The 2020/2021 academic year

The last few months have been unprecedented. Our campus has felt very different from usual. Loughborough students are at the heart of making us what we are and our campuses have not been the same without them.

We are working to put in place all the modifications necessary so that we can re-open our campuses in the autumn for the 2020/21 academic year. Further details are as follows:

Teaching and learning

  • Both our campuses, in Loughborough and London, will be open. You should therefore make plans to come to the University as normal to undertake your studies in the autumn, unless the Government advice alters and we notify you otherwise.
  • We plan to deliver teaching in person where we know we can do it safely and provide additional learning online where required, through a combination of real-time interactive sessions and materials that you can study in your own time.
  • It is likely that initially some, if not most, large lectures and some larger classes will have to be delivered online to ensure we comply with Government social distancing requirements. We will be ready to respond as guidance changes.
  • Any lectures that are delivered online will be accompanied by the opportunity for you to ask questions and interact with staff. We know from feedback from our students that this is very important to you in developing your understanding of new subjects and topics.
  • Smaller group teaching will take place face-to-face on campus. Every student will have in-person tuition and access to facilities where we can offer this safely.
  • We will provide opportunities for you to interact with staff and other students by using our spaces innovatively and creatively.
  • Your timetable will include similar numbers of scheduled sessions as in previous years to provide you with structure during the working day.
  • We will provide guidance to ensure you are able to maximise your learning from all the teaching modes we will be offering, for example, labs, seminars, tutorials and lectures, alongside any enhanced online interaction.
  • Over the summer we will be reviewing the delivery of many of our modules to ensure that fresh, new, engaging and inspiring content, which is adaptable to different delivery modes, is available from next term.
  • Learning facilities, such as the Library will be open, with appropriate social distancing and safety measures in place.
  • Where possible we will retain the remote learning features that you have particularly valued, such as off-campus access to computer facilities and specialist software.

Hall accommodation

  • University accommodation will be open. If for any reason lockdown measures are re-introduced, you will not be charged for your University accommodation for any weeks that you have to return home while the lockdown is in place.
  • If you are living in University-managed accommodation we will be providing appropriate facilities and support for you. If you are living in private accommodation we would recommend that you contact the provider for further details relating to self-isolation arrangement.

Social activities

  • The Students’ Union will be running a programme of activities that allow everyone to adhere to the social distancing rules and the Government advice at that time.
  • In relation to their night-time venues, the Students’ Union will follow the Government’s advice at the time. Numerous activities will be in place, but with a focus on smaller events rather than large gatherings or activities associated with a high level of risk due to the number of people in any one place.
  • All the Union’s sections – such as Action, Rag, Enterprise, Societies, Welfare and Diversity, Media and Education – will be running, taking into account any Government guidelines in place. LSU Advice will be open to support students.
  • Hall Committees are working with the University to ensure there is a full social programme to welcome freshers, albeit different from previous years.
  • We will run the most extensive sports programme that we are able to, in accordance with Government guidance.

Student support

  • Supporting your health and wellbeing will continue to be a priority. We have already enhanced the resources available to you. For instance we recently launched the LU Wellbeing app to support your mental health, and we will continue to ensure you can access the support you need.

Health and safety

  • The health and safety measures we are putting in place on our campuses are some of the most thorough and balanced in higher education, and they have been issued to all British universities as a model of good practice by Universities UK, the umbrella organisation for higher education.
  • We are doing our utmost to ensure the Loughborough University campuses are as safe as they possibly can be for everyone who uses them. We will continue to monitor research and guidance on Covid-19 as it develops and adapt our approach to ensure your safety.
  • We are evaluating a range of additional measures that may be needed, such as temperature checking and notification systems, to make the campus as safe as possible.
  • Our approach is to be thorough and balanced. We will reopen in a way that takes account of the UK Government Alert Level at the time. The lower the level, the fewer adjustments will be in place.

Update at the start of Semester 1

In our Statement of Intent for the academic year 2020/21 above we set out Loughborough’s overall approach to re-opening our campuses for students in the autumn, and the principles for our teaching and learning. We then provided further details about delivery of your course prior to the start of the academic year.

We also said that we will be ready to respond flexibly as Government guidance changes. You will be aware that the Government raised the UK’s alert level to 4 on 21st September 2020.

In response to the rise in the alert level we have had to make some changes to teaching to reduce maximum class sizes. This has had a knock-on effect for the timetabling of in person classes and has required us to move some additional classes online. Whilst all students will still have in person teaching, we have unfortunately had to reduce this below six hours a week for students on some degree programmes.

It is currently planned that some of these further adjustments will be temporary for the first two weeks of the semester, and our intention is to gradually increase the amount of in person classes once everyone is familiar with the new ways of moving around the campus whilst maintaining social distancing.

Our plans remain flexible such that if Government guidance or alert level changes further, we will be able to go move additional activity online if we are required to do so, to ensure that students can continue their studies, and similarly we will continue to review whether we can increase the amount of in person teaching as the academic year progresses.

The blend of in-person and online activity is intended to prioritise safety, whilst providing a reasonable level of in-person contact to enable you to make the most of your experience within the constraints we currently face. Thank you for your understanding.

Update published: 30 September 2020