Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
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January 2021 Changes in covid -19 restrictions Teaching & Learning

*January 2021 Update*

We are now delivering Teaching and :Learning in accordance with Tier 4 (as articulated below) it is anticipated this will be reviewed nationally on Feb 22nd at the earliest.

Summary of key changes for delivery of teaching to UG and PGT students:
  • Y1 and Y2 will commence with virtual labs only which can be front-loaded during the first few weeks of term; we’ll know more about whether we can put real labs later in term when the current national lockdown situation is reviewed late in February. There are various contingency plans being developed for when and how catch-up labs might be possible later in the year.
  • Y3 students are not affected for the moment (apart from seminars moving online) as they have no lab work this term. We will make a decision about how to manage their term 3 labs when the situation is clearer later this term
  • Y4 MChem project students will not be able to do lab work for now, and staff will be asked (details being sent separately by Mark Barrow) to discuss with their project students possibilities for virtual work for the next few weeks. As with UG labs we may or may not be able to give Y4 students some lab access towards the end of term, depending on the national picture and government decisions after the first lockdown review.
  • PGT lab practicals will not take place this term but will be done as soon as possible after this term ends.

Preparing for any changes in Covid-19 restrictions: Chemistry teaching, learning and assessment

Recent SAGE and DfE Covid-19 guidance for HE institutions provides a framework for planning the safe delivery of education at Warwick. Through work coordinated by Education Executive’s Online Teaching workstream, culminating in the approval of Curriculum Change Logs, each academic department now has a plan in place for blended delivery through 2020/21. This sets out the default position should the operating context (social distancing, restrictions on movement, travel/quarantine requirements) remain broadly as they were in late September. However, the upwards trajectory of positive cases combined with the mass movement of university students across the UK is resulting in further outbreaks

To ensure that University planning aligns with that of public health officials, it is based it on four scenarios or ‘tiers’ published in the Government's guidance to universities on reopening campuses. Each tier incrementally reduces the volume of people travelling to and around our campus, and requires us to carefully plan a phased move to more online delivery of teaching, learning and assessment.

More information on the University's plan for escalation through the four tiers is available here

Decisions on moving between tiers will be confirmed at the University’s discretion by UEB (acting as Gold under the 'Major Incident Protocol' structure), or upon being asked to do so by Public Health England. The TLA element of the response will be overseen by the Education Executive and coordinated as part of a wider incident management response under the MIT.

Chemistry Plan for Escalation through the Tiers (in line with University expectations)

Chemistry's plan for escalation through the Tiers was approved by Executive Committee via Chairs action on the 8th October 2020. Details of how this maps to existing teaching provision are summarised below for staff awareness in advance of any escalation:


Tier 1

(default position)

Tier 2

(fallback position)

Tier 3

(stricter measures are needed)

Tier 4

(last resort)



Blended learning as agreed in Curriculum Change Log

UG first-year and PGT blended learning continues as agreed in Curriculum Change Log.


Teaching (for all years/levels) that relies on being delivered in our specialist facilities will continue for all years.


Year 1 and 2 teaching labs continue on campus (CH155, CH222)


Year 3 teaching labs (CH3F2 &CH3G0) continue on campus (April 2021 onwards)


Year 4 research projects (CH401) continue on campus in the research labs (MChem)


PGT labs continue on campus (CH915)


PGT research projects (CH936-CH946) continue on campus (after April 2021 and onwards)

All other classroom teaching for Y2, Y3 and Y4 UG students (tutorials, seminars, workshops) moves online.

*Student Admin Offices remain open as is


Reduced amount of practical teaching continues. Teaching (all years/levels) that relies on being delivered in our specialist facilities will continue. All other teaching moves online.


Year 1 and 2 teaching labs (CH155, CH222) continue on campus but planned F2F computational experiments move online (Y1 &2)


Year 3 teaching labs (CH3F2 &CH3G0) continue on campus (April 2021 onwards)


Year 4 research projects (CH401) continue on campus in the research labs (MChem)


PGT labs continue on campus (CH915)


PGT research projects (CH936-CH946) continue on campus (after April 2021 and onwards)


Remaining classroom-based teaching that was retained in Tier 2 for Y1 and PGT will now also move on-line. All classroom-based f2f teaching for all years (Year 1, 2, 3, 4 and PGT) will therefore be on-line.


*Student admin offices remain open - potential reduction of ‘core hours’ to support what is essential alongside lab teaching.


All teaching moves online. (All year 1, 2, 3, 4 and PGT classroom-based teaching moves online (if not already online)


Year 1 - 3 f2f labs suspended: – dry/remote labs continue online


PGT f2f labs suspended


Plan ‘boot camp' catch up for f2f labs later in the year potentially using vacation and/or term 3 timeslots. Consider alternative options if term 3 labs suspended


**Year 4 MChem projects move to data analysis and literature work along with any research that can be run remotely.


**PGT project move to data analysis and literature research (after April 2021 and onwards)


*Anticipate Student admin offices move online


*NB we have been advised that more information is to follow from University re ‘other/student support f2f services’ but our anticipated movement of student admin support through the tiers is in line with current University thinking.

** This decision (as instructed by Edn. exec re Mchem and PGT projects is being pursued to determine whether such projects can be classed as 'essential research'

This page will be updated with key action points should we receive any instruction to escalate to a different Tier

Please note the following key information with respect to communication with students if and when we are instructed to move to a different Tier:

Communication plan should we need to move to a different Tier.

Clear and simple instructions for our students during any change to teaching and learning are essential. Therefore, after the University has issued any global announcements, Russ (UG)/Nikola (PGT) will be communicating directly with our students to explain to each year group/programme of study what the change to a different Tier will mean for them. Please do not individually issue any communications to any students about any of these changes – should students contact you in advance of departmental communications please reassure and flag further information will be coming very soon.

Timetable updates when we move to a different Tier

Please also note that at the point at which we are asked to move to a different Tier, if face to face teaching sessions are moving online, the admin team will move timetabled events online in the slot and with the numbers allocated, to replicate exactly the current face to face timetable. The rapid time-frame for moving mode of delivery between Tiers will not allow for adjustments to the timetable and this has been determined to be the most effective way to ensure clarity for students and staff during a fast-paced transition. Keeping the timetable unchanged (just moving sessions on-line) will support the principle that this retains ‘smaller group opportunities for students to engage’ even if such engagement is now online.

There will then be a grace period, of at least 2 weeks after movement to a different Tier, after which a co-ordinated approach to re-timetabling (with appropriate approval) can determine whether any online sessions should be consolidated. Please do not make ad hoc requests prior to that to consolidate teaching sessions that are moving online.