As many students are due to start university and others return later this month, things will be different this term with students having to adapt to life under the ‘new normal’.
University of Cumbria has, like other higher education institutions across the sector, introduced a range of measures to maintain a safe campus environment in the new term but wants to reassure students that they will still have a great university experience, nonetheless.
For its teaching and learning programmes, the university has adopted a blended method of teaching to limit the amount of time each student spends on campus.
However, as many of its courses are very practical in nature, some elements cannot be taught online and as such the university has made provisions for students to be on campus so they do not miss out on practical sessions.
This will be for approximately two days a week and in limited numbers to enable safe social distancing. The rest of the time will be spent learning online with access to tutors and a range of services the university has to support students in relation to health and wellbeing, financial support and academic skills.
Students will be provided with a manual on how to keep themselves and others safe and induction and welcome week activities will also be held online.
While on campus, the university is strongly encouraging the use of face coverings when a two-metre distance cannot be maintained. Spare face coverings will be kept at reception for any students who forget theirs.
Hygiene stations, with hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes, will be placed around each campus and all shared facilities such as kitchens and printers.
One-way systems will be in operation where necessary and every student will be required to complete an individual risk-assessment before coming onto campus.
There will be a booking system in operation for shared facilities such as libraries and gyms.
In moving into new accommodation in halls of residence, students will form new ‘households’ with their flatmates.
On moving in weekend, students will be given a pre-booked arrival time slot to manage the numbers of people in and around halls. They will receive a welcome pack which includes their hall and room keys, welcome information and an additional Covid safety pack containing sanitiser, mask, wipes and Covid specific advice and guidance.
International and European Union (EU) students
The origin of an international or EU student will dictate whether they need to ‘self-isolate’ when they arrive in the UK. Students arriving from one of the countries on the travel corridors exemption list will not have to isolate.
Any student arriving from a restricted country will be required to quarantine on arrival and is encouraged to arrive from 6 September onwards in order to allow for a 14-day quarantine before welcome week starts on 21 September.
Any international or EU student who needs to quarantine will be offered a room in halls of residence free of charge for the period of their quarantine and they will receive full support including, food parcels, health and wellbeing support and welfare checks.
Again, ‘freshers’ week’ will be very different experience, but the Students’ Union has worked hard to ensure there is still a sense of togetherness and community with its array of online events.
There will be Netflix watch parties, online cocktail making classes, a mental health session provided by MIND, a virtual book club, and official nightclub partner Glow are hosting a virtual freshers’ night and welcome party.
There will also be two socially distanced events; a selfie tour of local landmarks and a live streamed broadcast from the old Fusehill street campus morgue from when it was a hospital.
Speaking about the new term Professor Brian Webster Henderson, Pro-Vice Chancellor said: “As an experienced nurse and academic, I never imagined that I would be navigating a global pandemic that has altered our daily lives so substantially and therefore the operations of the university.
“Keeping our students and staff safe is our top priority and we continue to be guided by the latest official government guidance at all times.
“I am confident that with these procedures and processes in place and with support from our student community, our university will continue to provide an excellent education to all and our students can look forward to a positive and enriching experience.”
The university still has places available for anyone looking to start a course in September. If you still need to apply, have changed your mind about the course you’ve chosen or are looking for a career change, the university’s Clearing team can help on 0808 178 733 and online at www.cumbria.ac.uk/clearing.