Wednesday 4 November 2020

All staff and PGR email

Covid-19 update - new guidance for higher education

Dear colleagues,

We continue to examine the new guidance for higher education, published yesterday, which outlines in more detail the national restrictions for the sector.

We wrote to students last night with the main message, which requires students to stay in their current household at University until the end of the lockdown period.

On Tuesday, Michelle Donelan, Universities Minister, also wrote to all vice-chancellors with the news that face to face learning will continue and students will stay on campus during the English lockdown. You can read it here.

The new guidance recognises the importance of face-to-face teaching, including for the mental health and wellbeing of students. The implications for our research will be examined by our Research Contingency Group, with the aim of continuing research as far as possible under the current arrangements and mitigations we already have in place.

As we have always done, the new guidance advises us to work closely with local public health teams to assess the balance of online and in-person activity, based on the overall assessment of public health risks and the status of local outbreaks. It critically includes the mental health of students in this assessment.

Colleagues across the University are working hard to define what the new guidance means for us here at York, and what positive and beneficial provision and support we can put in place. In the meantime, you can read in more detail the different aspects, including international students, socialising, catered halls, wellbeing, libraries and study spaces, performance arts and sports facilities.

Thank you for all the efforts so far to respond to this guidance in preparation for the enhanced restrictions, and for helping us identify new and interesting ways to tackle a very difficult situation. Please continue to look after yourselves and each other.

Best wishes