We are facing an unprecedented time for you to begin your university study in the UK at the time of Covid-19. Universities are clear about their intentions that no matter where in the world students are, you will still be able to access courses and take part in high quality learning experiences. To cope with possible travel restrictions, UK universities are rolling out creative ways to stay digitally engaged with the student community.
Here’s an overview about how UK universities are adapting to this new way of teaching and learning, with guidance from the UK government. We hope you will find this useful, if you’re after specific information about your chosen destination, please check them out here.
New and innovative ways are constantly being developed to prepare for the September and October intakes, with universities designing hybrid models to cater to your needs. These approaches involve a mix of face-to-face teaching on campus, wherever that is possible and safe, as well as online learning where teaching cannot yet be in person.
Specifically, you will benefit from a choice of in-person one-on-one tutoring, laboratory work, clinical exercises, peer-to-peer learning, design tutoring and smaller group learning, such as seminars.
Some face-to-face options are available for small-group settings, say for dissertation work and project supervision,wherever it can be done safely in line with the government guidance on social distancing in place at the time.
Rest assured, universities are also going all out to implement social distancing rules by making the necessary preparations to maintain high-quality large scale teaching, such as lectures and large workshops, by shifting them to digital public lectures.
Your learning will also be flexible as some universities are offering you the choice of switching locations if you are unable to head to your original campus, while still receiving an innovative and high quality of learning through remote teaching.
All universities are setting aside resources for teams to monitor rules around social distancing, the use of face masks and personal protective equipment, regular cleaning rotas, and management of any Covid-19 related issues.
One such way to keep to social distancing measures is to reduce the number of people moving around campus at the same time. This will be managed by clear signs on social distancing or implementation of one-way systems in high-traffic corridors. People will be required to wear face coverings at certain areas of campus. Universities are also crafting new rules for kitchens, lifts and working spaces so we can keep our distance.
The rules will cover enhanced cleaning and hygiene practices, recalibrating space, floor markings to ensure social distancing, controlled access to campus buildings and mechanisms to identify and assist individuals and our community more widely if people are unwell.
Universities are also exploring what contributions ‘test, trace and isolate’ processes and temperature checks at key points on campus can make to safety. This research is supported by increased hand sanitising stations, usage of disinfectant wipes for classroom settings, along with reduced capacities in teaching and social learning spaces. Buildings will be deep cleaned on a regular basis.
This advice is based on UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of individual universities’ researchers, health, educational, infection prevention and human behaviour specialists to make campuses as safe as possible.
Facilities and accommodation
With strict guidance and social distancing measures, facilities are open for use either physically or digitally. Universities are preparing areas including teaching spaces, libraries, student accommodation, research facilities and key social areas including cafes, food service areas and shops – stressing on the importance of enhanced hygiene facilities.
Major planning is underway for accommodation arrangements on how best to offer you rooms for the coming semester. Extensive work is being done to maintain safe distance in shared flats or households, such as ensuring a dedicated wash hand basin, while keeping some rooms closed from lease. Some universities will offer ensuite rooms as well.
Should students need to self-isolate, universities are prepared to fully support them with tailored services. Residential teams will stay regularly in touch with students under isolation, either via social media or through email. You will have 24 hours of support, seven days a week should you need it. If necessary, some universities offer meals if you are under quarantine with a choice of healthy and nutritious options. Alternatively, you can order deliveries from nearby restaurants. There will be online social events to encourage freshers to make new friends.
University life is an enriching experience, with much of it being shaped by the time spent outside the classroom as well. We know that universities are catering to those needs through a host of volunteering opportunities, entrepreneurial events done in small groups or digitally, as well as exciting student union activities. Be sure to check out thriving regional alumni groups too, which operate across the globe. Campuses with spacious green areas will have plenty of opportunities for activities that maintain safe social distancing, whether it be sporting or recreational.
Applications, start dates and postgraduate research
Application processes are ongoing, so do contact MABECS and individual universities if you have specific concerns. Universities are open to extensions and reviewing timelines in fluid situations. Be mindful that intake dates also vary from university to university. Should you be delayed in arriving in the UK, universities have digital lectures or activities to keep you engaged and learning.