Category Archives: Student covid

Three students at Medway campus outside

Covid-19 update: plans for Autumn 2021

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

As we move into the final term of this academic year, and on behalf of all our University staff, I would like to take a moment to thank you for the resilience you have shown throughout the pandemic. I know this has been a difficult time for many of you and I, along with the rest of the University, have been humbled by your tenacity and dedication to your studies.

After many months of uncertainty, I am pleased we can now look ahead to the next academic year at Kent and plan the experiences you will be able to look forward to.

The government’s roadmap out of lockdown gives us every reason to be optimistic though, whilst we anticipate that we will return fully to campus as usual from September and will be preparing for this, we are also planning for other possibilities should there be any delays to that roadmap.

Campus

We are getting ready to open our campuses from September 2021 and look forward to welcoming you back to Kent.

There will be plenty of opportunities to make the most of our beautiful spaces and meet with other students, with a range of creative events, activities and ways to get together. Our venues, bars and cafes will be open, following any safety guidance that is relevant at the time.

We will be providing a broad range of events at both Canterbury and Medway, allowing you to reconnect with other students and to make the most of your University experience. Our events will include both face-to-face and online opportunities, ensuring all Kent students can get involved no matter where they are in the world.

Teaching

We are determined to give you the highest quality education and having listened to both you and our staff, are planning our teaching around ways that will best enable your success.

Most lectures will continue to be delivered online in the Autumn term, so that we can timetable as many small-group teaching sessions (eg, seminars, lab classes and studio sessions) for face-to-face delivery as possible. These are the sessions in which you can most effectively share and discuss ideas directly with our staff and your fellow students.

For the whole of 2021/22, summative assessments and exams will remain online, with only a small number of exceptions.

Planning in this way means we will be able to adapt our plans quickly as and when government guidelines give us more flexibility.

Whilst we look forward to welcoming you all back in person, we know that might not be possible for some of you. For those of you unable to return, remote study will remain an option for most courses.

Later this term, as plans progress, your school/department will email you with more details on how your subject will be taught from September and will provide advice for those requiring remote study.

Support

In the past year, we recognise that your studies have been disrupted and you have had to adapt to different ways of learning during the pandemic. We will continue to offer a wide range of support for your academic studies and good mental health, through our academic advisory sessions and services including those from Student Support and Wellbeing and Student Learning and Advisory Service. We are keen to ensure you get the most out of your time at Kent, so we are here to support you throughout your journey.

Along with colleagues from across the University, I will be providing a general update for the Summer Term as part of our series of Kent Student WebChats on Friday 21 May, 13.00-14.00. Please do sign-up online and add and any questions you would like to have answered.

Further information about our plans for the 2021/22 academic year, as it becomes available, will be added to your Coronavirus Student Information pages.

If you have any questions, please email CovidSupport@kent.ac.uk.

With my best wishes,

Richard

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

Student sat by tree

Covid-19 update: Return to campus

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

Earlier this week, the Government announced further details on when and how students will be permitted to return to face-to-face teaching at universities across England, and indicated that this would be no earlier than 17 May 2021. 

This is disappointing news for many and we share your frustration that we have not been able to welcome everyone back to our campuses sooner. As we move towards the exam term at Kent, we will continue to do everything we can to support you wherever you are based. We are firmly focused on helping you achieve the best possible outcome in your online exams from 10 May onwards, with more information on how we will support you in this on our Student Guide.   

The Government also confirmed that additional hardship funds will be made available to support students most in need given the continued restrictions – we are awaiting further details on what this means for us at Kent and will share more information as soon as possible. 

Come together for Kent Summer 

We are determined to give you all a chance to come together and end the year on a high when lockdown does finally ease. We will shortly share joint plans with our Students’ Unions for a fun-packed programme throughout the summer, with street food from around the world, outdoor screenings and live performances leading up to a two-week celebration at the end of June once exams are over. I hope as many of you as possible can take the chance to catch up with each other in person while making the most of everything our wonderful campuses have to offer.  

Enjoy the Easter break, and thank you all again for the fantastic way you have all continued to engage with your studies and wider university life this year. 

With best wishes, 

Richard 

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

students sat outside

Covid-19 update: Government Restrictions, Exam Guidance, No Detriment Policy

From Professor Richard Reece | DVC Education and Student Experience

This year’s vacation period signals a further relaxation of Coronavirus restrictions as the Government moves into Step 2 of its roadmap to get the country out of lockdown. As of 12 April, non-essential retail will re-open along with some entertainment venues and hospitality outlets.

On the Canterbury campus:

On the Medway campus:

  • The Student Hub reception will be open from 10.00 – 16.00 Monday to Friday
  • Keep an eye out on the GKSU website and social media for further updates and activity

We’ll all need to continue to play our part in keeping everyone safe as restrictions start to ease, so please carry on observing all social distancing regulations and guidance concerning Hands, Face, Space when using campus spaces and facilities.

With the Rule of 6 now in force, I hope as many of you as possible can take the chance to socialise outdoors in groups of six or as two households – do remember though that indoor socialising is still not permitted with those not part of your household, and there can be consequences if you do not stick to the rules. Thanks to all of you for continuing to help us keep our campuses safe as we continue with preparations to get life back to normal at Kent.

Summer Examinations 

We have published a guide to help you prepare for your Summer online examinations and revise effectively. There are a range of resources you can access as well as tips for structuring your revision and staying focused.

Remember that if you wish to stay on campus for any part of the Summer term, we have a range of accommodation options available starting at £35 per night. You can book online using the EXAMSTUDY promotional code to reserve your room.

No Detriment 

We have added a new bank of FAQs to our No Detriment Measures 2021 webpage based on our continued commitment that no student is disadvantaged as a result of the pandemic.

Covid-19 testing 

For those of you staying on campus over the Easter vacation, please help us have a great summer together by continuing to get tested twice weekly for Covid-19. If you intend to travel, please take a test before you leave for your permanent home. You should also get tested at a nearby community facility, if possible, before you return to campus after the Easter break.

Professor Richard Reece | DVC Education and Student Experience

Students sat at Canterbury campus

Covid-19 update: Easter vacation, graduations and summer events

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

I hope you are all well and looking forward to some much-needed relaxation at the end of the Spring Term. Thank you for your dedication to your studies during what has been an incredibly challenging academic year – watch this space for plans to bring those that can together later in the Summer when restrictions allow, with more information below.

For now, as we move into the next stage of the Government’s roadmap we can look ahead to lockdown rules easing further and being able to spend more time with friends and family. Please remember that from 29 March, the ‘Rule of 6’ is now in force, meaning you can socialise outdoors in groups of 6, or as 2 households. Socialising indoors with those not in your household is not yet permitted.

Easter vacation

For those of you already in your term-time accommodation, Government guidance states that although you may travel back to your permanent home at Easter, it is preferable that you remain at your term-time address, if you can.

If you do intend to travel, please ensure you get tested before you leave, plan your journey in case of delays and get tested at a local community testing facility if possible before you return to campus. Remember that if you test positive for Covid-19, you must self-isolate and are not permitted to travel.

If you plan to travel from abroad, please see our International information page for more on the travel and testing arrangements that must be followed if you are returning to the UK from abroad.

Graduations

This week we have written to final year students confirming our delayed plans for this year’s graduations. While everyone will still receive their certificate so there should be no need to delay plans for employment or further study, it is important that every Kent student can enjoy the graduation ceremony they deserve. Unfortunately, we are unable to guarantee this for this summer – however we will be welcoming all our final year students to celebrate their graduation at Canterbury or Rochester Cathedral next May.

Summer events

Look out for joint plans on the way with our Students’ Unions to make the most of summer and celebrate the end of term, including a festival fortnight of fun and community on our Canterbury and Medway campuses from 21 June to 2 July. We’re aiming to have something for everyone, with music events, outdoor catering, sports programmes, screenings, workshops and much more to coincide with the planned removal of Government restrictions. I hope as many as possible can join activities when we can this summer and come together safely to mark the end of a difficult year for everyone.

Summer Term accommodation at Canterbury

As I mentioned last week, if you no longer have term-time accommodation and wish to stay on the Canterbury campus for any part of the Summer Term, we have a range of accommodation options available starting at £35 per night. Whether for exams or our summer events, you can book online using the EXAMSTUDY promotional code to reserve your room.

Best wishes

Richard

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

Students on grass at Canterbury campus

What Covid-19 rules are changing from 29 March?

On Monday 29 March we move into the next stage of the Government’s easing of lockdown – but was does that mean for you?

Here is a quick summary of the changes:

  • The rule of 6 returns
    You may meet outdoors, including in private gardens, with 5 other people not in your household (the ‘Rule of 6’) or as 2 households. Indoor socialising is still not permitted.
  • Kent Sport will start to reopen for outdoor sport
    You may take part in outdoor sporting activities including team sports. The planned reopening of our sports facilities is outlined on our Kent Sport website.
  • ‘Stay at home’ rule ends
    The ‘stay at home’ rule ends on 29 March however please continue to minimise travel where you can.

Please see our recent student email for full details.

Get tested for Covid-19 and get a free coffee

If you’re using University facilities, please continue to get regular asymptomatic Covid-19 tests. And to say thanks, we are giving students on our Canterbury campus a free hot drink.

Find out more and book a test.

Coronavirus

Covid-19 update – roadmap, testing and accommodation for exams

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

Some of you will know that according to the Government’s current roadmap, the next stage of relaxing the coronavirus restrictions will take place on 29 March.

From 29 March

You may meet outdoors, including in private gardens, with 5 other people not in your household (the ‘Rule of 6’) or as 2 households. Indoor socialising is still not permitted.

You may take part in outdoor sporting activities including team sports. The planned reopening of our sports facilities is outlined on our Kent Sport website.

The ‘stay at home’ rule ends on 29 March. Consequently, you can return to your campus or term-time accommodation from then onwards should you choose to do so and access our currently available facilities. Please bear in mind that teaching for the majority of you will continue to be online until the end of term, and if you do return to campus we encourage you to minimise travel and take part in regular Covid-19 testing.

Postgraduate research students (PGRs) are still expected to work from home unless this is impossible. Access to campus office spaces for PGRs remains extremely limited and only under special circumstances with prearranged agreement. Those PGRs who have already been working on campus can continue to do so under the same conditions.

Our Student Guide events calendar contains many different online activities that you can take part in, as well as links to Kent Union and GKSU, so please get involved.

Covid-19 testing

Thank you to all of you back on campus who are getting tested regularly at our asymptomatic testing site. It is so important you continue to do so, to help look after your friends and those around you.

Please play your part so we can all get back to the life we miss at Kent.

For students on the Canterbury campus, did you know that by being tested regularly you’re entitled to free coffees and lunch? Find out more about our great reward programme.

Summer Term accommodation at Canterbury

Would you like to live on the Canterbury campus during the Summer Term, to help with your studies and taking your examinations?

We can provide a range of accommodation options, from 24-hour to the whole term. 24-hour accommodation will be charged at £35 per night. This price includes bedding, kitchen equipment and your own shower facilities. Longer booking periods are available at discounted rates; please contact accomm@kent.ac.uk for further information.

Our booking form is now available, please enter the promotion code EXAMSTUDY to reserve your room. Availability is limited until the Government restrictions are eased (currently 17 May at the earliest) so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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

Coronavirus

Covid-19 student update – 17 March 2021

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

I am sure many of you are looking forward to 29 March, as I am, when the next stage of the Government’s roadmap should see further Coronavirus restrictions lifted. From this date, socialising outdoors in groups of 6 or between two households will be permitted.

After an incredibly challenging year, it feels great to look ahead to summer and the chance to spend quality time with our friends and loved ones.

Summer examinations

As I have previously highlighted to you, all this year’s examinations will be held online. Our guidance for your Summer Term online examinations is now available. Your examination papers will be released via Moodle in accordance with the examinations timetable which will be published on 29 March 2021.

Travelling home during the Easter vacation

For those of you already in your term-time accommodation, Government guidance states that although you may travel back to your permanent home during the Easter vacation, it is preferable to remain at your term-time address if you can. This will help to reduce the spread of the virus. If you do intend to travel, please ensure you get tested before you leave, plan your journey in case of delays and get tested at a local community testing facility if possible before you return to campus. Remember that if you test positive for Covid-19, you must self-isolate and are not permitted to travel.

If you plan to travel from abroad, please see our international information page for more on the travel and testing arrangements that must be followed if you are returning to the UK from abroad.

Regular Covid-19 testing

Thank you to all of you who are regularly using the on-site Covid-19 testing facilities. It is incredibly important for any staff or students on campus to be tested twice a week. We will only be able to return to the life at Kent we all miss if our Covid cases on campus remain low, so please play your part, help keep your friends safe and look after our campus community.

Medway rent discount

If you are based at Pier Quays, please see this information published by Unite regarding the extension of their rent discount scheme for students not able to access their accommodation because of the Covid restrictions.

Best wishes,

Richard

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

safety graphic

Covid-19: Safety on campus

From Monday 8 March, the first step of the Government’s roadmap for moving the country out of lockdown comes into force. This means that the guidelines are changing slightly and that more of you will be returning to our campuses.

What you need to remember:

Book your asymptomatic test

As long as you are symptom-free, please get tested regularly – you should be tested twice a week if you are living on or accessing the campus.

Socialising with one other person

From 8 March 2021, you can leave home for recreation and exercise outdoors with your household or support bubble, or with one person from outside your household. For example you can grab a takeaway coffee with a friend, just ensure you maintain social distancing.

Other things to remember:

  • Follow local signage on and off campus.
  • Look after your wellbeing and those around you.
  • Report any behaviour you’re concerned about.
  • Remember not everyone is able to wear a face covering – be kind.
  • Travel to and from campus safely.

Thank you for looking after our University community.

Kent logo

Covid-19: Step 1 Government roadmap update

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

As of 8 March, the first step of the Government’s roadmap for moving the country out of lockdown comes into force. This means that the guidelines will change slightly.

It is still important that you stay at home and only leave home for specific reasons including access to University facilities, work, essential shopping or to access medical supplies.

However, from 8 March you may meet with one other person from outside your household outdoors socially as well as for daily outdoor exercise.

Please ensure you socially distance when meeting others not in your household and continue to follow all advice concerning Hands, Face, Space.

Please note you should not return to campus unless you have been specifically invited to do so by your academic school or fit one of the existing criteria (for health, wellbeing and study space reasons).

For those of you who are returning, more detailed information concerning travel, testing and our campus facilities is available on our Spring Return page.

Once you have completed the correct return travel and testing steps, please remember that as long as you remain symptom-free, you need to be regularly tested for Covid-19 twice a week if you are living on campus or visiting the campus to use equipment or facilities. Should you develop any Covid-19 related symptoms, please follow our Self-isolate, Test, Inform procedure.

Returning from within the UK

For those of you who have been contacted by your academic school regarding coming back to campus from 8 March, please get tested at a community facility local to your current home if possible before you return. You must then be tested twice at our asymptomatic testing site before you use any campus facilities and then continue to be tested regularly.

Returning from abroad

For those of you who have been prioritised for return and are currently in another country, please ensure you follow the relevant guidance to travel back safely. Please check our International student advice page and ensure you read the Government guidance fully.

Unless you are prioritised for return to campus, the Government is still against international travel.

Next week I will provide further details on our plans for next term including online examinations and our Summer events programme. Postgraduate research students can also expect a further Covid update from the Dean of the Graduate and Researcher College, Professor Paul Allain.

If you have any questions, please see our Student Coronavirus webpages or email CovidSupport@kent.ac.uk for further support.

Best wishes

Richard

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

Kent logo

Extended rent reduction scheme

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

As you will be aware, the Government has now published updated guidance and a roadmap for how the country will move out of national lockdown. This further extends the length of time that many of you have been unable to return to your University on-campus accommodation.

I appreciate that this continues to be worrying for many of you, and I would like to assure you that supporting your studies and wellbeing remains our priority.

This email contains details of a rent reduction scheme extension for those who remain unable to return to campus as well as a two-week contract extension provided free-of-charge for all students whose contracts would normally run out at the end of the Summer Term on 19 June 2021.

Rent reduction scheme

The University is extending the rent reduction scheme for all students with contracts for accommodation on the Canterbury campus who are unable to return due to the current Government lockdown restrictions.

Students who have not yet been able to return to campus and will not be returning until at least 26 March can now apply online for the equivalent of a further four-week reduction of your second term accommodation fee. The deadline for applications is 14 March 2021.

In order to allow time for the application process and for us to apply the reduction, we will also be delaying this term’s rent payment date until 29 March 2021. A revised statement will be sent to you during the week beginning Monday 22 March 2021 to confirm the new amount.

As before, the amount of the reduction will take into account whether or not you have ‘Bed and Flex’ or ‘Bed and Bistro’ packages as part of your fee. Those students who have purchased the Flex catering package in addition to their accommodation fee will be contacted by the Catering team separately.

If you have already paid your rent for this term, you will be eligible for a rent refund. Refunds will be processed after 29 March 2021. Alternatively, you can use the overpayment against your next terms charges, or your tuition fees. Please note, no refunds will be given if you have outstanding debt.

If you have already paid your rent for this term and wish to request a refund, please submit the refund application form.

For urgent questions only regarding payments and refunds, please email accomfinance@kent.ac.uk. If you have questions about the scheme, and whether you are eligible for it, please email accomm@kent.ac.uk.

Summer Term

As I mentioned last week, we are hopeful that the roadmap will allow us to offer greater access to on-campus facilities and more on-campus events for a much larger number of you from the beginning of May.

To help you take advantage of any summer on-campus educational, social and cultural activities we will also be offering a two-week extension to contracts due to finish 19 June 2021 free of charge, taking them to 3 July 2021. This applies to all students with those contracts whether-or -not you have been able to return so far this term. More information about this, and our planned activities, will follow soon.

Financial support

Please be aware we have emergency short term loans and other hardship funds available if you do find yourself in financial difficulty. Please contact our Financial Aid team or Kent Union’s Advice Service (Canterbury) or GKSU’s Advice Centre (Medway) for more information on what fund may be suitable for you.

Support for students in private accommodation

We will continue to work with the large private providers (e.g., Unite at Pier Quays) to encourage them to do the right thing by students. Moreover, we are continuing to work with Kent Union and GKSU to lobby local landlords to recognise the difficulties that the travel restrictions are causing.

There is more information on the Kent Union off-campus renting page and you can get free advice and guidance from Kent Union’s Advice Service (Canterbury) and GKSU’s Advice Centre (Medway).

If you have any concerns or queries, please check our student Coronavirus webpages or email CovidSupport@kent.ac.uk and we will respond as soon as possible.

With my best wishes,

Richard

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