As the new term approaches, at De Montfort University and the University of Leicester, we are preparing to welcome thousands of students to our city to study and live.
These students come from across the world and have a deep and positive impact on Leicester, its economy and vibrancy. During local lockdown, our students played an important part in volunteering as part of the testing drive during local lockdown. In addition, they have helped serve the homeless and supported with food distribution throughout the pandemic.
But we know that there is a degree of understandable anxiety about how their arrival is managed to best promote COVID-19 security.
So, we want to share our plans with our Leicester community to provide some reassurance.
During the summer, our campuses have been assessed for social distancing and our buildings and grounds equipped accordingly; new layouts, one-way systems, hand sanitiser dispensers in all locations, and complete signage reminding our staff and students about observing all safety requirements. This includes our accommodation, working closely with our accommodation partners, to limit the spread of infection.
We have evaluated all our teaching provision and will be offering blended learning. This will substantially decrease the numbers of students present on campus at any one time, and hence limit the amount of traffic (both foot and vehicle) within the city. We are requiring our students to wear face coverings in our indoor spaces and are supplying all students with two reusable masks, to limit the amount of litter created by the discarding of disposable face coverings.
We have developed what De Montfort University calls its Shared Commitment and the University of Leicester its Safe Citizen Promise, which set out simple and key ways students can adhere to common community values, protecting themselves and others, and observe both shared and personal responsibility.
We are co-ordinating security responses between our universities, ensuring that our students understand their place in the city of Leicester, and that they have a vital part to play in preventing the transmission of COVID-19.
For this reason, our Freshers’ activities will be virtual this year, and both universities are working with their respective students’ unions to ensure our students enjoy the excitement and fun of their first weeks at university without creating the risk posed by large social gatherings.
We are also working so that our students understand the limitations that Leicester has been placed under in terms of social gatherings, so that we all may be in each other’s company safely.
This includes supporting city efforts to encourage its residents to celebrate safely and to practice safe and responsible behaviour when enjoying the city’s night-time economy, in which we all share a common interest. Any concerns or questions can be emailed to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
As Vice-Chancellors, we feel a great sense of pride in our city, and we are proud of our students who have, during the last six months, worked in productive ways with city businesses to support them in lockdown and to prepare for its easing; and supported the NHS in its tireless work against COVID-19.
We have high expectations of all our students and we are glad to be able to say that our student community lives up to them. Our priority is the health and safety of us all and we will continue to work together in this common cause.
Posted on Tuesday 22nd September 2020