Weekly update from the Vice-Chancellor - 25/09/2020

Posted in: Weekly Update

Dear colleague,

Missing students

I am sure many of you will have seen the deeply troubling news that Alec Unsgaard and Martin Bowers, two of our students, are currently missing. We are doing everything possible to help the police to locate them as well as supporting family and friends. These students are constantly in my mind and I am humbled by the kindnesses that have been shown by our University community at this time. If you need any support, please do not hesitate to contact those who can help.

The East Village on campus

Last night, I saw for myself the new ‘East Village’ activities on campus, including the outdoor cinema and acoustic stage.

For those of you who have not yet been to campus, significant work has been undertaken by the Students’ Union alongside University colleagues, to enable sufficient activities for our students in a Covid-secure environment and in line with new Government restrictions.

Thanks to the enormous efforts of colleagues and student officers, we have created a collection of outdoor spaces with five marquees for students near the Lime Tree and in the East car park. To help this year’s Freshers to socialise in a responsible manner, numbers are being controlled, and the areas are being supervised with tables pre-booked. These activities will take place from 6pm to 10pm during Freshers’ Week (23-26 September), and then on Fridays and Saturdays for the rest of the Semester.

As you will be aware from this week’s operational update, that does mean car parking has been reduced on the East of campus and my thanks to staff for their flexibility in using the other car parks available.

Although I am sure we will face challenges about behaviour in the weeks to come, we are doing everything possible to provide activities in this carefully managed way to minimise any negative student behaviour both on campus and in the local area.

New apps to download

As you will have seen from other updates, the NHS Covid-19 app launched yesterday, as did our SafeZone app. These are designed to help you stay safe and informed. Please read the information we have provided about their functionality as well as the links to download the apps for your mobile phone.

Be Safe video and face coverings

For those of you who are returning to University buildings and campus after some time away, you can gain a sense of the changes we have made to create a Covid-secure environment in our new Be Safe video. You can also download a map to help you understand the new one-way systems on campus.

In my message earlier this week, I explained that we would be strengthening our policy on face coverings. You can now view our updated policy page. This information, as well as a reminder about downloading relevant apps and the importance of the ‘Isolate. Test. Tell.’ process, will also be going to all students later today.

Teaching next week 

I would like to offer my best wishes to all our teaching staff for next week, when much of our in-person and online learning activity resumes. We are still awaiting further clarity from the UK Government about more detailed HE guidelines, but they have reiterated their desire for blended delivery and in-person teaching. We will, of course, keep the situation under review in these fast-moving times.

You have worked so hard to reach this stage and I am deeply grateful for all your preparations. Thank you so much.

With warm good wishes,

Professor Ian White
Vice-Chancellor and President

Posted in: Weekly Update


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