Wednesday 29 September 2021
All student email
When and why: wearing a face covering
It has been wonderful to see more of you arriving in the last few days, and I'm sure everyone is looking forward to teaching getting into full swing from next week. As you do, I wanted to remind everyone on campus about the importance of face coverings in teaching settings.
It is a challenge to bring more than 20,000 people together during a pandemic. Yet we are one of the relatively few universities in the UK that has prioritised an in-person teaching experience, because you told us this is what you want.
But I need to reiterate that we do expect you to wear your face covering in busy indoor spaces, especially in teaching sessions.
It's part of our approach here at York - to protect, respect and be kind.
Why are we asking this?
We know some of our staff and our students remain really, really nervous about coming back together. Many of them have health vulnerabilities, or family members who remain at risk, even with vaccine protection. So we are asking each and every one of you to wear a face covering in teaching sessions to help protect and reassure others.
We know this can seem a bit odd as many of you will be spending time in bars, nightclubs, gigs or big sports events, where few people wear face coverings. It can be hard to change behaviours as you move from social situations like that to teaching. But if you can wear a face covering, please respect others when you are asked to wear one - do remember to carry one around with you.
We want you to have as normal an experience as possible, and everyone needs to play their part to make that possible. Above all, we really want to avoid some of the restrictions we had to introduce in the last academic year because of Covid-19. Face coverings are an important part of that.
So is testing, so don't forget to take regular covid tests, even if you are fully vaccinated. We have free covid test kits, so it's easy to do and you have your results within minutes. We'd like you to do this twice a week. It is really not much to ask, no matter how busy you are - it's another of things we can all do to protect others who may be more vulnerable than we are. This is especially important as many who have covid infections don't have symptoms, but can still pass it on to those who are vulnerable. I do my regular tests on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but I'm sure you will find your own routine.
You can collect home testing kits (also known as lateral flow testing kits) from College receptions or from our testing centre in Wentworth College, Campus West.
Thank you for your understanding and helping us keep our community safe.
Professor Charlie Jeffery
Vice-Chancellor and President