As the vaccine rollout continues apace, we have good reason to be optimistic that by the start of the next academic year we will be able to offer a broader in-person campus experience for our students, including much more teaching in person. Throughout the pandemic, our focus has been on offering the best possible experience for our students while maintaining the safety of our community. Our planning for academic year 2021-22 continues to be based on offering students a blended on-campus experience, with the ‘blend’ adopted in each programme and module being based on disciplinary and pedagogical needs.

Prioritising in-person activity

Departments have been asked to prioritise in-person activity based on those tasks that are best delivered in this way. Large group lectures will be delivered, where possible, on-line only. However, there may be good reason to offer a limited number of modules on-line only, even when in-person teaching is possible.

Reducing constraints on the timetable

With the expectation that by Autumn Term 2021 social life nationally will have largely resumed, we have reviewed our planning assumptions for timetabling ‘in-person’ teaching events. We have taken into account the health and safety requirements that are likely to be appropriate next academic year and agreed to remove our approach based on 1m+ social distancing. We will maintain the safety of our community through revised room capacities linked to ventilation and other mitigations, such as face masks. This approach will result in more capacity for timetabled in-person teaching than would have been possible under social distancing.

Some departments have reduced the amount of in-person teaching in their timetabling requests in anticipation of limited capacity based on the previous approach. There is now an opportunity to adjust requests in the light of the increased capacity. Departments have additional time to reconsider their request in light of the additional capacity. The deadline for timetabling requests is now 5pm on 24 May.

Being prepared

While we are planning for a less restricted year, we still need to be prepared in case we are required to move back temporarily to offering on-line only teaching, recognising that this is more likely in the winter months. We will continue to monitor the impact of our approach on our education delivery to ensure it meets the needs of departments, delivers the best possible experience for our students, and keeps our students and staff safe.

If you have any questions, please contact your manager.