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WMS Coronavirus Update for Education and Teaching


We are providing this information as part of WMS’s strategy to respond in a calm and considered way to the anticipated exceptional and difficult circumstances arising from the Covid-19 outbreak and its impact on our educational delivery. This page acts as a single source of most up-to-date information for our students, staff and the wider community.

As many of our students are either NHS workers or are undertaking their programme of study in an NHS environment, we recognise that there will be significant impacts to learning. In addition, our teaching colleagues are increasingly being required to prioritise their NHS-facing duties (or other responsibilities in PHE etc), which is quite understandable at this time of great national difficulty.

Current position for our MBChB students:

Full up to date information for students is posted on the relevant Moodle pages. This is a summary for the whole school and is correct as of 1 April 2020. 

  • Phase I students completed Term 2 on a virtual/distance learning basis. Term 3 is going to be delivered via distance learning with both time flexible resources and some live group sessions. End of year summative assessments will not be delivered before the autumn term. Along with Phase II and Phase III (year 3) students, they will shortly have the opportunity to volunteer for paid work in support of the regional NHS.
  • Phase II students were withdrawn from placements on Tuesday 17 March. They are now starting their Student Selected Component (SSC2) work early in an adapted form to allow completion at home or similar. We will be setting a re-start date for clinical placements as soon as the situation for the regional NHS is stable enough to allow strategic planning with our partners. These placements will run later, likely into December, with exams pushed back to late in 2020.
  • Phase III, year 3 students were withdrawn from clinical placements shortly before the end of rotation 2 (SCP2). They are continuing with academic days virtually but will not be able to resume clinical placements for some time. The senior leadership team hopes to have mapped out the various return options over the next week or so, noting that planning is dependent on stability in the regional NHS.
  • Phase III, year 4 students were mostly unable to undertake planned electives. Those who have passed finals are now able to volunteer to work in the regional NHS. This allows for concurrent completion of the assistantship. Alternative arrangements are being developed for those not able to undertake a work placement. A small number are currently finishing finals exams. It is also notable that these students will be graduating and entering the NHS at a unique time and we are working hard to ensure this is as well supported a transition as is possible.

We note the overall exemplary commitment and professionalism of students and staff in keeping the MBChB in as robust a state as it is and also note the additional support we are getting from the wider school. This is critical as not only does the NHS need high quality staff now (current and new entrants) but it is also critical that we ensure those due to graduate next year and the year after are also able to enter the workforce on time, competent, confident and hopefully happy and well supported.

PGT and CPD – part time students

We recognise that many part-time students will be required to prioritise clinical work and will not be in a position to attend teaching either in person or to access online teaching, and where they have recently attended a taught module, they may well not be in a position to meet forthcoming assessment deadlines. We wish to give our students, as well as the NHS and its patients, every support and have accordingly resolved that:

  • All upcoming modules and programmes will be paused with immediate effect until further notice;
  • All deadlines for submission of assignments, portfolios and projects relating to completed modules will be suspended with immediate effect until further notice;
  • Cancellation fees relating to upcoming modules will not be required with immediate effect until further notice;
  • In cases where the module cohort includes students who do not have NHS-facing roles, we will work to make these available for on-line delivery as soon as possible;
  • In cases where the cohort is made up exclusively of NHS-facing students, we will not make an on-line variant available at this time but will reschedule for a later date;
  • Where work has been submitted for marking, while we will try to observe normal turnaround times, there may be discrete instances where markers may need to extend turnaround deadlines; these will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

PGT – full time students

  • These cohorts are made up of students who do not have NHS-facing roles, so we are working to make their modules available for on-line delivery as soon as possible;
  • We are making alternative arrangements for assessment to enable students to continue to progress with their courses of study in a timely way.
  • Where work has been submitted for marking, while we will try to observe normal turnaround times, there may be discrete instances where markers may need to extend turnaround deadlines because of their own clinical duty requirements; these will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

For PGR students

  • Those part-time research students who themselves have NHS or other work roles which will require additional time due to the current situation are advised to contact Sean Barrett in the Research Degrees Office who will be able to support and organise extensions on an individual basis. Where student research is impacted in other ways – for example because research relies on NHS or community involvement we will again seek to support students with necessary extensions to periods of study.

Finally, we recognise that this is clearly a challenging time for us all, academically, personally, health wise, socially etc. Please be reassured that our focus is on everyone's wellbeing and that we will be putting together robust plans to ensure that our educational activity continues - but that there are currently clear and real queries that we are unable to answer at the present time due to the rapid evolution of the situation. We will be updating individuals, this page and our specific course and module plans as quickly and as often as necessary in the coming days and weeks.

For information about the university's response, please visit: