On 31st December 2020, the UK Government and the devolved administrations announced further measures for Tier 4 restriction on gatherings and travel. On 30th December the Minister for Universities announced a policy for the provision of higher education by online means, and on 6th January 2021, further regulations were approved by Parliament that confirmed the terms of the lockdown. The University has responded to these changes by putting in place online education (save for narrow exempted categories of students in accordance with the Minister’s policy) and by waiving the residency requirement.
The College must now follow the new regulations and guidance in any decisions that are made about teaching and residence in College during lockdown. All teaching will now be online. All students will require permission to reside in College from the Academic Director and permission will be considered by a panel constituted by senior members of the College. These arrangements will continue until 15th February when they will be reviewed as a consequence of the promised Government and University reviews on that day.
The focus of the new arrangements is that gatherings of people and travel between locations are dangerous to the health and safety of the individual and the community so that online learning from home is the expected provision while lockdown remains in place. The College is committed to maintaining a safe environment for those already in residence as a result of previous COVID-19 decision making, and also those who have to return into residence. The health, safety and welfare of the individual student, and the academic and operational staff who continue to provide services in and for the College, is our primary concern.
The criteria for making the decision about those students who may return are set out in the Minister’s letter of 30th December and the University guidance issued on 5th January. The fewer students who have to be in residence, the safer it will be for everyone. The College has already taken steps to minimise the number of academic and operational staff who are on site. Our Library and catering provision is necessarily limited by safety conditions; for example, the Library is already working at capacity in the provision of study spaces and we have already stooped providing catering in Farthings Café and the Forte Room.
The College understands the genuine concerns that many have about their academic performance and understands that arrangements for mitigation and consideration of deadlines for assignments are being considered by the University. We are providing further answers to FAQs in the materials which follow and opportunities for online Q&As with College Officers during 0th Week.