November 29th, 2022
Staff and students at the University of Nottingham, Ningbo (UNNC) will complete the remaining weeks of their semester online, following the detection of a small number of cases of Covid-19 among the student population.
A number of universities and organisations in Ningbo, including UNNC, have been affected by the recent increase in Covid-19 cases in China. Following the legal requirements for the management of Covid-19 in China, the regional health authorities temporarily closed the campus on 23 November and instigated a daily PCR testing programme.
The UNNC Management Board, led by UNNC Provost Professor Nick Miles, implemented the campus contingency plan and UNNC staff have worked 24/7, liaising with the regional health authorities to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the UNNC community, placing the highest priority on the welfare of students and staff.
To date 34 cases have been identified at UNNC in a population of more than 8,000 staff and students, and now, following three consecutive days where no new cases have been detected, preparations are underway to resume teaching activities.
Given the challenges of restarting the full campus experience following temporary closure, teaching will recommence online from Monday 5 December until the end of the semester, with the aim of restoring in-person teaching and activities on campus from the start of the next semester.
Staff and students are being supported and their safety and wellbeing is paramount. Should colleagues receive enquiries from staff or students in China, they should be directed to the dedicated contact points set up by UNNC to raise concerns:
Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West expressed sympathy for students and paid tribute to the staff at UNNC, saying:
“Our colleagues at UNNC have kept me and UEB closely informed of developments, and we continue to offer all the help, advice and support possible to assist UNNC at this time. I am hugely grateful for the dedication and care shown by UNNC staff for the welfare of our community in Ningbo. I also send my sympathies to our students and thank them for their steadfast response to these most challenging of circumstances.
“I know just how difficult this work can be from our own experience of lockdowns and restrictions at the UK campus, and of course the stringent measures in China will present additional challenges in what remains a fast-moving environment. However, I have every confidence that the professionalism and dedication shown by UNNC colleagues will see the campus through this concerning period.”
UNNC Provost Professor Nick Miles thanked staff for their hard work and students for their patience in observing the testing and quarantine arrangements implemented by the health authorities:
“The strict legal requirements on Covid-19 in China has meant that the majority of students and staff have been subject to a form of quarantine in central hotels, on-campus, or in their own homes. However, I am pleased that their quarantine periods are ending across this week and students and staff will be able to return to their own homes or alternative accommodation provided free of charge by UNNC.
“UNNC staff have continued to place the priority on the welfare of students and staff, ensuring the delivery of meals on campus, and online engagement with quarantining students. Staff are also attending the central quarantine facilities to offer students support. Where concerns have been expressed at the standards of a small number of central quarantine facilities, UNNC has escalated these to be addressed by the Chinese health authorities so that they can be brought up to the standard our students have every right to expect.
“In light of the current circumstances, teaching will resume online from 5 December until the end of this semester, where we will then aim to return to a full in-person teaching operation from the start of the following semester. We will continue to ensure all students and staff at UNNC receive daily communications to update them on what remains a fast-moving situation.”
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