Update on campus safety


To: All students
From: Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Janet Beer
Subject: Update on campus safety

Dear Student,

I hope you are beginning to settle in to your schedule and that you are enjoying our welcome week activities. Despite the challenges and uncertainties presented by the pandemic, we are delighted to be able to welcome you this term whether you are a new or returning student. We are absolutely committed to making sure you have a good experience, both in terms of your learning and the range of other opportunities available to you.

I am sure that you will have been following the recent coverage of universities in the media and you might be feeling worried and confused by some of the things you are reading and hearing. I’d like to be clear that you will receive official information about any significant issues that affect you directly from the University’s own channels. We will email you and post information on the student intranet and on the University’s social media accounts. We’ve also tried to answer your current questions on our online hub so please do check here regularly.

One of the stories circulating which may be causing you some concern is about university students potentially being asked to stay on campus over Christmas to stop the spread of the disease. I would like to reassure you that with the full support of the Director of Public Health for Liverpool, the University will be providing COVID-19 testing for all students who wish to travel home for Christmas.

We would not wish to see any student unnecessarily prevented from returning home at this very special time of the year, but we are obviously aware of the public health risk. Therefore, we will work with our experts to provide a robust testing regime for all students who can and wish to travel, providing reassurance to you, your families, and local communities. We will be able to provide further details of how this will operate closer to the end of this academic term.

Safety measures and COVID-19 testing on campus

You recently received an email from Professor Gavin Brown, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, where he gave an overview of the safety measures in place on campus, including our new COVID-secure buildings, teaching schedules and much more. Remember that you can view these details anytime on our new dedicated campus safety hub.

We are offering all students and staff who experience symptoms of COVID-19 access to free swab testing on campus. Our on-campus testing service represents a significant investment from the University to keep our University community safe and to reduce demand on NHS services. Testing is currently limited to students and staff who are displaying symptoms of COVID-19. It is open 9am to 5pm every day and you can book an appointment online.

Four Tier response to COVID safety

We all know that the course of the pandemic is unpredictable and we must be flexible and prepared to respond quickly to any significant changes. To support this, all universities have been asked by the Department for Education to develop plans for an escalation – which could be at local or national level – in which further changes would be made to the delivery of teaching and other services.

These plans are based on a four-tier system which ranges from our current position of Tier 1, a mixture of online and face to face teaching, and allows for escalation up to Tier 4 where all but a very small, specified range of teaching activities for predominantly clinical programmes would move online.

Any decision to move between these tiers will be informed by the ongoing engagement we have with our local partners, particularly the public health expertise of the city council and Public Health England, and of course any request from Government. I cannot emphasise enough the determination we share with our partners across Liverpool to contain the spread of the virus in the city. We will continue to work closely with them throughout and make our decisions, in partnership, based on the best data and expertise available.

If we need to move to Tier 2 in the near future, the main change will be a further reduction in face-to-face teaching for most, but not all, students. Every student will continue to receive some teaching in person and, even where further lessons move online, every effort would be made to deliver the same overall quantity of live, synchronous teaching. I hope it goes without saying that, in the event of any decision to move between these tiers, you will be informed promptly and directly by us.

Containing the virus

In addition to the extensive measures we have put in place on campus and in halls of residence, we are also reliant on every member of our community staying up to date with and adhering to the latest national and regional guidance. From wearing a face covering, unless you are exempt, to hand washing and social distancing, there are important steps each of us can take to keep one another safe.

We have a responsibility not only to members of our university community but to our fellow residents in Liverpool and so I do also want to take this opportunity to remind you that whilst you can form a new household with those in your flat or house and socialise with them, nobody in Merseyside is currently permitted to socialise with other households either in their homes or gardens. It is important that each of us follows this guidance in order to do all we can to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

Finally, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions which are not being addressed. Your feedback is very important to us and we want to make sure that you have all the necessary information to be in a position to enjoy the campus and city, safely and securely, while respecting the restrictions currently in place.

Once again, whether you are a new or returning student, a warm welcome and best of luck for the new term.

All good wishes