Virus

Updates and information for EEE students

Last updated: 7 January 2022


College policy and guidance:

Latest College COVID-19 guidance for students

In order to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) on College premises we have developed a College-wide Code of Conduct. The Code sets out the behaviours and policies that everyone needs to follow on all College premises.


Department Guidance

 

Spring term

In the process of organising the teaching for Spring term, the Department considered the current position of the College regarding the organisation of the teaching with respect to COVID-19 around the staff and students and the specific aspects of the EEE building regarding COVID-19 transmission prevention.

Having considered the effectiveness of the measures that we have put in place to ensure the safety of our students and staff as well as the value of in-person teaching, we are moving to a more in-person teaching for the Spring term, within certain constraints. Please note that your scheduled days in College are different to last term, so please check your timetable.

Safety

College’s Guidance and Updates on safety around COVID-19 can be found here. In summary, the college has made mandatory mask wearing on campus for both students and staff (unless the person is exempt) and requires from students and staff to take weekly PCR tests or twice-weekly LFD tests. It is important for all of us to observe the new mandate on mask wearing in order to maintain our increased in-person teaching and to stay safe.

For safety reasons, the College has decided to operate its facilities at reduced capacity to prevent the spread of COVID.

Lectures

We have moved most of our lectures/classes/labs to in-person teaching. Due to room capacity restrictions, we will still need to teach in a mixed-mode, but all our modules will have an in-person activity. Please note that during lecturing, lecturers can remove their masks provided that they are not in close proximity (less than 2m) to the students.

Lectures will also be be streamed and recorded, as we cannot accommodate all our students in the Department due to reduced room capacity.

Personal Tutorials

The same arrangements as in the Autumn term are in place.

Teaching organisation by year

1st Year
Due to the reduced room capacity, your cohort has been split into two groups (group A and group B). At any given time, only one of the two groups has scheduled activities in College, and the other group will be explicitly asked not to come to College. They will have remotely streamed lectures to follow and classes to attend during some of the times they are not in College.

2nd Year
Similarly to the first year, the second year has been split to two similar sized groups (EEE and EIE stream). At any given time, only one of the two groups has scheduled activities in College, and the other group will be explicitly asked not to come to College. They will have remotely streamed lectures to follow and classes to attend during some of the times they are not in College.

3rd Year, 4th Year, MSc Programmes
As many of the modules in these years have fewer students, the lectures/classes have been timetabled in a manner to increase in-person teaching within our space constraints.

Student communications archive

17 December - initial communication about Spring term

Following the College’s decision to reduce the proportion of on-campus teaching activities for the final week of this term, I am sure you are eager to hear more about our current plans for the spring term.

Our plan for your teaching

Our aim for the spring term, as it was throughout autumn term, is to maximise your on-campus experience. This means you should plan to be living in your term-time address and able to physically attend campus for the start of term.

Assessments scheduled for January will all be delivered as timed remote assessments. Timed remote assessment start times will conform to the UK’s time zone, meaning delayed starts will not be permitted. A decision on the delivery method for summer exams will be made soon.

Our exceptional circumstances policy will remain applicable on a case-by-case basis for those students who find it impossible to reach campus. In these circumstances you will be able to access learning material and support remotely. However, our programme cannot offer you a remote alternative that is equivalent to any on-campus activities which you might miss. Please be aware that depending on your circumstances, the department may not be able to accommodate delays in your return and may need to discuss other options with you.

We know that these plans will be welcomed by many students who enjoy on-campus activity. Some of you may also feel concerned, especially over the coming weeks as the Omicron variant spreads across the world.

Safety

College safety guidelines have been effective in preventing COVID-19 transmission in our teaching spaces over the past months, and we are aware of only very few possible cases connected to these settings. However, significant transmission in social settings is now considered an inevitability by experts at the College and elsewhere.

Please do take sensible precautions to limit the risk to yourself and others, while also remembering to enjoy your break and recharge. You can gain the best possible protection by getting vaccinated as soon as you are eligible, including a booster, if you have not done so already, alongside regularly testing as mandated by the College guidelines.

Testing kits will also continue to be provided by the College throughout the break, with lateral flow tests available in halls of residence that have a reception desk. Our PCR testing facilities will be available again from Tuesday 4 January 2022.

If you are in the UK and you have COVID-19 symptoms that are getting worse, the advice from the NHS is to read NHS 111 online and only call 111 if necessary. The NHS also offers a web page on symptom management at home.

What to expect in the coming weeks

The Government’s own safety guidelines will likely change at short notice several times over the Christmas and New Year period. Therefore, I ask you in advance to please remain patient with us as this fast-moving situation develops.

Unfortunately, the start of the spring term is when it is most likely that the current high rate of Omicron transmission will be evident in hospital admission rates. The College has always followed government guidance, and if we are mandated to increase our proportion of remote teaching, we will do so and we will communicate this to you as soon as possible.

Accommodation and support

If you live in a hall of residence, please be reassured that you will be able to apply for a credit for your accommodation fees should future Government restrictions prevent you from being able to return to your accommodation, in line with the College's Exceptional Circumstance Policy. Halls residents have recently received an email outlining the College’s recommendations for how they spend their winter break.

If you require additional support over the holiday period, please visit the Student Support Zone for access to a variety of resources and immediate help. As was the case last year, the College has created a package of support for those students seeking fun ideas for how to spend the Christmas period.

If you have any academic related queries, please contact the relevant staff or our Education Office, but please keep in mind that you may experience delays in our response due to the Christmas period.

These may be uncertain times, but as demonstrated throughout the autumn term, the College has a resilient and supportive community. Let’s all work together to return refreshed from our break and to protect and build upon all of the progress we have made.

We wish you a restful break.

Best wishes,

Christos Bouganis, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Pier Luigi Dragotti, Director of Postgraduate Studies

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9 December - arrangements for reminder of Autumn term

9 and 10 December 2021

Given the short notice and the time that we need to accommodate a shifting to remote learning, the expectation is from you to attend the activities as has been previously communicated. However, in case where a module leader moves an in-person activity (lecture/class/lab) to on-line, you will receive an email informing you about this with details on its arrangements.

13-17 December 2021

For the following week, all our teaching and assessment will be moved on-line. The module leaders will communicate to you further details.

Spring term

At this point we are still planning to return to in-person teaching at the start of next term on 10 January 2022.  More information will be provided nearer the time.