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Spring return update for students – 31 December 2020

[05.01.2021 Please see latest update following the announcement of a third national lockdown which supersedes the 31 December update.

01.01.2021 Please note – we have now received a letter to all students from Michelle Donelan MP, Minster of State for Universities which accompanies the update below.]

From Professor Richard Reece, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience.

Dear Student,

I hope you have had an enjoyable and restful winter vacation.

You will be aware that the Government announced yesterday a further tightening of COVID-19 restrictions in England as result of the rising infection rates.

As part of these restrictions, the Government has requested that universities delay the return of the majority of students to campus after the winter vacation. The Government has stressed that our campuses are regarded as COVID-safe and this is simply an effort to reduce the number of people traveling across the country at this time.

This means that, if you left your term time address for the vacation, you should not return to campus or to your term time address for the start of term unless you:

  • are studying medicine or social work
  • are an international student who is unable to make reasonable adjustments to your travel arrangements
  • do not have access to appropriate study spaces or facilities in your current location
  • require additional support, including mental health support
  • are on a placement where the provider is permitted to open under the current restrictions
  • are a postgraduate student and require specialist facilities for your work.

If you have remained on campus over the vacation, please be assured that we will continue to provide our vacation facilities at both Canterbury and Medway. I would encourage you to stay on campus as much as possible. If you have not already done so, it is strongly recommended that you book an asymptomatic COVID test at one of the campus-based sites at Canterbury or Medway.

If you are a commuting student, please do not come to campus unless the above exceptions apply to you.

If you are among those who need to return to campus, you are strongly advised to take a COVID test before making the journey back to your term time address, if asymptomatic testing is available to you locally. If this is not possible, please self-isolate on arrival for 10 days, or until you are tested on campus.

The start of term remains 18 January 2021, and all teaching will be provided online for the first few weeks of term. You will be expected to attend all timetabled sessions.

This latest position replaces our previous plans for a staggered return to campus that I communicated to you before Christmas.

We have been informed that the return to campus will be paused at least until the week commencing 25 January. The Government will review this decision in the week commencing 18 January. I will update you shortly after.

Whenever you return to campus, asymptomatic COVID testing will be available at both Canterbury and Medway  and I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this as soon as possible on your return. If you have already made a booking but your return to campus is delayed it would be very helpful to staff if you could cancel that session. Please be assured that there will be sufficient booking slots available for all those who need them once we are all back on campus.

I will continue to keep in touch over the next few weeks as we develop our plans in response to this latest change. I know you will have many questions over this current situation, and we will update the website with new information as it becomes available.

We will be running a Web Chat on 6 January 2021 during which we will answer your questions about these latest changes as well as any others about the Spring term. The booking form is now open so please do sign up.

I realise this is not the news you may have wished to hear. Our priority remains to keep you and our community safe while still providing the highest quality teaching and student experience.

We know that this is a worrying time, and we are here to support and advise you wherever you may be. If you have any concerns or queries, please check our student Coronavirus webpages  or email and we will respond as soon as possible.

My very best wishes to you, your friends and your family.

Yours sincerely


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