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Statement from the President and Vice-Chancellor: Important update on Coronavirus

I know that you are all concerned about the current coronavirus outbreak. I share your concerns. The safety and health of our staff, students and visitors are our paramount concerns.

We have been adhering closely to advice from Public Health England, but are now making some further changes to our current teaching practices. You will all be aware that, while some aspects of government advice around Covid-19 changed yesterday, we remain open for business. However, we need to anticipate rapid changes still to come, and to change some of our current ways of working to operate within these unprecedented times.

Accordingly, we will be transferring our teaching activities to online provision as far as possible, beginning from Monday 16 March 2020, Week 8 in our teaching semester. We will use Week 8 as a transition week to prepare more fully for virtual education. The campus remains open, including the library, our halls of residence and other services. 

From Monday March 16th, and responding to staff and student concerns about teaching events involving larger groups in particular:

  • All lectures with a registered cohort of 100 or more will be delivered using on-line content. These will be recorded and pod-casted but not live streamed. All recorded teaching from Monday 16 March will be released.
  • During Weeks 8 and 9 lectures with a registered cohort of fewer than 100, small group teaching sessions, undergraduate laboratory and practical classes, and project activity will continue on a face to face basis. However, by Friday 27 March (end of week 9), these will mainly cease, and will move online wherever possible.

We are working across the University on guidance and support so online teaching can be delivered either on or off campus after Easter, depending on the context at that time. More information will follow about summer and resit examinations.

In addition to these changes, all international field courses and most UK field courses will be cancelled or postponed. Your School will contact you directly to confirm.

If you choose to return home rather than engage online whilst remaining at the University, you should:

  • contact your Programme Office to advise them of the reason for your departure; if you are an inbound Study Abroad, Exchange or Erasmus student you should contact either the International Programmes Office or the relevant administrator in your School;
  • ensure that you are able to maintain full engagement with your studies. This will require access to a computer and reliable internet which allows access to Blackboard. If you have remaining face to face compulsory classes during weeks 8 and 9 you are advised to remain in Manchester until these are complete.

International students on a Tier 4 visa should also contact the Student Immigration Team to complete a change of circumstance/interruption form in order that their sponsorship record is kept up to date; this is to ensure that there are no issues from a visa perspective. We have discussed these changes with UKVI and agreed that attendance monitoring for Tier 4 purposes will take in a wider range of engagement points, including online. Ultimately it is your decision to return home, but our advice is to remain in the UK and engage with your studies online at this current time.

Separate guidance will be issued shortly for students overseas on international placements.

A further message will follow shortly from Dr Simon Merrywest, Director for the Student Experience concerning Covid-19 reporting absence requirements.

Nancy Rothwell

President and Vice-Chancellor

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