Plans for January return: Professor Andy Long


December 3rd, 2020

Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Andy Long wrote to colleagues recently about the University’s plans for January returns and the new term:

Dear colleagues,

As promised in my last communication, and reflecting on the Government’s announcement yesterday, I wanted to share details with you about our plans for the next term.

For student returns in January/February, we are developing a staggered arrivals programme and phased resumption of in-person teaching. We will make use of our own Asymptomatic Testing Service, alongside the Government’s lateral flow testing service, to offer all students Covid-19 testing upon return to Nottingham as well as for those who have remained in and around the city over the break.

Together these measures will help identify and isolate any positive cases early and, hopefully, reduce onward transmission of the virus to other students, staff and local communities. We will see a phased resumption of in-person teaching aligned with the January assessment period, and implement guidance from the Department for Education that asks us to bring students on practical or lab-based courses back to campus first.

These plans support the Government’s programme for the safe movement of students following the winter break. Further details can be found here but I offer a summary below.

A phased resumption of face-to-face teaching

For those who have left campus for the winter break, the Government has advised there should be a phased return to Nottingham throughout January and the first week of February.

This will fall into two windows and be aligned to subject disciplines, with a priority on courses that require in-person or practical elements.

  • From January 4 to w/c January 18 – phase one returners
  • From January 25 to w/c February 1 – phase two returners

Professor Sarah Speight, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Education and Student Experience, will be writing to all Heads of School to confirm the approaches Schools should be considering to enable a smooth transition to face to face teaching during or following the January assessment period.

On campus facilities such as libraries, study spaces, sports activities and catering and retail outlets will be available from January 4 to support students.

Test to Protect

To provide additional reassurance, all students will be offered Covid-19 testing – either through the national lateral flow testing scheme or through our own Asymptomatic Testing Service.

This applies regardless of whether they live in halls, third party accommodation or off-campus. More details on testing are available on the Test to Protect website here. The website will be developed to enable students to book Covid-19 tests for their returns in the new year.

The University is exploring testing solutions to enable off-campus students to access testing more readily.

The Government has also advised that students travelling to Nottingham from Tier 3 areas should take an accredited Covid-19 test using facilities in their home towns and cities ahead of returning to Nottingham.

In addition new international students and students returning from overseas, who would ordinarily be subject to a 14 day quarantine period if they arrive from a country which is not on the travel exemption list, will have the option to take an accredited coronavirus (Covid-19) test from a private testing provider after 5 days of self-isolation, with a negative result releasing students from the need to isolate from day 6.

More details about the process for booking tests will be communicated in coming weeks.

Asymptomatic and lateral flow testing is also now available to all staff.

Working together

Education remains classified as an essential activity which continues provided Covid-secure measures are in place. The steps we took in summer 2020 to make our buildings Covid-secure enable us to continue with on-campus teaching activities wherever possible.

Of course, we all need to continue to play our part in following health and safety guidelines and keep each other safe.

I will write to you once again with details of the booking systems for return dates and tests.

If I don’t have a chance before I would like to take the opportunity to wish you a healthy, happy and relaxing break.

Best wishes,

Andy

Professor Andy Long, FREng

Provost & Deputy Vice-Chancellor
University of Nottingham

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