Covid-19 update – 19 November 2020

We are fast approaching the end of what has been a most unusual Autumn term at Kent, and across the country as a whole. Staff from all Schools and Divisions across our University have worked tirelessly and with great skill and dedication to provide the best possible experience for our students. Your adaptability, care, commitment and continued enthusiasm during these difficult times are very much appreciated.

Student departures

The Government has now released its plans to bring students safely home for Christmas. This means that many of our students will be leaving our University earlier than they would have in previous years utilising a planned Student Travel Window of 3-9 December 2020.

To help facilitate their departure, all our face-to-face teaching will end by 4 December 2020. Specific end dates will vary depending on the face-to-face activities that are scheduled between the end of the current lockdown period (Dec 2) and the end of face-to-face teaching. Students without scheduled face-to-face teaching on Thursday 3 December or Friday 4 December will be encouraged to arrange their travel for 3-6 December. Those that do have face-to-face teaching on 3-4 December will be encouraged to arrange their travel between 5-9 December. This information will be available in students’ timetables on SDS.

Students have received an email outlining the staggered departure dates and plans on 19 November 2020.

Student FAQs concerning Christmas travel and vacation arrangements have also been updated.

Asymptomatic testing facility

The Department for Education has asked for expressions of interest from universities wishing to participate in the asymptomatic testing programme for students to provide reassurance to them and their parents on the return home for Christmas.

This is a very large project which requires significant planning and resources. We are currently looking to put a 12-booth testing facility in the Sports Hall on the Canterbury campus with Greenwich looking at running a similar facility at Medway on behalf of all the HE/FE partners there.

Universities are being encouraged to begin testing students on 30 November 2020. This is to tie into the planned Student Travel Window. We anticipating meeting this deadline for a pilot group of students with a view to growing the programme in the New Year.

Although no DfE guidance has yet been published for Spring term, we anticipate the testing programme will continue and we will need to increase the scale of the asymptomatic testing facilities to possibly accommodate repeated testing for students on their return to campus and throughout the term.

Spring term plans

Our framework for our plans for teaching and the student experience in the Spring term have now been set and the details are currently in development. We will continue to provide a blended approach to our teaching, which will enable us to pivot should we need to deliver online learning only at the start of the new term or at any point thereafter.

As I mentioned earlier, we have achieved so much together this term. Thanks to feedback from students and excellent work done by colleagues, especially during Review Week, there’s no doubt that we can build on what we have achieved this term and provide an even better student experience in the Spring.

Best wishes


Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience