New and current students: arrangements from September 2020

Studying at university may be a little different this year, but we'll do everything we can to give you the best experience possible. You'll notice some adaptations to campuses and classrooms, but our tutors and student services are still here to support you.

As the health and wellbeing of our students and staff is our absolute priority, we wanted to outline just some of the measures we've introduced on campus. We'll continually review the situation as restrictions ease or change.

Change to COVID-19 alert level for Essex

From 00.01 on Saturday 17 October, Essex moved from the medium (lowest tier) of the Government's three-tier COVID-19 alert system to high (middle tier). This introduced some new restrictions across the county, including in Chelmsford.

Most of the restrictions relate to social activities, and more detail is given below. Education is classed as an essential service so teaching, learning and student support operations on campus are not affected.

We would like to reassure you that cases of COVID-19 in the ARU community currently remain low.

Student on a university campus - second student in background

Advice for students in high alert areas

The high alert level, which came into effect in Essex from 00.01 on Saturday 17 October 2020, introduced some new restrictions.

Most of these restrictions are related to social activities. Teaching, learning and student support operations on campus are not affected.

If you currently live in Essex

  • You can continue to travel to and from university as required, if you usually commute to ARU.
  • You can continue to attend face-to-face teaching.
  • You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them. This includes private homes, University halls of residence flats, and any other indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants
  • You must not move between your permanent home and term-time address during term time – subject to limited exemptions set out in law.

This guidance applies to all students who currently live in Essex, including those in term-time student accommodation. You'll find full details at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-level-high.

If you live outside of Essex

  • You can continue to travel to and from university.
  • You can continue to attend face-to-face teaching.
  • You must not meet people you do not live with in their home inside the area, unless they’re in your household, childcare or support bubble.
  • You must not host people you do not live with in your home, if they live in the affected area, unless they’re in your childcare or support bubble.
  • You must not meet people you do not live with in student halls, whether inside or outside of the area, unless they’re in your childcare or support bubble.

If you move to another area

If you move out of a high alert area, you can continue to travel to and from university, and attend face-to-face teaching.

However, you must not host people you do not live with in your home or student halls if they live in a high alert area. The exception is people in your household, support bubble or childcare bubble.

Creating a COVID-19 secure environment

We've worked hard to create Covid-secure campuses and manage the risk of coronavirus transmission.

In Chelmsford, we will make necessary changes to our arrangements and guidance to reflect the new restrictions detailed above.

Currently we have introduced the following measure on all campuses:

  • introduced one-way systems in campus buildings wherever possible
  • increased cleaning regimes
  • provided hand sanitiser stations around campus for your use
  • restructured the teaching timetable to stagger break times, and prevent crowds from forming outside teaching spaces
  • changed the layout of classrooms and other specialist learning spaces, such as workshops and science labs, to comply with social distancing requirements
  • switched to offering grab-and-go options at our catering outlets, and using cashless payment.

Over the summer, we also made changes to the details we all use to access systems at ARU, so you can use the most up-to-date technology. These changes apply to all students, including postgraduate researchers, and will allow you to collaborate more easily with staff and other students. Stay up to date with these changes on our Student News blog.

Supporting you academically

We're committed to providing a supportive and inclusive environment for you to study in. You'll be able to access campus as required and you’ll be taught in smaller groups, ensuring excellent support.

We understand that everyone’s circumstances are different due to the pandemic. And so you can choose how you prefer to study for Trimesters 1 and 2 (September-December 2020; January-April 2021). There's a choice of online only, or campus teaching supported by online technologies.

You'll have the chance to change your preference at set times in the year.  

You'll notice a few changes from September 2020 so we can be sure we're following social distancing guidelines:

  • teaching blocks of four hours, on campus one day a week (for example 8am–12, 12–4pm or 4–8pm). You won't have to attend more than one teaching block on that day but you will be able to access other facilities outside your teaching block
  • campus teaching may include seminars, workshops, practicals and labs (where relevant)
  • campus teaching will be supplemented by a rich range of online group teaching and learning activities delivered through Microsoft Teams, such as virtual practicals, online assessments, discussion boards and group work exercises
  • courses that use specialist learning spaces, such as skill labs, will have additional time allocated in those spaces
  • we've installed some of the specialist applications software that is normally only available in our IT teaching labs on computers in the Open Access areas to increase availability outside teaching hours
  • we're also arranging for specialist facilities to be available for booking for self-directed learning, when they're not in use for timetabled teaching
  • we've published guidelines on technical requirements for online learning.

If there is a local or national lockdown we will continue to support students and, unless told otherwise by public health officials, will continue to follow the National Institute for Health Protection guidance and ask all students to remain in their current accommodation. We will also move to online teaching, learning and assessment, and support.

Supporting your studies

We know how important it is that you receive excellent study support. You'll be able to access:

  • library resources and digital support online
  • campus libraries (with reduced opening hours and seating to allow for social distancing)
  • all student services, including counselling and wellbeing, disability and dyslexia support, employability and placement services, and Study Skills both face-to-face (by appointment) and online
  • the iCentre and ARU Temps recruitment agency without appointments
  • open access PC areas, with some computers available on a drop-in basis, and some bookable in advance.

Offering a wider student experience

It's never been more important to have some fun, relax and enjoy a bit of 'normality' in our lives. And so:

  • your Students’ Union will be putting on activities to help you have some fun and relax
  • student-run societies will continue to have fantastic events and activities
  • your confidential advice service will be open, by appointment, to provide support and guidance
  • campus gyms will be open, and Team ARU encourages you to get involved and enjoy social and competitive sports in a safe and socially distanced way
  • we’ll also be providing space on campus for socially distanced social activities, group and personal study, and relaxation.

Accommodation

For new students and others living in University accommodation, our accommodation team has put a number of social distancing measures in place.

If there is a local or national lockdown we will continue to follow the National Institute for Health Protection guidance and ask all students to remain in their current accommodation. We will also move to online teaching, learning and assessment, and support.




Visit Student News for full details of all these changes.