Student Coronavirus Update

 

 Please see below an update to our response on COVID-19

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Updated 6 October 2020

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Update June 1st 2020

Statement for Applicants on Covid operations

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Dear Student

The academic new year is beginning very soon and we are looking forward to welcoming you to the University.

You are joining one of the UK’s top 50 universities according to The Guardian’s latest ‘best university guide’ and that is primarily because of our reputation for high quality teaching and associated high levels of student satisfaction. We are after all here to help you succeed.

Below I provide the latest COVID-19 guidance for you, to help you enjoy your time with us safely in accordance with the latest Government rules.

We have in fact been planning for a return to campus for several months and you can be confident in the many measures that the University has put in place. The purpose of writing to you is just to ensure that you are familiar with the very latest COVID secure regulations we must now follow.

You may be aware of the recent reports of a rapid increase in the number of positive COVID-19 test results within the Bolton community. Clearly this situation is of concern but the University is in regular contact with Public Health England and the relevant authorities to both monitor and respond properly to this.

Under current Government policy we are able to open as planned and you will have seen the news footage of our campus ‘COVID-19 secure’ measures including our animated video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01GbPnFIKlg). I am sure that you will be pleased to know that we are regarded as sector-leading in this respect.

To keep you and everyone else as safe as possible, it is, however, critically important that all of us follow the University’s COVID-19 measures fully to ensure that we can safely provide the best educational experience in a challenging pandemic context. It is also important that we are sensitive to the local community and maintain the best possible relations with them by following all precautionary measures, and by being seen to do so.

This means that each and every one of us must:
• maintain the required social distance at all times when on campus;
• always wear a face covering when indoors on campus (including in teaching classrooms and all associated teaching areas);
• be meticulous about hand hygiene; and
• avoid mixing with, or attending late night parties with, other households.

The University is implementing a track and trace system where we will record the details of all staff, students and visitors entering the campus and it is therefore essential that you bring your student ID card with you at all times.

The Government has decided to require the restaurant, and hospitality sector in Bolton town to close their eat-in facilities as part of enhanced local anti-COVID measures, so in the short term University restaurants and catering facilities will operate on a takeaway basis.

Students on campus (attending their specific allocated sessions as planned) will be able to purchase bottled water, warm drinks and pre-packed snacks at our cafe takeaway outlets. Water will be charged at half retail price to students as normal campus water fountains will be decommissioned as a hygiene measure.

Additional external space on campus in key locations will also be made available as term commences by the use of large gazebos and individualised outdoor furniture. Students are reminded that under current new Public Health England temporary rules for Bolton, individuals entering or living within the Metropolitan Borough must not meet in the Borough for social purposes with any other individuals outside their household or ‘flat bubble’ in the Borough of Bolton, either indoors or outdoors.

Consequently, to enjoy a takeaway coffee/snack all on-campus facilities will be restricted to single seat tables and it is recommended that you use external spaces which are well-ventilated and then eat or drink alone at a social distance from others.

Students will be specifically discouraged from congregating (during the current short-term enhanced measures) other than for official purposes.

This means in practice that, unless you are attending a class or educational activity which requires interaction, you should not be mixing with other students outside your accommodation or family bubble. At the current time, Government regulations dictate that there cannot be any social gatherings, large congregations or in person face-to-face Freshers’ fairs, either on-campus or off-campus. The Students’ Union have a number of plans in place for a range of social activities which can operate safely in socially-distanced contexts or remotely online.

During your allotted on-campus sessions, you must observe appropriate social distancing within your teaching activities and also during organised use of the library. Please make sure that you leave the campus by the end of your session to make way for the next cohort group.

You must adhere to restricted behaviour external to the University; please be responsible and ensure that there is no late night activity which would be deemed inappropriate under the additional local COVID-19 measures. This in essence means staying within your own bubble when off campus during current COVID-19 measures and not socialising (even at a social distance) into the early hours, particularly during Bolton’s current high-level COVID-19 outbreak.

It is important to follow all guidance to protect your fellow students and ensure that we avoid any further interventions being necessary by Government.

I am confident that with these arrangements operating effectively, we can continue to give effect to COVID-19 secure and resilient measures which will provide the best basis upon which we can continue to operate effectively.

In summary:
• please watch our COVID-19 secure video to familiarise yourself with our COVID-19 secure arrangements at https://www.bolton.ac.uk/welcome;
• always check your temperature on arrival through our entry heat scanners (do not enter and refer yourself immediately to NHS 111 if the scanner flashes red showing an abnormally high temperature for advice and testing);
• always and at all times wear your face covering on campus indoors;
• do not meet with other students other than for educational purposes on-campus, and stay within your household bubble off-campus;
• only come on campus during your allotted sessions and please make sure you have left by the end of that session;
• do not sit together with another person at tables or in open spaces (for the purpose of socialising);
• be aware that only takeaway food and drinks are available on campus for the next few weeks (until further notice);
• be aware that water and warm drinks are available (at a subsidised rate as detailed above) from takeaway outlets on campus;
• please maintain fastidious hand hygiene using the sanitisers provided, frequently throughout the day;
• do not arrange to meet staff or students outside your bubble in other venues off campus other than for the purposes specifically of your learning requirements e.g. Placements;
• avoid public transport where possible, do not car share with anyone outside your household, University bikes are available for full-time students (subject to safety requirements and competencies), and if using a taxi you must wear a face covering;
• if in doubt, play safe, protect others around you, keep your distance and, if in doubt, ask our staff.

I very much appreciate your cooperation with these measures and, in the event the policy changes, I will inform you immediately.

Rest assured that the University will provide detailed guidance as and when any external policy changes occur which may apply additionally to us.

The purpose of all these measures is to provide the safest and best environment for all our students.

Should you have any queries, please contact your Personal Tutor or Programme Leader.

Professor George E Holmes DL
President and Vice Chancellor

The University of Bolton is famous for our student satisfaction and our teaching quality.

Even though the Government’s scientific advice says we cannot meet together in the same way during the ‘social distancing’ phase of the coronavirus epidemic, we will continue to provide our degrees and ensure students can graduate safely.

Following the announcement by the Government about the partial closure of schools and colleges, and as the number of suspected COVID 19 cases increases nationally, I wanted to provide a detailed update for students.

The advice from the Chief Medical Officer, that individuals with any symptoms whatsoever should self-isolate, is beginning to impact on our operational efficiency as a University.

As fewer students attend campus and staffing levels become significantly affected by individuals taking proper precautions, in the light of the Secretary of State’s latest decisions, I have reviewed the operations of the University going forward.

We therefore need to move to a method of delivering our programmes to students so that they can continue their education throughout the academic year without the need for classes to meet on campus.

I must stress at the outset that the University of Bolton is NOT closing.

The University will adopt the following arrangements:

From 5pm on Friday 20 March 2020, the Easter vacation will begin early for students and they will no longer be expected to be on campus except for use of the Library on a drop-in and take away basis.

This will NOT include those students and apprentices who are in work placement with employers as an integral part of their Degree course (e.g. Nursing, Midwifery, Degree Apprentices, Teacher Education etc.). The respective Faculties and Schools will coordinate continuity of such placements and teaching.

Almost all staff, except a small number providing essential on-campus services, will work remotely at home.

Teaching will recommence for students on Monday 20 April 2020. However, all classes will be mediated and facilitated using video conferencing technology and will not take place on campus.

The reason for the extended student vacation is to give all teaching staff the time to become familiar with the use of virtual technologies and enable them to individually put in place arrangements with every student to enable them to dial in to normal scheduled class times remotely. Teaching staff will use their normal scheduled teaching slots each week to run a virtual class.

All teaching staff (with the exception of those associated with students in nursing or teacher education) will be working off-campus from Monday March 23.

Effectively, from March 23 2020 to April 20 2020, will be used to ensure that we create an effective virtual technology-based University operation.

This will allow us to very efficiently deliver our courses to students, augmented by our range of learning technologies which make learning materials accessible.

Clearly, engineering workshops and clinical practice sessions will be impossible, but the proposed method of engagement between staff and students should enable significant learning to continue.

Accordingly the University, throughout the remainder of the coronavirus epidemic, will remain very much open for business, but not for the majority of students on campus.

This approach will provide for the safety and isolation of staff and provide gainful employment and professional interaction which will be much needed by those who would otherwise be isolated at home or in family units.

Clearly this is not a perfect solution but it does provide the opportunity to continue, in some form, our degree programmes.

We plan to convene virtual assessment boards to enable us to effectively and efficiently make progression decisions for students and to award degrees.

The fact that the majority of staff will be working remotely and flexibly off campus should assist those with urgent childcare requirements because of the Government decision to close schools.

I am very conscious of the huge effort and strain this national situation has placed upon colleagues.

To provide respite and in the interest of staff well-being, I am asking all staff to take the week beginning 13 April 2020 as officially a holiday week when the institution will effectively be closed in a similar manner to Christmas. All staff, with the exception of security staff will be on compulsory leave to ensure that they rest and recuperate as best they can.

The University will continue its full blown operations off-campus at the start of the Summer Term on Monday 20 April 2020 without the requirement for most staff to attend campus.

These arrangements will continue until the UK’s Chief Medical Officer confirms that the epidemic is subsiding and normal working patterns become appropriate.

Students will be discouraged from working in the Library to avoid social contact, whilst being able to access its facilities either remotely or on a drop-in basis to take away resources.

The lockdown will not end until we are instructed by the Chief Medical Officer that it is safe to return to normal working.

Graduation in July will not go ahead. However, students will receive their degrees in a timely manner to ensure that they are able to proceed to employment. Staff will implement new assessment methods to avoid exams taking place in the traditional way, but appropriate knowledge will be tested.

All students graduating will of course have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony once things have returned to normal. Nobody will miss out on their opportunity to attend these great occasions with their family.

I can confirm that I have separately communicated the plans going forward to all University staff.

I would finally like to thank all students and staff for their co-operation during this unprecedented situation and urge them to take the best care.

The Prime Minister introduced unprecedented restrictions on everyday life from today meaning people must leave their house for one of only four reasons – to exercise once a day, to travel to and from work where “absolutely necessary”, to shop for essential items, and to fulfil any medical or care needs.

Programmes of study continue by virtual teaching sessions and continued contact remotely with their tutors.

URGENT REMINDER

The University requests that students follow the latest advice to keep themselves and others safe as the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak unfolds, using the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/  

In addition, the University draws your attention to  specific advice for travellers https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/advice-for-travellers/ who have returned to the UK from countries/areas* which are currently deemed to be higher risk.

If you have been to one of these places in the last 14 days:

Stay at home, DO NOT ATTEND THE UNIVERSITY, and avoid close contact with other people

  • do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
  • do use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next

The 111 coronavirus service will tell you if you need to continue to stay at home (self-isolate) or if you need medical help.

Any student who has either a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 or has been required to self-isolate/take a COVID -19 test, should inform their personal tutor and course leader at the earliest opportunity.

The countries/areas currently identified as being at higher risk are :-

  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar (Burma)
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Tenerife – only the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

The University continues to carefully monitor Covid(19) advice provided by FCO/WHO/PHE

The University has changed its guidance on travel: 

Air travel is restricted to only absolutely essential business which must have prior approval from the Vice Chancellor’s office

(staff should refer to Pat Foster for approvals).

Similarly, visits to London are to be strictly controlled with prior approval being necessary through Pat Foster.

The current (effective 6th March 2020) Public Health England guidance for individuals returning to the UK is as follows:  

  • Category 1: Travellers should self-isolate, even if asymptomatic, and use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next. Go home or to your destination and then self isolate.
  • Category 2: Travellers do not need to undertake any special measures, but if they develop symptoms they should self-isolate and call NHS 111. The guidance for Italy, Iran, Daegu or Cheongdo (Republic of Korea), Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam applies to individuals who returned from these specific areas on or after 19 February 2020.

Category 1 countries/areas

Category 2 countries/areas

Wuhan city and Hubei Province (China, see map)

Cambodia

Iran

China*

Daegu or Cheongdo (Republic of Korea, see map)

Hong Kong
Any Italian town under containment measures (see map)

Italy (see map)

 

Japan

 

Laos

 

Macau

 

Malaysia

 

Myanmar

 

Republic of Korea*

 

Singapore

 

Taiwan

 

Thailand

  Vietnam

 

Since the last update further information has been issued by HM Government.
As a result ANY and ALL travel on University business to ANY Catergory 1 or Category 2 country or area must now be pre-authorised by the Registrar

Category 1: Travellers should self-isolate, even if asymptomatic, and call NHS 111 to inform of recent travel.

Category 2: Travellers do not need to undertake any special measures, but if they develop symptoms they should self-isolate and call NHS 111.

The guidance for Italy, Iran, Daegu or Cheongdo (Republic of Korea), Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam applies to individuals who returned from these specific areas on or after 19 February 2020.

Category 1 countries/areas

Category 2 countries/areas

Wuhan city and Hubei Province (China, see map)

Cambodia

Iran

China*

Daegu or Cheongdo (Republic of Korea, see map)

Hong Kong
Any Italian town under containment measures (see map)

Italy (see map)

 

Japan

 

Laos

 

Macau

 

Malaysia

 

Myanmar

 

Republic of Korea*

 

Singapore

 

Taiwan

 

Thailand

  Vietnam

 

*Except areas of the country specifically referred to in Category 1.

You may have noticed that hand gel dispensers have been installed at the entrances to buildings across the University.

They are there to help us all reduce the spread of germs and bacteria

PLEASE USE THEM when entering a building.

Note: the guidance is to self-isolate and NOT attend a GP surgery or other public place.

Please continue to follow basic hygiene  measures

As a University we are continuing to monitor the spread of the Covid(19)

You may have noticed in the news that parts of Italy have been ‘locked down’ to try to prevent the spread of Covid(19). 

At present the FCO guidance is: 

There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus in China and elsewhere, including Italy. The government of Italy has introduced extraordinary measures that allow regions to implement civil protection measures in response to Coronavirus. This includes the isolation of 10 small towns in Lombardy and one in Veneto. The regions of Lombardy, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Piemonte and Emilia Romagna have implemented measures including the suspension of public or private events, the suspension of schools and higher education and the suspension on the opening of museums and cultural institutions for seven days. If you are already in the regions affected you should follow the instructions of local authorities.

The advice from the University remains ANY and ALL travel to:

  • China
  • Thailand
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Macau
on University business must be pre-authorised by the Registrar until further notice.
  • Any member of staff who is due to travel to a country which has confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, should discuss this with their authorising line manager prior to confirming any travel arrangements
  • The WHO are continuing to update the list of countries with confirmed cases which can be found here
  • Any individual considering travelling should always consult the latest FCO travel guidance prior to confirming arrangements.
    • Remember that if you go to an area that FCO advises against travelling to, it is likely that your travel insurance will be invalid.
Note: the guidance is to self-isolate and NOT attend a GP surgery or other public place.
Please continue to follow basic hygiene  measures

As a University we are continuing to monitor the spread of the Covid(19)

The advice from the University remains ANY and ALL travel to:

  • China
  • Thailand
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Macau
on University business must be pre-authorised by the Registrar until further notice.
  • Any member of staff who is due to travel to a country which has confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, should discuss this with their authorising line manager prior to confirming any travel arrangements
  • The WHO are continuing to update the list of countries with confirmed cases which can be found here
  • Any individual considering travelling should always consult the latest FCO travel guidance prior to confirming arrangements.
    • Remember that if you go to an area that FCO advises against travelling to, it is likely that your travel insurance will be invalid.
As a University we are continuing to monitor the spread of the novel-coronavirus. The advice from the University HAS CHANGED:

The advice from the University remains ANY and ALL travel to:

  • China
  • Thailand
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Macau
on University business must be pre-authorised by the Registrar until further notice.
  • Any member of staff who is due to travel to a country which has confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, should discuss this with their authorising line manager prior to confirming any travel arrangements
  • The WHO are continuing to update the list of countries with confirmed cases which can be found here
  • Any individual considering travelling should always consult the latest FCO travel guidance prior to confirming arrangements.
    • Remember that if you go to an area that FCO advises against travelling to, it is likely that your travel insurance will be invalid.

 

Guidance for basic hygiene remains the same for seasonal colds and flu – please ensure that you do not spread these more common conditions, by following simple guidance and ensuring that you wash your hands

NHSFLU3

WashYourHands2


 

 

Updated FCO/WHO/PHE information (7th Feb 2020)

Based on the World Health Organization’s declaration that this is a public health emergency of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. This permits the government to plan for all eventualities. The risk to individuals remains low.

Based on the scientific advice of SAGE the UK Chief Medical Officers are advising anyone who has travelled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and is experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath, to stay indoors and call NHS 111, even if symptoms are mild.

These areas have been identified because of the volume of air travel from affected areas, understanding of other travel routes and number of reported cases. This list will be kept under review. Our advice for travellers from Wuhan and Hubei Province remains unchanged from the below.
As of 7 February, a total of 620 UK tests have concluded, of which 617 were confirmed negative and 3 positive.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to Hubei Province due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao). The British Consulates-General in Wuhan and Chongqing are currently closed. If you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so. The elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be at heightened risk.
The Chinese government continues to impose further restrictions on movement within China in response to the coronavirus outbreak. These restrictions include the closure of some provincial highways and inter-city high speed rail, tight control on entry and exit to villages and townships across the country, and restrictions on movement within some provinces, cities and municipalities including Chongqing, Zhejiang and Anhui. Some airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, have announced a suspension of flights to and from mainland China. Other commercial airlines are still operating, but it may become harder to access departure options over the coming weeks.
Since 31 January, the UK Government has been withdrawing some staff and dependants from the British Embassy and Consulates. Essential staff needed to continue critical work – including consular assistance – will remain. British Consulates-General in Shanghai and Guangzhou will – for the immediate future – continue to provide essential travel documentary services to British nationals wishing to leave China (but no other consular assistance). The ability of the British Embassy and Consulates to provide face-to-face assistance to British nationals from within China is currently limited, and would be even more limited in the event that the situation deteriorates further. British nationals in China who need consular support should call +86 (0)10 8529 6600 or the FCO in London on +44 (0) 207 008 1500.

 

 

Get the latest information from the World Health Organisation about coronavirus with the videos below.

Watch Video: Click Here

Watch Video:  Click Here

 

As a University we are continuing to monitor the spread of the novel-coronavirus.

The advice from the University remains the same:

  • ANY and ALL travel to China (including Hong Kong & Macao) on University business must be pre-authorised by the Registrar until further notice.
  • Any member of staff who is due to travel to a country which has confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, should discuss this with their authorising line manager prior to confirming any travel arrangements
  • Any individual considering travelling should always consult the latest FCO travel guidance (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice) prior to confirming arrangements.
    • Remember that if you go to an area that FCO advises against travelling to, it is likely that your travel insurance will be invalid.

Guidance for basic hygiene remains the same for seasonal colds and flu – please ensure that you do not spread these more common conditions by following the simple guidance below.

 

                                      NHSFLU4                    
     
  NHSFLU5  

 

Updated FCO/WHO/PHE information (4th Feb 2020)

Based on the World Health Organization’s declaration that this is a public health emergency of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. This permits the government to plan for all eventualities.

The risk to individuals in the UK has not changed at this stage. Our advice for travellers from Wuhan and Hubei Province remains unchanged from the below and we have added further advice for travellers from elsewhere in China.

As of 4 February, a total of 416 UK tests have concluded, of which 414 were confirmed negative and 2 positive.

1,466 passengers and 95 staff arrived in the UK on direct flights from Wuhan between 10 and 24 January.

  • 162 of the passengers have already left the UK
  • 53 of the crew have already left the UK
  • 1107 are now outside of the incubation period.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to Hubei Province due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao). The British Consulates-General in Wuhan and Chongqing are currently closed. If you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so. The elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be at heightened risk.

The Chinese government continues to impose further restrictions on movement within China in response to the coronavirus outbreak. These restrictions include the closure of some provincial highways and inter-city high speed rail, tight control on entry and exit to villages and townships across the country, and restrictions on movement within some cities and municipalities including Chongqing. Some airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, have announced a suspension of flights to and from mainland China. Other commercial airlines are still operating, but it may become harder to access departure options over the coming weeks.

 

                                     

 

Coronavirus Advice

                   
     
  Coronavirus Advice 2  

The Government has today confirmed that UK nationals will be evacuated to the UK from Wuhan, China. Upon arrival to the UK these nationals will be quarantined for 14 days and tested for Coronavirus. More information on these arrangements are yet to be announced, but FCO advice says that those that have registered a desire to leave will be contacted once arrangements are confirmed.

 

FCO Advice as of 29th January 2021
As of 28 January, a total of 97 UK tests have concluded, of which 97 were confirmed negative and 0 positive. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advise is summarised on the map below. Anyone travelling to China should check the latest travel advice on GOV.UK. The UK government  have updated our guidance for individuals who have returned from Wuhan, China as follows:
If you have returned from Wuhan in the last 14 days:
  • Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with other flu viruses
  • Call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the city

Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at PHE, said:

“Isolating yourself from other people, like you would with other flu viruses, is in step with the best scientific and expert advice on how to stop the coronavirus from spreading.  This means taking simple, common sense steps, such as staying at home and avoiding close contact with other people as much as possible. If you have visited Wuhan and develop a fever, difficulty breathing or a cough within 14 days, you should seek medical attention either in China or on your return to the UK. In the UK, please stay indoors and avoid contact with others where possible, call your GP or ring 111 informing them of your symptoms and your recent travel to the city.”

 

Please Click here to access the document

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