Posted Thursday 2 April 2020
The health, wellbeing and safety of all our students and staff remains our top priority as the United Kingdom continues to deal with the ongoing public health implications of the coronavirus pandemic. We have put a number of precautions in place to minimise the risk of infection across our university community, acting in line with the latest advice from the government to help slow the spread of the virus.
Following the introduction of further government restrictions and, as a result of developments at a national level, we have closed all buildings used for teaching, learning and administration across our campuses. The only exception to this is our halls of residence, which remain open for those student residents still in Kingston. The More Energy gym at our Penrhyn Road campus is also closed.
We are asking all our students and staff, except those providing essential services, to observe the government's instructions and avoid travelling to campus.
We will continue to closely monitor developments and take necessary action in line with the latest government advice, along with guidance from Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England.
The University's silver command team continues to coordinate our response. It is putting policies and procedures in place to maintain as effective an experience as possible for our current students, prospective students and staff in these unprecedented times.
Cancellation of face-to-face teaching
The University has stopped all face-to-face teaching. This means students are not required to attend lectures, tutorials or other workshop and laboratory sessions on campus. Wherever possible we will deliver teaching and revision materials online. We are also putting other adjustments in place to support our students, who will be kept updated by their course leaders or heads of department.
Assessment and exams
We have changed arrangements for examinations scheduled during the spring. All exams that had been due to take place on campus will be cancelled and replaced with alternative forms of online assessment. We are aiming to ensure our students are able to progress and graduate at the appropriate time.
Exact arrangements will vary by programme and level. Course and module leaders will be in touch with our students to inform them directly about specific arrangements.
Library support for assignments
Our library staff are operating the Ask a Librarian live chat facility and offering appointments over Skype to continue to support students with their course work. Students can click on the 'Chat now' box on iCat to access this support.
Summer graduation ceremonies postponed
As a result of ongoing uncertainty about the duration of the coronavirus public health emergency and because of government limits on gatherings, the University is postponing its summer graduation ceremonies set to take place in July. We are exploring possible options for replacement ceremonies once the pandemic has passed and the government restrictions have lifted.
We will be sure to keep all our graduating students fully updated as soon as we have more details about alternative arrangements. We look forward to coming together as a community at a later date to celebrate our students' achievements and the important contributions their families, friends and our staff have made to their academic success.
Halls of residence
Our halls of residence remain open for those student residents still remaining in Kingston. Special support will be provided for any students who might need to self-isolate.
Students with queries about halls of residence or other accommodation can get in touch through the University's StudentHub. They should log on with their usual Kingston University username and password.
We are encouraging all members of our University community to remember to follow the advice from the Department for Health and Social Care to tackle the spread of the virus in the United Kingdom.
It is urging everyone to wash their hands more often than usual – for 20 seconds each time with soap and water – or to use hand sanitiser. This is particularly important if people have to go out at any point, blow their noses, sneeze or cough, or are preparing to eat or handle food. Following these simple steps will help protect all of us and the other people we might come in to contact with.
The government is advising anyone who has a high temperature or a new, continuous cough to stay at home for seven days if they live alone or for 14 days if they live with other people. The other people in a shared household should also stay at home for 14 days in this instance. This will help protect the whole community.
Public Health England and the government say there is no need for anyone with mild symptoms to visit a GP, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you are staying at home, but we are asking any of our students or staff in this situation to email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
Health specialists will no longer be testing anyone with mild symptoms.The latest NHS advice provides more information.
Should you need to call it, the NHS 111 helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be accessed by anyone currently in the United Kingdom, whether or not they are registered with a GP.
To avoid possible spread of the virus, it is important not to go to a health centre or hospital to seek medical advice in person.
Students who would like to speak to one of the University's specialist health and wellbeing advisers or counsellors should get in touch through the StudentHub. They should log on with their usual Kingston University username and password.
Support for self-isolation
There is more information available to help any students or staff who need to self-isolate on government advice. Students can contact their tutors by email or telephone to discuss their situation further.
The University has developed a policy for members of staff who need to self-isolate because they are suffering from specific symptoms or live with someone who does. The policy also provides guidance for staff members balancing family or other caring responsibilities with working from home.
Any students or staff who are self-isolating either now or in the coming weeks should let the University know by emailing email@example.com.
Underlying health conditions
Any students or staff members who have an underlying health condition, are pregnant or have any other health concerns which they believe might put them at higher risk, should discuss these with their GP in the first instance or call NHS 111 for further advice.
We are asking our staff to refrain from travelling to campus unless they provide an essential service and not to travel either nationally or internationally on university business.
Anyone considering travelling abroad in a personal capacity should visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website for the latest advice on all overseas destinations.
The government is advising that students remaining at university in England should now stay in their current location and not attempt to travel. If they are living in student halls or private rental accommodation, they should remain there and stay indoors while the restrictions announced by the Prime Minister are in place.
Regular health and travel updates are being posted on our My Kingston and StaffSpace intranets. The University is also emailing students and staff about any significant changes and we encourage all our campus community to check these messages regularly for the latest advice.
At this point, we do not know how long we will need to keep the changes we have made to the University's operations in place. We will keep all our students, staff and external partners fully informed as the situation continues to unfold.