Government announcement – remainder of the Summer Term and plans for the academic year 2021/22

May 11th, 2021

A message from Professor Andy Long about the Government’s latest announcement and what it means for the remainder of the summer term and next academic year.

The Department for Education has now confirmed that universities are able to resume face to face teaching activities for all students from 17 May 2021.  Whilst this is later than all of us would have wanted, and later than many universities including Nottingham have been lobbying for, it is nonetheless welcome news.

I have written to all students today to set out our plans for the remainder of term and the academic year 2021/22 and you can read a copy of this communication here.

In-person opportunities 

With the majority of teaching complete the university will be entering a revision and assessment period. The assessment period runs from 1 to 18 June, with most exams online.  Where appropriate and at the discretion of individual Schools and Departments there may also be optional small group and face-to-face opportunities. Students who cannot or choose not to return to campus will not be disadvantaged and contact opportunities will also be offered online.

Professor Sarah Speight, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Student Experience, will write to Heads of Schools and Departments with advice on contacting their students to confirm the detailed arrangements for their return.

Staff access to campus

The University remains open and there is no change to the advice for staff who need to attend campus, for example to deliver or prepare in-person teaching, to support students or provide other campus services.  Work continues to support a safe, gradual return to campus for staff and researchers currently working from home.

Academic Year 2021/22 

We are all looking forward to a time of fewer restrictions on teaching, social activity and campus life, and we are working hard to prepare our campuses for the new academic year, including a two-week Welcome period for students.

Although there is a current easing of restrictions, there is concern that the Autumn may see a resurgence of Covid-19 infections.  With this in mind, we have had to plan for a flexible approach with everyone’s health and safety at the forefront of our planning.  This includes supporting vaccination and our comprehensive on-campus Covid-19 testing programme, and being prepared to reinstate social distancing measures if instructed to do so by the government or health authorities.

We will teach in-person wherever possible and will be preparing for small group tutorials, lab classes, workshops and seminars. Schools and Departments are working hard to monitor and adjust the teaching approach according to the progress of the pandemic. We will use the best of digital technologies to support in-person teaching, and to provide live, interactive online sessions, alongside pre-recorded teaching materials for students to work through at their own pace. The mix of in-person and digital teaching will vary by course, however, we aim to increase the proportion of in-person teaching in the spring term.

Again, Professor Sarah Speight, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education and Student Experience, will write to Heads of Schools and Departments later this week with templates and guidance on explaining our plans for the new academic year to your students.

Covid-19 testing  

Returning students are asked to book a Covid-19 test from the University Testing Service here to confirm that they are not carrying the virus so that we can keep our community and those around us safe. Thereafter, we expect all students to take our asymptomatic Covid-19 test at least once a week.

The University will continue to offer all staff asymptomatic Covid-19 testing on demand and we expect those staff working on campus to take these tests each week. These measures will help identify and isolate any positive cases early and help to reduce onward transmission of the virus. Staff do not need to book tests and can take these during work time.

I’d like to thank everyone for their professionalism and hard work since the pandemic began. I hope you have an enjoyable end to the Summer Term,

Professor Andy Long, FREng
Provost & Deputy Vice-Chancellor
University of Nottingham

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