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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update for students – 14 July 2021

Dear Students,

On Monday, the Prime Minister confirmed that the further easing of national COVID-19 restrictions will go ahead as planned from 19 July.

In line with the latest Government guidance, we will begin to ease some of the measures that were introduced across our campuses last year. I have outlined below a number of changes that will be made gradually to our campuses from 19 July, as well as some of the practical measures we will retain for an interim period.

These measures cover the period from 19 July until the start of the next academic year, and they will remain under constant review.

Our principles of respect and consideration, and our commitment to working together as a community to keep each other safe and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 remain unchanged, and I remind everyone to be empathetic and compassionate to those around you at all times.

Social distancing and room occupancy

Social distancing will no longer be mandatory on our campuses and all COVID-19 related one way systems will begin to be removed.

Booking and rota systems for research spaces will be retained, but available capacity will start to increase from 19 July.

This will also enable us to start planning for the delivery of in-person teaching in the new academic year, where we plan to deliver as much of our teaching on campus as possible.  For more information on our education delivery plans, please visit our COVID-19 information pages.

The current signage concerning social distancing and room occupancy levels will remain in place. Although the limits displayed in these signs will not apply as of 19 July, we have taken the decision to leave the signage in place should there be a need to be responsive to any potential resurgence of COVID-19. If this happens we will let you know so you are aware of the measures that need to be followed.

Ventilation levels remain important in reducing the potential spread of COVID-19 and students should continue to follow the building and room requirements on ventilation. Please note, rooms which are currently closed will remain so until they can be assessed.

We continue to review our teaching and other spaces ahead of the start of the next academic year and will share further information with you about this in the coming weeks.

Face coverings

Face coverings will no longer be required in outdoor areas. However the University has a strong expectation that students and colleagues will continue to wear face-coverings in shared indoor spaces to lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Government guidance is that face coverings remain mandatory in healthcare settings. This will apply to colleagues and students using our RILD building and other hospital sites in Cornwall and Exeter. Please also be mindful that there may be different guidance in place if you are in a shared setting, such as an NHS building.

Please also remember and be sensitive to the fact that some members of our community are unable to wear face coverings.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms and you are travelling to one of our test sites to take a test, you must wear a face covering at all times, keep a safe distance from others, use sanitiser gel on your hands and avoid touching surfaces.

Hand sanitiser and cleaning stations

Hand sanitiser stations will remain in place – please continue to use these and ensure you continue to wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.

Cleaning stations and face covering stations will remain in place.

Please continue to use the available cleaning products to wipe down your workspace before and after use.

Study Spaces

Some bookable spaces may still have a capped occupancy level due to furniture not being in place and for space management purposes.  The summer months will allow us to review all of our spaces and have as many of our spaces as possible back to pre-COVID occupancy levels.

QR codes and track and trace

We will continue to support the Public Health England tracing requirements and request that you continue to check-in to campus spaces where the relevant codes are provided.  Please also continue to use the NHS COVID-19 track and trace app which will alert you if you have been near other app users who have tested positive for COVID-19. More information is available on the NHS website.

Vaccinations

Everyone over the age of 18, including international students, is now eligible for a vaccination. Whilst vaccines are not mandatory, we strongly recommend you take the opportunity to get vaccinated at any of the vaccination centres or pop up clinics whenever you are able.  Alongside our regular testing programme, the vaccination roll out remains a critical factor in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 and protecting our community. Further information about the national vaccination programme, including a link to a recent talk and Q&A led by NHS experts, can be found on our website.

Testing

It remains vital for everyone to continue to get tested twice a week, every week, to help protect our University community. You can visit any of our campus test centres or collect a home test kitto continue testing yourself at home. Please take a test if you are coming to campus and before heading out to meet friends to reassure yourself that your risk is low.  More information can be found on our website.

If you experience symptoms, please contact the Rapid Response Hub as they will be able to support you to get a confirmatory test and to access any support you may need should you need to self-isolate.

Respect your neighbours

I would like to reiterate once again the need to continue to be considerate to those around you at all times and recognise that some people are still experiencing levels of concern and anxiety at the recent rise in COVID-19 case numbers. If you have chosen to stay on in Exeter and Penryn beyond the end of term, we hope you can enjoy yourselves whilst also remaining respectful to your neighbours – in particular, please be mindful of the impact of noise to other residents.

Support

You can find out everything you need to know about the latest guidance, testing, vaccinations and the University’s response to COVID-19 on our dedicated webpages. Finally, please remember that you can also access Wellbeing Support at any time. Full details are on our website.

If you have a health condition or another factor that makes you more vulnerable to COVID-19, there is guidance available on our website, and you should reach out to the Rapid Response Hub who can discuss the additional support that may be available.

Further updates

We will continue to review our approach in the weeks and months ahead and I will provide further updates via email, as required. In addition to this, updates will be included on our dedicated COVID-19 webpages over the coming weeks so please keep checking these pages for the latest information.

I would like to ask for your continued patience as we adapt to the next stage of the Government roadmap and to thank you once again for your continued support throughout what has been a challenging time for everyone.

Best wishes,

Mike

 

Mike Shore-Nye
Registrar and Secretary