Previous announcements

A chronological list of all the updates and announcements we've sent to our student community about the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19).

Email to students from the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Monday 18 January)

Important information: Lockdown adjustments and assessments

Dear student, 

I am writing to you with important information about assessments, arrangements for mitigating circumstances and guidance about the academic ‘safety net’ that is in place for you.

As always, students are at the centre of our planning and decision-making. In preparing this guidance we have followed two very important principles:

  • ensuring fair assessment for students and their academic outcomes
  • upholding the quality and the integrity of a qualification from the University of Worcester

The five steps summarised below explain our approach to assessment this academic year. You can also find further detail on our Coronavirus FAQ pages.  

We have tried to make the guidance clear and simple and I am grateful to the Students’ Union for their ongoing input and feedback.

I hope that this is helpful to you. If you have questions about your individual circumstances and assessments please contact your Course Leader or Personal Academic Tutor for further assistance in the first instance.

With all best wishes,

Sarah

Professor Sarah Greer

Deputy Vice Chancellor & Provost

 

Lockdown Adjustments

1. Adapting your teaching and assessment

Over the past year, we have adapted the curriculum to ensure that we give you the best possible learning experience. This means that we have designed our teaching and assessments to recognise that you are working remotely, or might not have access to normal facilities, or won’t be able to sit in physical examination halls.

When designing our teaching, learning and assessment for the Academic Year 2020-21, we anticipated that there might be a national ‘lockdown’ and this has meant students and staff are well prepared for the current situation. Every subject area and every course has been reviewed. Staff have re-reviewed their course assessment strategies and worked extremely hard to ensure that, where necessary, alternative adapted assessments are in place to test the learning outcomes, reflecting any changes to teaching and learning and/or the need for assessments to be conducted online. This has meant, for example, some unseen examinations have been changed to open book examinations, or group presentations have been changed to individual presentations. We will do the same for Semester 2 assessments. 

2. Examinations

Examinations in January were held online through Blackboard, with an additional 30 minutes allowed for downloading and submitting your work. Students who did not have reliable internet access, limited access to a computer or didn’t have suitable space in which to sit an examination, were able to use a computer on campus, in a Covid-secure environment. We are reviewing the situation and will be able to apply this successful approach to examinations in May and July if needed. We will let you know more in the next few weeks.

3. Dissertations

Most final year dissertations or research projects will be unaffected by the move to online teaching, however, if you have any concerns about access to facilities or data collection, please contact your supervisor and Course Leader straightaway, so that they can discuss options with you.

Options include a short extension for submission, using the new online process through SOLE.  This is available for any student who has experienced unforeseen significant difficulties, including for matters related to Covid-19.

4. Mitigating circumstances

Covid-19 might affect your studies in a number of different ways – you might be ill yourself, you might need to self-isolate, you may have significant caring responsibilities, or you might find that your mental health is being affected by lockdown restrictions.

If this is having a significant impact on your ability to study or complete assessments, you can apply for Mitigating Circumstances, in the usual way. Our Mitigating Circumstances processes are designed to support you through events that are sudden, highly disruptive and beyond your control.  

As always, students are expected to provide evidence. If you have had to self-isolate, you will simply need to present a Covid-19 test result or a notification to self-isolate and will not need to request additional certification from a GP. If you have had mental health issues, which have significantly impacted your assessments, you can provide evidence from the University’s Counselling Service, or your own counsellor or GP.

If you are a parent or guardian, you may have been particularly impacted by additional caring/home-schooling responsibilities during the latest national lockdown. If this has caused significant difficulties with your assessments since 4 January, you can submit a claim for Mitigating Circumstances. You’ll need to support your claim with evidence such as an email from your child’s school notifying you of a closure or arrangements for online/remote teaching.

Exceptionally, we are allowing students to make a Mitigating Circumstances claim retrospectively, for any assessments submitted or examinations taken since 4th January 2021. If you wish to do this, you must make the claim by Wednesday 27th January.

Find out more about mitigating circumstances.

Also, exceptionally, this academic year, if you submit an assessment by the due date and achieve a fail grade at your first attempt, you will automatically be granted a reassessment opportunity and the grade will not be capped in the normal way.

5. Degree Classification

Our approach to degree classification already builds in a safety net, which helps protect you from underperforming in any one year. 

We do not include your first-year module marks in your final degree classification. In addition, for the majority of students, we use two different methods to work out overall marks, and calculate which of these two methods would give the best possible degree classification. You can find out more about degree classifications in this helpful guide produced by the Students’ Union.

Similar principles apply to the classification of taught Master’s awards.

Our ongoing, fair and genuinely inclusive means of calculating a degree classification means that, even before this crisis, we have sought to ensure that students do not suffer from unexpectedly underperforming at either level 5 or level 6. Many other universities do not routinely adopt this approach, or are using this approach as the basis of their ‘no-detriment’ policy.

Virtual all-student meeting (Friday 8 January)

Watch a recording of our virtual all-student meeting from Friday 8 January, where Senior Pro Vice Chancellor Ross Renton answered many of our students questions about the new national lockdown and what it means to you:.

Email to students from the Vice Chancellor (Tuesday 5 January)

*Remember to check the Student FAQ page for the most up-to-date information.*

Dear student

Yesterday evening HM Government announced an immediate national ‘lockdown’ in England in response to the continuing sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths nationally. The accompanying guidance includes a key section for universities, which reads:

‘Higher Education provision will remain online until mid-February for all except future critical worker courses.’

‘Future critical workers’ are defined by the government as students who are studying a course that leads to a professional qualification in health, education or social work. At Worcester, the following courses are included:

  • Midwifery
  • Nursing
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Paramedic Science
  • Physician Associate
  • Physiotherapy
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Primary and Secondary)
  • Primary Initial Teacher Education
  • Social Work (Undergraduate and Postgraduate)

If you are studying on one of these courses, then you should continue with your mix of online and in-person learning. Placements are also expected to continue and we are working with our education and health partners to review the arrangements.

If your course is not listed above, then you should do your best to remain wherever you are at the moment and continue your studies online. The new guidance means that the previously planned period of online learning will continue for a few further weeks, until at least the middle of February.

Supporting you on campus and online

The University campus and the vast majority of buildings will remain open to support students in residence and the many thousands of students who are following the courses listed above. The Covid-secure measures that are already in place, which are fully in line with the government guidance, will continue to provide a positive, secure learning environment for students and staff.

Whatever course you are studying, and whether you are online or in-person, the University is here to support you. If you are struggling in any way, please get in touch with us at firstpoint@worc.ac.uk Firstpoint can refer you to a range of resources or help you make an appointment with a member of the Counselling and Mental Health Team. We also offer TALKWORC, a 24 hour text line for confidential help and support in a crisis. Text 'TALKWORC’ to 85258 at any time to access this service.

If you are currently away from the campus, but wish to return because of vulnerability in any way, whether arising from hardship, difficult personal circumstances or because studying is problematic due to your current practical situation, you always are welcome to return, regardless of the course that you are studying. The Peirson Study and Guidance Centre and the Hive Library will be open to all students who need them.

Covid-19 testing for students returning to campus

Rapid ‘lateral flow’ Covid-testing is now available and encouraged for all students who are returning to campus. These tests are designed for people without symptoms and will help identify and isolate most positive cases early, which will help minimise the transmission of the virus. You can find out more and book your free test on our website. 

All-student meeting on Friday

I know that there will be many practical questions in the days and weeks ahead.  This is a rapidly changing situation and we will write to you with further information over the next few days. Please continue to check your emails and refer to the Coronavirus FAQ pages, where we will always publish the latest updates.

Senior Pro Vice Chancellor Ross Renton will also give an update at a virtual all-student meeting this Friday (8 January) at 12 noon.  Ross will discuss the latest guidance and what it means for students at the University. There will also be an opportunity to submit your own questions during the meeting. The meeting will be broadcast live via a special YouTube link, which will be shared in an email tomorrow.

All of us at the University want to do what we can to Save Lives and Protect the NHS. We are very aware of the pressures on hospitals in the region and across the country and the tragic increase in deaths.

Last term, students and staff at the University were so highly responsible that we had one of the very highest in-person teaching rates nationally at 58% with one of the very lowest Covid-19 infection rates – just 5% of the student average and 1/3rd of the national average for all citizens. This is a real credit to everyone involved!

The new vaccines are highly effective and are starting to protect hundreds of thousands more people every day. This makes it even more essential than ever that we all continue to follow the guidance, practice social distancing, take care of ourselves and each other and work together to defeat the virus.

With all best wishes,

Professor David Green CBE
Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive
University of Worcester

Email to students from the Vice Chancellor (Wednesday 30 December)

Dear Student

I hope that you are enjoying a very happy holiday.

I am writing to you this evening, as earlier today HM Government announced changes to the general guidance for university students in England returning to campus in January. That guidance will be published soon.

Late this afternoon, together with other Vice Chancellors, I met the Minister for Universities via Microsoft Teams and she let us know that she will be writing to you soon. Once we receive her letter we will send it to you.

In the meantime, may I advise you that restrictions have been further tightened overall due to the sharp rise in Covid-19 cases nationally, the consequent tragic increase in deaths and the growing crisis affecting more and more hospitals.

Worcestershire as a whole has moved from Tier 2 to Tier 3.

Last term, at the University of Worcester, thanks to theoutstandingly thoughtful, responsible conduct of students and staff alike, we suffered very few cases of Covid-19. There were no known instances of on-campus transmission nor was there any ‘outbreak’. Overall, cases were less than a third of the national rate and just 1/20th of the rate amongst students in the UK. This enabled us to run 58% of our classes in person, whilst contributing a great deal to community safety and security.

Our relative success last term makes us all the more determined to continue to do everything we can to help our community, country and the world throw off this pandemic whilst minimising the number of our fellow citizens who become seriously ill or die. Naturally, we will be observing all the new government regulations and restrictions.

After meeting with the Minister, I am able to assure you of the following key points:

  • Your course and your assessments will continue in January according to the planned timetable.
  • The University will continue to have facilities open and staff working to support your studies and your well-being.
  • That students who are currently away from the University and wish to return because of vulnerability in any way, whether arising from hardship, difficult personal circumstances or because studying is difficult due to their own current practical situation, are welcome to return.

I am also happy to assure you that Covid-19 ‘rapid testing’ will be available at the University, through our partners Public Health Worcestershire.

The Phased Return to Campus

As usual in January, students will return to campus at different times, depending on their course and assessments. We had already added additional start dates this year to encourage a phased return and are now making further adjustments, in line with the very latest Government guidance.

Courses with in-person teaching from 4 January will include:

  • Healthcare (including BSc Nursing, Midwifery, Paramedicine, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy courses and the MSc Physician Associate course)
  • Social work (including undergraduate and postgraduate Social Work courses)
  • Teaching (including Primary Initial Teacher Education and PGCE courses)

Most other courses will begin with online learning and teaching in the first two weeks of January. We will write to you shortly with more detail about specific subjects, as we continue to explore options to support students on highly practical courses in areas such as Science, Sport and the Performing Arts, for example.

The phased return will continue until 18 January, when the arrangements are scheduled for review by the Government.

Whatever course you are studying, you should of course continue to work hard, keep up with your assignments and stay in touch with your lecturers and classmates. Please, never hesitate to ask for help!

Supporting your studies

I want to assure you that we are here to continue supporting your studies and your well-being. Whether you have stayed in Worcester or travelled home, help continues to be available to you over the remaining holiday period and the phased return in January. This guide should help you to access the available resources.

All students who are vulnerable in any way are always welcome to return to campus, whatever course they are studying. I personally raised this issue with the Universities Minister this evening and she was happy to confirm this.

Further updates

This is a rapidly changing situation and we will write to you again with further information over the next few days.

Please continue to check your emails and refer to the Coronavirus FAQ pages, where we will always publish the latest updates.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and outstandingly responsible conduct over this past semester. Your actions have placed your University, your friends and yourself in the best possible position to make a successful start to the new term.

Please continue to follow the guidance, do your best to minimise the transmission of the virus, and enjoy the remaining days of the holidays.

With all best wishes for a very Happy and Healthy 2021.

Professor David Green CBE
Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive
University of Worcester 

Email to students from the Vice Chancellor (Friday 11 December)

Dear student

I am writing to you today to set out the plans for supporting your return to campus for the next term, following the winter break.

Thanks to the highly responsible actions of students and staff, the University is a coronavirus cold spot and an educational hot spot. Thank you so much for your contribution to this very considerable achievement.

At the University of Worcester, Covid-19 infections have been very significantly fewer than the national average and positively minimal compared to many other Universities. These excellent results have been achieved despite the fact that so many of the University’s students are on placement in hospitals, health settings and schools. Your responsible conduct has meant that three out of every five classes have been in person since September. We want to increase this proportion next Semester, while keeping infections as low as possible which is why we are planning so carefully for January.

The Covid-secure measures that are already in place, at the University’s campus, which are fully in line with the government guidance, will continue to provide a positive and safe learning environment for students and staff.

The Government has asked us to take a phased approach to resuming in-person teaching in January and the briefing at the end of this letter sets out our plans.

Testing will also be available for all Worcester students from January 4, including those who are ‘moving back’ to the University as well all those students who have remained in and around the city over the break. This testing is designed for those without symptoms of Covid-19. Anyone who has symptoms should, of course, contact the NHS and book an appointment for a PCR test rather than a lateral flow test.

Together these measures will help identify and isolate any positive cases early, before symptoms appear. This will contribute much to reducing the onward transmission of the virus, which will help save lives.

We will write to you again to keep you updated and to confirm details of the booking system for tests. Please ensure you check your University emails and junk folders so you don’t miss any important updates. We will also continue to regularly publish the latest information and guidance on our Coronavirus FAQ webpages.

I would like to thank you for your hard work, commitment and for your thoughtful, sensible and compassionate conduct this semester. It has been so greatly appreciated by so many people in Worcester and beyond.

I hope that you, your friends and loved ones will have a very happy holiday and that you will all be healthy and safe.

I look forward to welcoming you back to the University in January. 

Professor David Green CBE
Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive
University of Worcester

Guidance for the return to on campus teaching  in January 2021

The plans outlined in detail below will support the government’s programme for the safe movement of students following the winter break.

Please follow this step-by-step approach to help plan your return to campus:

1.       Before you return

If you have travelled to a different household over the holidays, here are a few reminders, which will help minimise the Covid-19 risk to yourself and others on your return to University in January:

  • Check the return date for your course (see further guidance below).
  • Use local community testing programmes and take a test before travelling back to Worcester, particularly if you have spent the winter break in a local restriction ‘tier 3 very high’ area.
  • If you have any symptoms of Covid-19, you must self-isolate and book a test through the NHS before travelling.
  • Act responsibly and follow local restriction tier guidance on social contact.
  • Remind yourself of the government’s guidance on safer travel.

2.       Return to in-person teaching in January

The government is committed to prioritising education and all students, including those who have travelled home for the winter break. Students will be able to return to the University and resume blended learning, which includes both online and in-person teaching, in January.

As usual in January, students will return to campus at slightly different times, depending on their course and assessments. 

We have added additional start dates this year, to further encourage a phased return, in line with the latest government guidance.

This will fall into two windows and will be aligned to subject disciplines.

From the week beginning the 4 January to the week beginning 18th January:

The initial phased return to on-campus learning and teaching will focus on courses that require:

  • work, clinical or practical placements
  • courses requiring practical teaching or learning
  • courses requiring access to specialist or technical equipment or spaces

This will include most but not all courses in the Three Counties School of Nursing and Midwifery; the School of Allied Health; the School of Science and the Environment; the School of Arts; the School of Sport and Exercise Science; Computing courses in the Business School and professional courses in the School of Education.

From the week beginning the 18th January onwards:

All other courses will begin with online learning from 18th January and will return to on campus teaching from the week beginning 25th January.

This will include most but not all courses in the School of Humanities; the School of Psychology and Business courses in the Business School.

Your School will write to you to let you know which category you fall into and when your in-person teaching will resume. Please do remember to check your University emails very regularly as any changes will be communicated to your University email address. It is your responsibility to do this.

Assessment Week: the week beginning 11th January

As previously outlined, all scheduled exams will be held online during this week. You will be notified of your exam timetable in the usual way through your SOLE Page.

If you have difficulties accessing the internet at home, please contact your Course Leader as soon as possible, to see if we can assist. Exceptionally, we may be able to arrange for you to complete your online exam on campus.

On campus facilities available to all students

On campus facilities such as the Hive library, study spaces, fitness suites and catering will be available from 4 January to support you from the start of term.

3.       Book a Covid-19 test

In a similar way to the end of last term, all students will be able to book a Covid-19 ‘lateral flow test’, which will help you know if you have the virus, even if you do not have symptoms.  We have partnered with Public Health Worcester to offer a ‘rapid testing’ facility, located in the Riverside Building at the Severn Campus. The test centre will be available on a voluntary basis if you're a University of Worcester student with no Covid-19 symptoms.

We will write to you again to confirm details of the booking system for tests.

Update on cases (Wednesday 2 December)

During the 97-day period from 1st August to 5th November the total number of all confirmed Covid-19 cases (staff and student) that were reported to the University was 103. The combined University staff and student population exceeds 12,000.

According to government data, approximately 2.3% of the UK population has tested positive to date. As of 5 November the rate at the University of Worcester was less than 1% (0.86%).

Please note that these 103 cases include a significant proportion where the individual resides at a considerable distance from Worcester and/or had not been on a University campus in the immediately preceding period.

Half the University’s students are studying to be health or education professionals and these students are frequently on sometime lengthy placements in hospitals and health settings and schools and education settings respectively.

We have no evidence of any on-campus transmission.

All cases are notified to local Public Health teams and all data has been and is reported through the national system:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/interactive-map

Throughout the period between 1st August and 5th November, the numbers in those areas of Worcester which contain student halls of residence have consistently been below the national average (Henwick and Worcester Town North).

We do not hold the data for the previous academic year from 1st March to 31st July 2020. The campus was essentially closed for most of this period with students, and the great majority of staff, working remotely. National testing was confined for much of this period to cases where there had been hospitalization, or the person concerned was a health worker.

The only case known to the University of a student or staff member testing positive during this period was, very sadly, the fatality of an experienced nurse who was also a University of Worcester student. Her tragic early death was very widely reported in April:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-52255891

Email to students from the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Thursday 19 November)

Dear Student

I am writing to you with important information about arrangements for the end of term, the Christmas vacation and the start of the new term in January 2021.

The government has contacted all universities to outline the measures it recommends in the lead up to Christmas to ensure that students who wish and are able to, can return home safely for the festive period. We have been carefully working through this guidance to ensure that we continue to deliver an outstanding education to you, while supporting those of you that need to travel.

The government has set out a “student travel window” between 3rd and 9th December to encourage a phased movement of students around the country and the guidance advises us to achieve this by staggering the ending of in-person, on-campus teaching provision between those dates. 

Students will be able to choose when they return home for Christmas. We will not be instructing you to leave on a specific date. Please note however that if you opt to leave closer to Christmas, and become Covid-19 positive in that period, the Government rules are that you should isolate for 10 days.

We have now put the following arrangements in place:

  • In-person teaching will continue up to and including Friday 4th December for students studying Humanities, Psychology, Business, and modules in Nursing, Science, Education, Allied Health and Arts that do not have scheduled practical sessions.
  • In-person teaching will continue up to and including Tuesday 8th December 2020 for workshops, practical classes, clinical sessions and laboratory work for Sports, Arts, Nursing, Midwifery, Computing and Teacher Training.
  • After the 8th December, all lectures and seminars will move online where possible until the end of term on Friday 18th December, following the existing timetable.
  • Your Course Leaders will be in contact with you direct to confirm your final in-person teaching date. You should continue to attend classes until that date in the usual way, following all the current national guidance on social distancing, face coverings and hand hygiene.
  • The University and our halls of residence will remain open and study spaces, including the Library, will be available so that students can carry out independent learning and dissertation / project work. You may wish to refer to this helpful IT guide, which reminds you of the available online learning tools.
  • If in-person teaching activities from the 4th to 18th December are such that they cannot be moved online (such as laboratory practical classes, workshops and studio activity), we hope to be able to provide an alternative opportunity to undertake this work at a later point in the academic year. Most importantly, you will not be disadvantaged as a result of any change.
  • Coursework and other assessment deadlines remain unchanged unless you are told otherwise. You should submit work for assessment in the usual way.
  • We continue to work on our plans for January and will write to you again with further details, but for now you should plan to return to the campus to begin in-person teaching again, as scheduled.

Please remember that the current nationwide restrictions remain in place until at least 2nd December. Next semester, we hope that restrictions will ease, allowing low-risk social activities to resume at the University, but we will not know this until the government issues further guidance.

You may also have seen in the media, reports that some students will be offered asymptomatic rapid Covid-19 tests ahead of their return home. We are currently working with Worcestershire County Council’s Director of Public Health and her team to implement highly targeted testing, taking into account the relatively low rates of transmission within Worcestershire.  Public Health will be prioritising these tests for those students changing household to one where there is someone who is clinically vulnerable.

I appreciate that you are likely to have questions about how the arrangements will work in practice. We will continue to post all of the latest information and guidance on our website.

If you currently have symptoms, you should book a test immediately through the NHS.

Finally, may I also take this opportunity to thank all students who completed the early feedback survey this semester. This was the first time this survey has run and has been tremendously useful to be able to gauge how things are going for you, identify where we may need to make adjustments, and get a general sense of your wellbeing.  Overall, the results show that the vast majority of you know what is expected in terms of study, can access online learning and resources and are getting the support you need.  

Thank you for your patience and understanding and wishing you all the best for the holidays.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sarah Greer
Deputy Vice Chancellor & Provost

Email to students (Wednesday 11 November)

You will have seen reports in the media today that the government has told universities to move to online teaching by 9 December and to allow students to return home during a "student travel window" between 3 and 9 December, with the possible use of rapid Covid tests as part of the plan.

The situation nationally is evolving rapidly and guidance to universities from government is similarly fast-changing. The University’s leadership is carefully considering the latest Government guidance, which was received this morning. As soon as possible, we will be updating the University’s coronavirus information. Please do check the University’s FAQ pages on our website for the latest information.

Earlier today, the University was asked to comment on these developments by the media. We provided the following statement, which may be of interest:

Professor David Green, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Worcester said: “The University of Worcester has been a coronavirus cold spot throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. The overwhelming majority of students and staff have behaved in an outstandingly responsible and caring way throughout the pandemic. We are one of the few universities with a Public Health testing centre actually on campus. In our case it is right next to the University of Worcester Arena.

“Just over one quarter of our students are health students and are highly likely to receive testing through the new NHS scheme. Health students on placement are already considered essential workers. The majority of the University’s students are mature on entry and live within our daily travel to study area. For all these reasons, we are unlikely to be chosen by Government to receive many, if any, of the new lateral flow tests but we are certainly applying. We will also be applying for all the necessary further support to create a temporary mass testing facility.

“We have been clear throughout that, of course, our students will be free to choose where they spend Christmas. If the University is their home then they will be given every support. If students wish to move to a family home over the Festive period then they will be supported to do so at times which avoid any crowding of trains and buses and we will encourage everyone to share government guidance on car sharing. In practice, as the closest university to Worcester is 27 miles away we do not anticipate overcrowding problems, provided, of course, that the end of the school day is avoided.

“Currently, well over 50% of the University’s classes are in person. Today government asked us to switch classes, from December 9, online and we will do this wherever possible. When it is not possible – for example when a clinical simulation or laboratory experiment is involved – we will reschedule the relevant class in the most sensible possible way so that students may participate once they are back at University in January.

“I am completely confident that staff and students at the University of Worcester will continue to conduct themselves in an outstandingly responsible way as we give our all to the national effort to defeat Covid-19, minimise the transmission of the virus and save lives.” 

Letter from the Universities Secretary: Email from the Vice Chancellor to students (Wednesday 4 November)

Dear student,

I hope you are flourishing and that your studies are going very well.

As you know, HM Government has decided that there will be restrictions imposed on people, organisations and businesses throughout England from tomorrow until December 2nd with the aim or reducing the spread of Covid-19.

It goes without saying that at the University we will be doing our best to contribute to the great national effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19. As you know, the University has been and continues to be a coronavirus cold spot. To the best of our knowledge there has been no on-campus transmission and there has certainly been no ‘cluster’ of cases or ‘outbreak’ as has been reported at some other Universities and workplaces.

I want to thank you for the very highly responsible way in which you and the overwhelming majority of your fellow students have conducted yourselves over these past months, observing all the social distancing, face covering, hand cleaning and other measures which help avoid onwards transmission of this virus. You a true credit to the University. Thank-you.

HM Government has also decided that Universities should remain open during this period and you are urged to stay living at your term time address and participate in your studies as usual. The Universities Secretary has written a letter for you and asked me to send it to you. Please do read it carefully.

At the University of Worcester, after thorough and detailed consideration, we have decided to maintain our existing balance of blended learning. Overall, 58% of our scheduled teaching activities at the University are in-person and these and the on-line classes will all be maintained in exactly the same way between tomorrow and December 2nd.

In short, your timetable will be unaffected by the Government ‘lockdown’ and you should plan to come to the University, in the normal way, to participate in your classes. Study facilities, student support services and the Hive will all be open to you. There may be minor variations in opening times or arrangements so please do check in advance.

Many students will be on placement over the next 4 weeks. The great majority of these placements are in health and teacher training. The schools, hospitals, education and health care settings generally are all exempt from the government ‘lockdown’.  Placements in these vital areas should be unaffected and you should participate in this vital educational activity as planned, liaising closely of course with your tutors and school office in the normal way.

Please do continue to practise all the various safety measures as you travel from your term time home to the University and back and, of course, if you are travelling to a placement and back.

One question which has been raised is what to do if you are currently visiting a friend or family at an address away from the University. If this is the situation and you need to ‘move back’ to your term time address then you should do so – but then you should remain at this address until December 2, only travelling as needed to go to University or your placement and for other essential activities and for exercise.

Of course there will be other changes. Together with the Students’ Union, the University will be doing all we can to ensure that there is every opportunity within the newly announced restrictions to enjoy your time at University and to make new friends and develop existing and new interests whilst scrupulously observing the new regulations.

Further information and Frequently Asked Questions will be regularly updated and can be found at: www.worcester.ac.uk/coronavirus

Today, Wednesday November 4 at 4pm, there will be an all student meeting with our Senior Pro Vice Chancellor Ross Renton who is also our Pro Vice Chancellor for students. Do please join. It will be an ideal opportunity to learn more and to ask your questions.

Thank-you so much for all you are doing to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Good luck with your studies and I hope that despite all the restrictions of 2020 that you will be very happy at the University and that your studies will be crowned with success.

With very best wishes,

Professor David Green CBE
Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive
University of Worcester

The University Remains Open: Email from the Vice Chancellor to Students (Saturday 31 October)

Dear student,

I am writing to you following the Prime Minister’s announcements earlier this evening (Saturday October 31).

In announcing a new ‘national lockdown’ from Thursday, the Prime Minister made it clear that ‘educational settings’ including early years, schools, Colleges and Universities will remain open throughout the proposed ‘national lockdown’.

Crucially, it will continue to remain entirely lawful and, in fact, positively encouraged, to travel to go to University.

The University will continue to be open just as we have been all term since the beginning of September. This will include in-person teaching across all of our campuses. It will also include our student services, study spaces and student accommodation.

The Prime Minister also announced that schools and the NHS would continue to be fully open and therefore we believe that school and NHS placements will be continuing as currently arranged. We will be doing our best to ensure that the Hive remains open for in person as well as online study.

Thanks to the highly responsible conduct of the overwhelming majority of students and staff at the University, our actions have resulted in the University of Worcester continuing to be a coronavirus cold spot as well as being an educational hotspot.

Thank you so much for your contribution.

I am sure you will be delighted to know that, to date, thanks to all the excellent preparation, organisation, cleaning and exemplary conduct of students and staff there is no evidence of any transmission whatsoever at the University campus over this entire period. There has been no case cluster – nor has there been any ‘outbreak’ in the University’s Halls of Residence or in student accommodation in the wider Worcester community.

I am well aware that there will be many detailed questions and am sure that there will be more guidance from HM Government over the next few days. Of course, nothing will change, in any event, until Thursday at the very soonest.

I will write again to you on Monday with an update and please do stay in touch with all the latest information from the University by consulting our dedicated webpages https://www.worcester.ac.uk/contact/coronavirus/

Please feel free to share this message with parents, friends, fellow students, staff and supporters.

Any questions will, as always, be most welcome.

Thank you again for all you are doing to minimise transmission of Covid-19 whilst gaining a first class education and making such a positive contribution to the community. Very best of luck with your studies!

With all best wishes,

Professor David Green CBE
Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive
University of Worcester

Test centre opens at the Arena

A new Covid-19 test centre has opened alongside the University of Worcester Arena and is now available by appointment to staff, students and the wider community.

The University has been working with Worcestershire County Council’s Public Health team and the Department for Health and Social Care for some time to bring an accessible on-foot test centre to the City, which is particularly helpful to those with disabilities or who don’t have access to transport. The testing facility, which is open daily from 8am to 8pm, is located on the car park behind the University of Worcester Arena. Signage has been put in place to direct people straight to the test site and away from University buildings.

Tests are only available by appointment and must be booked via the official Government website and people are advised to only get a free NHS test if at least one of the following applies:

  • you have a high temperature
  • you have a new, continuous cough
  • you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed
  • you’ve been asked to by a local council
  • you’re taking part in a government pilot project

Email from the Vice Chancellor to students (Thu 15 October)

Dear student,

I am writing to thank you for the way in which you have conducted yourself this academic year in terms of Covid-19. Thanks to excellent behaviour throughout our University community in terms of:

  • Social distancing
  • Wearing face coverings
  • Regular hand washing
  • Avoiding crowds
  • Good practice generally

 the number of cases of Covid-19 at the University of Worcester have been very few.

 This small number is significantly less than both the Worcestershire and the national average. Although we are several weeks into the academic year there has been no outbreak or cluster of cases.

This is a tribute to you and your fellow students.

At the same time, there has been very good participation in class and your studies. Very many of you have met and made new friends as well as behaving with kindness and thoughtfulness towards others – particularly older and more vulnerable people. You have been dealing with all the restrictions placed on you by the pandemic in a calm, highly responsible fashion. You are a credit to the University and yourselves. Thank-you.

At a time when students nationally have been getting a bad press, you should know that representatives of the UK government and national media have been in touch with me in the last few days to ask why Worcester has been doing so well compared to so many other Universities.

I have let them know how very responsible the overwhelming majority of students and staff have been. I have made it clear that I am very proud of Worcester students and staff.

The government has just released a new link to a site which enables everyone to see how areas in the UK are doing. The country has been divided into areas with approximately the same population size 7,000 – so that the numbers are easily comparable:

 https://coronavirus-staging.data.gov.uk/details/interactive-map

Using this map you can see that there have been 5 Covid-19 cases in Henwick (postcode WR2 6AJ), which is the area in which the St. John’s Halls are recorded.

This compares to 627 Covid-19 cases in the Nottingham area of University Park, Lenton Abbey and Jubilee Campus.  

Quite a difference between two identical sized populations of approximately 7,000 people!

At Worcester, the very small number of students and their flatmates who have had to self-isolate have all been well supported. No-one has become seriously unwell.

All this has meant that we continue with our blend of in-person and on-line education and activities generally.

Of course, all this could change in an instant. The University is not an island and the situation is worsening nationally.

We must all continue to keep wearing face coverings, respecting social distancing and doing all we can to minimise transmission of Covid-19.

At the University, we are constantly making adjustments, while continuing to work to improve access to testing availability and mutual support for any members of our community who are being detrimentally affected by the situation.

We are well aware that there are loud voices nationally calling for Universities to close and move online. There is no reason for the University of Worcester to go ‘online’. We intend to continue with our blend of in-person and online activity for as long as we are permitted by HM Government. We have no intention of closing.

Do please stay in touch with developments by regularly consulting the University Frequently Asked Questions and Covid-19 information on:

https://www.worcester.ac.uk/contact/coronavirus/

Don’t hesitate to share this letter and these links with friends, parents, relatives and supporters.

Thank-you so much and very best wishes for an outstandingly successful year – despite all the difficulties that the Covid-19 pandemic is putting in the way. 

Professor David M A Green CBE
Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive
University of Worcester

Message from the Senior Pro Vice Chancellor, Ross Renton (Tue 29 September)

I’m sure you are all aware of the extensive news coverage about students returning to universities across the UK.

At the University of Worcester we have been working very closely with Public Health and have been successfully welcoming students back to their studies since the beginning of September.

Our aim is to be an educational hot spot and a coronavirus cold spot. We recognise the importance for most students’ educational progress and mental health that they are able to learn in-person as well as online. We have implemented extensive measures to help reduce the spread of Covid-19, while recognising that, as is the case in the wider community, there may be cases that arise. Our aim is to ensure that when they do, we can offer all the necessary support to our students.

We will work closely with Public Health in Worcestershire to manage any cases in the appropriate way. If there is a need for self-isolation, students living in the same flat or house will self-isolate together, just as any household would. We do not intend to lockdown a whole building.  We will ensure that any students isolating are well cared-for and have access to all the support they need.

We strongly believe that more testing will be helpful and the University has offered the free use of spaces to be used as a testing centre.  We are very keen that the community, our students and staff have easy access to a test centre in the City Centre and we will continue to work with all partners towards this as soon as possible.

We care deeply about the education and the wellbeing of every one of our students.  All members of the University community are working together in a calm, purposeful and kind manner to tackle this unprecedented, international crisis.

Please keep following all the guidance and helping us to help you. You can keep up-to-date with all the latest information on the FAQ pages of the University’s website.

 

You can listen to an interview with Ross , which was aired on BBC Hereford and Worcester yesterday, on the BBC Sounds app. The interview starts at 1:48:41. 

Face coverings to be worn in class (Thu 24 September)

We have revised our guidance following the Prime Minister’s announcement earlier this week that Covid-19 cases are rising. All students are now being asked to wear a face covering when indoors, including in class, unless you are exempt under the very specific reasons detailed in official Government Guidance.

This additional use of face coverings will help us further play our part in cutting down the infection rate.

Staff will also be asked to wear face coverings in classes when appropriate, for example when there is a period in a class where the member of staff concerned is listening to students giving a seminar presentation.

There will be a small number of staff and students who will not be wearing a face covering for health reasons.  Please be sensitive towards any student or member of staff who is not wearing a face covering as we want to ensure we are respecting the health of all members of our community.  

Worcestershire Public Health guidance (Mon 21 September)

Covid-19 is spreading in Worcestershire. The virus only spreads if we move around and mix with others.  

Many of us will only be mildly affected by the virus, but there are people who are extremely vulnerable to its effects, and who can become very unwell.

You can help stop the virus from spreading to others. You can help protect the lives of people who are more vulnerable to Covid-19.

Stay home if you have symptoms

If you have one or more of these symptoms, you potentially have Covid-19:  

  • A new and continuous cough
  • A high temperature- you feel hot to the touch on your chest or back
  • A loss or change to your sense of taste or smell.

If you have any of these symptoms, even if you still feel well, you must go home immediately and stay at home for 10 days. Please then:

  • Do not go to lectures
  • Do not visit friends
  • Do not go to work
  • Do not mix with others in any social setting or at home
  • Do not go shopping

Go home, stay in a room away from others, ask for food and supplies to be left outside your door. If you need medical assistance call 111.

If you do feel unwell or need a test at any time, don’t forget to let the University know by using the “Record an absence” button on your SOLE page.

Book a test

It’s really important you book a test online

There may be a delay in getting a testing appointment, please keep trying and remain in self isolation while you wait. Please do not be tempted to continue in your normal routines, you could be spreading the virus and making others unwell.

You should continue to self -isolate for a full 10 days while you wait for your test results.

What to do if you’re contacted by NHS Test and Trace?

If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and advised to self-isolate, this means you have been in contact with someone who has the virus.

The virus can be incubating in a person for up to 14 days. This means you could be carrying the virus without knowing. So, it’s really important to self-isolate for 14 days to stop you passing the virus on to anyone else. You can break the chain of infection.

Please go home, remain at home and do not mix with anyone for the 14 days. This means you must not go to lectures, work, pubs, bars and other social spaces. Don’t have people in your room or mix with them in your home or student residence.

Help us to protect everyone, please do your bit, follow the rules. Keep everyone safe. 

Blended learning (Fri 18 September)

You’ve probably all heard the term blended learning, but what does it mean at Worcester?  We’ve produced this short animated video to explain how we'll be combining on campus and online learning this semester. 

Virtual meeting for all students – recording (Tue 15 September)

On Friday Ross Renton (Pro Vice Chancellor) and Meg Price (President of the Students’ Union) gave an update on the year ahead, with a particular focus on student wellbeing and safety. Thank you to all those who attended and submitted questions.

You can now watch a captioned recording of the meeting. A brief recording error with the live stream means we’ve lost the introductions, but all of the questions are included.  This recording will now be available for one week (until 22 September).

 We really encourage you to read through our coronavirus students FAQs for our latest advice and guidance. You can also find out more about support for students on our website and through the Students’ Union.

If you have a question related to your course or your timetable, we recommend speaking with your Personal Academic tutor. You can also find advice about choosing modules here.

If you have a specific question, you can get in touch with us firstpoint@worc.ac.uk

Advice for students purchasing computers and other devices (Fri 4 September)

The wide range of computing facilities at the University mean that isn’t essential for students to purchase their own devices. However, many find it more convenient to do so, and the university has provided some advice to students who may want to consider purchasing their own equipment.

Information about what devices are best suited to students’ studies, as well as guidance on places to purchases suitable devices and information on how some students may be eligible for financial assistance from the Access to Learning fund, has recently been added to the Student Coronavirus FAQs on the website. 

Guidance on the use of face coverings on campus (Tue 25 August)

In line with Government guidance in England, face coverings are mandatory in some University settings, including our library (which is a Joint University and Public library) and the Campus shop.

Students and staff are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed indoor spaces on campus, particularly when they are moving around.

We have also implemented a range of other mitigating measures, such as increased ventilation, to help minimise the transmission of the virus and ensure that Worcester is a Covid-19 cold spot.

You can find detailed guidance on our approach to the use of face coverings on our updated Coronavirus FAQ pages.

Free dissertation printing and binding (Fri 21 August)

For students completing their studies in the 2019/2020 academic year, the University has made provision for you to have your work bound and will cover the cost of printing, binding and posting. There is no option to collect in person at the moment.

Please send your final version in a PDF format, with your name, postal address and Student ID number to studentdissertation@worc.ac.uk. Make sure you have titled your PDF file with your surname and forename initial (e.g. Paul Smith would be SMITHP) so that it can be correctly identified as your work.

You may have up to 2 copies of your work bound so please specify if you would like 1 or 2 copies in your email request.

Please be aware that no changes can be made once you have sent the final document, so you need to be sure it is your final version.

Access to the Hive (Wed 5 August)

We are reopening The Hive in phases, managed and monitored in line with Government guidance. This means that as of now you are able to: 

  • Browse and borrow books using self-service kiosks
  • Reserve books using the normal reservation process (the interim reserve and collect service ended 1 August 2020)
  • Return books via the external hatch next to the Hive entrance
  • Pre-book computers by calling the customer contact centre on 01905 822722
  • Pre-book a desk in the library for study and/or wi-fi access by calling 01905 822722
  • Library staff are on hand to answer queries and provide information
  • We are open 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays

Worth knowing:

  • The Hive is not currently available for group events and activities, as a meeting place or a place to spend time reading or relaxing
  • From 8th August, it will be mandatory to wear a face covering in libraries. Please adhere to this when visiting The Hive.
  • Social distancing and hygiene measures are in place for everyone’s safety. We are providing hand sanitiser and cleaning computers and desks thoroughly after each use
  • We are limiting the number of people allowed into the library at any one time- please be patient if you have to wait
  • Browsing time is limited to 20 minutes
  • You can find information about other county libraries, and their latest service updates on the Library Services coronavirus page and on The Hive's coronavirus page

Studying and the Campus in the new academic year (Thu 21 May)

Dear Student, 

I hope that your health and that of your loved ones is good and that your assessments have been going well.

This email provides you with some information on the approach the University is taking to the new academic year in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Please may I take this opportunity to thank you personally, and also the leaders of the Students’ Union, for the very responsible way in which Worcester students have reacted both individually and together to the pandemic and its effects.

Since the ‘national lockdown’ began in March the focus of the University has been on supporting each and every student to continue with their studies as well as possible in the new circumstances. 

I am very grateful to my colleagues who have reacted so positively and professionally to moving teaching, learning and assessment online so that your studies and educational progress can continue as well as possible in the face of the pandemic. Thank-you for all your positive engagement, understanding, suggestions and support.

The University has done our best to support the NHS locally and to contribute to saving as many lives as possible by providing specialist equipment, helping our 3rd year nursing students join the NHS if they so wished, and in other practical ways, as well as by working closely with the Students’ Union in promoting volunteering in particular.

There has been active support for those students who have remained in residence and the big increase in requests for various aspects of student welfare support has been met with the compassion and empathy for which student services at Worcester is renowned.

Arrangements for next Academic year

The next academic year (2020-21) will begin as originally scheduled.

What will next year look like?

Provided the national situation continues to improve, including the effective implementation of the Government’s proposed test, track and trace programme, we hope to be able to move most of our learning back on campus by the start of the term.

We envisage running many in-person lecture programmes, often with smaller groups, strictly respecting physical distancing guidelines, with simultaneous online broadcast where possible and appropriate.

We will aim to deliver the majority of other teaching, including tutorials, workshops, lab work and practicals on campus as long as this can be done in a ‘Covid-19 secure’ way and fully in accordance with Government regulations and World Health Organisation guidance.

This will mean some significant changes – particularly making full use of the teaching day with the timetabling of more late afternoon and early evening classes in particular, in order to avoid busy ‘peaks’ at campus, which would make social distancing difficult. In addition, groups will be split into ‘bubbles’ who will have more teaching together. In some courses we will also use a buddy system for tasks which need to be carried out together.

A great deal of work is currently underway to ensure that our campuses are carefully prepared for the safest possible, socially distanced return to in-person study. Our actions will be guided by science and entirely up-to-date best practice and will likely include, for example:

  • The creation of student residential, study and activities ‘bubbles’, where students are organised into groups;
  • Full use of the contract tracing ‘app’ system. We will aim to be an exemplar generally of the national programme to ‘test, trace and isolate’, ensuring that any case of Covid-19 is quickly identified and that there is the minimum transmission;
  • A further enhanced cleaning regime and the installation of facilities such as outdoor sinks, as well as easy access to hand sanitisers and wipes for computer equipment, desks and other frequently touched items;
  • Careful management of the timetable, making full use of the teaching day, to minimise ‘peak density’ on campus;
  • Physical distancing within our campuses, including increasing the distance between study spaces in such facilities as the Peirson Study and Guidance Centre;
  • One-way circulation within buildings, wherever possible and appropriate;
  • The creation of covered outdoor space for dining and informal learning;
  • The creation of more cycle hoops and car parking spaces and continued access to a bicycle loan scheme;
  • The availability of equipment, such as face shields, to help improve the safety of the whole community as well as managing occasions where social distancing is difficult, such as using public transport.

Acting in this way, we will be highly responsible, aiming to provide outstanding educational opportunities in which our students will be able to both learn and live on campus, as well as virtually. We will of course comply with all relevant government regulations and the latest World Health Organisation guidance and will keep all of our plans under continuous review, ready to act if the situation changes and to make full use of scientific advances. Together with the Students’ Union, we will continue to gather feedback, questions and ideas from our students to inform our approach. Your good ideas are crucial and most welcome so please do share them through our website. Of course, the safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and visitors to the University will remain our primary concern and will be the foremost consideration in our decision-making. There will be a special programme of support for students who are unable to come to campus due to their own health condition.

There is a lot of detailed work to do, and we will keep you updated throughout the summer.

As there is so much news about some universities being ‘online for lectures’ all next year, I thought it was only right to be in touch now to let you know about the approach that we are taking.

Stay in touch

We remain here to help and support you and will write to you again as we develop more detail about next year, including further timetabling information. Please do refer to our Students’ Union Help and Advice website and continue to follow our Coronavirus FAQ pages as these will be regularly updated with new information.  If you have immediate questions, you can contact us at firstpoint@worc.ac.uk.

With all best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Professor David M A Green CBE
Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive
University of Worcester

Email to students about Assessment Update: Academic Integrity guidance and FAQ on Feedback (Mon 27 April)

Dear Student

I hope that you managed to have a rest over the Easter break before resuming your studies and the beginning of assessments for many of our courses.

We sent you further assessment guidance on the 25 March, after rescheduling the May examinations. We then published the timetable as planned.  We also sent to students sitting examinations some initial guidance to help them understand how they will run.  We will be sending out more detailed guidance to those students shortly.

A number of students have started to ask about how feedback will be provided given that students will be often answering the same assessment tasks in May and in July and some have raised queries about how we will ensure academic integrity.

To help answer those queries, I have attached for your information further guidance which includes an FAQ on assessments, and a guide to academic integrity and misconduct. The latter is especially important as we have moved our exams online. Every student has a responsibility to ensure that they read and understand this guidance carefully, and should follow it equally carefully, as the consequences of not doing so may be serious.

We have tried to make this clear and simple, and we have worked closely with the Students’ Union in developing both documents.

I hope that this is helpful to you. If you have questions about individual circumstances and assessments please contact your Head of Department, Course Leader or Personal Academic Tutor for further assistance.  Thank you for your patience as have moved to our new way of working and new assessment arrangements.

Best wishes

Kevin

_______________________________

Kevin Pickess
Academic Registrar
University of Worcester

Email attachments:

2020.04.23 FAQ for students on feedback
Academic Integrity and Misconduct April 2020

Email to students about volunteering opportunities (Thur 9 April)

Dear Student,

At this time of global uncertainty, it has been heart-warming to see and hear about the different ways people are pulling together. We know that many of you are already giving your time to help your community during this most difficult situation, whether through an official volunteering scheme or just by looking out for neighbours, family and friends. We are incredibly proud of each and every one of you.

There is a national need for more volunteers to come forward and to help you navigate the requests and opportunities, the University and Worcester Students’ Union have launched a new #TeamWorc Volunteering Project and portal:

www.worcester.ac.uk/volunteering 

This simple website allows you to register your specialist skills to help organisations offer you the right opportunity. It provides links to the NHS, Worcestershire County Council’s Here2Help scheme, the Worcester Foodbank, blood donation services, and other organisations looking for support.

The site also offers advice and guidance about ways to stay safe while volunteering and gives you the chance to log your hours through the Students’ Union so that your efforts can be acknowledged on your degree transcript when you graduate.

In addition, we have been working in partnership with a range of employers who require assistance during the current crisis. You can find these paid opportunities on the MyCareer site, which is updated daily:

https://worcester.targetconnect.net/home.html

We'd love to hear about all the ways in which you are getting involved. Share your stories on social media using the hashtags #TeamWorc #Volunteering or email communications@worc.ac.uk and let us know what you’re up to.

With best wishes,

Ross
Ross Renton
Pro Vice Chancellor Students

Harry
Harry Lonsdale
President, Worcester Students’ Union

Email from the Vice Chancellor to students (Fri 3 April)

Dear student

As you know, throughout every stage of this international pandemic, the University of Worcester has been committed to ensuring that the interests of our students are at the heart of every decision that we have taken as we have sought to systematically follow Public Health England and UK Government advice. We have been as open as possible with you about the challenges the University faces and the actions being taken.

I am particularly grateful to the Students’ Union who have engaged so constructively in discussions, and to all of you who have taken the time to write to your lecturers and personal academic tutors with suggestions.  I am confident that we have addressed many of the questions that were raised – for example, providing flexibility to account for differing needs and situations. 

As we begin the Easter holidays, I am writing to remind you of the academic and welfare arrangements that are already in place and to share details about the ongoing support that is available to you. 

Online teaching and learning 

We are doing all we can to ensure students feel supported in progressing or graduating as they planned before the global coronavirus pandemic emerged.

Like most universities, and like most students, we have transformed our approach to learning over the past few weeks. Online learning began on Friday the 20th of March, immediately following the last day of face to face teaching. Each School has taken great care that this revised approach, whether for teaching or assessment, does not disadvantage any student and is sensitive to the individual needs of students across all courses.

You can read more about the Arrangements for online learning on our website.

Assessments

We find ourselves in very uncertain times and we know that current events will be causing students anxiety. We understand that preparing for assessments this year will be challenging, both in practical and emotional terms. This is not the University experience our students were expecting, but there remains important value in our students continuing to study, to revise, and to take assessments.

We have implemented a solution that is as simple and uniform as it can be – with some considered variations where there is a clear need. We believe that our approach is one of the most generous across UK universities in its flexibility and its capacity to reduce complexity, minimise disruption, and provide an equitable approach for all students.

Exceptionally this year, all students on standard, taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses will have the option to submit all or some of your assessments as scheduled in April/May 2020 or to defer all or some of your assessments until the week commencing 6th July 2020. You are able to make your decision by going on to your SOLE page and completing a very short form.

We are writing separately to postgraduate research students and courses with professional placements, such as teacher training and nursing, to outline your options.

You can find further details about our approach to assessments in our recent emails to youExtension to submission deadlines and How to request an extension.

We also understand that all students have been impacted by the effects of the coronavirus, some very severely. Individual cases will of course continue to be considered carefully and sympathetically through our existing mitigating circumstances process.

Why is the University continuing to conduct examinations?

We have given considerable thought as to how we can ensure that we can maintain the academic standard of your education during the challenging and unprecedented situation that we are currently experiencing. A qualification from the University of Worcester is rightly highly regarded. At graduation ceremonies, we remind you that you have earned your degree by your own hard work.

Our responsibility to you is that we ensure that your achievements are reliably assessed and your qualifications are awarded securely. We design academic courses very carefully, including the way in which we assess that you have met the learning outcomes for your course. Examinations are part of that very carefully thought through assessment process. By offering you the opportunity to defer any or all of your assessments to July, we believe that with your continued hard work, we are giving you the best possible chance of succeeding in all of your assignments.

Why aren’t all universities doing the same thing?

Each university has to take decisions that are in the best interests of their own students. Whilst most universities are taking similar approaches to teaching, learning and assessment, there will be some differences based on each institution’s own context and the students studying with them.

Please be assured that we continue to follow national expectations and guidance from the UK Quality Assurance Agency, Universities UK and the Office for Students. 

Accommodation

Unlike many universities, we have not fully closed our campus and have instead kept key facilities open for our students who need them urgently, including accommodation, the Peirson Study and Guidance Centre and the St. John’s campus shop.

Since online learning began on 20 March, the majority of students have returned to family homes and vacated their term time residences. Approximately one quarter of our students have chosen to stay in Worcester in a combination of halls of residence and University managed accommodation. 

Consistent with our commitment to putting the interests of our students first, we have decided to waive the payment due for accommodation provided by the University from March 20 for all University of Worcester students who have already left their University/University managed accommodation by April 3 and do not return this academic year.

We have added additional accommodation guidance and advice, including for students who are living in private, rented accommodation to our Coronavirus information page, which now includes a dedicated series of FAQs.

Car Parking Refunds

All student car parking permits which run beyond March 20 will be refunded. This is a substantial administrative task and will take a little while to process, but you do not need to take any action as we will automatically process this for you. 

Ongoing financial support

We are aware that some students will have questions about Student Finance England maintenance payments and tuition fee loans.

Michelle Donelan MP, Minister of State for Universities, stated the following in her recent letter to students:

“I would like to assure you that the Student Loans Company (SLC) is planning to make Term 3 tuition fee payments as scheduled and that you will continue to receive maintenance payments on the scheduled dates, whether or not campuses are closed or learning has moved online.” 

You can read the full letter from the Minister here.

We recognise that some students may be suffering particular and unexpected financial difficulty as a consequence of the current crisis and we have resources available to support them through our Hardship Fund. You can contact our Money Advice team at firstpoint@worc.ac.uk and they will be able to discuss options with you.

Support for you 

Academic and professional staff across the University will be doing everything we can to support you in the weeks and months ahead. We will continue to post regular updates to the frequently asked questions on our website:  www.worcester.ac.uk/coronavirus

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered on the website, please get in touch with us on firstpoint@worc.ac.uk

We care deeply about the education and the well-being of every one of our students. I am very grateful to all members of the University community for being so calm, purposeful and kind in tackling this unprecedented, international crisis.

With all best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Professor David M A Green CBE
Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive
University of Worcester

Email to students about University-managed accommodation (Wed 1 April)

Dear student

University of Worcester Accommodation and Car Parking Charges from 20 March 2020.

We know that the current situation raises many questions for students who have been renting University accommodation. These questions arise wherever you are now living.

As you know, throughout every stage of the international pandemic, the University of Worcester has been committed to ensuring that the interests of our students are at the heart of every decision that we have taken as we have sought to systematically follow Public Health England and UK Government advice. We have sought to be as open as possible with you about the challenges the University faces and the actions being taken. This University is very grateful to the Students’ Union for their excellent representation of students’ interests and concerns.

We have put in place arrangements to support students through online learning and have advised students about arrangements for online assessments. Unlike many universities, we have not fully closed our campus and have instead kept key facilities open for our students who need them urgently, including accommodation, the Peirson Study and Guidance Centre and the St. John’s campus shop.

Since online learning began on 20 March, the majority of students have returned to family homes and vacated their term time residences. Approximately one quarter of our students have chosen to stay in Worcester in a combination of halls of residence and University managed accommodation.

In this context, we are aware that some students are concerned about being charged fees for their accommodation and car parking.

Consistent with our commitment to putting the interests of our students first, we have decided to waive the payment due for accommodation provided by the University from March 20 for all University of Worcester students who have already left their University/University managed accommodation by April 3 and do not return this academic year.

We know that some students pay by direct debit while others were due to make a final payment in April. Please be assured that for all those students who have left their accommodation by April 3, we will refund accommodation rental costs from the March 20 onwards. This may take a little time as it is a big administrative task, but don’t worry we will be fair to every student. Of course, the rent must be paid up to March 20.

Students who remain in their University/University managed accommodation will, of course, simply pay their rental as due in the normal way.

You may also like to know that all student car parking permits which run beyond March 20 will be refunded. Again this is a substantial administrative task and will take a little while.

Over the past 10 days, we have been contacting all of our students living in University/University managed accommodation. If you have already told us that you have returned home through contacting a staff member in the accommodation team, you don’t need to take any further action to receive your refund and cancel any further payments. We will process this for you. If you have not heard from us by May 1 please do not hesitate to contact the accommodation team.

Many students have left belongings in Worcester, unsure about whether they were returning this academic year. Under the latest Government social distancing restrictions, travelling to Worcester or the University to collect your belongings is not advisable. This could put yourself and others at risk. Please contact the accommodation team if there is an essential reason you need to travel to collect your belongings.

You can leave your belongings in your accommodation and collect them once the current restrictions have been lifted and you will not be charged to do this. Deposit returns will be processed when your keys are been returned and your room has been checked as part of the normal deposit return process in July/August.

If you are unable to return to collect your belongings, for example you are located abroad, then please email accommodation@worc.ac.uk and we can discuss with you how we might be able to help.

Supporting the NHS

We are also committed to supporting the NHS. There has been a national call to help source additional beds for key workers, such as doctors and nurses. Universities across the country, including Worcester, are standing ready to assist.

If your room is required for this purpose, we will contact you. If you are in residence and your flat is needed, you will be given help to relocate to another flat. If you are no longer living in Worcester and your room is needed we will inform you and then move your belongings to safe storage. There will be no charge for this and our team will handle your belongings carefully and sensitively.

Student Finance England Questions

We are aware that some students will have questions about Student Finance England maintenance payments and tuition fee loans.

Michelle Donelan MP, Minister of State for Universities, stated the following in her recent letter to students:

“I would like to assure you that the Student Loans Company (SLC) is planning to make Term 3 tuition fee payments as scheduled and that you will continue to receive maintenance payments on the scheduled dates, whether or not campuses are closed or learning has moved online.”

Thank you for your patience and understanding over the past few days. We do appreciate this is a difficult time for all and we hope providing you with some certainty about your accommodation will be helpful. If you have any further questions, you can contact us at accommodation@worc.ac.uk.

Best wishes

Ross Renton
Pro Vice Chancellor Students

Pro Vice Chancellor's video update (27 March)

Watch Pro Vice Chancellor Ross Renton's coronavirus update from 27 March.

Email to students about support (Fri 27 March)

Dear student,

We know that many of you are worried about Coronavirus (also known as Covid-19) and how it is affecting you and your university experience. We have been listening to your questions and completely understand how concerned many of you are for yourselves and your family and friends. This is a most extraordinary time and our first priority has been the protection of our student and staff community.  We are doing whatever we can to provide you with the best possible educational experience during these circumstances, to keep you well-informed and to support your wellbeing. We are grateful for all the messages of support we have received from students and the wider community.

What support is available?

The majority of students are living away from the campus.

Wherever you are living, there is a great deal of online support available to all of our students.

Firstpoint, our student support team, is available to support you virtually. The best way to get in touch with them is through email: firstpoint@worc.ac.uk

The current firstpoint opening hours are 10.00am-4.00pm, Monday to Friday, but please feel free to email at any time, and the team will respond as soon as they can.

They can signpost you to a number of different services, including: 

  • Mental Health resources and virtual counselling appointments
  • Online wellbeing activities, including ‘Fancy a Cuppa’
  • Support for those still living on campus, including access to security
  • Virtual disability and dyslexia appointments
  • Online careers and employability guidance

Our Student Well-being Champions and our Students’ Union are very active on social media at @wellbeingchamp and @worcsu.  They are sharing lots of activities, including online games, watch parties and more to help you stay connected. The Students' Union independent Help and Advice service is able to support you through Skype and phone call appointments. You can contact them at worcsu.com/helpandadvice or alternatively email studentsunion@worc.ac.uk.

This short video, recorded remotely today, also summarises the support that is available to you.

How can I look after my mental health? 

  • Stay connected with people, through social media or other communications channels. We are so proud of how many students and student groups are already supporting each other on social media - so please keep it up! 
  • Agree regular check-in times with loved ones, use group chats and video calls.
  • Keep a regular routine, work through your ‘to do’ list, read a book, go out for a walk or do some exercise every day.
  • Be careful what you read - make sure when your information is from a reputable sources, such as the Government and NHS websites.

Further information is available from the Mental Health Foundation, Student MindsMind.org.uk

How do I look after myself while studying at home?

Long periods of solitary work and screen time can be challenging. Read our tips for looking after yourself while working at home on our remote working page.

What other support is available? 

We have been very active nationally in representing students’ interests on vital matters, including university accommodation rents and other fees. We will provide you with a further update on these matters next week. We are grateful for your understanding and support as we work through the many challenges we are all presented with, and proud of the work many of you are doing to assist your communities and the NHS.

Take care of yourself and others. You are our priority. We realise the unknown is hard and we’re here to support you as one Worcester community.

With all best wishes,

Ross

Ross Renton
Pro Vice Chancellor Students, University of Worcester

Harry

Harry Lonsdale
President, Worcester Students’ Union

#TeamWorc

Universities Minister’s letter to students (Thu 26 March)

Universities Minister’s Letter to Higher Education Students - 26 March

Sending equipment to the NHS video (25 March)

Watch Vice Chancellor Professor David Green explain why equipment from our clinical simulation facility is now on its way to the local hospital Trust in this video update from 25 March.

Email to students about assessment arrangements (Wed 25 March)

Dear Student

I am now able to offer further and more detailed guidance on the assessment arrangements that we have put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Student Assessment Options

As I said in my email on Monday, exceptionally this year, you will have the option to:

  1. Submit all or some of your assessments as scheduled in April/May 2020 or
  2. Defer all or some of your assessments until the week commencing 6th July 2020

For level 6 dissertations/independent study/independent projects only, you will have the option to:

  1. Submit as scheduled on 30th April 2020 or
  2. Request an extension of two weeks until 14th May 2020 or
  3. Defer submission until Wednesday 1st July 2020

This applies to standard taught courses with a September start date.

Nursing and Midwifery students have been contacted separately as they have different dissertation hand in dates. PGCE and undergraduate ITT students will also be contacted separately.

See note below about students studying in partner institutions.

You will be able to make this decision from 10.00am on Friday 27th March by going to your SOLE page and completing a very short form. You must submit your choices by 10.00am on Monday 6th April 2020. If you have not submitted your choices by that deadline, you will be deemed to have chosen to submit assessments on the original due dates in April/May and must do so.

Important: Please Read

Before making your decision, you should take your time to read the following carefully:

  • Once you have made a decision, you cannot change your mind.
  • If you opt to submit in April/May but are unable to submit because, for example, you are unwell, you must claim mitigating circumstances in the usual way.

April/May Submission

  • If you submit all your assessments in April/May and pass them, you will receive confirmation either that you have progressed to the next level of your course, or your degree classification/award in June 2020.
  • If you submit your assessments in April/May, and fail all or some of them, you will resit in July in the usual way. In accordance with our Academic Regulations, you will only be allowed these two assessment opportunities.

July Submission

  • If you submit all your assessments in July and pass them, you will receive confirmation either that you have progressed to the next level of your course, or your degree classification/award in August 2020.
  • If you submit your assessments in July, and fail all or some of them, you will resit in August. In accordance with our Academic Regulations, you will only be allowed these two assessment opportunities.

Examinations

We will be holding exams as scheduled in the week beginning 11th May 2020. However, because of the exceptional circumstances, we will be holding exams online. You will be able to access a copy of the exam timetable in SOLE by 15th April at the latest.

We will be writing to each student registered for an exam to explain in detail how you will be able to sit your exam. This is broadly the way that it will work: your exam paper will be released to you via Blackboard at the scheduled start time of the exam. You will therefore need internet access to log in to your Blackboard page, and to upload your answers at the end of the exam. However, you will not need to stay online for the entirety of the exam.

You will be given extra time to reflect that you are doing the exam online. This is in addition to any extra time that you may be allowed as a reasonable adjustment. If you are allowed extra time as a reasonable adjustment, your end time will be personally calculated and you and your tutor will be told of this.

Over the next few weeks, we will be individually reviewing any other recommended reasonable adjustments, to ensure that we can accommodate them. We will be contacting you personally but it will take a little while.

You are advised to prepare for these exams exactly as you would have for conventional on-campus exams.

Academic Misconduct Regulations will apply throughout and you must submit your exam script by Blackboard. You will not have the opportunity to run your script through Turnitin yourself first as you usually do, because this is a different type of assessment.

When you make your choice of assessment dates as described earlier, you will have the opportunity to tell us if you have any specific difficulties doing exams at home. We will contact you individually if necessary.

In the interest of fairness to all students, we have made the decision to hold all three sittings of exams (May, July and August) online in the same way. There is therefore no advantage in deferring your exams until July, unless you have specific reasons to do so.

Formal teaching will finish as scheduled on 1st May for students not in Nursing, Midwifery and some Education courses. After this, academic staff will be marking exam scripts and coursework, and may take annual leave, as these exceptional arrangements mean that they may now be unable to take annual leave for some of August. Although I am sure that everybody will do their best, you should be aware that they may therefore not be available for additional academic support throughout the period after the May exams and before the July exams.

Wherever possible, therefore, we suggest that you sit the assessments and exams in May as scheduled.

Students studying at partner colleges and institutions

The arrangements for the majority of students studying at partners will be as stated in this email, but there may be some exceptions, which we are currently clarifying.  Students studying at partner colleges and institutions should therefore await further guidance from their course leader before competing and submitting the form.  

I hope that this is helpful to you. I realise that you may have questions about individual circumstances and assessments. Please do contact your Head of Department, Course Leader or Personal Academic Tutor for further assistance, but I would ask you to be patient as we move to our new way of working and new assessment arrangements.

Best wishes

Sarah

Professor Sarah Greer
Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost

Radio interview with Head of the School of Allied Health and Community (Wed 25 March)

Liz Davies-Ward, Head of the School of Allied Health and Community, is interviewed by BBC Hereford and Worcester's Elliott Webb (2 hours, 8 and a half minutes into the programme): https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08790cj (Wednesday 25 March)

Radio interview with Vice Chancellor (Tue 24 March)

Vice Chancellor Professor David Green is interviewed by BBC Hereford and Worcester's Andrew Easton (3 hours, 17 and a half minutes into the programme): https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08790qn (Tuesday 24 March)

Coronavirus FAQs with Dr Claire Jones (Tue 24 March)

Watch Dr Claire Jones answering questions on Coronavirus.

Email from the Vice Chancellor to students (Tue 24 March)

Dear student,

Novel Coronavirus: Covid-19 Pandemic

I write to you on the first day of the new national restrictions set out in the Prime Minister’s address last night.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-address-to-the-nation-on-coronavirus-23-march-2020

Throughout these last difficult weeks, student and staff safety and well-being have been the University’s primary focus. Alongside this, we have been doing all we can to help students continue their studies successfully.

I would like to thank you and all your very many fellow students for the outstanding work you are doing to help the local community, country and wider world rise to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic, which threatens the lives of so many. Thank-you also for respecting the physical distancing policy and for your positivity generally. I would particularly like to thank the leaders of the Students’ Union who have represented students’ interests professionally and effectively at a truly unprecedented time.

We can all be proud of our many graduates who are working now, ‘at the front’ in the NHS. They face personal risks, as do their families. Their quiet courage and professionalism is rightly an inspiration to all.

I am sure you would like to know that, together with other Universities and the NHS, we have been making arrangements to enable nursing, midwifery and other student groups in health to go into practice to assist in the crisis whilst continuing to receive support from University colleagues.

We can also all be very proud of our professionally qualified colleagues in health who have, in the overwhelming majority, volunteered to be seconded to the NHS, whilst simultaneously providing study support for first year students and others who need to keep on learning for their vital professions.

Speaking for myself, it is an honour to be associated with such students, graduates and colleagues.

We can also be especially proud of our graduates, students and University colleagues in Unitots, and schools and early years settings throughout our City, region and beyond who are continuing to provide outstanding care and education for the children of essential workers, many of whom are at higher risk of contracting Covid-19, as a result of the professional work of their parents.

Students may also like to know that many professional technical colleagues in Science have volunteered to go to work in the science labs, which are doing important work in testing and analysis and where there have been severe capacity constraints. Naturally we are enabling this and are very proud of our colleagues who have responded so readily to this need.

We are also working with NHS and local partners to enable students to work in a wide range of professional capacities to assist nursing homes and other providers of essential services for very vulnerable people. We will be sharing more information in the coming days about the many ways that students can volunteer to help in this crucial, national effort.

In terms of equipment, we have made all the equipment in our clinical simulation suite available to the NHS. There are some significant shortages and we are working closely with NHS colleagues to ensure that appropriate University resources, from beds and tables to screens and stethoscopes, can be pressed into service to allow intensive care to be as well-resourced and extensive as possible.

As a small thank-you from the NHS for all you have done, are doing and will continue to do Dr. Claire Jones, one of Worcester’s top GPs, has responded to questions for a special short film purpose-created for students of the University of Worcester. Please view it and feel free to share it:

Coronavirus FAQs with Dr. Claire Jones

As you may know, there are a small number of students who have remained living in Halls of Residence and University Managed Housing because the University is their home. There is also a slightly larger number living in other rented property in the City. We have made provision for some study and support facilities, with appropriate physical distancing, to be available for these students.

Thanks to outstanding professional work from many dedicated members of staff throughout the University we have an excellent range of e-books available (over half a million) and our e-learning programme is in full swing. A clear, compassionate, effective policy on assessment in these unprecedented circumstances has been devised and communicated to every student and all members of staff involved.

I know we are all grateful to the members of staff in the University’s IT Department, who have been outstanding in keeping our network going and enabling very many students and staff to have equipment which will enable them to study and work as effectively as possible from a distance.

A series of other important practical questions ranging from how to continue with counselling support to financial matters are being and have been addressed. While these are, of necessity, being worked through in a systematic fashion, I can assure you that we are very active nationally on representing students’ interests on vital matters connected with rents and fees in particular. These are national questions which will need a national solution and we will let you know as soon as there is progress.

I know that there will be many practical questions in the days and weeks ahead. I am very grateful for the work of all the colleagues at the University in Facilities, Communications, Registry, Finance, Student Services and all the Departments and Schools of the University who have enabled such a broad and effective response to be made to this international crisis.

Thank-you so much for playing your part and doing your bit.

You are an inspiration for the good and our hope for the future.

I am sure the whole University community will rise to face the challenges together.

Thank you so much.

With all best wishes,

Professor David M A Green CBE
Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive

As letters are found by some to be rather impersonal I have also responded to questions in a short film which can be viewed here:

Response to the coronavirus: 24 March

Email to students about campus access (Mon 23 March)

Dear student

Following the Government’s announcements over the weekend, which again emphasised the importance of rigorous social distancing, we are making further updates to campus operations from 17:00 tomorrow (Tuesday 24 March) and details are below.

A significant amount of work and planning has taken place to ensure that the University is in the best possible place to meet the needs of our students and that we can continue to operate with only core staff remaining on campus.

From 5pm tomorrow the majority of our buildings will be closed and most students studying from home.

The following buildings will remain open:

St John’s Campus

  • Elgar Building: the main reception will be staffed from 9am until 5pm daily. The canteen will close tonight.
  • Peirson Building: Firstpoint will move to online support only on Tuesday. They can be contacted on firstpoint@worc.ac.uk. The building will remain open, allowing access to computers for students who do not have access to their own device.
  • The Students’ Union shop

Vehicle access to the St. John’s campus will be through the Severn Gate

City Campus

  • Charles Hastings building, with access to a computer lab and main reception only. The main reception will be staffed from 9am until 5 pm daily.

While the majority of students have already returned home and will remain at home until campus returns to normal operations, we will be keeping the student residences open to support those students who are unable to return home. 

The Hive Library is currently open, with restricted hours and extensive social distancing measures, and this is being kept under constant review in consultation with colleagues at the County Council.  The Hive’s extensive collection of over 300,000 e-books will remain available online. (Update: The Hive Library will now also close tomorrow evening)

All other buildings and sites will close from 5pm tomorrow evening.

Please continue to check this page for updates. 

All best wishes

Communications and Participation

Email to students about deadlines (Mon 23 March)

Dear Student

I am writing to explain how the University is intending to manage the scheduled assessments over the coming months, as we face the coronavirus pandemic together.

As you know, we have had to deal with a very complicated, unprecedented and rapidly changing situation over the past week. We have been closely following government and Public Health England guidance throughout.

We have also been moving staff and students from face to face to remote teaching, ensuring that we can continue in the current situation to deliver the teaching that you need to complete your course. We have been addressing issues with student placements, particularly for health and education students in the NHS and schools. The situation has been changing daily. We are also conscious that external events impact differently on different courses, and have been working to try to manage that.

In addition, we have been ensuring that the University’s core services in terms of cleaning, catering, IT, the Hive have been continuing for as long as possible. With 1,600 staff and around 10,000 students, studying a variety of courses, which are taught and assessed in different ways, this has been a significant undertaking.

Our staff are facing the same challenges as any other person in the UK and indeed across the world. Some of them are having to self-isolate, some are social distancing due to ill health, some are caring for loved ones, and some of them are unwell. It is an extraordinary time for all of us, and we are grateful that you understand and respect the enormity of the task that the University community is facing.

Some of you have written to express concern over the forthcoming assessments. We understand this concern and have been working hard over the past week to identify a solution which would work both for students who have asked if assessments can be delayed, and students who have asked that they are not delayed. We are also working with around 50 separate Professional Statutory and Regulatory bodies governing many of our courses, to ensure that we comply with their guidance.

Some assessments, particularly those which require a practical element, have had to be amended: we are unable to continue with assessments which require face to face group work, or face to face teaching. We are also unable to continue with in person lab work. Over the past week, colleagues have been carefully working through every single planned assessment, to ensure that it can be appropriately amended to ensure that it assesses whether you meet the learning outcomes of your course.

In order to reflect this, we are doing two things.

  1. We are proposing that we run the assessments scheduled over the next six or so weeks, ending on 15 May 2020, as planned. Submission will be online: this is something that we do for the majority of our assessments already.
  1. However, we will offer every student the opportunity to defer their assessment until early July 2020, week beginning 6 July. 

You will be able to choose to complete the assessments as planned in April/May, or, if you wish, to defer your first attempt until July 2020. Once you have made this choice, you cannot change your mind.

The only exception, of course, is if you opt to complete your assessments in April/May and then become unwell or are unable to submit for other reasons. In these circumstances, you would complete a mitigating circumstances form.

Dissertations, independent study or independent projects for level 6 students would work slightly differently. For these, you have three options:

  • Submit on time on 30 April 2020.
  • Ask to defer submission until 6 July 2020
  • Ask for a two week extension under the usual procedures, which would mean submission on 13 May 2020.

Students in the Three Counties School of Nursing and Midwifery will have slightly different arrangements, to reflect the specific nature of your courses. An email will be sent to you by your Head of School tomorrow.

I realise that you will have many individual questions on how these arrangements will work, including detailed arrangements for exams. I would ask that you hold those questions until after Wednesday 25 March, when I will send you more detail of how this will work in practice, and what you need to do.

We understand that this has been an anxious time for you. Thank you to the Students’ Union for working with us. Thank you too for the individual messages of support that we have received. We are grateful for your patience and understanding and it underlines just how exceptional and community spirited our students are.

Best wishes

Sarah

Professor Sarah Greer
Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost 

Vice Chancellor's video updates (Wed 18 March)

Professor David Green updates on the University's move to online teaching and the implications of the school closure announcement.

You can also watch Dr Claire Jones answering questions on Coronavirus.

Vice Chancellor's email to students (Wed 18 March)

Dear student

After much careful consideration and discussion, the University has decided to move to fully online teaching from this Friday, the 20th of March, up to the end of Easter in the first instance. Assessments and exams will be completed online or submitted electronically.

You can find further details about the arrangements on our website. Anyone who needs specific, practical advice in relation to their studies should contact their School office.

Essential facilities, including our halls of residence, study spaces, the Library, Students’ Union and the cafeteria will remain available, with additional measures in place to encourage social distancing.

Nationally, the response to the Covid-19 virus continues to evolve. We will continue to update you by email and through our website, about the University’s response over the coming days and weeks.

Yours sincerely,

Professor David M A Green CBE
Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive

Vice Chancellor's email to students (Tue 17 March)

Dear student

The University remains open, including all of the usual facilities such as accommodation, firstpoint and the canteen. As I wrote to you last week, face to face teaching is continuing.

If you feel unwell, it is important that you take the following steps:

  • Follow the official NHS advice and self-isolate if you have the specific symptoms of Covid-19, which include a continuous cough or a high temperature
  • Contact us at the University by notifying us through your SOLE page.  You’ll find the new ‘report an absence’ link at the top of the Student Notices page when you sign in

Nationally, the response to the Covid- 19 virus continues to evolve. We have therefore been making preparations to ensure that you are able to continue your studies as well as possible in the current circumstances.  You can find all of the latest information on the dedicated page on our website, including details about preparations for online teaching and assessment.  

You may find these video bulletins, which have been published today, particularly helpful:

  1. Continuation of face to face teaching
  2. Completing your course and assessments

With all best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Professor David M A Green CBE
Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive

Vice Chancellor's video update (Mon 16 March)

Professor David Green updates on the University's response to coronavirus as of Monday 16 March

Vice Chancellor's email to students (Fri 13 March)

Dear University of Worcester student,

I am writing to all members of the University about the Covid-19 pandemic and the University’s response.

I know this is a time when many students are concerned for the health and welfare of family, friends and neighbours as well as their own.

Our aim is to do what we can to limit the transmission of this virus and the adverse impact that it has on human health.

Firstly, may I thank all those students who have been, and are involved, in preparing to minimise the spread of the virus in Worcester and our wider region.

I am very grateful to all those members of the University who are carefully following the excellent advice given by Public Health England and the NHS.

As we all know this involves regular, thorough hand washing, keeping your hands away from your face and scrupulous cleaning of surfaces on which the virus can live.

What is the Government response?

Yesterday (March 12), the UK government decided that everyone who has a cough, temperature or both should self-isolate for up to 7 days.

According to this coronavirus BBC article, the government’s chief science adviser says: “Telling those with a high temperature or cough to self-isolate for a week will have the "biggest impact" in the fight against coronavirus, the UK's chief science adviser says.

We know that you will support the community by following this advice.

If you need to self-isolate and live in University or University managed accommodation please inform us immediately by either calling 01905 542502 or emailing security@worc.ac.uk

If you, a friend, fellow student, family member or anyone you know does need to follow this advice then this NHS guidance is clear and helpful.

How is the University Responding?

In terms of the University’s response, we have concentrated on doing those things we can to limit the transmission of the virus and its impact on human health by scrupulously following Public Health England, NHS and Government advice and applying this to our own circumstances.

You may already have noticed, for example, that we have intensified the cleaning regime at the University, particularly in areas where there are many smooth surfaces which are frequently touched.

As you know, the UK government has decided at this time that it is best not to close Universities as has happened in a number of other countries.

There are a number of reasons for this, one of which is that University students, in the great majority, are not a vulnerable group in the population as is quite clear from the statistical analysis of the impact of coronavirus by age.

Following government advice means that at Worcester we are continuing to provide our full normal teaching timetable whilst simultaneously promoting the NHS/Public Health England advice. We intend to continue in this way. Of course, at some point there may be some cancellations and you yourself may need to self-isolate for 7 days. In such an event please contact your personal academic tutor for specific advice. Please do not worry about “missing something vital”. Health is the first priority.

Where can you find more information?

I am sure that there are many questions which is why the University has prepared a set of Frequently Asked Questions which you can access above.

This web-page is being regularly updated as the situation evolves. Please do consult it regularly and feel free to share it with fellow students, friends, family and anyone you think may find it useful.

Naturally, we are also preparing for the possibility of teaching in lectures and seminars being cancelled. We are well advanced should this become necessary and will ensure that examinations and assessments can be properly carried out and that students have access to all the proper help you need and expect to succeed in your studies and earn your qualification and, in many cases, your professional registration.

We are also working closely with our partners in the schools, hospitals, Health Trusts, regulatory bodies and government departments to ensure that students who are on teaching practice or on placements in hospitals and health settings are able to continue their vital work and training and that any adaptations do not disadvantage students in terms of qualification.

If the University does have to close for on-campus classes at some point, we will allow students to continue to live in University accommodation and to support students generally with the ongoing provision of library, security, catering and other services in line with ongoing Government advice.

We are currently working with NHS colleagues to see if we an established a training/volunteering programme which will help us all gain the expertise we need to be as useful as possible to family, friends, neighbours and society.

All of these highly practical matters are being tackled with the calm professionalism which is characteristic of the culture here at the University.

Covid-19 is a big challenge to human society. We already know a great deal about it. Whilst dangerous, particularly to older and ore vulnerable people, it is not a mass-scale deadly pandemic for younger people in the same way as was the ‘Spanish flu’ epidemic of 1918-20.

I am very grateful to students, staff and all members of the University community for being so calm, purposeful and professional in both individual and group responses. Many members of the University community have been exemplary in countering disinformation with science-based evidence and rational, thoughtful, compassionate responses.

Thank-you so much for your contribution to this vital work.

If you have questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact your personal academic tutor or firstpoint.

With all best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Professor David M A Green CBE
Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive

Email to students with information about coronavirus

Dear student,

We are aware that many students will have questions and concerns about coronavirus (Covid-19).

The safety and wellbeing of our community is, and always will be, our highest priority.

The University is acting on advice from sources including Public Health England, the NHS, the World Health Organisation and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. We are following the situation closely, have made plans to act quickly if the situation changes and will provide further updates as necessary. You should continue to attend your classes unless you have been specifically advised otherwise. At this time there is currently no advice to prevent groups of people gathering for educational purposes (e.g. lectures and tutorials).

During the current phase to prevent or delay a wider outbreak in the UK, we have increased the frequency of cleaning of key areas and are ensuring that liquid soap is readily available. We are displaying posters around the campus and on our plasma screens, reminding our staff, students and visitors about the importance of good, personal hygiene – particularly in relation to thorough and frequent handwashing. 

This is an evolving situation and we will continue to follow the guidance from the UK Government and public health authorities and will share information with University of Worcester students, staff and visitors. We have set up a dedicated webpage, which includes a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section:

www.worcester.ac.uk/coronavirus

Please refer to this page for accurate and updated advice about the coronavirus and our response at Worcester. We will update this page regularly with more information as it becomes available. You should also refer to the following sites for the latest official information and guidance:

If you have any concerns about your health you should contact the free NHS 111 telephone helpline and check the see the Public Health England website for the latest official advice.

With best wishes,

Ross

 

Ross Renton
Pro Vice Chancellor Students | University of Worcester

Further information about coronavirus, and our response, can be found on our main coronavirus information page.