The return to university is likely to be a very different experience for this year’s group of students whether you’re a fresher, returning or post graduate, from online learning to one-way systems. Instead of parties, gatherings and group sessions university life is now a life of isolation and loneliness, you’ll quickly learn how to meet new friends online rather than in person. This new university life could be undertaken from home without the huge expense. Many of us are still trying to figure out the changes to university life this academic year so we have outlined some information you may need to know before the term starts. Please note these changes have been put in place to keep yourself, fellow students, staff and the community safe.
• Working remotely
Staff and students will be required to work remotely with only essential staff on campus. There will be restricted access to some of the facilities and the majority of buildings within the campus will be closed.
• Changes to learning
Many universities are opting for online lectures this Autumn, video communication sites like Microsoft Teams and Zoom are becoming the norm for a lot of students.
• Virtual freshers’ week
This year’s freshers’ week will be virtual events that students will attend without having to leave their bedroom halls.
• One-way systems
Walking around the campus may be different, universities are imposing a one-way pedestrian system to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
• Wearing a mask inside the campus
Like every other public building it is compulsory to wear a face mask inside all university buildings unless you’re exempt from health reasons.
• Social distancing on campus
Social distancing is key when on campus, keeping 2 metres apart from those you do not live with where possible. Some universities have installed Perspex screens to keep social distancing in place.
• Halls segregated by course topic
Some universities are segregating halls by course topics allowing students to stay in their bubbles both at home and whilst learning reducing interaction with people from other bubbles.
• Stricter hygiene measures
Universities have introduced enhanced cleaning measures including more frequent cleaning of rooms and shared areas, also increased availability of handwashing and sanitisation facilities.
• Effective ventilation
Improved ventilation has been introduced to help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, opening windows and doors will also increase the supply of fresh air flow.
• Reducing congestion
Student timetables have been modified to stagger arrival and departure times reducing the number of students coming in and out the building at any one time.
Still looking for the ultimate student experience?
Here are Benito’s top tips for the new ways of uni life
• Work out
Stay fit and healthy by signing up to your local gym or simply exercise outdoors
• Online quiz nights
Arrange a fun quiz night over Teams or Zoom with your friends
• Drinking games
Clubs are closed but that doesn’t stop you from drinking with your roommates
• Movie nights
Plan a weekly movie night with your household – don’t forget the snacks!
• Join societies
Discover and get involved with your university societies
• Check in with family
Organise regular FaceTime calls with family and friends
Hopefully this has given you some inspiration on how to utilise your time whilst keeping positive. It’s difficult to say how long these restrictions will last however its possible they could be eased in the second term of university if the situation improves. Be mindful of your mental health during these times, Public Health England have published Guidance on mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19. Charities such as Mind exist to make sure no one has to face a mental health problem alone.
Despite all this, the good news is there is light at the end of the tunnel, students have been told they can go home at Christmas! How many will return if the current situation continues?
Call Mind on 03001233393
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