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Vice-Chancellor's Update Regarding National Lockdown

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Dear All,

I would like to start by wishing you a Happy New Year. I hope that you had an enjoyable break and were able to enjoy time with your families and loved ones.

I am sure that, like me, you tuned in last night to hear the Prime Minister’s update on national restrictions being brought in to protect us from COVID-19. We are continuing to monitor closely the detailed guidance from the Government, and I would like to take this opportunity to let you know what this means for St Mary’s.

The Government has announced that all university teaching must take place online until at least mid-February. The only exception to this is a small number of subjects, which were specified in a recent letter from the Universities Minister Michelle Donelan. Students on these programmes will have received guidance from their academic teams on how they will be taught over the coming weeks. We are monitoring this closely and will communicate any changes to teaching methods when they are available.

Key services within the University remain open to support our students. For those whose study space at home is unsuitable, the Library is available for students to use. If you are able to study from home, the Library has extensive online resources that you are able to access remotely. If you do need to visit campus, you should book two free lateral flow COVID-19 tests prior to travelling to campus.

If you are currently located abroad, you may wish to consider where you are best able to engage with your studies. If you need to return to the UK, please follow the latest Government guidance and self-isolate for ten days unless you are arriving from a country on the exemption list.

Your health and wellbeing are our highest priorities. If you need help at any time, please take advantage of the systems in place to support you. Togetherall and Student Space are available 24/7, providing you with access to free and confidential mental health and wellbeing support and advice. Our Student Service team are also on hand to help support you through any difficulties you may be experiencing. Please also remember that you are able to continue exercising outdoors during the national lockdown. If you are looking for exercise inspiration, the Students’ Union have pulled together lots of useful resources on their website.

We recognise that this is an unsettling time for our student body, and we are reviewing our ‘No Detriment’ policy to ensure your academic outcomes are not unfairly impacted upon by the pandemic. Further developments will be communicated to students in due course.

Whilst we may reasonably hope that the end of the pandemic is in sight, with the COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out across the country, we all remain responsible for keeping our communities safe. Please remember to follow social distancing guidance at all times: Hands – wash them often, Face – wear a face covering when indoors, Space – stay at least a metre apart from people outside of your household bubbles at all times.

I hope you remain safe and well at this difficult time.

With best wishes,

Anthony McClaran

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