Monthly Archives: December 2020

Decorated Christmas snowman biscuit

Festive competition and activities with the College Life Team

So many of you have been brilliant, resilient and caring as part of our College communities this term. We wanted to thank you by spreading festive cheer, so we have put up real Christmas trees around the campus, some huge and others small but all with lights so you can see them as the dark nights draw in. You can find them now or follow a trail which we will publish next week, but do try and spot them all if you can and tag us in any photos via twitter @unikentccl or Instagram @unikentlive.

The cheer will continue both on and off campus with the College RLAs, postgraduate student volunteers, hosting College events all accessible via social media and zoom:

There will be even more to do, such as Lip Sync battles, Zoom chats & cookbooks, baking boxes and jigsaws to borrow, all advertised on our CCL Team webpages. Do come and join in.

The College and Community Life team focus on welfare and support, to ensure you have a positive experience of student life. Join us now and throughout the new year:

Our thanks and good wishes to you all for a wonderful (safe) Christmas and winter break.

Best, Jacqui, Miriam, Jodie and Bethany

The College and Community Life Team

HollowHead Ep cover

Bleach My Mind: the HollowHead interview

 Hot on the heels of the release of their debut EP over the weekend, be sure to listen to a live webchat with student altrock band HollowHead.  The group includes two students from the School of Arts and you can enjoy listening to an online chat with all members this coming Thursday 9 December at 14.00.

Hosted by Dan Harding, Head of Music Performance, they will be discussing anything from the challenge of releasing an EP in the COVID era, their inspiration and influences, and what we can expect next from this unique trio.

Join live on the Music Department Facebook Page on Thursday afternoon and mark your diaries for this hour-long chat!

Kent logo

Medway staff – asymptomatic Covid-19 update

From Dr Lucy Foley | Director of Student Services
University of Kent Public Health Liaison Lead

As you will recall, we have been working with the Director of Public Health at Medway Council to arrange for asymptomatic testing to be available for staff on the Medway campus as those working in universities are classified as essential workers.

We have now been informed that testing will start from this Saturday 5 December and that you can now book a test.

How to book

You must book a test in advance. This can only be booked online.

If you don’t book you will not be permitted to take a test.

Testing Centre

Testing is taking place at three centres across Medway, including the Deep End which you may find the most convenient, and is available from 09.00 – 19.00 seven days a week.

Limited parking is available on some sites. Please remember to drive and park considerately as they may be residential areas and please do not block any driveways while you attend your test.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms on the day of your test please do not attend. You should book a PCR test with the NHS online. You can cancel your appointment through the text/confirmation email sent to you. Please then follow our staff Self-isolate, test, inform procedure for staff.

What you need to bring

You must bring the following proof to your appointment:

  • test booking confirmation (text or email)
  • critical worker status (a letter from your employer or your ID card)
  • face covering exemption letter (if exempt)

You will not be allowed to take the test without them.

The test

Please ensure you arrive on time. You should not arrive more than 15 minutes before your allotted time as you will not be permitted entry to the centre.

Please ensure you follow the instructions carefully at all times. You will be guided to a booth to complete the test.

You should wear a face covering at all times except when the test is taking place unless you are exempt.

The test should not take any longer than a few minutes and is similar to a symptomatic test.

Your test result

You should receive the result of your test by text and email within an hour of completing the test.

If you test negative you will need to retake the test in two weeks. You can book your second test using the online form again.

If your test is positive, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days and book a PCR test with the NHS online. Please then follow our staff Self-isolate, test, inform procedure for staff.

Thank you for helping to keep our communities safe.

Three students sat on corner sofa together catching up

Support from other students

If you are feeling lonely and would like to meet up with your fellow student peers then we have a couple of schemes to give you the support you need.

Buddy Scheme

Kent Union are extending their Buddy Scheme to support those remaining on campus over Christmas. To ensure no student feels isolated over the vacation period, the Christmas Buddy Scheme gives an opportunity for anybody not returning home to pair up with other students, matched on their common interests and location. Buddies can meet virtually or in-person as part of a ‘Christmas bubble’.Buddies aren’t just for Christmas though and you might find a long-lasting friendship through the scheme.

Residential Life Assistants

The Residential Life Assistants will be staying on campus during Christmas. They are postgraduate student volunteers who host events and support initiatives within your College. They will be on hand to offer you support and organise events such as The Tw’Elf Days of Christmas competition and the Christmas Cookies baking event. You will be able to borrow baking kits and baking boxes, cooking books and jigsaws from the College and Residential Life team. They will also be hosting events via Zoom over Christmas. Please head to our calendar so you are updated on all their events.


How to stay safe on campus

We have some tips on how to stay safe on campus over the Christmas period while still
enjoying the festivities.


Due to COVID it is imperative that you follow the government guidelines:

  • Hands – please keep your hands clean.
  • Face – wear a face covering inside University buildings and where social distancing can’t be maintained. There are exemptions for a number of health and other reasons, please be respectful of those who are unable to wear a face covering.
  • Space – remember to socially distance from others.
  • Test – if you display any symptoms that could indicate Covid-19, self-isolate immediately, get tested, and let the right people know. Please read our procedure if experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 or have been advised to self-isolate.

We have some more tips on COVID and how to stay safe. 

Personal safety

Your personal safety is important to us. If you are out on your own at night here are some tips:

  • If on campus, use our night-time walking taxi service by contacting Campus Security
  • Get a registered taxi – save some money for the end of the night, so you can be brought straight home – it’s much safer and easier
  • Get the night bus, the Uni2. Stagecoach provides a night bus and the route includes campus colleges and the local area.
  • Get a free personal safety alarm from Campus Security
  • Keep your valuables hidden – cover-up expensive looking jewellery, mobiles, keys, cash and cards
  • Stick to well-lit and busy areas. Avoid car parks and underpasses
  • Stay alert – don’t walk home on the phone or listening to music

We have some more information on how to stay safe at the Canterbury and Medway campuses. 

Celebrating safely

The festive period is all about being merry but do exercise caution.

  • Don’t leave your drink unattended
  • Never accept a drink from a stranger or someone you don’t trust
  • If you feel ill, slightly drunk or wasted when you know you shouldn’t, your drink could have been spiked. If so, tell someone you trust and get to a safe place

Campus Security staff are on duty 24/7 and can be contacted on 01227 823333.

We have some tips on how to be merry and safe. 

Free SafeZone app

The free SafeZone app gives you quick access to emergency services, first aid and the University.

Christmas vacation support services

Student Support and Wellbeing continues to operate until 22 December and then will return on Monday 4 January. Wherever you find yourself over the vacation period, please find below some information to help you stay well and connected:

  • For expert information to help you through the challenges of coronavirus from Student Minds, check out the Student Space website which provides advice, as well as telephone, email, webchat and text support.
  • For 24/7 free online support from peers and trained professionals, all Kent students can access Togetherall.
  • If you’re having a difficult time and want to talk to someone, you can call the Samaritans free on 116 123, or email
  • If you would prefer to receive support via text message, Shout is a free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope, simply text 85258.
  • Spending Christmas on campus? There’s lots happening for our on campus communities – for information on events, where to eat, meet, study, worship, walk and much more, check out the vacation webpage. Local GP surgeries (University Medical Centre in Canterbury, St Mary’s Island and  in Medway) are operating according to normal opening hours apart from bank holidays, outside of these please use NHS 111.

More information, advice and resources will be posted throughout vacation on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts – check out @UniKentSSW.

Home Office computer desk display

Care first webinars w/c 7 December 2020

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

This week’s (Monday 7 December – Friday 11 December) webinars are as follows:

Monday 7 December 2020 –  ‘Managing Grief’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link.

Tuesday 8 December 2020 – ‘How Care first can support you’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Wednesday 9 December 2020 – ‘COVID-19: Supportive information for Vulnerable groups’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Thursday 10 December 2020 – ‘Coping with Burnout & Tiredness’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Friday 11 December 2020 – ‘Maintaining Structure & Routine’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Kent logo

Spring term restart

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

I hope you are well and looking forward to the Winter vacation. For those of you travelling home within the next few days, I wish you a safe and pleasant journey.

Many of you will understandably be interested in our plans for the Spring term and I would like to provide you with some information regarding this.

The Government has now released its guidance for returning students to campus after the Winter vacation period. The Government is recommending that universities implement a staggered return to campus, which will see students returning during January 2021. The purpose of a staggered return is to allow students from across the country to return to their universities in the safest fashion and enable them to be tested for Covid-19 before their face-to-face teaching begins.

We are currently developing our plans for a staggered return to Kent in line with the Government’s recommendations. We will provide further information next week on how the staggered return will be managed and specific details relating to your study programme. This will include when your face-to-face teaching will begin in the Spring term and when your recommended travel window to return to the University will be.

To support this, we will be continuing to provide asymptomatic testing in the New Year, at both Canterbury and Medway campuses. Testing will begin again in early January 2021 and will coincide with our plans for your staggered return. This will enable you all to be tested before your face-to-face teaching begins.

I would like to remind you that the start of Spring term is 18 January 2021 and this is when teaching will start for all undergraduates with the exception of KMMS students who will start earlier. Please ensure you engage with all your teaching sessions from the start of term.

We are planning to provide additional events, activities and services on campus in Spring to support your participation in all aspects of your student experience. This will include social events, development opportunities, ways to engage with fellow students and help to look after your wellbeing. Many of these will be listed in the Events Calendar and new events are added regularly.

Lastly, I would like to thank all of you that have been tested prior to returning home for the Winter vacation period. For those of you staying with us for longer, we still have appointments available should you wish to book for a test in Canterbury or for a test in Medway. More information on asymptomatic testing is available on our Coronavirus webpages.

Best wishes


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

Professor Karen Cox

Vice-Chancellor’s update – 3 December 2020

As you will know from the media, the Government has now released its guidelines for a return to campus after the Christmas vacation for the Spring Term. The guidelines confirm our expectation that there will be a staggered return of students and that continued asymptomatic testing will play a key role in enabling students and staff to come back safely onto campus.

According to the guidance, medical students and those on practical courses requiring face-to-face teaching will be the first to return to campus. Other courses will be initially taught online for a short period before reverting to the combination of face-to-face and online teaching.

We have already developed plans to support this approach, but we need to ensure they meet all the Government’s requirements before we communicate the exact arrangements to staff and students.

One thing I would like to clarify is that the start of Spring term remains 18 January 2021, although KMMS students return on 4 January due to the specific nature on their course.

Thanks to the team responsible for setting up the asymptomatic testing site, we started testing on Monday. We have had an extremely good response from students wanting to be tested before they go home and, by this morning, we will have tested over 1,000 students. I am pleased to be able to say that, at this point in time, all tests have proved negative. We have also extended asymptomatic testing facility until December 15 to accommodate the levels of demand from our students – both undergraduate and postgraduate – as well as staff.

Our plans for testing before and in the Spring Term are also underway. Once again, we will encourage all students to be tested twice before they take part in face-to-face teaching.

We will update you on the plans for the Spring Term as soon as we possibly can as we know this latest Government announcement is potentially confusing as well as concerning. I would like to reiterate that we remain committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all our staff and students and that is at the forefront of all decisions we are making.

I would also like to again acknowledge the amount of hard work that continues to take place across the University, and I thank you all for the support you are showing at this challenging time.

Best wishes


Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

Kent logo

Covid-19 update – 3 December 2020

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

Tier 3 Covid restrictions

As of 2 December, we are now in Tier 3 Covid restrictions in both Canterbury and Medway. Many of you will have noted that these restrictions do not differ greatly to those of the national lockdown. In accordance with Government guidance, we will continue to offer a blended approach to teaching until 4 December when all our teaching will move online until the end of term (December 18). The  majority of our campus catering outlets will remain open offering a takeaway service until the end of term. A Christmas vacation timetable is available detailing which outlets will be open during the festive break. Our sports facilities will reopen on 3 December providing online activities and a limited physical service.  Study spaces and our library services will remain open for our students throughout the Christmas vacation period.

The safety of all our Kent community remains of paramount importance. Please do ensure you follow Government guidance concerning Hands, Face, Space and remember to follow the ‘rule of 6’ when meeting people from other households outdoors in public spaces.

We have communicated the new Tier 3 restrictions to our students and will continue to support them to follow the guidance for the safety of our whole University community.

Asymptomatic testing

I would like to extend my thanks to all staff involved in setting up asymptomatic testing on our Canterbury and Medway campuses. This has been a significant undertaking within a very challenging schedule and staff have coped admirably.

As of 2 December, 3,600 appointments have been made at the Canterbury Asymptomatic Testing Site, and I extend my thanks to all of those who have been involved in setting the facility up in a very short period of time. In response to the high number of bookings we have received, the service has now been extended. Appointments are available until 15 December 2020 so please do book should you wish to get tested.

We are awaiting further information from the DfE, but do know that our asymptomatic testing programme is likely to continue in the New Year. To accommodate this, universities are likely to be asked to bring students back onto campus on a staggered basis. This is to ensure that social distancing can be adhered to and that the testing programme is ready to manage the volume of tests required. I will provide further information on how this will work once we receive the guidance from DfE.

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