University of Bristol to reopen for new academic year

The university has confirmed it will be welcoming new and returning students for the start of the autumn term

The University of Bristol has followed Bolton, Swansea, Sheffield Hallam and Nottingham Trent universities in announcing it will reopen to students for the 2020/21 academic year.

The autumn term will commence on 5 October for all students.

Students have been told they will receive information about when they can access their accommodation “in the next few weeks” and to expect a “period of support and induction” to help them acclimatise to a new blended learning approach.

‘High-quality online activities’

Teaching at the University of Bristol will begin the same week that term starts, with on-campus teaching for postgraduate taught programmes beginning on 19 October.

On-campus teaching will take place in small groups – described by the university as supervisions, lab classes, seminars and tutorials – coupled with online lectures and other “high-quality online activities”.

Asked by University Business how many students might constitute a small group, a spokesperson for the University of Bristol said more detail would follow in due course: “This is an evolving situation and we wanted to make sure our staff and students were aware of the preliminary plan about how next year could look as soon as possible.”

Research degrees will continue to be “based on close personal supervision by renowned researchers” in person or online.

Safety guidelines

The university underlined that it would follow all national safety guidelines.

Social distancing measures will be in place across teaching and study spaces, halls of residence, laboratories, cafes, meeting rooms, sports facilities, libraries, support services and outdoor spaces. Students can expect dedicated entrances, one-way systems and distance markers.

Buildings will be cleaned and disinfected regularly to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission, and there will be extra hand washing and sanitising facilities.

Students will receive personal protective equipment (PPE) where needed, such as during clinical teaching and in research facilities.

We are also working closely with SU colleagues to focus on maintaining and strengthening our bonds as a community, even if we are not able to be physically together as in more normal times

The provider has reassured international students that – along with any other students who are unable to travel to Bristol – they be given access to an online programme of study if they cannot start the academic year in person on 5 October. It also said that those missing the start of term due to delays leaving their home country would still be accommodated.

“We are fully committed to delivering an outstanding academic experience to our students,” Professor Hugh Brady, University of Bristol vice-chancellor and president wrote to students.

“Welcome Week activity is being developed in partnership with colleagues in our Students’ Union (SU) and will ensure new students will still get an exciting introduction to life in Bristol.

“We are also working closely with SU colleagues to focus on maintaining and strengthening our bonds as a community, even if we are not able to be physically together as in more normal times.”

You might also like: Universities vow to be ‘safe and open’ by September

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