Coronavirus

Tier 3 Covid regulations in force from today

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

Thank you for your commitment to your studies this term, for working so hard throughout these challenging times and for endeavouring to keep both yourselves and the whole of our community as safe as possible.

You will no doubt be aware that the national lockdown has now ended, and Tier 3 Covid regulations come into force in both Canterbury and Medway from today (2 December 2020). Tier 3 is classed as Very High Risk, meaning it remains vitally important that we all comply with the guidance to ensure we keep our community safe.

I would like to remind you of the Tier 3 guidance:

  • No household mixing indoors or in private gardens – please do not socialise with those you do not live with. This means no visitors to your student accommodation.
  • The ‘rule of 6’ applies when meeting others outdoors in public areas such as parks. You can meet outdoors in a group of up to six people you do not live with, providing you abide by social distancing.
  • The Government is advising against travelling in and out of the area in which you live. Please be aware however that the Student Travel Window (3-9 December 2020) still applies. You can travel from your term-time to permanent address for the Winter vacation period. However, please do not make other non-essential journeys.

Do please follow the Government guidelines set out above and ensure you follow Hands, Face, Space, Test guidance.

Please remember that unless you are in an exempt categoryyou should be wearing a face covering when inside University buildings, including teaching spaces, catering outlets, the library and other communal areas. You should also wear a face covering in the local community, when in shops and on public transport.

I do appreciate that this has been a challenging term. Please be assured we are doing everything we can to provide the best possible student experience whilst we adhere to the Government guidelines.

On campus, most of our outlets will remain open offering a takeaway service until 11 December 2020. Opening hours will vary during the Christmas and New Year vacation. Our sports facilities open on 3 December 2020 with reduced provision to ensure we comply with Tier 3 guidance. You can access all our study facilities and library services; these will remain open over the Christmas vacation for those of you staying with us.

I will contact you again shortly to provide further information on our plans for the Spring term. I encourage you to continue to engage with all your teaching sessions until term ends on 18 December 2020, and thank you again for your dedication to your studies during these challenging times.

Paul Allain

Kent People: Paul Allain, Dean of the Graduate and Researcher College

When did you join the University and why?

A Senior Lectureship in Drama came up at Kent in 2000, which was rare those days. With my eldest son about to start primary school in London, a move to Canterbury with its excellent schools and a bit more space felt like a positive step. The drama department was then, and still is, among the biggest and best in the UK. I joined Kent in September and was fortunate enough to begin with a term’s externally funded sabbatical – a soft landing.

What did you do before joining Kent?

I started a PhD in contemporary Polish theatre in autumn 1989, an interesting time to be researching there. I performed with a Polish theatre group about whom I was also writing, which led to work as a Movement Director in companies such as the RSC and the Royal National Theatre. I collaborated with some very famous actors, though to list them would be namedropping!  I gained my first permanent 0.5 position in 1993 and continued to mix academic and theatre work for a few years until I decided to give my all to research and teaching.

Why has the new College been created and what’s its remit?

I have now been Dean for four years. From the beginning, I saw benefits in joining up our excellent support for postgraduates with that for research staff, especially postdocs who were ‘falling between the gaps’. I commissioned a report which confirmed this problem and gave us clear guidance on what was needed to support all staff who research across the whole academic lifecycle. 

Tell us more about who’s who within your College team?

Within the Graduate and Researcher College, we’re a very small team and there’s been a lot of change over the last year, from people departing through KVSS to maternity leaves. But it’s all good, and we’re finding ways to adapt as a team so we can deliver on our expanded remit. Core team members are sustaining and enhancing our PG activity and support, in particular with the Global Skills Award for Master’s students and our Researcher Development Programme, while a new post will work closely with myself and colleagues on rolling out our programme for academic researchers.

What are your immediate plans for the newly formed College?

The imminent task is to sustain what the team has been doing so well for our postgraduates, while incorporating new workshops, activities and networks for academic staff, ultimately all geared towards improving our research performance. We signed up to the Concordat to support researcher career development in June 2020, so can’t shirk this. We are also active in several UKRI-funded postgraduate consortia which has been very preoccupying during Covid, ensuring we help our research students fairly with the limited resources we have. Inevitably, this is rumbling on… 

Why do you think postgraduate education has a pivotal part in Kent’s future success?

Delivering quality postgraduate taught courses and offering excellent research supervision has to be a priority for any institution that is serious about conducting research. As a REF panel member (in 2014 and imminently for REF 2021 in subpanel 33), I see clearly how vital postgraduates are to academic life.

Covid-19 permitting(!), what are your interests away from work?

Not surprisingly, I enjoy live events such as concerts and theatre, overseas if possible, and often in Poland. Is that not work though? In case it is, I also play tennis. I’m a bit of a fidget, so that burns some energy.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Engaging your legs can greatly enhance your serve!

 

Coronavirus

Asymptomatic testing appointments still available at Canterbury and Medway

If you do not have symptoms of Covid-19, ie are asymptomatic, you can make an appointment to be tested for on campus.

Canterbury and Medway appointments are still available to book online.

Please remember that asymptomatic testing is for people not displaying Covid-19 symptoms. If you do have symptoms, please follow our Self-Isolate, Test, Inform procedure and book a test via the NHS Coronavirus website.

You should ideally have two asymptomatic tests 3-5 days apart and then return home within 24hrs of your second negative test result. If you are unable to wait for a second test, please return home as soon as possible after your first negative result.

If you decide to get tested, please register for an NHS login before your appointment. You can set this up using your email address. Please note that you will not receive your barcode until you arrive to be tested, however you can still set up the rest of your account.

Once registered, please bookmark this link to the NHS Coronavirus Testing site on your phone. Pre-registering for an NHS login will speed up your appointment and make the testing process even easier.

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

Looking after your wellbeing

There is a lot of support on hand for students over the Christmas period at the Canterbury and Medway campuses.

Wellbeing Art Kits

We have a Wellbeing art kit which can be sent to your door for some festive, crafty relaxation.

Espression Arts in Canterbury has teamed up with Student Support and Wellbeing to offer these decorate at home kits at a cheaper price for Kent and KMMS students. Simply the discount code KentStudent2020 and your University of Kent email address  – postage is absolutely free for you and covered by the University of Kent.

What’s in it?

Each Kit comes as a mixed media pack with everything you need to create a wonderful, personalised work of art wherever you are. Kits include your selected ceramic decoration shape with a hole for hanging (approx 8cm x 8cm), three colours of acrylic paints (various colourways available) glitter and sequins can be added (with glue provided) to brighten up your creation and add sparkle! Designs can be applied front and back for double the fun. Once completed your decoration can be hung on the ribbon provided to give to a loved one or to keep for yourself – full user instructions provided.

If you have any queries, please email wellbeingevents@kent.ac.uk with your order number and address.

Canterbury

Student volunteers are on hand throughout the night if you just need someone to listen. The phone number to call is 01227 824848 or they have an instant chat function if preferred.

Campus Security staff are on duty 24 hours per day, 365 days per year and can always be contacted on their emergency number 01227 823333

Medway

At Medway, students have access to support through Medway Foodbank Vouchers (these can be obtained from the Medway Campus Chaplain) and Medway Street Angels.

For support with your finances, please contact GKSU Advice team to find out more about what support is available to you.

Please remember that the Medway Campus Chaplain is also available and can be contacted on MedwayCampusChaplain@gre.ac.uk.

Wellbeing

Student Support and Wellbeing continues to operate until 22 December and then will return on Monday 4th 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 jo@samaritans.org.

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.

Greenwich’s Wellbeing Hub provides resources to empower you to look after your mental wellbeing with practical tips on resilience and self-care. The University of Greenwich is also offering students Winter Care Packages that can be ordered here.

Remember, you can call Nightline to speak to a trained student volunteer about anything that may be troubling you. Greenwich students can access the London service on 0207 631 0101 or there are other online methods available.

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

Emergency support

NHS 111 is the NHS urgent help advice line. It’s fast, easy and free. Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency.

For 24/7 free online counselling and peer support, all Kent students can access Togetherall for free.

Need to talk right now? Call the Samaritans free on 116 123

The university also offers a Wellbeing Page to provide links to Counselling Services, Self-help Resources, and ways to stay connected.

Facilities at Medway over Christmas

There will be numerous on campus facilities open during the Christmas break. You will be able to catch up on your studies at the library and pop into the student union.

Drill Hall Library

The library will be open between the dates listed below. Please note that you don’t need to renew or return any books, including document deliveries, from Friday 4 December to Sunday 17 January inclusive.

21 to 22 December – 09:00 to 17:00
23 December – 10:00 to 16:00
Closed on 24 to 28 December
29 to 31 December – 10:00 to 16:00
Closed on 1 January
2 to 4 January – 10:00 to 16:00
From 5 January onwards the library will be open between 08:00 to 21:00.

GSKU

The Student Union will be open till 17 December, they will close on 18 December and re-open on 11 January. You will be able to pop into the Student Hub to speak to reception.

Chaplaincy

The University Chaplaincy will continue to be responsive throughout the Christmas period, so please email them at chaplaincy@kent.ac.uk or call/text 07970 438840 if you feel you need additional information or relevant personal support.

Facilities at Canterbury over Christmas

There will be numerous on campus facilities open during the Christmas break. You will be able to catch up on your studies at the library or grab a coffee from the cafe and pick up your groceries from the Co-op.

Templeman Library

These are the dates the library will be open. Please note that you don’t need to renew or return any books, including document deliveries, from Friday 4 December to Sunday 17 January inclusive.

The library will be open till 18 December – 08:00 to 22:00.

After that these are the dates they will be open:

19 to 22 December – 09:00 to 18:00
23 to 24 December – 10:00 to 16:00
Closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day
27 to 31 December – 10:00 to 16:00
Closed on New Years Day
2 to 3 January – 10:00 to 16:00
4 to 17 January – 09:00 to 18:00

You can find more information about studying over the Christmas vacation.

Study spaces on the Canterbury campus

From 19 December to 4 January study spaces will be available in the Templeman Library, Darwin study hubs, Nickle Court Study Hub and Woody’s IT Study Hub.

Seminar rooms and PC classrooms which have been available for study or to attend online seminars and lectures will be closed until the Spring Term.

Gulbenkian

The theatre and cinema will close at 18:00 on the 20 December. Colyer-Fergusson will remain open for external activity until the 16:00 on the 22 December. The café closes on the 22 December and will reopen on the 4 January.

Woody’s

Although the bar and catering service will be closed, the student hub will remain open for the Parkwood shop and Study Hub.

Library café

The cafe will remain business as usual until 11 December. They will be closed on 12 and 13 December, then open on reduced hours 10:00 to 18:00 from 14 to 18 December. The café will then close from end of day on 18 December until 11 January.

Oaks nursery

Oaks will be open until 22 December when they close from 13:00. They will open up at 8:00 on 6 January.

Co-op at Main Plaza

The Co-op will be closed between 12 December and 12 January. However, there will be a click and collect service and Deliveroo option for students.

Co-op at Parkwood

It’s business as usual with reduced opening hours except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. There will also be a click and collect service and Deliveroo option here.

15 to 18 December – 08:00 to 20:00
19 to 20 December – 09:00 to 19:00
21 to 24 December – 09:00 to 17:00
Closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day
27 December – 10:00 to 16:00
28 to 31 December – 09:00 to 17:00
Closed on New Years Day
2 to 3 January – 10:00 to 16:00
4 to 8 January – 09:00 to 17:00
09 to 10 January – 10:00 to 16:00
11 to 15 January – 08:00 to 20:00
16 to 17 January – 09:00 to 20:00

Chaplaincy

The University Chaplaincy will continue to be responsive throughout the Christmas period, so please email them at chaplaincy@kent.ac.uk or call/text 07970 438840 if you feel you need additional information or relevant personal support.

For traditional Christmas worship services with Christmas Carols (in person and online) why not explore the programme at Canterbury Cathedral.

Meanwhile, New Life Church is a partly campus-based ministry, led by our Pentecostal Chaplain and is offering online content.

St Thomas’ Catholic Church, Canterbury offers in-person and online services.

Please visit the University Chaplaincy website or email direct on chaplaincy@kent.ac.uk and sign up for their e-newsletter (a special Christmas edition will be sent out on 18 December). In addition, please contact them if you would like to receive a free copy of the booklet ‘Comfort and Joy’ (Christmas prayers and reflections, presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury). This can be delivered to you anywhere on Canterbury campus.

Financial support over the Winter break

This year has come with many difficulties. If you find yourself struggling financially, you are welcome to apply for financial support from the University. Please note the deadlines and university office closure dates below.

Kent Emergency Short Term Loan

You will need to have your application for the Kent Emergency Short Term Loan completed and sent to us by 14.00 on Wednesday 16 December to receive any money by Christmas.

You should complete and scan the application form to FinancialAid@kent.ac.uk (Canterbury) or UKMFinance@kent.ac.uk (Medway) along with scanned copies of your bank statements (for all bank accounts UK or abroad). These statements should show all transactions back 30 days from the date of the application.  Payments will be made directly into your bank account – no cash can be issued at this time.

Other financial hardship packages

The other financial hardship packages are still available for students to apply but please be aware that any application may not now be processed or finalised before Christmas. Students should therefore not rely on receiving any funds granted before the New Year for these packages.

Office closures

Financial Aid and other Central Finance offices will be closed for Christmas from midday on Tuesday 22 December 2020 and will re-open on Monday 4 January 2021.

Kent Logo

Covid-19: Asymptomatic Testing Site at Canterbury now open for staff

The Asymptomatic Testing Site on our Canterbury campus is now open for all University of Kent staff to use. 

If you do not have Covid-19 symptoms ie are asymptomatic and would like to be tested, please make an appointment.

Appointments are available from 2 December until 15 December 2020.

Please note that the NHS advises you are tested twice, ideally within 3 days, in order to receive a reliable result.

The Asymptomatic Testing Site (ATS) offers Lateral Flow Tests which are different to the tests offered by NHS Local Testing Sites. Lateral Flow Tests are specifically for those who are asymptomatic. 

We are currently working with the local Public Health Team to arrange for asymptomatic testing to be available for staff on the Medway campus. More information will be provided very shortly.

Please note that if you do have symptoms of Covid-19, you should self-isolate immediately and follow our Staff reporting procedure. Please book a PCR test as soon as you can via the NHS Coronavirus site. Please also let HR and Occupational Health know by emailing staffwellbeing@kent.ac.uk and inform your line manager.

To find out more about the ATS and Lateral Flow Tests, please see our dedicated Coronavirus website

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

Puppy wearing Christmas hat

Top 10 ways to feel festive this December

Blog post by Second Year Law Student, Ellie House. 

Although lockdown ends on 2 December, the new tier system will bring its own challenges – especially as we try to navigate through the Christmas period. Here are some top tips on ways to feel festive this December, while still staying within restrictions and keeping safe!

  1. Take a walk with those in your household/bubble

A great way to stay active during this time is taking walks outside. There are many beautiful walking spots around Kent and within Canterbury and exploring those with your household could be a great activity! If you also want a festive feel, try taking a walk through Canterbury (or your local area) and looking at this year’s Christmas lights.

  1. Try some festive baking

This is an activity you can do by yourself or with those in your household! Try making a festive cake or some cookies and get creative with your decorations. If you’re feeling extra Christmassy, you could even try building a gingerbread house, or having a gingerbread house making competition with your friends – this could be together if you’re a household or over Zoom.

  1. Take time to do some festive arts and crafts

A great activity if you feel like you’re in a creative lull is doing some festive arts and crafts! There are many different things you can create with a Christmas theme, but if you’re stuck for ideas, you could try a wellbeing art kit.

  1. Decorate!

If you haven’t done so already, decorating is always a fantastic way to feel more festive. You can put up a tree and decorate your home with all the glitter and tinsel you can find. Whether you stick to a traditional red, green and gold colour palette, or change it up with something a little different, you’re bound to feel more in the Christmas spirit once your decorations are up.

  1. Have a Christmas movie night in

Unless you’re the Grinch, Christmas movies are bound to get you in the festive spirit. Set up a movie night with your household and watch all your favourite Christmas classics, and maybe even a few new releases out for Christmas this year. You can make it more interesting by having each person pick their favourite film, or if you don’t have time to binge-watch them all, pick them out of a hat. You can also feel more festive by drinking hot chocolates and eating festive snacks!

  1. Make your own Christmas cards or gifts

Whether you’re creative or not, you can still get into the Christmas spirit by making some DIY gifts for your family and friends. There are lots of tutorials online for all sorts of gifts, so you’re bound to find something you’d enjoy making and that would be appreciated by your friends and family.

  1. Have a ‘Zoom’ Secret Santa

Use an online Secret Santa generator to each pick someone to get a gift for and set a budget for how much you’re each going to spend. Then, buy your gifts online and get them delivered to each other’s addresses! Make sure you set a date for when you’ll all open the gifts and call each other whilst you open them to see everyone’s reactions.

  1. Festive ‘Come Dine With Me’

Why not get together with the other members of your household and have a festive ‘Come Dine With Me’? You can each cook a meal for everyone in the evening, and then each ‘guest’ can rank the meal out of 10! Whoever gets the highest score for their meal wins. Make sure to add a festive element to each of your meals, maybe by making a Christmas-themed dessert or even just adding some brussels sprouts to your dish!

  1. Hold an online Christmas quiz

You can find plenty of Christmas-themed trivia questions online or come up with your own. Put them together in a quiz and test your friends’ Christmas knowledge. You can come up with a prize for the winner, or just play for fun – it’s completely up to you!

  1. Volunteer

During this difficult time, it’s especially important that we give back to our local communities and help those in need. Helping others during this festive period, even if it’s just donating a small amount of your time, can really make a difference to someone’s Christmas. Take a look at the volunteering opportunities around your local area and see what you can do to help. Whether you’re able to give up your time for charity, or you have some change to spare and buy some food for the foodbank on your weekly shop, helping others during this difficult December is something we should all strive to do.

No matter how you spend your Christmas, try to get the most out of December whilst staying safe.

Meet your residential life officers

Who are your Residential Life Assistants and what do they do?

Residential Life Assistants (RLAs) are postgraduate student volunteers who host events and support initiatives within your College. They will help you to form a College Committee in the spring, to find your voice and promote your ideas and values. They will support you to shape the ways you can all come together to make your College Community, where every student is welcome no matter what their background and whether living on or off campus.

Fawaz (studying Bio-digital Architecture MSc)

Fawaz is currently studying for a MSc in Bio-digital architecture. "Being an international student in such a diverse student body, I am very excited to be involved in developing a social campus life and help students from all backgrounds to connect with others with shared interests."

Ally (studying Economics MSc)

Ally is currently studying for a MSc in Economics. "I am looking forward to making Kent feel like a second home to everyone and building a greater sense of community."

Maria (studying Forensic Osteology MSc)

Maria is currently studying Forensic Osteology MSc. "The one thing I am most looking forward to as an Residential Life Assistant is helping the community connect and grow within each college but also as a whole."

Ishaan (studying Environmental Anthropology MSc)

Ishaan is currently studying for a Environmental Anthropology MSc. "I am most excited about conducting events where all students come together, feel included, and have a sense of belonging to their colleges."

Daniella (studying Criminology MA)

Daniella is studying Criminology MA. "I am most looking forward to bringing together the communities we have on campus through the various events and ideas we have planned."

RLA festive events

Get involved with The Tw’Elf Days of Christmas competition on your College Facebook page (daily prizes awarded). Find your College Facebook page on the College webpage.

We also have a Christmas Cookies baking event coming up hosted by the RLAs and Kent Union Baking Society for live baking fun! If you’re staying on campus you can borrow the equipment you need for the bake from the College Life team.

We’re adding more events to our College events page so keep an eye out.

College Life Team

The RLAs focus on events but also work closely with the College Life Officers (CLOs) who are experienced, full time staff working in the central College and Community Life team. Your CLOs can offer you individual or group support if you are struggling, by email (cclteam@kent.ac.uk), phone, or Teams. Their focus is on welfare, support, and access to specialist services.