each week.
Due to the health and safety measures we are putting in place, it will not be possible to release the timetable as early as we normally do this year, and therefore you should expect your timetable on 28 September. Please accept our apologies for this unavoidable delay.
Please note that you will still need to check-in to in person teaching sessions using the MyLboro app. This has also had a makeover, and you will now be able to tell us that you will be absent from a session and select a reason for the absence, which we hope that you will find a useful addition.
Plans that can easily adapt
We recognise that the current situation is evolving rapidly. As a result, our plans have been developed to adapt in line with the latest Government advice and still ensure the health and safety of our campus community.
In the event of a future lockdown at either a national or local level, we may need to move to completely online teaching temporarily. Of course, we hope that this will not be necessary, but should it be imposed we are prepared for fully online delivery to enable you to continue your studies without interruption.
Similarly, we are making arrangements should social distancing no longer be required during the 2020/21 academic year. Our approach to timetabling means that we will be able to easily revert to larger in-person class sizes and increase the amount of in-person teaching that we offer within a few weeks should this prove possible.
Understanding what this means for your programme
We can now provide fuller details of how we plan to deliver the different elements of your programme for the next academic year. This is available on the website and forms an additional annex to our existing Statement of Intent. Please do take some time to read the information we have prepared about the delivery of your programme so that you know what to expect.
Regrettably, we will only be able to accept requests for changes to module choices in very exceptional circumstances this year. We are not planning any other changes to our programmes but you may wish to look through our Terms and Conditions of Study for 2020/21.
Government guidance and policy continues to change in response to changes in Covid-19 rates. Whilst the University has sought to indicate what teaching you can expect in-person this term, we continue to reserve the right to adjust this offer based on changes in the national and local Covid position.
We are taking great care with our preparations and we very much hope you will be happy with our plans for 2020/21. We will take your registration for the year through the on-line registration system as your consent to the changes we have made.
Remote Study in Semester 1
Our teaching delivery for undergraduates, as noted above, is based on continuing to provide as much in person delivery as we can. We therefore expect students to be able to attend classes from week 1 as in any other academic year. Many of our programmes include essential in person elements, using on campus laboratories, studios or IT facilities or may include fieldwork activities. Some programmes cannot therefore be studied remotely in any circumstances and we are unlikely to permit new students to study remotely on any programme as we cannot guarantee a good student experience. A list of all years of all programmes and whether they can be considered for remote study in exceptional circumstances Semester 1 is available here.
We recognise that this year presents very considerable challenges for some of our students. We are therefore able to offer continuing students a limited amount of flexibility to start the year on a remote study basis and you will find details 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 next year, please contact your School for further information.
If you have any other concerns about returning to the University, please contact Student Services, Email: email@example.com, Telephone: 01509 222765.
I hope this provides you with reassurances about how academic life at the University is likely to be from this autumn and about the measures that we’re putting in place to make sure everyone stays as safe as possible.
Professor Rachel Thomson
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching)