New national lockdown: Update from Professor Andy Long

January 5th, 2021

Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Andy Long has written to all colleagues and students providing an update to the university’s plans in light of new national lockdown restrictions.

Dear colleagues and students,

Last night the government announced a full national lockdown would come into force in England today, Tuesday 5 January 2021, following a rise in Covid-19 rates across the country linked to a new variant of the virus. The announcement and further details can be found here.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that universities will remain open but teaching would be delivered online until mid-February for all subjects except those outlined in the revised guidance for returning students issued last week: Medicine & Dentistry; Health & Social Care including Nursing & Midwifery; Physiotherapy and Veterinary Science; Education including initial teacher training; and Social Work. The government has advised students on all other courses to remain where they are and start the term online.

University staff and postgraduate researchers should work and research from home where at all possible. However, work and research that cannot reasonably be carried out at home can continue in our Covid-secure campus buildings.

Staff with school-age children

We appreciate that the news about school closures will impact many colleagues. The Department for Education has confirmed that university staff are considered to be critical workers and may continue to send their children to school where they are required to attend work or work from home to support the welfare, wellbeing and teaching of students.

If you have young children who have yet to return to school or other caring responsibilities, please speak with your line manager to discuss your working arrangements. We understand how challenging this can be and, as on previous occasions last year, we will do our very best to support you in this situation.

Students who have already returned to or remained in Nottingham

For students who have already travelled to university, the guidance states that you must not move back and forth between your permanent home and student home during term time. The University will be putting support measures in place for you during this period; campus and student support services will remain open for those who have already returned to or remained in Nottingham.

Additional measures

We will continue to make use of our Asymptomatic Testing Service and Lateral Flow Test provision to offer additional reassurance for both staff and returning students. Regular testing will be encouraged as a key element of university life and an additional measure in keeping our community safe.

We have taken significant steps to provide a Covid-secure environment on our campuses and the wellbeing of our community remains our priority. Within our university the number of active cases of Covid-19 remains low. Our measures are most effective when we work together and follow the rules to keep everyone safe.

While the University’s work on the trials for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been rolled out this week, offers some much-needed hope for the future, I know that this will be an anxious time and hope that this will be the last significant hurdle we have to face before some semblance of normality can resume.

I appreciate you will want further information and we are awaiting further details from the Department for Education as to how the new restrictions fully impact us. I will write to you again with more details as soon as we have them.

Best wishes


Professor Andy Long, FREng
Provost & Deputy Vice-Chancellor

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