Newbold College of Higher Education advice and updates regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)
*LAST UPDATED 1 JUNE 2020*
Monday 1 June 2020
Autumn 2020: You asked. We answer.
A few weeks ago, when we announced that we would continue to teach online for the Autumn Semester 2020, we also promised that we would provide answers to the questions that you have been asking us over the past couple of weeks.
To our current students: we will be able to answer more questions in our Live Q&A sessions that will take place in the next few days (check your student email account for the link).
3 JUNE 16:00 (BST) – ELC students
3 JUNE 17:00 (BST) – DBH students
4 JUNE 16:00 (BST) – DTS UG and PG taught modules
4 JUNE 17:00 (BST) – DTS MA dissertation students
Academic Programmes and Resources
Q. Will all programmes be taught in the Autumn Semester?
A. YES, all programmes will be taught in the Autumn Semester. The only decision yet to be confirmed is whether the Year in Mission and Service programme will run as usual.
In the Department of Theological Studies (DTS), we will be teaching the following:
- BA Hons in Biblical and Pastoral Studies (BABPS)
- Graduate Diploma in Biblical and Pastoral Studies (Grad Dip)
- MA in Theology
- Postgraduate Certificate in Ministry and Mission (PG Cert MM)
- and tutoring of the MA in Theology dissertation students.
The timetables for the above programmes will be available from 8 June 2020.
In the Department of Business and Humanities (DBH), we will continue to teach the following programmes:
The timetables for the above programmes will be available later in the summer.
We are still in conversation about the Year in Mission and Service, as the community experience forms a large part of the programme. We will keep you updated on any developments on the delivery options as soon as possible.
In the English Language Centre (ELC), we will teach all the English levels online as follows:
For a full breakdown of the new set of modules, please visit the official ELC page.
Q. Will there be any changes in modules that are taught in the Autumn Semester?
A. In DTS, the undergraduate programmes (BABPS and Grad Dip) have a pre-set list of modules that need be taught to the different cohorts, so NO, there will be no changes. The postgraduate programmes (MA in Theology and PG Cert PG Cert MM) will be taught as planned, and the list of modules can be accessed here.
In DBH, the extraordinary circumstances have not introduced any modifications to the modules that are offered. However, as DBH follows the American academic model, they will operate with the usual flexibility; still always ensuring that the academic progression of all our students is not disadvantaged.
In the ELC, we offer a full range of comprehensive modules – details in full can be found here.
Q. Will the assessment criteria be modified?
A. The assessment criteria cannot be modified as they have been prescribed by our validating partner, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD). As for the assessment methods, DTS does not plan to modify them for the Autumn semester modules unless the situation makes this necessary. The students will be notified well in advance if such changes need to take place.
The same is true for DBH; the assessment criteria cannot be modified. However, we might see a modification of the assessment patterns to better adjust to the new situation. The assessment patterns will be clearly stated in the module descriptors, as usual.
Q. Will there be more one-to-one tutorial time per student?
A. DTS teaching staff will be available for tutorial sessions as usual, and all students will be able to set up tutorial sessions with the module lecturers, dissertation supervisors and cohort tutors (at least one tutorial with the module lecturer and two tutorials with their respective cohort tutors per semester).
DBH teaching staff are anticipating providing greater support through one-to-one tutorial time during the virtual provision period.
Q. What will happen with all the study trips I was looking forward to?
A. We are planning to have all the Autumn Semester trips that are part of the Humanities provisions in May 2021. The Spring Semester trips will take place during the regular semester dates for 2021, depending on Government guidance at the time.
Q. Will my internship/placement opportunities be affected?
A. In principle, the internship/placement will be arranged in the context of the COVID-19 situation and government guidance for the period of the Autumn Semester. Dr Gifford Rhamie, Director of Field Education (placements) for DTS, will contact the students in due course and share more details with them.
Q. Will all my online classes use the same teaching methods?
A. All our departments try to use a variety of teaching methods for different modules and also attempt to introduce new teaching methods. Bearing in mind that teaching in the Autumn Semester will be online, the lecturers will undertake all the necessary steps to provide the best possible learning experience for the students. We would like to assure our students that they will have every chance to express their opinion, provide feedback, ask questions and contribute to the class discussions.
Q. Will there be a boot camp for students writing their MA dissertation?
A. DTS plans to organise an online dissertation “boot camp” in the Autumn Semester. Dr Nahkola, in her role as the Dissertations Coordinator, and Dr de Bruin, in his role as the PG Programme Leader, are happy to hear your suggestions on how this boot camp could be organised, so the students can benefit the most from it. The dates have not been set up yet. Dr Nahkola will share more details with the students in the due course of time.
Q. Will the library building be open for students during the Autumn Semester?
A. Library services for current students never stop – just as this spring, the Library is ready to help all the students and staff with their academic endeavours.
The library building will reopen when the College concludes it is safe and Government regulations allow reopening. Should this become possible during the Autumn Semester, the Library will adopt a staged approach and opening hours will be limited. The first groups to be granted access to the building will be current Newbold staff (so they can best provide for the students’ needs in their delivery of academic instruction) and the Newbold students enrolled in the MA Dissertation (so the College can support them in their unique position of having to complete an individual research paper outside the support of a specific taught module).
Entry will be by ID card.
The Library will follow the safety measures adopted by the College. In addition, the Library will follow a checklist recommended by The Library and information association (CILIP), which will be published in due course.
Q. How will students be able to access the necessary library resources?
A. The Librarians will provide the following support to students:
- work closely with teaching staff to provide electronic resources, sometimes alternatives to preferred texts
- provide scans for Moodle (within copyright) when electronic publications are not available
- send books and photocopies (within copyright) to students by post when possible
- communicate with students via telephone, mail, email, Zoom and FaceTime
- work closely with individual postgraduate students on resources for dissertations
- make clear information about library services and resources available on the website, in emails and other formats, taking care to reach all students
- provide “how to” guides (static documents, videos and links to web-based training material)
- run training sessions in Zoom (for instance on advanced EBSCO searching)
Email [email protected] if you have specific questions about library resources and services.
Q. Will the Library offer technical help with online resources?
A. In addition to general guides and training, the Library will continue to offer individual support and mentoring in relation to online resources. However, the Library cannot offer technical computer support.
Q. What technical equipment do I need to study online?
A. Learning online requires industry-standard personal computer hardware components. Please ensure your system meets or exceeds the recommended baseline system recommendations listed below:
Operating Systems Recommended
- Microsoft Windows XP SP2, Vista, 7, 8, 10
- Mac OS 10.4.8+ (Intel-based) (PPC-based NOT supported)
- Processor 1.8 GHz or higher
- Memory: 4 Gigabytes
- Network Bandwidth: 1+ Mbps internet connection
- Supported Browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer 9+
- Optimum Browser: Chrome
Campus Ministries and Student Support
Q. Will the College community exist online?
A. Absolutely. We will continue to come together as a community online until we are able to be back on campus.
Campus Ministries will continue with their programmes online and more details will come in the next few weeks. Our student Campus Ministries leaders will be working with our Chaplain and will provide us with a schedule in due course. Campus Ministries will serve as a way for students to stay in touch with each other.
We will have the Week of Spiritual Emphasis online and we will continue to stay in touch through the Hub.
More details on all our online events will be published later this summer.
Q. Will the College still provide counselling services to students?
A. We are looking at ways to best provide our students with resources that can help you with any issue you are facing, and we will create a new dedicated Counselling Servicethat will make it easier for you to reach out from wherever you are.
We would like to assure you that our Chaplain, Pastor Alastair Agbaje, will continue to provide pastoral counselling, and any other staff member will be available to support our students.
Q. Will studying online affect my visa?
A. No, fortunately studying online will not affect your visa status. Covid-19: Guidance for Tier 4 sponsors and migrants and for short-term students states that distance learning in the UK and in other countries is currently acceptable for all students, even if you have Tier 4 student immigration permission.
Students outside the UK who do not have UK immigration permission are allowed to undertake distance learning. This has always been the case, because you require immigration permission only if you intend to be in the UK.
However, if you are hoping to enter the UK to continue your studies as soon as possible, you need to know that you cannot apply for immigration permission until travel and face-to-face study start again and application centres re-open around the world.
If you have any questions related to Tier 4 or Short-term visa, please contact our Academic Registrar, Ms Serena Santona
Q. Will the tuition fee remain the same?
A. YES, the tuition fee will remain the same, as moving online will not diminish the quality of our academic delivery.
However, in response to COVID-19, The Executive Committee of Newbold’s Board of Governors has voted to reduce overseas student tuition fees for the 2020-2021 academic year to the same level as those for home students (those from the UK, TED, EU and EEA).
Q. Will all the deadlines and payment procedures remain the same?
A. All the payment deadlines will remain as per our Financial policies, but payments will currently need to be made by bank transfer or through TransferMate.
Q. Will the Halls of Residence be open for students?
A. At the moment we are not able to ascertain if and when the Halls of Residence will be open. We will continue to follow government guidelines and ensure that Health and Safety measuresare in place before students can access the Halls of Residence. We advise our students to plan to continue to follow their modules from their homes until further notice.
Q. Can I still stay in family housing even if the learning is taking place online?
A. Yes. Nothing has changed, or will change, for students already residing in Family Housing.
Q. Will there be any student jobs available in the Autumn Semester?
A. We can’t be sure there will be need for student workers, but if the need arises, any student jobs available will be advertised.
Q. What scholarships will be available for the Autumn Semester?
A. Scholarships, grants and funding opportunities across undergraduate and postgraduate courses can be found here.
Following all this, it is clear that enrolment, too, will happen online this September. We are currently working with our student data system provider (SITS:Vision | Tribal Group) to enable students to complete their enrolment via the web interface eVision.
A detailed “how to” guide will be provided in due course. Rest assured that comprehensive technical support will be provided for new and returning students.
*LAST UPDATED 19 MAY 2020*
Tuesday 19 May 2020
Academic excellence continues online: new and returning students to be offered a broad online student experience this autumn.
Newbold College of Higher Education announces an extension of the remote online learning experience for the 2020 autumn semester. As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and following thorough consideration, this decision has been made to ensure that the health and safety of students and staff remain our top priority. This is a pathway which a number of other universities and higher education providers are already taking worldwide.
Given Newbold’s close community setting, its blueprint cannot guarantee full compliance with current social distancing requirements. “It is vital that as a College we do all we can to honour the trust that our students, their families and our owners and stakeholders have placed in us as we prioritise health, safety and continuing academic quality”, says our Principal, Dr John Baildam.
Consideration for our international students coming from over 50 countries across the globe is also at the forefront – with embassies closed, airlines not operating and local regulations changing daily, it would not be fair to put additional stress on them, and to ask them to make difficult decisions that may require putting themselves and others at risk.
Returning students and incoming first-year students can expect a comprehensive online learning experience across all degrees and courses, one that will adhere to Newbold’s value of offering academic excellence across the board. With student wellbeing at the core of every difficult decision we have had to make, the College will ensure a level of support and quality in the delivery of teaching that will not compromise, in any way, the educational journey for our students.
The next few weeks will see academic and student support staff working on an exhaustive plan to move online, addressing all aspects of our holistic approach to education – fusing academic, spiritual, social and physical wellbeing into one all-encompassing online experience. Newbold will still be your community and we will explore ways to engage, learn and grow together.
Newbold remains committed to bringing all students back to campus as quickly as possible for the unique traditional experience for which we are world-renowned – with a timeline goal of the spring semester in late January 2021. The College’s Senior Leadership Team will continue to take into account current and developing health guidelines and best practices and will communicate further decisions as soon as possible. The College remains committed to clarity and transparency throughout this process.
Though the College strives for no significant changes to be made to the academic curriculum for September 2020, full details about all courses will be available by 1 June 2020.
Once we are in a position to welcome our students back to our campus, we plan to launch a range of outstanding additional learning experiences such as study trips, workshops and campus events to counteract the physical constraints which the autumn semester will bring.
Newbold will reach out with more details and answers to difficult questions at the beginning of June.
*LAST UPDATED 27 APRIL 2020*
Monday 27 April 2020
Update on Awards Ceremony
Newbold is quiet with most of the College community away from campus.
Teaching moved online on 30 March, and after four weeks students and staff are adapting well to this method of learning and teaching, which continues to progress as smoothly as possible under the circumstances. We understand that this situation is far from ideal, and students may also be facing added challenges caused by health issues, stress or technology. Newbold has an Extenuating Circumstances procedure in place for students with valid reasons for being unable to submit written assessment on time.
Our exam week is approaching, with examinations commencing on 11 May and the final schedule available for students imminently. Advice and regulations have been developed to guide students through completing exams off-campus.
The University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the awarding institution for Newbold’s Theology courses, has postponed it’s graduation ceremony. Consequently, Newbold’s Awards Ceremony (originally scheduled for 12 July) has also been postponed. Students will still be able to complete their courses and programmes and graduate this summer, with award documentation being distributed by post. We do believe that it is important to get together and celebrate the achievements of our students, as it is a memorable time for them, for their friends and family, and also for our staff, and we aim to hold this celebration as soon as is feasible.
Please continue to keep Newbold in your prayers, as our staff and students finish the semester and as our leadership team seeks a way through the challenges posed by COVID-19.
*LAST UPDATED 31 MARCH 2020*
Tuesday 31 March 2020
Cancellation of 2020 Summer School in English and British Culture Study Tour
As we all attempt to adjust to the effects the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having on our everyday lives, we at Newbold have had to make some tough decisions.
Unfortunately, this includes our decision to cancel the upcoming 2020 British Culture Study Tour and the Summer School in English this year.
Given the government-advised travel restrictions currently in place in the UK and around the world, the disruption to the flight and travel industry, and the level of global uncertainty we are all operating under, we do not believe that it is viable to go ahead with either programme this year.
We apologise for the inconvenience this causes, but as always, the health and wellbeing of our students and the wider community is at the heart of every decision we make.
We will be processing full refunds for this programme and students who have applied will receive an email with further information.
For any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] and we would be happy to help.
*LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY 20 MARCH 2020*
COVID-19 Update on Library, Dining Area and Buildings
Friday 20 March 2020
As we continue to monitor the fast-changing situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) we are constantly reviewing how this affects our College community and are responding accordingly.
While the business of the College remains fully operational, most of our students have now returned home to ready themselves for distance learning and our staff are transitioning to remote working. Entry to the following buildings will be limited to staff who require access:
- Salisbury Hall (Reception will be staffed 09:00 to 12:00 on Wednesday until further notice)
- Roy Graham Library (resources and support will remain available online)
- Murdoch Hall
- Moor Close, Schuil House and Keough house (access strictly limited to residents only from 25 March)
- Bartlett Hall (Moor Close) Dining Area (food service will be limited to takeaway)
For the safety of our staff, only urgent maintenance requests are able to be actioned at this time – this includes Family Housing, staff housing, and Halls of Residence.
Many people are now self-isolating as they adhere to the Government advice surrounding coughs and fevers. We continue to recommend you follow Government advice regarding social distancing, to stay indoors where possible and only visit essential places.
You should also read the Government’s instructions on self-isolation for households.
We look forward to resuming normal operations as soon as possible, and to welcoming our students back on campus.
*LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY 19 MARCH 2020*
Update on Newbold’s English Language Centre
Tuesday 17 March 2020
As Newbold continues to respond to the changing situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) it is inevitable that our responses will impact the way that we operate, at least temporarily.
On Monday 16 March we announced that we would be extending the mid-semester break by an additional week, and that when Theology, Business and Humanities classes resume on 30 March they will do so via distance learning.
We have been thinking long and hard, trying to find the best way to take care of our students in the English Language Centre (ELC). It is with regret that we have decided not to teach ELC classes for the rest of the semester.
In the ELC, we believe in teaching English as a tool for practical communication. This means that immersion, one-to-one student support, and the variety of British cultural experiences form a large part of the quality of the learning environment. We cannot see how we could provide our help at the same level online.
We will be offering refunds of 50% of the semester’s tuition fees as well as free online support for the remainder of the semester for any students who wish to continue studying using their textbooks from home.
*LAST UPDATED: MONDAY 16 MARCH 2020*
Transition to Distance Learning
Dear Newbold community,
Given the continuing escalation of the situation around the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the College’s commitment to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the Newbold community, we have been closely following the latest UK government actions and advice.
We are committed to sharing relevant information and advice on the situation, and how these impact on the diverse international community on our campus.
Last Thursday the UK Prime Minister announced that the country has moved to the ‘delay’ phase in its response to the virus, including new guidelines for those with either a high temperature or a new continuous cough to self-isolate for seven days.
Many schools, universities and childcare centres around the world have closed in recent days, and while the UK is not currently following this pattern, we need to consider our situation as a residential learning environment – particularly with our shared, dormitory-style accommodation.
Newbold’s Crisis Management Group has considered many different scenarios in trying to strike a balance between government decisions and how they affect our community as we continue to respond to the challenges of COVID-19. Therefore, we are taking the following steps.
- Extension of the mid-semester break: In order to allow sufficient time for the measures below to be implemented appropriately, we are extending the mid-semester break by one week. This means that the break will conclude on Sunday 29 March.
- Move to distance learning: All DTS/DBH modules/classes will be taught online from Monday 30 March, immediately following the extended mid-semester break.
Given the nature of our English language courses, we are still making appropriate arrangements for our English Language Centre.
We will continue to keep students updated as to how distance coursework will be delivered, as it relates to your particular course or programme.
- Halls of Residence: In the event of students in residence contracting the virus and their health deteriorating significantly, the College is not equipped to provide appropriate medical care, nor do we have facilities that allow for adequate self-isolation. Thus, as our teaching moves online, students living in Schuil House, Keough House and Moor Close are strongly recommended to make plans to return to their permanent residence as soon as possible, with a final deadline of Wednesday 25 March, unless they receive prior permission to remain longer. This permission is likely to be offered to international students and those who need to remain in the local area for good reason, and would be granted by the Senior Leadership Team on the recommendation of the Residential Life Manager.
If you are a lodger/boarder in Moor Close or if you live in Family Housing, you will be able to remain in your accommodation as per your tenancy agreement.
- Cafeteria and Library services: The Cafeteria and Library will continue to operate for any students who do remain in campus accommodation, although the way these services operate is likely to change.
- Staff working arrangements: As we move to distance learning, staff may choose to work from home if appropriate and after consultation with their supervisor.
- Travel: All College-related international travel has been cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future.
Domestic travel is likely to still go ahead as planned for the time being, although this will be under constant review.
We continue to encourage all members of the Newbold community to reconsider the necessity of any personal international travel, and for staff and students to notify us as per the previous notification if they plan to travel internationally.
- Cancellation of campus events and external bookings: Given the situation, it is unlikely that we will be able to proceed with any campus events, external bookings, or guest bookings at least until the end of the academic year (mid-May).
These arrangements will be in place for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year or until the situation stabilises.
What to do if you feel unwell
Please remember to take care of your health:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Sneeze into a tissue and bin it
- Avoid touching your face
Seek NHS advice by calling 111 or go to www.111.nhs.uk/covid-19 if you have:
- A high temperature
- A new continuous cough
- Shortness of breath
Return to your residence. Seek NHS advice. Update the College (on 1742 or 7650 if you are in the Halls or Residence or Moor Close); contact your student representative for Family Housing; or call your line manager if you are staff. Follow the NHS advice as it relates to your situation.
What happens next?
As this is a rapidly-changing situation, we will keep you informed about online teaching, campus services and any other relevant decisions or significant changes at Newbold as soon as we are able and as we continue to respond.
Stay updated on the situation as it relates to Newbold, by visiting www.newbold.ac.uk/coronavirus, and by checking your student email. Students and staff who have not already done so, please download the Piota app, subscribe to the ‘Urgent’ channel, and make sure that notifications are turned on.
If you have any questions or concerns about how any of these changes might affect you, please contact our Academic Registrar, Ms Serena Santona, at [email protected]
Please take care of each other and continue to pray for one another – particularly those who have been directly impacted by this virus – and for God’s guidance as we continue to respond to the situation surrounding COVID-19.
*LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY 11 MARCH 2020*
Health and Travel Advisory
This statement will be regularly updated based on the latest advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), World Health Organisation (WHO), and Public Health England (PHE).
The health, welfare and safety of students, staff and other members of the Newbold community is a top priority for College leadership, especially following the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Members of our Crisis Management Group (CMG) are conferring regularly to monitor the situation closely and follow PHE and FCO advice to protect the health of all members of our community. The CMG will meet regularly for the foreseeable future.
We are aware that several cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Berkshire, with further cases in Bracknell and Wokingham, but have not been advised by PHE of any direct implications relating to these cases.
The College will continue to operate as normal and to abide by FCO government advice. We recommend that those travelling internationally either to or from Newbold continue to follow government travel advice as relevant to their origin and destination.
We will continue to update our advice according to government guidance and information so please check back here for the latest.
For advice or guidance, please contact us by email at: [email protected]
Government health and travel advice
Public Health England (PHE) advises the following measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus:
- If you cough or sneeze catch it with a tissue, put the tissue in a bin and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or hand sanitiser
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or hand sanitiser before cooking and eating, on arrival at any childcare or educational setting, after using the toilet, and before leaving the house
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Do not share items that come into contact with your mouth, such as cups and bottles
- If unwell do not share items such as bedding, dishes, pens and towels.
If you think that you may have the symptoms of the coronavirus please call NHS 111 for advice.
Travel advice for staff and students
Based on information from various government sources and following consultation with relevant staff and the College’s Crisis Management Group, Newbold has issued the following advice to staff and students for any College-related or personal travel, as at Tuesday 10 March 2020. This advice may change as we continue to monitor the situation:
- We will be carefully monitoring and reassessing the need for any College-related international travel.
- All UK College-related travel and activities will go ahead as planned, but staff and students have been asked to consider any risk and postpone travel if feasible.
- We are encouraging staff and students alike to reconsider any personal travel both internationally and within the UK, and to consider avoiding flights and airports and other forms of public transport, particularly over the coming breaks.
- We are asking that staff and students notify us of any international travel they are planning to take so that we can best safeguard the health of our community. Staff and students travelling to countries, areas or regions for which the UK government provides advice for returning travellers may be asked to isolate themselves for fourteen days before returning to campus.
Remember to practise good hygiene, including:
- Washing your hands with soap and water thoroughly, or using hand sanitiser, regularly
- Covering your mouth with a tissue or your sleeve if you sneeze, or sneezing into a tissue and discarding it in a rubbish bin immediately
- Being aware of your health both before travelling and on your return
- Avoiding contact with those who are unwell
Please refer to the following websites for advice on COVID-19 and implications for health and travel: