The Government’s new National Restrictions, which are expected to come into effect from Thursday 5 November 2020, make it clear that schools, colleges and universities should remain open.
In the light of this Government guidance, The University of Manchester will continue to operate with the current mix of online and in-person teaching. Our current provision already means that in-person teaching is taking place only where it is essential and in line with the necessary health and safety precautions.
We will continue to liaise with Public Health England (PHE), but at present we anticipate this level of provision will continue until the Government’s review of the National Restrictions on 2 December.
New Government guidance to students states that: “If you live at university, you must not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time. You should only return home at the end of term for Christmas. We will publish further guidance on the end of term.”
To support our students, study spaces and the library will remain open. PC clusters will remain accessible primarily via remote log in only, unless needed for in person teaching. Indoor sports facilities will close from Thursday, with virtual class provision available where possible. Catering outlets will offer a take-away service only. Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery and Jodrell Bank Discover Centre will also close to the public during this time.
Students who are defined by the PHE as being extremely vulnerable should stay at home as much as possible during this period and discuss arrangements with their tutor, or academic advisor.
Living through COVID-19 is a challenge, and we have a range of services to support your well-being during this time. There are a variety of activities that you can continue to take part in safely across our wonderful city – have a look at some suggestions of 50 things to do. All of our students can access online mental health and wellbeing support 24/7 through Togetherall – an online community monitored by trained clinicians. In addition to this our own dedicated Counselling and Mental Health Service offers one-to-one appointments.
Notwithstanding these current circumstances, we are aware that you are also eager to understand our plans for delivery of teaching and learning in Semester 2. We will provide a further update on this as soon as we can.
We very much hope that the new national restrictions will reduce the rate of infection across the country and enable us to return to more normal activities, including more in-person teaching soon. Our staff and students continue to show great resilience and flexibility at this time. The role you are all playing in following the rules and guidance means we continue to keep our campus as safe as is possible.
Professor April McMahon