Friday 16 July 2021

UG students email

Subject: Our plans for next term

Dear students,

Though the start of the next academic year is some way off, I know that many of you are keen to understand what life will be like on campus following the Government's lifting of restrictions.

I am pleased to confirm that we are planning for campus-based, in-person teaching in all academic departments from September this year. Therefore all students who are able to get to York, should plan for a return to campus for the first day of term.

From 19 July 2021, we will start to welcome more of our staff and postgraduate students back, in a careful and measured way, and this will help pave the way for the arrival or return of so many of our students in September.

Life on campus

When we return to in-person teaching, our priority is to ensure you receive an enriching and engaging experience, whilst maintaining the safety and welfare of the community without social distancing.

With this in mind, we will still need to manage aspects of daily life carefully. For example, we will consider room and venue capacity, and in some instances may make changes to lecture format or seminar group size. We have key safety measures on campus and we have also updated our policy on face coverings, which strongly recommend that you consider the welfare of other members of the University community by continuing to wear a mask in busy indoor spaces.

Testing and vaccinations will remain an important part of day-to-day life. We will continue to offer the successful campus testing and vaccination centres, which have proved so valuable. Please do take the opportunity to get your vaccination if you can, wherever and whenever you are offered it. High rates of vaccination are the surest route to a full, safe and rewarding experience on campus.

In addition, I can confirm we will be keeping assessments online, with some exceptions, in January. This will enable us to minimise disruption to everyone, should there be any changes to distancing or isolation requirements over the assessment period. We also think this will be fairer because you will have had little experience of traditional, in-person exams over the last couple of years. We will review these plans for Summer 2022 assessments nearer the time.

International student travel

We know there is still a lot of complexity around travel. Owing to restrictions, we are aware that some international students, due to join us in September, may be unable to return to campus by the start of our term (for most, this is 27 September 2021). We will continue to offer online provision for the first six weeks of autumn term for students whose travel is restricted.

We hope this will allow students, even those with extensive travel restrictions and/or mandatory quarantine periods, to rejoin us. You can read more detail on the support that we are able to offer students facing travel restrictions on our dedicated Covid-19 website. If, for some reason, you aren’t able to join us by 7 November 2021, please let your Department know as soon as possible so that they can discuss your options with you. Some departments may continue to teach online, where the need arises.

Next steps

Each Department is preparing a summary of their plans for teaching and learning. They will be in touch ahead of your return, to share any changes which may impact you, and this will also provide another opportunity to raise any queries.

We will also be sharing more information and guidance as term approaches - do keep an eye on your email over the break.

You can also keep checking our regularly updated dedicated Covid-19 website, which has Covid-related information, including vaccination news, support for clinically vulnerable students, and helps signpost to wellbeing and welfare support.

I very much look forward to welcoming you back onto campus soon. In the meantime, I hope you have an enjoyable summer after what has been such a challenging year

Best wishes,