CoronavirusStaff update 13 July

Dear colleagues,

I hope this finds you well. Over the last few weeks, colleagues across the University have been working hard to plan for the coming academic year. I am pleased to share with you the latest planning update from our e-FIRST (education – Future Innovation and Reflection on Strathclyde’s Teaching) group.

It is recognised that universities are still subject to Scottish Government guidelines. Recent official statements indicate that the current operational restrictions we are managing are moving in a more positive direction.

However, there does remain considerable uncertainty and this may impact on our teaching arrangements for Semester 1, AY 21/22. 

As with the planning arrangements for AY 2020/21, e-FIRST planning for AY 21/22 will have to remain flexible, and Faculties, Schools and Departments will need to plan to a common set of planning assumptions for on-campus activity, as discussed through e-FIRST at the Institutional and Faculty levels.

We anticipate that the Scottish Government will release updated guidance for the higher education and colleges sector, following the announcement of their intention for all Local Authority areas to move to Level 0 with effect from 19 July, with physical distancing restrictions expected to last until 9 August.  

However, as indicated in the recent communication by the Principal regarding learning and teaching, we intend to deliver AY 2021/22 in a blended learning format.

  1. At the current time, our approaches to planning include:
    1. Faculties/Departments/Schools have ownership of the detail of their blended learning plans, which will include their timetabling requirements and occupancy coordination;
    2. Extended teaching room transitions will be in place, with events finishing and starting 10 minutes before and after the hour to manage people flow;
    3. The Strategic Timetabling Group - which has Faculty/Department/School engagement - is working with our Estates Space Planning colleagues to support timetabling. 
  1. The on-campus safety measures which are in place include:
    1. physical distancing;
    2. the use of face coverings, hand sanitation, additional cleaning and managed egress/ingress;
    3. occupancy monitoring;
    4. and, the ULab QR code system for contact tracing in teaching rooms.
  1. It is also intended that the COVID-19 signage will remain in place to remind students and staff of appropriate physical distancing. These measures will be kept under review throughout the Semester.
  1. The logistics for co-ordinating staff working arrangements and risk assessments will be undertaken in line with the overall responsibility of the Faculty/Professional Services Executive Leadership:
    1. For Professional Services this will sit with either the CFO, USCO, CDIO or CCO and will cascade to PS Directors as appropriate for occupancy coordination, local logistics and risk assessment.
    2. For Faculties this will sit with the Executive Dean and will cascade to HoDs/HoSs as appropriate for occupancy coordination, local logistics and risk assessment.

The planning principles detailed above will be reviewed four weeks after the start of Semester, including Welcome and Development Week, to help further inform the arrangements for blended learning and assessment for the remainder of the Semester.

This review will take into account prevalent Scottish Government guidance at the time, alongside factors in the wider external environment.

The Executive Team will have oversight of this review and any revisions will be communicated to all staff.


Professor S J MacGregor