Surrey SabbCast

Return to Campus Special

August 27, 2020 University of Surrey Students' Union Season 1 Episode 4
Surrey SabbCast
Return to Campus Special
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This week we talk all about coming back to campus and the sabbs are joined by

  • Lucy Evans, Chief Student Officer
  • Deborah Lawson, Silver Recovery Group Chair
  • Stephen Wells, Dir Estates, Facilities & Commercial Services

To answer the questions you submitted to the Student Forum this week

In this episode we cover

  • Recorded lectures
  • Expected attendance
  • Face coverings
  • Social distancing on campus 
  • Quarantine rules in accommodation
  • PPE in labs and seminars

Plus lots more!

This transcript is automatically generated and will contain errors

Welcome to the Surrey SabbCast
news from the University of Surrey Students Union, all about your student life and what your elected officers have been doing for you this week, representing you across the University of Surrey. 
Find out or find us on Instagram and Facebook at Sarah union. 
Hello, and welcome to a special edition of asare sopcast imachining. President Lizzie Watterson. And this week I'm joined as usual by obps Aaron, Maya and Izzy. Unfortunately, Theo can't be with us this week. And I'm really, really pleased to say that we're joined by Lucy Evans and Deborah Dawson who are asked to introduce themselves in a moment. This week, we had a student forum where we invited you as students to 
ask any questions that you had. And today we're going to go through though some of those in more detail to let you know what life will be like on campus when you arrive in just a few weeks time. So welcome, Lucien, Debbie. It's great to have you. And could you just give us a little overview of what your roles are in university? Yeah, thanks, Lizzie. Hi, everyone. I'm Lucy Evans. I'm the Chief Student officer of the university. That means I look after all the support services for students before they arrive like admissions and recruitment. And then when you arrive through the your academic hives, my sorry, hive, well being careers, and so on. So that's my role. And I'm really pleased to be here to your questions. Hi, I'm Debra Lawson. I'm really pleased to be here too. I'm director of health operations for health and medical sciences, and also the silver commander for our COVID-19 response. And so I'm here to answer some of those questions that you 
have about how we are setting ourselves up on campus. So we'll kick off on the topic of the past six months of COVID-19. And the keys question that's come from law students and is around Wall Street is regularly be tested for COVID-19. And how will the university work to make sure that they're on top of being tested? If they will? Okay, so, Deborah here and I'll take that one if I may. And we're not planning yet to 
test students off staff as they come in onto campus when they return, or through a regular process. However, we're keeping our eye on UK Government guidance and advice and we are looking into that possibility. So in the next few weeks, there is a possibility that we'll recommend that but at the moment that isn't really the plan. Lucy, I don't know if you have anything you want it 
To APA, no, no, just to reiterate that with everything that we're doing here, we're just keeping things under review. And we'll let you know if we need to change anything. But that's where we're at the moment going in, obviously, everything most of the things that we discussed today are brought to all COVID-19. Obviously, no one's ever done this before. So it's all very new to most of us. But obviously, Lucy and a huge part of your role is around teacher learning. And so a lot of questions that we have from students is, what is their requirement to pay for fees if they're being taught in a hybrid way, particularly international students that are paying more? How would he invest in make sure that they are receiving their money's worth in terms of education? 
Absolutely, there's no, that's really, really fair question. And I think what I really want to 
encourage all our students to think about is the hybrid education has been put in to try and keep you as safe as possible and also to recognise 
Some students may have trouble coming onto campus for the start of the year. And you will have seen details about our late arrival points, and the exceptions that you can apply for those late arrival points. But we're really, really encouraging our students to come to campus, whether you're a new student or a returning student, because we think that offers the most the best possible and student experience. And so we're not planning to provide any reduction in fees. We're confident that the work of our excellent staff have done to ensure that we continue to offer a really, really high quality education, and all the adaptations we put in place to make sure that you're safe in the face of the pandemic, but they won't impact on the value and the quality of the education you receive. So you will have as much as we can offer you in terms of face to face, but also to make sure that you're not in an unsafe environment. We've got some things that we'll be offering online and so any reduction in fees 
With directly impact on our ability to offer the standard of education that we're proud of. So it is really important that we continue to offer this to have those fees in place. We believe that you will have an excellent student experience, it will be different. And but we will still have an excellent spirit choose and experience and the quality and value in your teaching. Following on from that, can you reassure students that all of their lectures and seminars be recorded? And there's been a slight change in the way that lectures are going to be delivered? So whether you like this one a little bit more? Yeah, of course, again, very, very fair question. And so the ethos of hybrid education is that in almost every case, that we will make sure that you can access lectures and seminars online as well as in person and that's for those people that can't come onto campus. 
Or in the case of, for example, lectures, which we're not doing this year, or this semester, I should say 
So we're not doing lectures in person. But we are providing those through captured content that will be said that is in effect recorded and will be available on sorry, learn. We're not by default recording every seminar so that that isn't something that we've put in place for everyone. So if you're accessing your seminar online, and then you do have to do that live in moments, so that's how it so that's how you will access your seminars. There may be some recordings, but that's not the case for everyone. What I would say is if students do have any questions about accessing recordings, for whatever reason, then they should contact their specific module leader about that. And so in essence, lectures recorded absolutely entirely. Everything else will be in person or online in the moment. I hope that makes sense. I will thank you very much, JC just one quick follow on from that in terms of international students 
That would obviously be studying from home that can't access and with time zones and things like that, what will be the requirement for students that might be, for example, in Australia, so they have a complete flip? Would they be required to kind of be up in the middle of the night during the seminar? Is that the kind of scenario where they get in contact with their tutors? Yeah, I think we have tried to think about that, we probably won't have got it perfect. Also, I suppose for some people, some people function better at night than others. But I do recognise that that is something that students will be worried about, I think where they are and if they are stuck somewhere, and we've agreed to a late arrival point and therefore there'll be accessing online and it does affect them in terms of their and their time difference, and they should contact their module leader and we'll do all we can to help them one question. I've sort of had that it's been brought to me and I wanted to just ask you guys while you're here is one of the concerns was can a 
15 minute bite size lecture video really cover the content of an entire lecture, because some lectures do take up, they're an hour for a reason. And is there going to be any lectures where there's going to be a multitude of 10 minute videos to explain multiple topics within that single lecture? To give me a technical question, there are one which will probably, if I'm honest, will probably vary depending on the subjects what I would say is interest rate my my earlier points, which is that we've absolutely assessed all the learning and teaching that we've put in place to make sure that you are access you can access the content that you would normally be able to access and that we will give you all the teaching that you were expecting is just in a different way. And so thinking about some bite sized chunks, sometimes that's actually a better way to learn and take on information will be supplemented in different ways by what the lecturer has set up. So I'm calling 
confident that all the things that we've put in place and will still provide everybody with the education that they're expecting it just in a slightly different format and maybe you've been used to before and thing on the Coronavirus, course changes website. We've tried to capture some of that. But I think if students do have specific questions about what's on there and about how that content is relayed, then please do ask your module readers because they have been spending an awful lot of time preparing all of this making sure that we do make sure that all the students have the the teaching that they expect and deserve. So if there are any questions by what is delivered, please do let us know. And thank you. So just reminder to students out there. And if you do have any feedback around your academics and please use your course wraps, and so of course reps have a really good kind of access to members of staff and so probably one for you, Debbie. So how will sofa distances work for students who must partake in practical 
For example labs and and also has there been consideration around how to support those students in practical courses, especially in effect to mess around their placement. Okay. So I've recently found another technical question for me. And what I would say is we have a very competent placement team on site who have been working really hard over this period, to make sure that our placement and capacity is affected. We've been very lucky that all of our level six or year three students have managed to complete the practical work out on placement, even during this covid situation, which is a credit to the school I have to say, and the teaching staff in there who have worked really, really hard with regard to the physical act. 
liberties and clinical skills work where you require students 
are wearing that pp. And so we are anticipating that there's going to be little impact to our students in that area. Obviously, we'll have to wait and see how things develop. But we've had very good processes and protocols in place to deal with those types of things. We have similar issues to manage within the School of Veterinary Medicine. So our veterinary students also have to go out and placements. But like I say, they're working really hard to make sure that students aren't going to be impacted negatively by what's been going on. 
Would you mind if I come in as young I think, I think I think just to reassure students that particularly around sort of labs and special faces, whether it be GSA or whether it's a language lab, or as you as Debbie was saying about federalism 
So no health sciences, will will. There's an awful lot of work that's gone into place, as Debbie said in terms of that safety measures, but still for students to be able to undertake the lab work that they need. And I think that the other thing is particularly for those students who are returning, they obviously know their technicians and their demonstrators that they work with, they will talk all of this through with them in a lot of detail when they arrive looking now, kind of wider Campus Life obviously we've looked at their specific courses and McLeod work and placements, but that's where the whole student body on opens up to either Lucio Debbie, how we'll navigate in the campus work with social distancing. Obviously, there's a lot of buildings and stuff with quite tight spaces and those pinch points. So how will we make sure that our students are safe in terms of social distancing our stopping point, from around about March April when we knew we were entering the recovery phase of this code pandemic. 
has been to reduce density of people on campus. And initially by asking people to work from home, and we're still asking our professional services teams and some of our researchers, those who weren't need to be on campus to support our students to continue to work from home, if that's possible. We have obviously we've talked about the hybrid teaching model that will enable students to work on campus, off campus online, and with 
tutors face to face. But if I just talk about some of the COVID secure measures that we've put in place, so over the past three months, we've spent a significant amount of time installing things I'll give you I'll give you some examples of the things that we've done. So we've got everything is everything that we do is managed through a formal risk. 
assessment process and overseen by the University Health and Safety Directorate, and university biological safety officer who's responsible for this type of event. So we've got all the floor signage, way markers, lots and lots of signage to encourage people to socially distance not to stop and in corridors to prevent and dense density of people forming. And so we've got all of that in place in the classrooms, we reduce density, and so we've gone down to about 50% capacity. We've got perfect screens in place 
to protect students where risk assessment demonstrates that required lots of hand sanitizer gels and disinfectant wipes for students to use to wipe any desk areas and the same for staff. Were also required 
At the University sorry, and for all staff and students to wear face coverings in shared indoor spaces or environments. And we're doing that we've taken that step because our risk assessments show that they've gotten will be a precaution for us to minimise any risk of transmission that's landed very well with our current students and staff. And we hope that 
the people will take that on board and the weather face covering where they can. I mentioned earlier that if PPA was required, so that's slightly different to own face scoring, if we if if you're working closely in the laboratory, for instance, you may be required to wear a PP mask and we will be supporting that making sure you've got everything that is needed. And so there's a lot more 
And lots of things that have been put in place to ensure that all of our staff and students are working in a safe environment. And that we are following the UK Government COVID secure guidance, so none of our spaces will not be COVID secure. And it's been a huge task to do that. But we're really seeing some of some of the work now that that's been rolled out across campus with and and the spaces look really great. And we're getting some excellent feedback. We've got mechanisms set up for students and staff to give us feedback when they start returning to campus so that we are continually looking at improving and those measures that we've got in place, so I hope that people will feel assured and reassured that when they come back on campus or start at the university 
So that they can be safe, and that we're doing everything we can to manage that. I'm living on campus at the moment. So I've seen the signage going up, and it's been working effectively so far, like, I feel safe on my trips down to simply fresh. When passing other students and stuff on campus, people seem to be, you know, vigilant and keeping to the guidelines, which is really positive and, you know, showing that they're, you know, making sense to be where we're seeing them. And I hope that this will continue and the main populace is back in a few weeks time. And Lucy following on from that a little bit, obviously, Debbie mentioned around face coverings and things like that, and I know the SEM University working quite closely and yourself and the well being team around how we support students who can't physically wear masks. I don't know if you're happy to elaborate a little bit more on what the university plans to do regarding that. Yeah, this is that's fine. We're still working that through but very happy to give you sort of sense of things. Obviously, we're aware that 
Students and staff will have hidden disabilities, or reasons, particularly in this case where they can't wear a face covering. But we want to be able to support that. And when people make people feel self conscious about that 
there are some schemes that allow you to without overtly saying, I have a disability and therefore can't wear this, but want to signal in some way 
that they can't wear a face covering. And there are initiatives in place that we're looking at to be able to signal that. 
But there is also as many of you may have seen government initiatives of how you can sort of have a card in your wallet or your purse or just on you, which you can reach you just make a note of the fact that you do have a disability and won't be able to wear a face covering or other reasons. I mean, that is the thing. These initiatives that we've been looking at, are not necessarily just about face coverings, but just about the fact that people do have hidden disabilities. 
I want to signal that in some way but in a very respectful way. So that's something that we're we're just finalising at the moment. It's been great working with you Lizzie on that. And so we're hopefully be able to share that with people really soon as possible. Thank you, Lucien any students that do have concerns or queries around wearing a face mask, and don't get hesitate to get in contact with DSU or with the university and we can signpost you in the right direction, but we are supporting as best as we can. And we're going to move on to another highly topical subject from our students and it's all about accommodation. And obviously, a combination is going to look very different this year. 
got us quite a few of the questions that they had regarding kind of socialising with Don flatmates and can they go home at the weekend, things like that. So I'm, I'll open it up to whoever would like to put them in that one. So if we start with socialise, we love flatmates. And how you 
Estela here. Okay, and could I invite the well, who is our Director of estate, and facilities and commercial services? And who's responsible to accommodate for accommodation? To answer that question? Yes. Thanks, Debbie. And I'm Stephen wells. As Debbie said, I'm the director of estates facilities and commercial service. So in my portfolio is things like obviously accommodation, but things like building maintenance new projects. So my team with Lucy's team just created, obviously my sorry, nest, which is, if you haven't seen it, yet, it's worth a look actually. And in accommodation, so obviously, we need to remember that accommodation for our students is their home. And obviously, we need to make sure that we do get very much a home experience for for them and for their flatmates. The challenges is that, you know, what we need to do is we need to make sure that we protect our students and our staff when on campus. So what we're doing with a couple 
variation is, is that where we will use a combination as we normally do for years. So this would be effectively flats ranging from sort of clusters of up from four bedrooms up to say 14, which is our largest clusters. And, and what we would we would insist with students is is that actually it's only themselves that will be in their flat and in their cluster so we won't be allowing students to bring guests round to bring family members round. But that doesn't mean that students can't socialise outside of the combination following social distancing measures and washing their hands using the alcohol gel provides on campus and we're really lucky at the University of Surrey as most of you know that we've got a very large campus we have lots of outdoor space that will enable the social distance socialising to take place, which is an important part of university life. Some are kind of following on from that. So a lot of students that we're going to be receiving I'm in September international students so is it possible for students to quarantine for two weeks prior to the start of term any unit 
combination and theory. Let's take that one as well. 
Yeah, absolutely. So students can come up to 14 days before their course starts obviously, if they're an international student, they will need to quarantine in line with the current government guidelines. What we are doing is we're we're making sure that the new students whether international students or other students are as welcome as we possibly can. So when they come into the accommodation after collecting their key, they will go into their quarantine period, but there will be some things in the room that we wouldn't normally provide providing for this year. So the first thing we provide is a pack with things like alcohol gel, hand wipes, you know, face covering, you know, but what we'll also do is we'll also provide an information pack and I think the most important thing we're doing this year with the Student Union actually is we're setting up a buddy system so when you're new to the University of So you will have an allocated buddy that you will be able to contact on the basis of if you need food. If you need any support. 
So you feel part of the sorry community very early on from the first day because we know it's going to be a challenge for students to have to self isolate and quarantine after the 14 days. But there will be obviously the sense of well being and other support mechanisms that we have to make sure our students feel well supported during their quarantine period. And the Students Union as well. We're also very keen to get students feeling that community spirit from the get go, including those who are arriving with us early. So we're working at the moment to produce a timetable of virtual events going on in the two weeks leading up to welcome week, so that any student who has quarantining has something going on every day. I know how nervous I was moving to university so I can only imagine how nerve racking it would be to not only be moving to potentially a new country, but to also be spending your first two weeks in isolation. So we'll be posting soon a mixture of virtual meet and greets activities organised by clubs and societies, live Q and A's which will hopefully help those teams 
feel welcomed. And part of the sorry community. One of the things we're also doing at is that, for instance, Lucy and I are teaming up to sort of produce a support covert anxiety pack, to sort of help highlight what's in place to deal with COVID related issues on campus. And just how to sort of feel better and what to do in the case that you are feeling anxious about any of the COVID related means. So I had a question about the 14 day quarantine for international students because as you as you know, there are different entry points because some students may not be able to come in the next couple weeks. And if a student is going to come later in the year and they come from abroad, what that mean that they have to quarantine for 14 days or with the whole class have to quarantine. Can I come in there and just on the point about late arrivals. Thanks, Maya. That's a good opportunity here. So as I said at the beginning, we really try to encourage as many students to come to Canada 
As soon as they possibly can, but we do recognise that there are exceptions and they, they may not be able to come. And when you get a student registers or re registers, there's a chance to sign up to release arrival point. And then we'll get in contact with you and say, help us understand why why you need to sign up for that later, I will point and then we can confirm or not. So we're, we're trying to take every supportive approach that but also with that, and that really, that really strong encouragement for students to come and join us. We do think that when you come you'll really see all the stuff that we've put in place. And you just feel better about being here. And as Aaron said, and then when you are we can we can really support you when you're here if you have any concerns. 
I'm sorry, my I forgotten what you said in terms of currency. 
So I was just asking that obviously students arriving at a later point from abroad would they need to quarantine and how would they do that in their flats because obviously the kitchen is shared and sometimes 
That's the bathroom is also shared with the whole flat have to go quarantine or would we take them to a different accommodation for that 14 day period? Sure. Yeah. I so that was where I was probably going to refer to Steve, because I my understanding is is that it wouldn't be the whole flat but I'll let Steve provide the details. Thanks, Dave. Yeah, absolutely. What what we'll do is is the point that Debbie Ray's data is, is that we would use a risk assessment process. So what we would do is obviously, our health and safety team would do a risk assessment, but currently at the at the current time is, is that only the individual should would need to isolate for the 14 day quarantine period, they obviously would do the flatmates would need to be conscious, they would have to sign on the door that says they are actually quarantine which is part of their agreed process. But But of course, we would need to just make sure that we've got additional cleaning materials which we're providing anyway, for students to clean in between where they're using different things as if, for example, they're shared toilet facilities for example. So 
But also, we need to remember that we've got very different types of accommodation. So some students may become from international maybe going into a studio flat that has its own self contained facility. So in that situation, the risk is is potentially mitigated in some of the other flats, obviously, and based on availability, we would just need to do that risk assessment to understand what that means. But at the current time, the government guidelines is that you don't need to quarantine the whole flat, you would just need to quarantine the individual student for that 14 day period. And this is really quite a good opportunity to chat about the buddy system, and the university and the union are looking at collaborating on. So we're very aware that students in quarantine can't necessarily do all the things they need to for example, receive food and shopping and things like that. And so if you do have concerns, please do contact us at the university and we can refer you on to the past and so you can have that support, while you are quarantining 
So worst case scenario, and someone in a 14 person flat is tested positive for covid 19. Will the whole flat have to quarantine? And how will that process work in terms of students reporting and then other students know, and the positive test result. Okay, so so if we have a situation where a student is exhibiting potential symptoms of code, what we would do is obviously, we would ask the student to go to try and get a test, which would be the first thing, if they've got symptoms, what we would need to make sure that we protect the whole flap. So what we'd need to do is we need to make sure that the whole flat would need to go into quarantine for that period until they have the COVID test. If the Cobra test is negative, obviously the you know that that's that's a you know, a good thing. So therefore, the rest of the flat including that individual obviously, can come out of quarantine. But if the worst case situation happens, where 
student is receives a positive covid test, and the rest of the flat would need to corrente. Obviously, what we do is we then be relying on effectively, you know, within the flat and within the cluster, obviously, they need to make sure they've got, you know, cleaning materials, etc. And if they if they haven't gotten them, we as the university would provide them for them. But what we also need to do is to make sure the buddy system is really working. So, you know, in the worst case, where you've got 14 students counting is how they're going to get fed, how they're going to be supported. And we within the university would look to do that with a budding system. Okay, that can that and just add as well, but it might be reassuring for 
our students to hear that we do have formal contingency plans in place for a situation where we do get a positive case with our staff or our students. And that's all fully documented. We've and so all of those protocols 
And processes that are all in place to support students should that situation occur. And we're very confident we do desktop exercises. We do live exercises to test those plans. And, and they've certainly proved to work extremely well, so far during this pandemic, pandemic. So we're very pleased that we've got those processes in place, and to just wrap up a little bit, and a lot of students are obviously arriving and as mentioned, as Louise mentioned, some will be arriving at movie and we can but some will be arriving at those later rival points. And some practical lessons from shooters is around kind of police and GP registration, kind of when where can they go about being registered at the GP surgery, obviously, the GP surgery and close its books last year all those books be reopened for incoming freshers and if they needed to please register 
Thanks, Lizzie. Yeah, really good practical questions really important. So GP registration? Absolutely. We always encourage that every year that students sign up. For GP here, you may not think you need it, but it's always useful to have that. And we have a GP practice on campus. And they are they are currently open for registrations. But we also have practices that are throughout Guilford. And so it may be many of you will be living off campus, and so your local surgery might be a better option for you. All GP registrations at the moment are virtual. And we will provide you with information about how to do that on your arrival. And I believe it's currently available on our welcome website at the moment. And that's not just for new students, that's for any students really. So that's just sorry that AC UK forward slash welcome and that will provide you with information about how to register for your GP online. 
But I'm sure if you have any questions, I'm sure the SU are there to help. But also please remember my sorry, hive is also available for any questions like that. So that's GP registration. In terms of police registration, if you need to do that, we'll be running registration sessions. We'll be rolling them at the beginning of the year. So hang on, we're doing the seventh 14th and 21st of October, the seventh of November, the ninth of December and the 11th of December. Those that information again is available on the welcome website and through the hive. They those registrations will be available from eight in the morning and two hoppus three at night and they will be available in the hive to do that. 
That was a lot of information. But as I say please always ask my sorry, hive or on our website, which will have all those details available for you. So and that is the end of our podcast and the end of covering a popular question. 
students had our forum. So I want to say a huge thank you to Debbie Lucy and Steven for joining us. And insights from university has been really, really good and will really really aid our students in, feel more relaxed about returned to campus. And before we wrap up, I'll open the floor up to anyone that wants to say any final words really devastating. I don't know if you would say anything on your SOPs Can I just would I be able to just say it as if thank you for inviting us to this. And thank you to all the subs for this opportunity. And we are genuinely really excited to be reopened the campus and we really confident as Debbie has well outlined all the things that we've put in place. And as easy as talked about being on the campus and seeing it in person, it will make a difference. And so we really, really look forward to welcoming you and also getting your feedback when you do arrive. And so please always feel free. 
To tell us if you've got any concerns and we're here to support you, but thank you. 
Well, thank you all again for joining us and, and we look forward to seeing you next week or next summer. 
That's everything this week from your sabs. Join us on Instagram and Facebook where you can see what's happening until next week's edition. If you want to get in touch, find us on Microsoft Teams, Instagram or email us on sorry 365 
Transcribed by 

Covid Testing
Recorded lectures
PPE in teaching
Social distancing on campus
Police & Doctor registration