*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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.