We’re glad to have many of our students back in their homes in the local area as the new academic year gets underway. Students are returning as circumstances allow, so not everyone has been able to make their way here just yet.
Over recent months, there has been much discussion in the national press about the importance of education. At Warwick, we’re doing all that we can to continue with our world-leading research and the delivery of excellent teaching, whilst supporting the wellbeing of our students. This is a significant responsibility we must fulfil.
Some of you have voiced your concerns about the adverse impacts of universities on the communities of which they are a part. We acknowledge these and are doing all we can to relieve them. Our Vice-Chancellor has affirmed our commitment to you in a joint public statement with his counterpart at Coventry University.
Coventry moves from Tier 1 'Medium' to Tier 2 'High' in the UK Government Covid-19 alert level system at midnight on Friday 23 October. Our teaching and operations are Covid-secure so there will be no significant changes to these. We're doing all we can to ensure students and staff understand the new restrictions and are supported to follow them.
Up and down the country, the scale of the challenge still ahead of us is huge. We’re working together with our partners in local public health teams, local authorities, the police and the students' union to help look after Coventry, Warwickshire and the West Midlands.
We’re keen to share with you what we are doing, which is why we’ve put together this webpage. You can find the latest figures about active cases of Covid-19 at the University here.
We’ve developed and published clear responsibilities for all members of our staff and students to uphold. These include behaving in a Covid-19 secure manner, acting swiftly on Covid-19 symptoms and actively supporting one another. You can read the full responsibilities here.
These collective responsibilities are an important part of us playing our role in keeping each other safe. As these responsibilities form part of University guidance, wilful and repeated breaches would be considered an act of misconduct that could lead to disciplinary processes. You can read more about this in our Covid-19 escalation and disciplinary framework.
To support the responsibilities we’ve outlined, we produced guidance for students who live and spend time among local communities. We’ll keep this information updated so it remains a useful source of information. We’ve worked with local residents, local representatives and other partner organisations to address areas of concern, including:
- socialising, including having visitors in homes and gardens;
- social distancing;
- hygiene standards;
- quarantining and self-isolating if they experience symptoms;
- how to get support if needed;
- limiting their number of interactions;
- anti-social behaviour;
- consideration of others;
- many aspects of travel (including use of public transport and getting to campus safely);
- face coverings;
- use of local amenities and shops following Government guidelines;
- access to testing; and
- wellbeing support.
Much of this information amplifies Government guidance, but we’ve also included detail on local services and our own recommendations where appropriate. For example, we strongly recommend students do not invite people from another household into their home or garden for their own and the wider community’s safety, although the national guidance currently says they may do so.
To ensure our students stay informed of the most up to date guidance, we’ve aligned our communications with partner organisations. We’re sharing our expertise so we can quickly respond to the changing situation and target the right issues.
We want to make it as easy as possible for our students to understand the importance of following social distancing guidance and the wider consequences of not doing so. It’s easier to do this with more imaginative communications, like this video of an informal conversation between a Warwick student and Dr Shade Agboola, Director of Public Heath at Warwickshire County Council.
For months, our students have received clear advice and guidance from us about what to do to keep themselves and others safe during their studies with us. We'll also share these messages with local communities so you are aware of how we are supporting our student community.
An adapted teaching approach
Our advice and guidance to students is just one of the many things we're doing differently this academic year, including the way we're teaching our students. We’re providing a blended approach of small group face-to-face teaching alongside online learning, as part of an extended teaching day.
To be able to open our campus for small group teaching, all teaching and learning environments have been risk assessed with control measures in place, including 2 metre social distancing and reduced occupancy as standard.
Circumstances can change quickly, so we're prepared to switch to teaching completely online if access to campus needs to be restricted to protect health and safety.
Managing travel to campus
We're advising staff and students to only travel to campus when they really need to so that we can manage campus capacity and maintain social distancing. When necessary, they are required to comply with safety measures like wearing face coverings and social distancing.
By moving a substantial amount of teaching online, we've reduced the number of journeys that will to be taken on public transport. Extending the length of the teaching day means we can spread out the demand for any journeys that do take place across the day. We've worked closely with transport providers to align their services with activities on campus. These steps will reduce crowding on buses and at bus stops. As an extra precaution, we’ve employed marshals to steward the busiest bus stops in Leamington Spa and on campus to encourage students and others to travel safely.
We're also encouraging walking and cycling wherever possible, with new local walking and cycling routes around the campus being planned with local councils. We accompany this encouragement with safety messages on how to be conscientious pedestrians and cyclists.
Over the summer, we were busy installing signage, floor markings, queuing and one-way systems across our campus, as well as adding perspex screens and hand sanitiser units inside. If you're interested, you can read more about our safety measures on campus here.
As part of our guidance for students, we’re reemphasising messages from the Government and public health regarding what they should be doing when they are out and about in local communities in terms of social distancing and face coverings.
We have adapted the existing street marshals scheme – a partnership between Warwickshire Police, Warwick District Council, Warwick Students’ Union and funded by the University – to reflect the new circumstances. In addition to their usual role providing wellbeing support and promoting good community relations, the street marshals are engaging students in conversations about social distancing.
We continue to advise staff and students travelling on public transport or car sharing that wearing a face covering is required. On campus, staff and students are required to wear face coverings indoors, with few exceptions. Off campus, we are reinforcing the importance of respecting guidance displayed by local businesses and generally wearing face coverings inside when social distancing may be difficult.
To help make this possible, and as easy for people as we can, we distributed a large number of reusable face coverings and thermometers at the start of term.
Our usual process and Covid-19 escalation and disciplinary framework will be followed if we receive complaints about student behaviour in local communities. Appropriate action will be taken depending on the incident and evidence provided in line with our University Disciplinary Regulations.
Test and Trace services
In partnership with Public Health Coventry & Warwickshire, we are running our own Covid-19 Test and Trace service for our students and staff, meaning we can act quickly and reduce transmission rates. Testing for our staff and students is at Warwick Medical School, which has already been assisting the local NHS.
We’re pleased to support the UK-wide drive to improve and enhance accessibility of Covid-19 testing by providing the location (University of Warwick Westwood campus) for one of the new test centres open to members of the public with symptoms.
A further public testing centre has opened at Court Street Car Park in South Leamington.
Helping students to self-isolate
We’ve put support in place to help our students self-isolate, for example an emergency laundry service and assistance with Click+Collect from Tesco in Cannon Park. For students living off campus, our guidance signposts them to useful resources and services.
Health and wellbeing
We have plans in place for managing potential outbreaks in our community, with a clear ladder of escalation and criteria for establishing if and when further restrictions may be needed.
As ever, the wellbeing of our students is at the forefront of our thinking and our Wellbeing Support Services for students are accessible online or in person (with safety measures in place).
Get in touch
We have a webform to report issues with student residents. You can access it here.
If you have any other questions, suggestions or concerns – or if you want to tell us about a student neighbour who has been especially thoughtful – please do let us know. You can email us on email@example.com or call us 024 7615 0708.
If you have thoughts on something we might have missed, or just general comments, we’d love to hear from you via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday 28 September 2020 – Sunday 4 October 2020
Monday 5 October 2020 – Saturday 12 December 2020
Monday 11 January 2021 – Saturday 20 March 2021
Monday 26 April 2021 – Saturday 3 July 2021