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Returning to campus in 2021

On Tuesday 13 April 2021, the UK Government announced that all University students who have not yet returned to campus and in-person teaching will be able to do so from Monday 17 May 2021, at the earliest. 

The government stated: “The timing aligns with Step Three of the roadmap, where restrictions on social contact and indoor mixing will be further eased, and aims to limit potential public health risks associated with student populations moving across the country.”

The government has made clear that progression to Step Three of the roadmap will be dependent on a review of the latest data. The review will consider the impact Step Two (which began on 12 April and saw outdoor hospitality and non-essential retail, gyms and hairdressers reopening) will have on the four key tests.

The four tests relate to the continued success of the UK’s vaccine rollout, evidence on vaccine efficacy, COVID-19 infection rates, and assessments on the risk posed by new variants.

Once we receive more information from the Government, closer to Monday 17 May 2021, we will update this web page and issue further communications to all students. Like many universities in England, we had hoped to welcome our students who have yet to return to campus back before this date, and we understand this news will be disappointing.

This webpage contains further details of the latest information released by the government, and how it applies to our students. The information included relates specifically to the latest guidance issued by the UK Government, as applied at Staffordshire University.

If you are studying with one of our Collaborative Academic Partners, you should seek guidance about local arrangements from your partner organisation. 

For the latest information concerning our University’s response to the pandemic, please continue to check the MyStaffsUni app and our dedicated coronavirus webpages.

Important information following the latest UK Government Update on Tuesday 13 April 2021

Changes to phased return of students

As outlined by the government, students who have not yet returned to campus and in-person teaching will be able to do so from Monday 17 May 2021, at the earliest. The government has made clear this date is still reliant on a review and has informed universities that they will be given further information on the return for these students, closer to the Monday 17 May 2021 date.  We will continue to update you as soon as we receive clarity on the return date.

However, students should continue to engage with their online learning during this period of time and wider support continues to remain in place. Students should therefore ensure that they remain in regular contact with their academic staff to continue to be supported in their studies.

 If you are studying a course that is not yet due to resume in-person teaching and learning, you may still return to your term-time address earlier – or remain in your term-time address – if you meet one or more of the following criteria: 

  • Students who do not have access to appropriate alternative accommodation, facilities or study space. 
  • Students who need to return for health or safety reasons or where there is concern for a student’s mental health or wellbeing.  
  • Students who remained in their university/term-time accommodation, or have already returned, including international students, who are not expected to return to in-person teaching and learning at this stage. 

Commuter students should only access University facilities if their courses have resumed face-to-face on-campus teaching, or if they meet one or more of the criteria listed above. 

 

Guidance for New and Returning Students Travelling from Overseas

The UK government has decided that in-person teaching for all students should resume no earlier than Monday 17 May 2021, in line with Step Three of the roadmap.

In the meantime, international students are permitted to study remotely without a visa, and in most circumstances will be able to begin their course via distance learning. If students are travelling to the UK from overseas because their course has previously been prioritised for a return to in-person teaching and learning they will need to comply with border measures that have been introduced to help prevent transmission of COVID-19 on their arrival/return.

Students seeking guidance can get in touch with internationalsupport@staffs.ac.uk for further support.

Guidance for students whose courses have already resumed on-campus delivery

This latest update will not affect the delivery of courses that have already resumed some on-campus, face-to-face teaching and learning during January and March 2021. Delivery will continue as scheduled, and you should continue to get tested regularly using our LRV Swabbing Centre or lateral flow rapid test provisions in your area. 

Manadatory Testing and Reporting Requirements For Your Return To Campus

The government has been very clear that all students need to be tested for COVID-19 regularly.  

Currently we require all students to get tested regularly – twice weekly - to help maintain our COVID-secure campuses and to protect each other. By doing so, we can ensure that we do not hold up the return of other students to in-person, face-to-face teaching. 

To book a lateral flow rapid test at our LRV Swabbing Centre on our Stoke-on-Trent campus, please follow the instructions below: 

Students at our Stafford, Shrewsbury and London campuses should take advantage of the local lateral flow testing facilities now operating in their areas. Centres can be found by visiting ‘Find a rapid lateral flow test site in your area.

You are now required by the Government to carry out a PCR test, following a positive Lateral Flow Test result. All test results must be reported in line with the latest guidance. 

Lateral flow rapid testing is only available to individuals who do not display COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone with symptoms should book a PCR test via the NHS portal and, if positive, should not leave their current locality until their period of self-isolation is complete. 

The Government has also announced that home testing kits will soon be available for students to use rather than visiting a testing centre. More details will be shared with once we have been provided with further information from the Government.

TEST REPORTING IS ESSENTIAL  

Once tested, it is vitally important that you report your status to the University before attending any on-campus sessions, by completing our very short confidential survey.  

 

Face Coverings Guidance 

It is crucial that we all work together to keep our campuses COVID-secure. We require all staff and students involved in face-to-face teaching and learning sessions to wear a face covering. The latest government update covered transparent face coverings and face visors.  

Transparent face coverings, which may assist communication with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate, can also be worn. Face visors or shields can be worn by those exempt from wearing a face covering but they are not an equivalent alternative in terms of source control of virus transmission. 

More details on our face coverings policy (and exemptions) can be found on our website

Additional Support

Staffordshire University’s dedicated COVID-19 Support and Response Team is committed to supporting all students who are required to self-isolate. If you test positive or are required to self-isolate, you must report this to the University by following the steps outlined on our coronavirus webpages
  
If you require additional advice or support, please contact our team by emailing covid-19@staffs.ac.uk
  
Further details of the support available to Staffordshire University students is available here

Further Information

For the full update from government, please visit Students returning to, and starting,  higher education during Spring and Summer 2021.

Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan MP, has penned a letter to students regarding the latest government update.

We appreciate that some of you may have additional questions regarding how the latest government update will affect your studies, and we will continue to work with the Students’ Union to provide answers as further details emerge. 

The Department for Education has produced additional details related to its Spring Term guidance first published on Monday 8 March 2021. The following information outlines rules and regulations for University students that are looking to travel during the Easter break period.  

  • You are allowed to travel home for the Spring break if you want to. This is mainly for the benefit of students who have been on campus all term. Students who returned to university on or after 8 March are strongly advised not to travel home.  

  • If you choose to travel home, you are legally only allowed to travel there once before Thursday 29 April 2021 however can travel back to your term-time accommodation at any time.   

  • Any students choosing to travel home should get tested before they travel home and then again before they travel back to university, where community testing facilities are available. If you test positive, you are required by law to self-isolate for ten days and should not travel.  

  • When travelling you should plan ahead and avoid busy times or routes. If driving, you should not share a car with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. If travelling by public transport, make sure you wear a face covering unless exempt, social distance where possible and sanitise your hands regularly.   

International / EU Students:

International Students in the UK who hold a Student Visa or Tier 4 visa, need to email internationalsupport@staffs.ac.uk with details of their plans to leave the UK.

International/EU Students that are planning to travel overseas to go home should check additional entry requirements and restrictions that have been introduced due to COVID-19 before travelling and before returning to the UK. This includes the following:  

  • Arrivals from all countries booking a pre-departure COVID-19 test, completing a passenger locator form and booking private COVID-19 testing for day 2 and 8 of their stay in the UK. 

  • After following the correct arrivals procedure, students should follow instructions on ongoing asymptomatic testing as set out by Staffordshire University in the testing and reporting requirements section of this page. 

  • If travelling from (or via) a “red list” country, quarantining in a managed quarantine hotel

  • If not travelling from (or via) a “red list” country, you will need to self-isolate in their accommodation for ten days. For support and guidance you should follow all the steps on the following GOV.UK page. These students have the option to reduce their self-isolation period by taking a COVID-19 test from a private testing provider five full days after arriving in England, with a negative result releasing them from the need to self-isolate.  

For more information and guidance please read the COVID-19: Test to Release for international travel guidance and look at a list of providers of tests for Test to Release.  Students planning to use the Test to Release scheme must still take a test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8, unless they are exempt. 


  
For the latest information concerning our University’s response to the pandemic, please continue to check the MyStaffsUni app

 

Changes to University facilities from Monday 12 April 2021

Below, we have compiled a list of our on-campus facilities and their operating statuses. Non-essential retail, gyms and spas can reopen from Monday 12 April 2021 in England, with restaurants allowed to serve outdoors. This includes our on campus facilities as follows:

Students' Union

Reopening night at The Verve

On Monday 12 April 2021, the Students’ Union will be hosting an outdoor reopening night at The Verve on the Stoke-on-Trent campus. Full details on how to book your table can be found on the Students' Union website.   

Verve

From Monday 12 April 2021, the Students’ Union will be running "Great Outdoor" evening events each week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 7pm to 11pm at Verve. Tables of six will be available to pre-book online. All orders placed must be made through an order to table app and food. Prebookings for tables will soon be made available via the Verve pages of the Students' Union website.

Leek Road Shop

The Students’ Union Shop on Leek Road remains open seven days a week however from Monday 12 April 2021, will change opening hours to 8.30am to 4pm (Monday to Friday) and from 12pm to 4pm (Weekends)

Ember Lounge and College Road Shop

The Ember Lounge and Students’ Union Shop on College Road will both remain closed until further notice.

Squeeze Box

The Squeeze Box will reopen on Monday 12 April 2021 from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

Sir Stanley Matthews Sports Centre, Stoke-on-Trent campus

From 12 April, the Sir Stanley Matthews Sports Centre will be open from 7.00am to 7.00pm Monday to Friday and from 10.00am to 4.00pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Catering outlets

Stoke-on-Trent campus

Brindley Food Court, Café Cadman and The Coffee Lab remain open. All venues are currently operating with outdoor seating only. There will be some additional seating outside of Brindley Food Court. If you wish to use our outdoor seating spaces, you will be required to complete the NHS Track and Trace App in line with current UK Government guidelines.

We will be offering a cook to order delivery offer that can be ordered through mobo2go from 7.00pm -9.00pm on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings depending on weather. This will run in conjunction with the Students’ Union ‘Great Outdoors’ offer outside Verve and will run for a period of nine weeks.

Centre of Excellence for Healthcare Education Stafford

Dudley’s remains open for takeaway only from 8am to 3pm and is accessible via our brand new entrance doors situated facing the main road on Blackheath Lane. You can place orders for food and beverages from Dudley’s via our Click and Collect Service.

Libraries

From Monday 12 April 2021 the Thompson Library on our College Road site in Stoke-on-Trent will be resuming its 24/7 opening hours.

Please remember that current rules regarding social distancing, face coverings and Staffordshire University student and staff entry remain in place within our Libraries.

For more information please visit MyStaffsUni and the Library website.

Student Services

Staffordshire University students can access mental wellbeing and counselling support via one combined Student Wellbeing service.

Student Support and Wellbeing services continue to be open Monday to Friday and the service is delivered via a blend of virtual and face-to-face.

Find out more information on the range of support available.