Covid-19 update – 21 January 2021

Safety on campus 

The safety of our students and staff on our campuses remains of paramount importance. There are currently around 1,000 students on the Canterbury campus and much fewer numbers at Medway. We are providing essential services for these students, including our libraries and some study spaces which have remained open following updated risk assessments. We are also emailing students to remind those in term-time accommodation of the need for testing before using campus facilities and also to remind all students of the availability of community testing around the country.

The majority of students on campus are adhering to social distancing regulations and following the guidelines set. However, there have been a small number of instances where students have gathered in groups, not following Covid-19 restrictionsThe majority of these incidents are dealt with effectively by Campus Security; however, some are escalated to the Police. Kent Police have a dedicated Officer to deal with Covid breaches within the Canterbury district. We are in regular contact with the Police to ensure we are responding appropriately and continue to do all we can to limit transmission 

The Government guidance is clear that students should remain at their permanent homes and should not return to campus unless absolutely necessary. We appreciate many of our students will wish to return to Kent as soon as they can, and we await further Government guidance as to when this might be permitted.   

Reviewing our teaching provision 

The Office for Students has written to all universities asking that they conduct a review of the 2020-21 academic year. The focus of the review is to determine whether students have been provided with sufficient information to understand what their academic experience would be like this year, whether they have been kept updated on changes and whether they have received what they were promised. The review must also look ahead to teaching and assessment plans for the remainder of the year, to determine whether the plans in place will sufficiently enable students to achieve the learning outcomes they expect from their study programme. This is a large piece of work, which we are currently planning how to deliver and we will provide more information shortly 

Staff wellbeing 

The national lockdown has undoubtedly put significant pressure on staff, with many working from home whilst balancing childcare, caring responsibilities and other personal demands. As outlined in last week’s staff newsletter, the University is committed to looking after the wellbeing of our staff and takings steps to reduce pressures and workload where possible.  

In the University’s ‘Impact of COVID-19 on staff contribution’ policy, we recognise how the pandemic has changed the way we all work and our commitment to ensuring our staff feel supported during this time. Our updated COPE Framework provides practical advice for staff and managers as well as access to online resources and support for working remotely. Staff are encouraged to discuss their personal circumstances with their line manager to agree any temporary adjustments to their workload which will enable them to be more effective and to reduce pressure at this difficult time.  

More information about working from home is available on our Staff Coronavirus webpages.