Monthly Archives: December 2020

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Medway asymptomatic testing and spring return update

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

I want to let you know that you will be able to book appointments for asymptomatic testing in the New Year via the Medway Council website.

You should only book your testing appointments for 2021 once you have reviewed your Spring timetable which is now available. You can book your tests up to 7 days in advance, so you will need to book your appointments in the New Year.

Please be assured that, by arrangement with the local Health Protection Team, you may use the Medway Council booking site despite the content suggesting it is not open for students. Further information about the testing process and what you need to take with you on the day is available on our Medway asymptomatic testing webpages.

Please note – if your term address is nearer the Canterbury campus, you should consider arranging your tests at Canterbury instead.

What is asymptomatic testing?

Asymptomatic testing is specifically designed for people who are asymptomatic ie not displaying symptoms of Covid-19.

Please note that if you do have symptoms of Covid-19 you should follow our Isolate Test and Inform procedure and book a PCR test via the NHS Coronavirus website.

When should I be tested in the new year?

The Government is advising that all students be tested before their face-to-face teaching begins in the new year. Your timetable will indicate when your first face-to-face teaching session is. Please remember you should ideally be tested twice within 3-5 days before you attend.

If it is available, you are also advised to have a test local to your home address, prior to travelling.

Please note you should avoid close contact with others between your arrival and receiving your second test result.

Students arriving from overseas who wish to be tested at Canterbury and Medway are allowed to do so, but must first follow the relevant government guidance in full. Our testing programme is not a permitted alternative to completing the full 10-day period of self-isolation if arriving from a non-exempt country and cannot be used to reduce that period of self-isolation under the Government’s Test and Release Scheme.

When should I return to campus?

To help you comply with Government guidelines, we have set out the following suggested arrival and testing windows based on when your first face-to-face teaching is taking place.

First face-to-face teaching session  Recommended arrival window and testing 
w/c 18 January 9-15 January
w/c 25 January 16-22 January
w/c 1 February 23-29 January
Anytime after 8 February 30 January-7 February

 

These dates are designed to help you follow the Government recommendations. We know this will not be convenient for all of you and some of you may have already made other travel plans. We will support you whatever your travel arrangements and intended arrival date back to University.

If you are a postgraduate student, you may return to campus to use specialist facilities whenever you need to. However, if possible, you should be tested before accessing laboratories.

When will my teaching start in the new year?

Teaching begins on 18 January 2021 for all study programmes apart from KMMS. You should engage with all teaching sessions from this date. Your face-to-face teaching will be reintroduced over the first few weeks of term as shown on your timetable.

If you have any questions about Covid-19 related health, welfare and support issues please check our Coronavirus webpages or email CovidSupport@kent.ac.uk.

Best wishes

Richard

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

 

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Covid-19 update – 17 December 2020

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

Testing across this term

As we approach the end of the Autumn term, I’d like to share with you our achievements in testing our students and staff for Covid-19. Our asymptomatic testing facilities opened on 30 November and closed on 15 December 2020. During this period, an incredibly 4155 tests have been carried out from 5197 booked appointments. This equates to a 79% attendance rate. I am pleased to say that the number of positive cases through our testing facilities has been incredibly low, with only 16 positives identified.

We are currently busy planning our asymptomatic testing programme for the Spring term. This will open on 5 January 2021 on the Canterbury campus for students and staff. I am pleased to say that the booking system is now available should you wish to make appointments to be tested at Canterbury. For staff based at Medway, testing is available through Medway Council and you may book up to 7 days in advance.

Tier 3 restrictions

Following the Government’s announcement on 15 December 2020, Kent and Medway are still within the Tier 3 Covid level. This unfortunately means that restrictions are still in place as we move into Christmas. We can however look forward to some respite over the festive period and I do hope you take the opportunity for some much-needed relaxation time with your family and loved ones.

With my best wishes for the festive season,

Richard

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

Laoise Gallager

Journalism student hired as Irish Dancing Magazine feature writer

Laoise Gallagher, an undergraduate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Journalism, has been hired as a feature writer for Irish Dancing Magazine – whilst still completing her final year of studies.

During her second year of studies, Laoise designed and wrote an article for the publication as part of a print assessment. After being encouraged by lecturers to pitch it to the Irish Dancing Magazine, Laoise successfully had the article published as a double-page feature. She was subsequently offered the role of feature writer for the publication.

Laoise, who is also a World Championship level Irish dancer, has built up her journalism experience whilst at Kent with placements writing print articles at the Medway Messenger and an internship at broadcast news outlet KMTV. She is now trained in print, radio, TV and online journalism.

After being an Irish dancer from a young age, around six years ago Laoise began competing professionally, training three to four times a week for the Reel Eire School of Irish Dance. Her biggest achievement to date is being ranked third in the Southern Region, which qualified her to represent England at the World Championships in North Carolina last year.

Laoise Gallagher magazine spread

(click to expand)

Laoise said: ‘As a World Championship level Irish dancer myself, I thought that it would be smart to pick a niche magazine to pitch to as I could really immerse myself in the story and show expert knowledge. To make the design as accurate as possible, I contacted the magazine to ask for specific details on how they would lay out a feature piece. They were so helpful and when I submitted my assignment, I also sent it to the editor of the magazine. She was really impressed with the piece and I was delighted to not only have it published but to be offered a role in their editorial team too. This is so valuable to have as experience on my CV.

‘Studying at CfJ has been the best few years of my life. When I joined, I was quiet and shy, the thought of a phone call was terrifying. Now I am in my final year and it feels like I have grown so much as a person and the skills I have developed as a journalist really prepare you for the real world. The lecturers go above and beyond to support you in whatever route you want to take.’

 

 

Brexit

Brexit Short Term Travel and Pay Policy

The University has been working to put plans in place to ensure the University remains operationally viable in the event of a no-deal Brexit. As part of this work, we have a policy to support managers and staff in the event that staff working on campus experience difficulties in getting on to campus due to increased congestion and delays on the roads across Kent after 31 December.

Under the Brexit Short Term Travel and Pay Policy, if you are a member of staff whose agreed way of working is on campus, you are expected to attend work in the normal way during any period of disruption and make all reasonable efforts to identify practical travel routes during a period of travel disruption.

If agreed by your line manager, the University will consider claims for reasonable additional expenses if you have to use public transport instead of your normal road journey in order to get to work.  Staff who are unable to get into work must let their line manager know as soon as possible.

Staff (including timesheet paid staff) who are not able to attend for work due to the travel disruption and who are unable to work from home will have their normal pay maintained for the first day of travel disruption provided this has been agreed in advance with line managers. After this, you will be expected to either take annual leave or TOIL.

Further details about the Brexit Short Term Travel and Pay Policy are available here.

Information to support your travel plans is available on our Transport webpages.

 

Look after your wellbeing this Christmas

Article from Brenda Brunsdon, Occupational Health and Wellbeing Team Manager:

Change is a constant in life and sometimes, we need to mentally reframe, or redecide our approach to something to be able to accept the change it brings.

One of the major traits of resilient people is how they cope with change and they usually do it by reframing how they see the situation that has developed.

Take Christmas. Once solely a religious festival, in many ways it now represents a family-centric mid-winter fest, with lots of opportunity to party alongside any praise and thanks related to the coming of salvation.

Christmas though is not a season of joy for everyone. If you are one of those people dreading Christmas, for whatever the reason, remember that the University Employee Assistance Programme is staffed to take your call at any time, day or night. The telephone number is 0808 168 2143 and it doesn’t cost you anything to call.

Our relationship with Christmas changes over time. When we are children Christmas means mystery, anticipation and excitement. Teenage years bring the angst of not knowing whether to be a child or a grown up. We then mature into young adults without responsibilities, partying through Christmas; then young parents with children and the cycle begins again. All our family losses are marked at Christmas, the person not at the family get-togethers, the card that doesn’t arrive for 2 years running. They are balanced by the joys of new members of the family, especially children. Our relationship with Christmas shows we can cope with change and have the skill to psychologically reframe as we go through life.

The essence of Christmas is hope. The Christmas Story is that the Child is born, the wait is over; when He grows, He will usher in a time of love, kindness, and forgiveness for all. This year, we really need hope back in our lives. And the glimmers of hope are there on the horizon, with the roll out of the Covid 19 vaccine.

I wish everyone who reads this a peaceful, restful and happy Christmas Holiday period. I hope that those who have been touched by sadness and loss over the past 12 months can start to heal and move forward. 2021 is very near and, hopefully, it’s going to bring solutions to the problems of 2020.

‘What is Resilience? Defining Resilience’: by Emma Ogilvie on resiliencetraining.co.uk
‘Reframe Unhelpful Thoughts’: YouTube video by Every Mind Matters
‘The Importance of Hope; How to be more Hopeful’: by Paul Thomas on selfhelpforlife.com, article and video Information on the Employee Assistance Programme on OH website

Pilgrims Hospice staff wearing Covid 3D face shields

Kent in Action – University support during Covid-19

The first episode in a new series revealing how University of Kent staff and students have responded to the coronavirus pandemic will soon be airing on KMTV.

‘Coronavirus: Kent in Action’ focuses on the diverse work being carried out in fields such as medicine, business and media (to name a few), not only to combat the virus but also to provide a much-needed lift in people’s spirits.

Teaching and student life has been significantly disrupted, but the series shows how the University community has been hard at work tackling the greatest public health crisis in living memory. In Episode One, we see everything from bioscientists who’ve been working to understand the make up of the disease, to the musical Marsh family whose lockdown-themed rendition of the Les Misérables tune ‘One Day More’ went viral.

Series producer Cameron Tucker wants the series to be a celebration of what happens when people come together. ‘It was really important to everyone involved that we demonstrated the sheer breadth of activity that has been going on. These are stories from a supremely talented group of people who, in their own unique ways, are helping us through these unprecedented times. They are tales which deserve to be told,’ he said ahead of the first episode.

There’s even embroidery featured. Professor Jennie Batchelor, behind the Crafting through Covid project, in the programme says: ‘One of the wonderful things about needlework and other forms of craft is it feels like you’re putting something together when it feels like the sands are shifting from under your feet. It’s very much in the spirit of [The Lady’s] Magazine,” the 18 and 19th century publication which Professor Batchelor is an internationally recognised authority on.

Regular KMTV collaborator Betty Woessner, Research Excellence Manager at the University, is keen for this work to be shared with the wider public. ‘Whether it’s been medical advancements or perhaps having a laugh at a topical take on the current situation, everyone has been influenced in some way or another by what has been going on at Kent throughout the pandemic. These films are an opportunity to acknowledge that impact,’ she said.

The production of more than 4,000 face shields by a team of university technicians is one of many examples cited by Carole Barron, Director of KIE at Kent, and co-commissioner on Episode One, in demonstrating a vibrant research and innovation community: ‘Staff and students from across disciplines have come together through their ingenuity and enterprise, and I hope viewers will be inspired by the achievements showcased in the films.’

Coronavirus: Kent in Action premieres on Friday 18 December at 19.30 on KMTV (Freeview Channel 7, Virgin 159 and online at kmtv.co.uk).

You can also watch Episode One now on YouTube.

Picture shows: Pilgrims Hospice staff wearing face shields provided by University technicians.

People sitting around an illustration of a globe

Virtual Kent Global Showcase 2021

All staff are invited to attend our Virtual Kent Global Showcase 2021 Event which is taking place on Wednesday 20 January from 10.00 – 12.00.

Vivienne Stern of UUKi will be opening the event and we will receive key updates from other colleagues and students from across the University.

As usual, this will be an excellent example to share good practice across the divisions and departments, as we prepare for our next steps in internationalisation in 2021

You can sign up to the event now and a joining link will then be emailed to you nearer the time.

The Kent Global team look forward to seeing you there!

Two students chatting and sitting outside Templeman Library

Help promote the virtual Undergraduate Open Day

Kent’s Virtual Open Days are a fantastic way to showcase what the University can offer. Come join the Virtual Undergraduate Open Day on Wednesday 6 January from 16.00 – 19.00.

This will be our fourth undergraduate virtual open day and the first for 2021. We’ve added a Parents and Supporters Zone to our events, to give those supporting prospective students more information about Kent, student finance and how we’re keeping our students and staff safe.

Our last undergraduate virtual event in November had an attendance of over 2300+ with visitors from 80 countries.

We’ve also launched our ‘on-demand’ virtual open events for both undergraduates and postgraduates. These have proved popular as visitors are able to review all our open day content (minus the live sessions and chats) in their own time.

To help maximise recruitment for 2021, it would be a great help if staff could help promote the Undergraduate Virtual event across their platforms, either on their school websites and on social channels. To attend the event, you will need to register for your place – using the link below.

Please do forward on to friends or family members who may be interested in an Undergraduate course at Kent. Please see further information about the event on the Virtual Open Day webpage.

Illustration of people social distancing and wearing masks

COVID-19 and Social Justice

Join us for a live Zoom webinar from 10.00 on Thursday 21 January – open to all!

Kent Law School is extending an open invitation to all for a live webinar on Thursday 21 January that seeks to critically explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social justice at home and overseas.

The programme runs from 10.00 – 13.15 with panels on: COVID-19, Health and Social Justice; Courts, Justice and COVID-19; and COVID-19 and Precarity

Programme

10.00: Welcome from Professor Helen Carr (Kent Law School)

Panel 1: COVID-19, Health and Social Justice

  • 10.10: Professor Sally Sheldon (Public health, social justice and COVID-19)
  • 10.25: Dr Gowri Nanayakkara (COVID-19 and health inequalities)
  • 10.40: Ms  Leanne Taylor (COVID-19 and the mental health tribunal)
  • 10.55: Open forum via the Q&A function. Please join and ask our panellists questions, or share information and ideas
  • 11.05: short break

Panel 2: Courts, Justice and COVID-19

  • 11.10: Bernard Richmond QC, Honorary Professor University of Kent (virtual hearings – a practitioner perspective)
  • 11.25: Professor Rosemary Hunter (Access to justice and virtual courts – domestic abuse)
  • 11.40: Professor Shaun McVeigh (governing conduct and civil relations in COVID-19)
  • 11.55: Open forum via the Q&A function. Please join and ask our panellists questions, or share information and ideas
  • 12.05: short break

Panel 3: COVID-19, Informality and Precarity

  • 12.10: Ms Sheona York – Migrant ‘Covid heroes’ and the hostile environment
  • 12.25: Dr Luis Eslava (Informality in times of COVID-19 – a view from Colombia)
  • 12.40: Professor Lydia Hayes (public health consequences of absence of occupational sick pay in the care sector)
  • 12.55: Open forum via the Q&A function. Please join and ask our panellists questions, or share information and ideas
  • 13.05: Closing remarks, Professor Helen Carr

Register now via Eventbrite

 

 

Man working on his laptop and iphone with Christmas tree in the background - Unsplash

Care first webinars over the festive period (Dec 2020 – Jan 2021)

Our official Employee Assistance Programme provider, Care first offers a numbers of services and provide useful advice and support, including weekly webinars.

Over the festive period they will still be putting on webinars for you to attend.

To find out the webinar schedules over the next four weeks (the week commencing 21 December to the week commencing the 11 January) please see below:

W/c 21 December 2020 Care first Week 21 Dec webinar schedule

W/c 28 December 2020 – Care first Week 28 Dec webinar schedule

W/c 4 January 2021 Care first Week 4 Jan 2021 webinar schedule

W/c 11 January 2021 – Care first Week 11 Jan 2021 webinar schedule