A huge amount of work continues to take place in the divisions and professional service departments in support of the Government’s plan to enable students to travel home between 3-9 December, designated as the ‘Student Travel Window’. As you will be aware, all face-to-face teaching will be suspended on a temporary basis by 4 December to allow for staggered departure dates from the University.
In addition, following the submission of our ‘expression of interest’ in participating in the national scheme for asymptomatic testing of our students, we continue to liaise with the Department of Health and Social Care and other national agencies over the arrangements to have this in place by the 30 November deadline. It is our expectation that this scheme will remain in place to support a return to campus after the Christmas vacation.
We are also now looking beyond the end of the current lockdown period. As the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Kent and Medway continues to rise, it is clear the region may not return to Tier 1 on 3 December, and we are preparing to respond to the impact of any changes this will bring.
While our own figures remain comparatively low, they do show an increase on previous weeks which, given the regional trend, is not unexpected. As of 16 November, there are currently 57 students and 2 members of staff who have reported as testing positive for Covid-19. We continue to work closely with, and follow the advice of, the local Health Protection Team.
While my thanks go to all of you who are working so hard during these unprecedented times to support the University, I wanted to say a special thank you to colleagues in Student Services, Commercial Services and Estates who have worked tirelessly to support students who have had to self-isolate in campus accommodation. Staff in the Accommodation and Conference Offices have been amazing and, thanks to the efforts of the Catering team, we have been able to provide an astounding 15,000 meals and 1000 care packs to those in self-isolation.
My very best wishes to you and your families,
Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President