We hope that you had a relaxing Christmas break and are looking forward to the term ahead. As you will be aware the government has issued new guidance (https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/coronavirus/) regarding returning to university and resuming face-to-face classes. The new guidance states that this should not happen until at least the end of February. If you have not already returned to Leeds then the advice is that you should stay at your vacation accommodation. If you live in the Leeds area and commute into the university centre the advice is that you should also study online until at least the end of February. Your course teams will already have been in contact with you to explain how this will work and I hope that you are all finding this a positive experience.
We would like to take this opportunity to assure you that we are doing everything we can to ensure your learning experience continues to be of high quality and that you are not disadvantaged by this latest development. This experience may be different from the usual student experience but our course teams are working hard to ensure the quality is equally high.
The central higher education Student Support team is also available to offer counselling, welfare and learning support. Please take a look at their support area which contains information about the services available and a number of self-help guides. This can be found by logging into Google Classroom and typing in the following code: ujtphzp. The majority of you will already have access to this Google Classroom. The library will also continue to offer a click and collect service.
The government guidance states that students on a small number of courses may return to face-to-face teaching but only where absolutely necessary. To protect both staff and students we are following this and keeping the teaching online but will be arranging for access to labs and other facilities for students on these courses. Your course team will be in contact with further details.
We are also opening the university centre to provide access to study space and specialist resources which cannot be accessed from home. In accordance with government guidance, access to study space is available to students in exceptional circumstances such as those who have no suitable space to study at home or those who need to return to campus for health reasons. If you feel that you need access to study space or specialist facilities, please discuss this with your course team.
Any students accessing the university centre during this period of time will be required to take 2 Covid Lateral Flow Device tests at University Centre Leeds. These must be taken 3-5 days apart and both must be negative. The lateral flow tests involve students taking a swab of saliva from their tonsils, which will then be processed on site with the result being ready approximately 30 minutes later. Students will be able to access facilities on the day of the second negative test. If a student does not wish to take the tests they must provide evidence of self-isolation for the 10 days prior to entering the building. The only students exempt from these requirements are those who can provide proof of a negative test within the last 90 days.
Students using the facilities will be required to observe the Covid prevention measures which include:
- Wearing a face covering at all times (unless in a classroom by themselves).
- Observing social distancing (remaining a minimum of 2 metres apart at all times).
- Sanitising work stations both before and after use.
This is not the start of the 2021 that any of us wanted but we would like to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to keep you safe whilst still offering a high quality learning experience.
Dean of Higher Education