Read a message from Claire Morgan, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students sent on 6 January.
Since my last message to you, things have continued to move quickly.
Working with the Welsh Government
Wales originally entered a new lockdown (alert level 4) on 19 December, a move since followed by Scotland and England on Monday 4 January. This change has in part been introduced in light of the latest case numbers, and concerns prompted by a newer strand of the virus. Your health and wellbeing, as well as that of our staff, remains our priority and continues to underpin all the decisions we continue to make about our campus during the pandemic.
Vice-Chancellors at Welsh Universities, including Professor Colin Riordan, met Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education yesterday afternoon to discuss current plans for students returning to Wales for their studies. Their guidance has not changed and our plans remain the same. However, the spread of the new variant of coronavirus throughout the UK requires us to keep our plans under constant review.
Returning in January and February
You should plan to return to Cardiff (or the location of your placement) just before your in-person teaching resumes. Currently returning to Cardiff to continue your studies will be considered a reasonable excuse to travel.
While some in-person teaching is taking place in January (predominantly in health-related or practical-based programmes), most of you are not expected back in Cardiff until early February. This gives us time to continue working with the Welsh Government and others to keep our phased returns and plans for testing under review and revise them if necessary. Your wishes, mental health and future aspirations will all be part of our decision-making.
For research students, we have no plans at present to change access to campus facilities – our campus remains safe, supported by the measures we have been developing since March of last year.
Support and staying safe
Wherever you are, we all need to continue to follow the safety measures put in place by the government and University. This expectation is clearly set out in our community commitment. As ever, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to coronavirus (COVID-19), you must follow the guidelines and self-isolate.
Our Student Connect service remains your first point of contact for support. We also have self-help resources for managing anxiety and other challenges, and TalkCampus, a social networking site offering you a safe place to talk anonymously about anything that’s concerning you.
We will continue to liaise closely with government and health authorities, and I will update you again soon.
Pro Vice-Chancellor, Education and Students