Covid-19 - Student Update - preparations for academic session 2020/21

Student update - 9 April 2020

We wanted to update you on the plans we are now making for the delivery of the 2020/21 academic session. We also want to thank you for your patience in recent weeks, and to reassure you that University staff are still here to support you throughout the current situation.

Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption and uncertainty, we are working hard to ensure that our new and returning students are not disadvantaged in their educational opportunities by circumstances which none of us can control.

To achieve this, we will be as flexible as possible in our response to those circumstances, in keeping with our principles of openness and inclusivity. We are already in the process of finalising the work on our no detriment policy and we will update you with details as soon as we are able.

We will also soon be asking our staff to begin to prepare for the 2020/21 session by planning for online provision, which will be available to students who cannot travel to campus, or which will replace face-to-face teaching in the event of continued restrictions in September 2020.

In addition, the University Senate has approved a delay of two weeks to the start of the 2020/21 academic session, and this will provide some time for all of us to adapt to our new environment, and to prepare for the new session.

The 2020/21 academic session is therefore now scheduled to commence with Welcome Week on 21 September 2020 (20 September for students in Qatar), rather than the originally scheduled date of 7 September 2020. Courses are scheduled to commence on 28 September 2020 (27 September in Qatar).

Please note that this change applies only for the academic session 2020/21 and we intend to return to the established academic year pattern for 2021/22.

We all hope that we will be able to deliver face-to-face teaching on campus in September. However, in case that is not possible, we will also prepare for the delivery of teaching and learning in a way that will enable you to commence your studies online and to transition to on-campus study when circumstances allow.

Our approach will involve the creation of online communities of learning in parallel with on-campus learning. For many students, this will mean starting the new term online where necessary, and continuing their studies in person and on campus, when that becomes possible.

We understand that there will be questions about how the development of online provision will be supported and enabled. A set of FAQs has been created to respond to some of these queries which can be found here.

For students who do begin term online, we would ask you to work with us, and with your fellow students, to create the same vibrant and friendly atmosphere online that is so characteristic of our community on campus.

Our students are the heart of our University community. Wherever you are reading this message, we hope that you are safe and well, and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to our campuses as soon as possible.

Best wishes,

Alan, Ruth and Richard

Professor Alan Speight, Vice-Principal Student Recruitment

Professor Ruth Taylor, Vice-Principal Education

Professor Richard Wells, Vice-Principal International Partnerships