Campuses remain open
With new nationwide lockdown restrictions coming into force yesterday (5 November 2020) to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has issued new advice and guidance for higher education settings that will apply for the next four weeks (expected to end on 2 December 2020).
While there are some changes we need to make in response to the Government advice, (outlined below) our campuses will be remaining open and we will be continuing with the existing blended learning delivery of your courses. As such UCEN Manchester students should continue to follow their existing timetables and attend sessions, both on campus and online, as scheduled. We remain committed to providing you with a high quality learning experience throughout this challenging time and believe that blended learning, delivered in Covid-secure face-to-face sessions or remotely, remains the best way to do this.
Throughout the lockdown period of national restrictions we will be following government advice which requires us to make the following changes to our provision:
The new guidance also states that, where the wearing of face coverings adversely impacts the learning experience exemptions can be applied. We are currently reviewing our curriculum with course tutors and where the criteria is met, this exemption will be granted accordingly for specific tasks. You will be informed of any sessions or modules or activities where face coverings do not need to be worn but otherwise please wear your face covering at all times until you are told to remove it for an activity.
In addition to these changes, the government has advised us that we should review if a greater number of lessons can be delivered virtually and online providing it is not detrimental to the learning experience. We will be continuously reviewing this situation and where any changes are made these will be communicated to students on a course by course basis.
Unlike some institutions, we have been able to maintain a level of on campus face to face delivery due to the Covid-19 safety measures we have put in place, including 2 metre social distancing, wearing face coverings and one way systems, as well as conducting some of the less practical elements of teaching online.
As a result of students’ high compliance with these measures on campus, the number of positive cases in UCEN Manchester remains manageable at this point. We have been able to quickly isolate individuals and minimise the number of people that are required to self-isolate. As such we are confident that these measures remain effective at preventing the spread of the virus on campus and the evidence we have gathered suggests that positive cases in UCEN Manchester have largely been passed in settings in the community/home.
Currently we are planning to continue with our blended delivery model as thus far the measures we have introduced to reduce the risk of transmission on campus have proven effective. However, in the following scenarios it may be necessary (taking advice from Public Health England) to amend our delivery model and increase the amount of online and virtual delivery:
In addition, on a course by course basis, in the event of tighter restrictions we would restructure the course schedule to prioritise theory based work during a closure and reschedule practical sessions for later in the course.
We will continue to keep any changes under constant review to ensure that the impact to learning is kept to a minimum while making sure that the health, safety and wellbeing of our students and tutors remain our number one priority.
We fully appreciate that many of you may be finding things difficult in the current circumstances. As such I wanted to remind you of the support that is available to you.
Should you have any concerns, challenges, or even suggestions on how we can improve our offer and delivery please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Future U team or your course tutor and we will endeavor to take every possible step to help.
We understand that these changes have been introduced at very short notice and apologise for any inconvenience. However, we have to adopt government guidance as and when it is issued to us. We will communicate any changes to you as quickly as possible but please remain patient as we deal with a rapidly evolving situation.
We fully appreciate that these are challenging and worrying times but please rest assured that we are taking every step possible to maintain a welcoming and safe learning environment while keeping the health, safety and wellbeing of our students and our staff, our number one priority.
Please note that all of our existing Covid-19 prevention measures, including 2 metre social distancing, one way systems and hand sanitizing facilities will be remaining in place. We ask that you continue to follow these control measures to ensure that we can keep us all safe and can remain open for face-to-face activity.