These past few months have seen a period of extraordinary change. In what we hope will be a once in a generation event, the Covid-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences for us all.
At Royal Holloway, we understand that you might have concerns as we welcome our new and returning students onto campus this autumn and we want to reassure you that the health, safety and well-being of our students, staff and community is a priority.
Adapting our courses
In response to the on-going impact of the pandemic, we have adapted our courses for 2020/21 to combine face-to-face and online teaching and learning support. This blended approach builds in flexibility to both accommodate social distancing and ensure that if further restrictions or lockdowns are imposed, students won’t have interrupted study. In addition to a September 2020 start, for some of our courses we are also offering a January 2021 start. You can read more about our flexible learning approach here.
In line with social distancing guidance, students who will be living in our halls of residence will be arriving in allocated time slots over an extended period starting from Saturday, 12 September, with induction activities beginning week commencing 21 September 2020. Students living in halls of residence will be grouped into households and they will be expected to maintain social distancing with people they don’t live with. The same will be expected of students living in shared private housing. For students arriving from countries where the UK government requires a period of self-isolation, and who are staying in our halls of residence, self-isolation accommodation will be provided.
Over the summer, we have worked hard to seek to create a Covid-19 secure campus that reflects government guidelines. Extra hygiene measures have been put in place across our campus, including hand sanitiser stations at high-traffic locations, and everyone is encouraged to wash their hands regularly. Additional cleaning has been introduced with cleaning schedules posted in teaching spaces, and wipes and gloves will also be provided. Everyone on campus will be strongly encouraged to wear face coverings when they feel it is appropriate to do so.
To facilitate social distancing in the classroom and around the university, we have reduced the capacity of teaching and learning spaces. Room layouts have been adjusted to reflect requirements and the number of staff working on campus will be reduced. Signage has been installed to help people navigate the campus safely and to remind people about the importance of hygiene and social distancing.
Additional car parking and bicycle racks will be provided on site for students and staff who would prefer to avoid public transport if they can.
Royal Holloway offers students a campus experience and we want to continue to ensure that we offer a positive, supportive and vibrant environment which respects the current context.
Whilst social spaces will have reduced capacity, we are working hard to make sure more spaces are available so that our students can still meet up, face-to-face, with friends. This year, many social activities that would normally be face-to-face to help new students make friends will now happen online, and on-campus events will be designed according to social distancing requirements. Students will also be able to take part in activities such as Hall Life events, volunteering, faith and departmental groups.
Playing your part
Along with the Covid-secure measures we are putting in place across the university, we are taking a number of steps to communicate to our students the importance of being a considerate neighbour, and our expectations of them both on and off campus.
We will be launching a campaign called Playing your part to communicate to everyone the important role we each play in protecting ourselves, others and the whole community. This campaign aligns with the public health campaign being delivered by Surrey County Council in order that the messages of the campaign are reinforced both on and off campus.
The university is encouraging all students living in the local community to follow its ‘Be a Good Neighbour’ guidelines. This booklet is delivered to each household during September and this year, in an accompanying digital communication, the university will be reminding students of their responsibility to follow the government’s guidelines on Covid-19.
We would like to thank the local community for their continued support of the university, especially during such a period of uncertainty for everyone.
For updates on Royal Holloway’s news of relevance to the local community, please sign up to our termly newsletter for local residents called Community Matters. Please also visit our coronavirus updates page here.