We are looking forward to welcoming you back to College, and understand that you will be keen to know what to expect from the academic year ahead. 

Whilst we wrote to you recently to establish any additional requirements for students who are vulnerable or shielding, in this letter we will set out our intended arrangements for the delivery of your programme for the academic year 2020-21. 

We intend for your academic year to begin on Monday 14 September as planned. Your two introduction weeks will be divided: your first week will be delivered remotely, and your second will be placement-based with attendance in person required. 

All required teaching materials will be made available to you via our virtual learning environment. Information about and links to these resources will be circulated to you nearer to the beginning of term as normal. 

The decision to restart placements as planned will be informed, as it has been for Years 5 and 6 already, by the current national guidelines and with the support of the Medical Schools Council. This will be reviewed should there be a change to national public health guidance. 
Please note that you must adhere to any travellers quarantine guidance in place at the time, as set by the UK government, and that it has been confirmed that medical students are not exempt from this guidance. 

You should still attend your hospital/GP placement site in person, even if the clinic you are attending is virtual. There may be occasions where you may be able to access some clinics  and meetings remotely, but this will require the agreement of your firm lead. All students  will be required to complete the eLfH module on Data Protection (details will be posted on Blackboard). 

In addition to the teaching based in clinical settings (wards/clinics/GP practices, etc.), many lectures and tutorials will be delivered online, usually via Microsoft Teams or Zoom.  In due course the Year 3 Blackboard page will have details of all the learning resources in addition to important information about your rotations. There is also a Digital Learning Package that has been created for Year 3, which consists of CAPSULE, Speaking Clinically and SCRIPT, in addition to a library of recorded lectures. More information will be available shortly on the Year 3 Blackboard Digital Learning Resources page. 

You should keep up to date with all in-course assessments (e.g. DOPS and placement assessment forms) and all mandatory submissions count towards your eligibility to sit end-of-year examinations. 
Year 3 summative exams are due to be held in May 2021 and consist of a written paper and an OSCE. More information will be posted on Blackboard in due course. 

No changes to the module learning outcomes have been made as a consequence of moving to the multi-mode delivery format. If the College is not able to deliver any modules in order to meet the programme learning outcomes due to the impact of public health guidance in place at the time, the length of the programme may be extended.  If your registration with the College needs to be extended, the College will not charge any additional tuition fee in respect of completion at a later date, but you will be responsible for your own living costs, and the College is unable to guarantee providing you with accommodation beyond your original completion date (if you are living in College provided accommodation). 

The College does not intend to change the advertised tuition fees for 2020/2021. 

Spring and summer terms 2020-21 

We plan to continue offering your programme in-person during the Spring and Summer Terms in 2021, and this means that your attendance will be required. We have contingency plans in place in case of further disruption as a result of COVID19 and associated restrictions. Some content will continue to be delivered remotely. 

Your health and safety 

Your health and safety are of paramount importance, and we continue to work with our partner hospitals and GP practices to ensure you are made as safe as possible whilst on placement, including ensuring the requisite personal protective equipment is available to you at all times. A reminder that you will not be expected to remain on any placement where this cannot be provided. 

A new DOPS has been created to ensure that all students are competent in the donning/doffing of PPE – this must be completed within the first week of your first rotation. Please see the dedicated page on Blackboard to watch the training video and for further information. 

All on-campus teaching will be subject to public health guidance, College guidelines on social distancing, and any additional health and safety measures. All placement teaching will adhere to NHS policies and guidelines. We are conducting a full risk assessment on our teaching areas and planned activities to ensure that any measures required to meet this guidance are in place for the start of teaching.   

The College is implementing enhanced infection control procedures, for example, by frequently cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are touched regularly including door handles, light switches, furniture, handrails, IT equipment, desks, phones, flush plates, taps and dispensers. Perspex screens will also be used across the College in reception and service areas. Around the College, in teaching spaces and in our halls of residence there will be hand sanitisers and multi-surface cleaning wipes for you to use, as well as plenty of hand-washing facilities. 

Whilst on campus, you should follow the UK Government’s official guidance and College policies. These currently do not mandate the wearing of face coverings, however, in multi-occupancy locations such as laboratories, teaching and communal spaces, wearing a face covering shows our consideration for the safety of those around us. Face coverings should cover both your mouth and nose. Please note that in line with current Government rules, face coverings must be worn for the full duration of journeys on the public transport network across London and the UK if you are required to come onto campus. We expect our students to adhere to UK (national and local) travel advice.  

If there is a further outbreak of COVID-19 during your programme, in line with Public Health Advice from the UK Government, we may be forced to suspend on-campus or clinical site activity. This may be in connection with either national or local requirements, or in accordance with guidance in place at the sites of our partner NHS Trusts or primary care practices. Since we will already be delivering aspects of your programme remotely to some students, we will continue to be able to deliver most of your programme remotely, and you will be able to meet the learning objectives of your programme. Some learning and assessment activities will be very difficult to replace with a remote equivalent. In these cases, they will be moved with minimal disruption to a later date in your programme. 

Your finances 

As you will know, on-site teaching will primarily be delivered at the South Kensington and Charing Cross campuses as well as our partner Trust/Primary Care locations, assuming national guidance at the time does not prevent this.  

Students are expected to fund their travel to placement sites, as you are aware. Should changes to your accommodation or to the location of teaching to a campus or placement site not listed here occur as a result of future changes to local or national guidance, this may impact on travel costs. If changes to campus or placement site are necessary, we will advise you in advance. 

For clarity, our partner Trusts are listed below, and you may be sent to one or more of these locations: 

  • Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (including Charing Cross, Hammersmith and St Mary's Hospitals) 
  • Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (including Chelsea and Westminster and West Middlesex Hospitals) 
  • London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust (including Northwick Park, Central Middlesex and Ealing Hospitals) 
  • The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (including Hillingdon and Mount Vernon Hospitals) 
  • Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (St. Peter’s Hospital) 

Your GP practices will represent a diverse range of populations in and around London. You may be rotated through other partner NHS locations through later phases on the course. 

If national or local guidance leads to a change of placement site to one not listed above, or necessitates a change in campus, we will let you know in advance.   

Students in receipt of an NHS Bursary (except for Fees Only bursary students) are eligible to claim for travel and accommodation costs incurred whilst on clinical placements, as long as they are made in accordance with the NHS Bursary guidelines for practice placement expenses claims. Claims must be submitted within nine months of the last date of the placement being claimed for. 

NHS Bursary Practice Placement Expenses provide reimbursement towards the cost of: 

  • Travel to and from the student’s placement site (if this is in excess of normal travel costs to university) 

  • Temporary accommodation if the student has to stay away from their normal term-time accommodation whilst attending a placement (e.g. during GPSA or Elective placement) 

The School of Medicine Hardship Fund is available to any students struggling with finances, and all students are welcome to apply multiple times as circumstances require. All the information on this is in the Your Finances section on MedLearn. 

Academic and welfare support 

The support provision for all students for the year ahead remains unchanged. Your teaching staff, Tutors, Senior Tutors and the FEO Welfare team continue to be available should you have questions, concerns or find you need extra support at any time.   

Your community 

Whilst the Student Union activities may not be quite the same as normal, ICSMSU and ICU are still active and we are working closely with them to develop as many opportunities for community building and social activities as possible, mindful of any government guidance that may be in place at the time. 

Your School of Medicine  

Our world-leading educators and researchers will be available to teach and support you both remotely and on-campus, where applicable and where guidelines and circumstances allow. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is possible that some staff within the Faculty of Medicine may be temporarily unavailable due to their professional or clinical responsibilities. This will not directly affect your teaching.  

We know that the year ahead is going to present you with more new situations than any of us could have predicted. We know that this may seem daunting, and we wish to reassure you that your student experience is hugely important to us. We have expanded our ability to manage remote learning and assessment, as well as academic and welfare support, to ensure that your educational experience at Imperial is of exceptional quality, especially during these unprecedented times, but also in the years ahead. 

Stay safe and well, 

Dr Amir Sam, Head of Imperial College School of Medicine 

Dr Omid Halse, Head of MBBS Year 3