St Mary’s University, Twickenham has successfully welcomed back its first cohort of students since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown began in March.
The students, from the University’s PGCE Teacher Training Programme, are the first to experience St Mary’s newly adapted Covid-Secure campus. St Mary’s has also started to welcome international students back to campus, who have been arriving early so they can quarantine safely in their halls of residence, in line with government requirements.
St Mary’s has developed one-way systems to manage the flow of foot traffic around campus, repurposed spaces to develop socially distanced hospitality and study hubs, installed screens and sanitizers across campus, and changed the layout of classrooms to make them Covid-Secure learning spaces. The University has also recently launched a new Stay Safe at St Mary’s campaign to remind staff, students and visitors about the actions and behaviour required both on and off campus to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The University is now preparing to welcome back its main cohorts of undergraduate and postgraduate taught students. Residential students will be moving to campus by appointment from the 21st September, with teaching beginning from the 28th September.
To ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff and students and to minimise the number of students on campus at one time, St Mary’s committed early in the summer to take a blended approach to learning, teaching in person where it is safe to do so and online where social distancing can’t be maintained.
The Students’ Union meanwhile have arranged an exciting range of welcome activities, 80% of which are online, to ensure students have a great start to their university experience. Events include online DJ Sets, Netflix Parties, online quizzes, talks and lectures on social issues, and a virtual Freshers’ Fair, amongst much more.
Travelling to campus has also been made easier for students, with the University making more pay as you go parking and bike storage available across the University estate.
In line with government guidance, students, staff and visitors to campus will be required to wear face coverings in the follow settings:
- The Library and Social Learning Space
- The Commuter Lounge
- In any University retail or food outlets
- Places of Worship
- To attend a production in the Theatre
- Our community hub, The Exchange (except in teaching spaces)
The University is also providing every student and member of staff with two washable cotton face coverings at the start of term to help them stay safe and adhere to government guidance.
Speaking of the return to campus, Vice-Chancellor Anthony McClaran said, “Teams across the University have been working hard throughout the summer to ensure the campus is safe and ready for learning to begin during September. We are working closely with our partners locally and nationally to ensure we have the most up to date information on how we can keep staff, students and our local community safe.”
If you would like to find out more about how you can Stay Safe at St Mary’s, please visit www.stmarys.ac.uk/coronavirus.