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How are the UK’s top 10 Universities preparing to let students back?

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As University terms start over the next couple of weeks across the country, Label investigates the different measures each top-10 institution is taking to keep students safe.

1 – University of Cambridge

  • Weekly testing of all undergraduate and postgraduate students living in University Accommodation, even if they show no symptoms.
  • Blend of online and in-person teaching, with teaching by seminars, practicals, and supervisions delivered in person.
  • ‘Households’ in university accommodation to be kept small, limited to those sharing a kitchen or bathroom.
  • Students can only host activities and socials if they include fewer than six people.

2 – University of Oxford

  • In-house testing service for all students, so all academic and non-academic staff and students of the University can have easy access to a COVID-19 test if they think they have symptoms, and an early alert system will notify students if they, or those they have come in contact with, have tested positive.
  • University open with as full a student cohort as possible on site; with teaching and assessment taking place with a combination of face-to-face teaching and online learning.
  • Social distancing measures in university buildings, including a ‘seat-finder’ app for the Library.

3 – University of St Andrews

  • Implemented a voluntary lockdown over the first weekend of term, with students told to remain in their rooms, not to party, not to go to bars or restaurants, and to avoid mixing with any groups outside their households.
  • Dual delivery of all teaching, both online and in person, with all staff and students required to tap their ID card at the entrance to any University building they enter to track their location.
  • Students Union has imposed a total ban on in-person events, with all freshers delivered virtually.

4 – London School of Economics

  • Implemented ‘LSE Trace’, with all students and staff required to complete a check-in once a week to let LSE know how they are and if you or anyone in their household has developed coronavirus symptoms or had a positive test, alongside a dedicated contact tracing team.
  • All lectures online, but in-person seminars to go ahead, with all students logging their seat numbers in lecture theatres and teaching rooms to determine ‘close contacts’. LSE Students’ Union to continue to run student activities both in-person and online.
  • Running it’s own on-campus testing centre, with all students required to get tested when they arrive, whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or not.

5 – Imperial College London

  • ‘Multi-mode’ delivery of campus teaching and research, with in-person and online learning.
  • Imperial’s ‘Welcome Season’ will feature some in-person activities alongside a range of online events. Volunteering and academic representation will take place solely online. Student groups can still organise some in-person events.
  • University at the forefront of a vaccine trial and COVID-19 research.

6 – Loughborough University

  • Teaching to take place ‘significantly’ in-person, fused alongside online delivery, with students required to apply to study remotely online.
  • University to implement its own ‘Connect and Protect’ system to work with local public health to trace and contact any individuals who may have come into contact with any Covid-19 cases. Students to log attendance at all lectures through the MyLboro app.
  • All Union and University events to be run in line with government guidance, with students breaking the law banned from campus for 14 days.

7 – Durham University (Local Lockdown)

  • Face-to-face teaching and student services such as support and wellbeing to be combined with online delivery. Students encouraged to undergo temperature tests before entering university buildings.
  • Free flu vaccination for all students and staff this winter, with face masks and social distancing mandatory inside all university buildings.
  • A COVID-19 mobile testing unit has been placed on campus for the first three weeks of term.

8 – Lancaster University (Local Lockdown)

  • New ‘flexible’ approach to teaching, with a blend of online tuition and small group/lab teaching.
  • Free self-isolation accommodation provided to all students who are required to isolate on arrival into the country, with household bubbles implemented for all other students on arrival.
  • All non-essential activity for student groups have been cancelled, including fixtures, socials, events, meetings, forums for student groups, societies, sports teams, college teams, student media and volunteering.

9 – University of Bath

  • All students to receive typically receive 4 hours a week of in-person learning, with Microsoft Teams and other online platforms as well as independent study replacing other in-person lectures.
  • University inductions to be online, with students in household bubbles.
  • Students Union to host events both in-person and online, with comedy nights, quizzes, live music and more. The SU Bar has been expanded to host more students, and societies and student groups can continue to host in-person activities after completing health and safety training.

10 – University College London

  • Implementation of a ‘Connect to Protect’ tool, tracking all those who have coronavirus symptoms across campus.
  • Both new and returning students have the option of studying on campus or anywhere around the world.
  • UCL SU to run a range of online events, with only ‘core’ activity, that considered educational, able to take place on campus and in person. No face to face events will be taking place in halls due to social distancing measures, and guests will be banned from halls.

Rankings from the 2020 Complete University Guide national league tables.

Information accurate as of Sunday 20th September. Information intended as a summary of precautions being taken by Universities, and should not be interpreted as full plans. For more information on each university, readers should visit their websites.

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