Back in March 2020, following the COVID-19 outbreak, all universities across the globe were forced to close. With September fast approaching and plans for Universities to reopen underway, many students are unsure of what to expect from their university experience going forward.
Universities are working hard to ensure that the health, safety and wellbeing of students and staff are of utmost importance when they open their doors in September, without compromising the quality of teaching and student experience. It is important to note that measures may vary for each university.
So, what can students expect when they return to campus?
Reduced face-to-face teaching
Whilst universities plan to move all large-scale lectures online initially, many will run seminars, workshops and lab sessions face-to-face where it is safe to do so. However, these lessons will differ from what students are used to with smaller groups and social distancing being adhered to. It is likely that the majority of assessments will also be carried out online for the time being.
Enhanced hygiene and cleaning protocols
Following their return in September, it will be the new norm for students to carry around face masks and hand sanitiser. Regular hand-washing will be required, and extra precaution should be taken by staff and students to ensure a safe environment for all. You can expect to see cleaners around the campus more frequently carrying out vigilant cleaning regimens. Perspex screens will be positioned where face-to-face contact is necessary, and one-way-systems are likely to be adopted to minimise risks in high-traffic areas.
Staying social whilst social distancing
Freshers week is an integral part of the student experience and is a way for students to meet new people and make friends. With mass-gathering restrictions in place, fresher’s week 2020 will be a little different to previous years, which may be a daunting prospect for new students. Rest assured that many universities are working hard to create a programme of socially inclusive and physically distanced welcome activities, social events and societies that will allow students to integrate into university life comfortably and safely.
When universities welcome students back onto the campus from September 2020 onwards, things are going to be very different to what we are used to in the higher education sector. However, students can be assured that their health, safety, and wellbeing will be the top priority for their university, without being prevented from getting the most out of their university experience.