As you will know from the media, the Government has now released its guidelines for a return to campus after the Christmas vacation for the Spring Term. The guidelines confirm our expectation that there will be a staggered return of students and that continued asymptomatic testing will play a key role in enabling students and staff to come back safely onto campus.
According to the guidance, medical students and those on practical courses requiring face-to-face teaching will be the first to return to campus. Other courses will be initially taught online for a short period before reverting to the combination of face-to-face and online teaching.
We have already developed plans to support this approach, but we need to ensure they meet all the Government’s requirements before we communicate the exact arrangements to staff and students.
One thing I would like to clarify is that the start of Spring term remains 18 January 2021, although KMMS students return on 4 January due to the specific nature on their course.
Thanks to the team responsible for setting up the asymptomatic testing site, we started testing on Monday. We have had an extremely good response from students wanting to be tested before they go home and, by this morning, we will have tested over 1,000 students. I am pleased to be able to say that, at this point in time, all tests have proved negative. We have also extended asymptomatic testing facility until December 15 to accommodate the levels of demand from our students – both undergraduate and postgraduate – as well as staff.
Our plans for testing before and in the Spring Term are also underway. Once again, we will encourage all students to be tested twice before they take part in face-to-face teaching.
We will update you on the plans for the Spring Term as soon as we possibly can as we know this latest Government announcement is potentially confusing as well as concerning. I would like to reiterate that we remain committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all our staff and students and that is at the forefront of all decisions we are making.
I would also like to again acknowledge the amount of hard work that continues to take place across the University, and I thank you all for the support you are showing at this challenging time.
Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President