A statement from our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood - Monday 16 March 2020 (update at 15:30)
A communication has been sent to all staff and students to confirm our latest plans. A summary of this email is below, but we encourage everyone to read the email carefully and refer to the FAQs.
In all our planning we have been guided by two principles – firstly the need to minimise the impact and risk to staff and students, and secondly the requirement to sustain essential operations while minimising the need for staff and students to travel to or operate from the Edgbaston campus.
Key summary of updates as of today:
Transition to online teaching and learning
Between 16 and 23 March 2020 the University will be transitioning to online teaching and by next Monday 23 March, we will move to online delivery for the remainder of this term which means that there will be no face to face teaching activity. During the transition week all programmes will move online, subject to College approval. Students will receive direct communications informing them of how they will be affected and to prepare for home study.
We anticipate that we will need to continue to deliver our education online when term resumes on Monday 27 April, including the delivery of online examinations and assessments due to commence on Monday 4 May.
We are finalising plans for the delivery of online exams and assessments next term, which will be shared with students in the next 10 days. However, it is our intention that the timing of exams will go ahead broadly as planned.
A move to restricted campus operations by the end of term
In order to minimise the risk to staff and the wider community, we will be moving to a restricted campus operation model by the end of term (17:00 on Friday 27 March). This will initially run until the Easter closed days. During this time the majority of University staff will be required to work remotely and only essential staff will be on campus. In addition, only essential buildings and services will be open and operating from this point and a list of these will be communicated by the end of the week.
Implications for research activity
We are working to a default position that on-campus research activity will cease from 17:00 on Friday 27 March as part of a move to restricted campus operations, although the majority of research activity can continue remotely. In addition, a very limited number of research activities and facilities will still need to be sustained through any period of restricted campus operations.
Student wellbeing services can be accessed normally up until Friday 27 March. In “restricted campus operations mode” we will not be able to provide face to face services, but will be able to respond to general e-mail and telephone queries and where necessary make referrals to other services. Our webpages will be updated with advice and information for available services. Our website will also provide details of support and crisis services that are available outside the University.
All events scheduled on campus involving external visitors from 23 March to 1 June will be moved to virtual provision, postponed or cancelled. We will continue to keep this under review, monitoring any changes in public health advice
Our longer term plans that are being developed
At this stage it seems likely that restricted campus operations will continue from 16 April 2020 until at least 10 May 2020. In addition, we anticipate that we will need to continue to deliver our education online when term resumes on Monday 27 April, including the delivery of online examinations and assessments due to commence on Monday 4 May.
Many staff and students from across the University have been working hard to plan and prepare in these challenging times. These efforts will ensure that we are as equipped as we can be to get through this unprecedented period and with the resilience required to return to normal operation as soon as we are able.