Thursday 3 December 2020

Student email

Important - Spring Term update following new Government guidance

Dear students,

As you may be aware, the Department for Education published its latest guidance last night setting out arrangements for the start of the Spring Term.

It covers how we manage student arrivals back to campus, how the Government will support testing next term, and arrangements for the resumption of in-person teaching for university courses. You can read the Government guidance in full.

As this guidance is new, we have a lot to work through, so we would like to ask for your patience whilst we confirm the details and what this means for you.

What does the Government guidance mean for me?

We are being asked to ‘stagger’ student arrivals for teaching activities, with many returning as planned at the start of term, and others following later. This is in order to ease the pressure on transportation systems and to minimise risks of transmission of infection between regions and areas.

In order to do so, students on some degree programmes will have a short period of online-only teaching to enable a later arrival, while students on other degree programmes will return to our planned blend of in-person and online teaching from the start of term as normal.

All students will have resumed the planned blend of in-person and online teaching by the week commencing 1 February 2021.

We know that many of you may be staying in York over the vacation, or already have made arrangements for returning to York for the start of the Spring Term. Campus facilities, activities and support services will continue as normal following the Christmas break from 4 January 2021.

We do not expect our students to change plans they have already made, for example, our international students who have already booked travel, including those starting their degree programmes in January.

What if I need or want to return earlier than when in-person teaching resumes?

We’d like to reassure you that study spaces (including the library), campus accommodation, social activities (including some sports and our on-campus venues like the Forest) and student support services will all be available from the start of term as usual. We will ensure they are compliant with the current Covid restrictions that apply in York.

What if I cannot work effectively and in ways that support my studies and wellbeing from home?

For those still planning, or who are unsure about when to return, you are welcome to join us earlier than when your in-person teaching starts, especially if you do not have access to appropriate facilities, wifi, computer equipment or study space at home, or you decide it is better for your mental health and wellbeing to be at the University.

How will I know when my in-person teaching starts?

To help you make your decision on when to return, we are currently planning for those students whose degrees require access to specialist spaces (like labs/studios/placements) to start their in-person teaching first, with a staggered start of in-person teaching for the remainder of students.

Once we’ve been able to confirm the plans in line with the new Government guidance, we will update you again early next week to confirm the resumption of in-person teaching.

We also ask that you check your University email regularly during the holidays so we can keep you updated and we will also continue to publish information on our Coronavirus pages to keep you informed.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

As a reminder for students staying in York or on campus with us over the holiday period, here’s all you need to know about what will be open, what's going on and the support available.

Finally, this week I recorded a thank you message for all students, for everything you've helped achieve and for the part so many of you have played in supporting others this term. I look forward to seeing this incredible community coming together again next year. I hope you enjoy your break.

Best wishes,


Professor Charlie Jeffery