Work continues to put arrangements in place to support a possible return to campus from 8 March. We are working on the basis that any return to face-to-face teaching will be phased with the prioritisation of specific student groups. However, any return is dependent on public health advice and we are hoping for more certainty when the Government announces the outcome of its review of current restrictions which is scheduled for the week beginning 22 February.
The Office for Students (OfS) has confirmed that it will be providing additional funding of £50m to the sector to help address student hardship. Of this money, £40m is for rent-related hardship, with the remaining £10m being added to the hardship fund previously announced late last year. Together with Kent Union, we are now working hard to ensure students are aware of the Covid-19 Hardship Fund as well as other sources of emergency hardship funds that we have available.
This week’s severe weather has brought us additional challenges and, on behalf of students and staff who are on campus, I would like to say a special thank you all those in Commercial Services and Estates who have been working hard to keep the Canterbury campus running and clear of snow and ice.
I also wanted to flag the work that is being done by members of the LGBT+ Staff Network who, once again, have organised a series of events to mark national LGBT+ History Month. Established in 2005, the Month provides an opportunity to celebrate LGBT+ histories and cultures. This year’s events include LGBT in Lockdown and This Is Not My First Pandemic, which seek to highlight the impact of HIV/AIDS and Coronavirus, drawing parallels between the two. As the University’s LGBT+ champion, I am hugely appreciative of the work done by members of the Network on top of their already considerable workloads and thank them for all that they do for our community.
With my very best wishes to you and your families,
Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President