Comprehensive planning is underway as Teesside University prepares to re-open its campus to staff and students.
Since mid-March, the university has been in a phase of restricted operations, with staff working remotely and students able to access a full complement of online learning and support services.
However, as of July 6, the university officially entered Phase 4 of it its five-phase countdown to return to normal working operations.
This new phase of recovery operations will see a small number of key staff working on campus to complete the necessary health and safety and regulatory requirements ahead of further re-opening of the campus.
A vast programme of work is now underway to implement the measures set out in the university’s institutional risk assessment, including designing one-way routes across campus and reconfiguring internal spaces to allow for social distancing.
The university’s roadmap to recovery then moves through a further three stages, although the timing of these remains reliant on Government guidance:
• Phase 3 – Limited operations – Some staff in academic and student-facing roles return to campus, initially to support deferred students. Some buildings will begin to open on an appointment system only.
• Phase 2 – Hybrid operations – More students will return to campus for some on-campus learning. Non student-facing staff will remain working from home. There will be phased opening of additional buildings.
• Phase 1 – Regular operations – Teaching will take place without social distancing and all staff will be able to access campus, with regular opening of all buildings.
Confirmation of the move to the next phase will only be given in line with government and public health guidance, with extensive risk assessments conducted throughout the recovery process.
Students arriving at the university in September can expect some changes to their student and learning experience, but can be assured that their health and wellbeing is paramount, with a comprehensive online induction planned, and measures to ensure staggered arrival times, including an international meet and greet service.
The university’s Hybrid Learning Model commits to a weekly average minimum of four-hours on-campus learning and prioritises access to specialist facilities and equipment considered critical to the delivery of each course. Students will be able to complete other learning flexibly, remotely.
The university has also taken steps to enable access to technology. The majority of full-time undergraduate students qualify for a free iPad device through the award-winning Future-Facing Learning scheme and to supplement this, additional loan devices have been made available along with remote access to specialist software.
There are also new services such as click-and-collect library loans planned, along with a huge increase in the number of learning resources available online.
Even the social aspects of university life have been considered, with a range of virtual events and activities in development, including a health and wellbeing offering with virtual workouts and more.
The Students’ Union continues to provide a variety of services online, including membership of the many popular student societies.
In the university’s on-campus student accommodation, new enhanced cleaning regimes in shared spaces will be implemented, and the number of rooms occupied will be limited, to ensure social distancing can be maintained.
There are also plans in place to fully support any students who need to self-isolate, including international students, who under current regulations will need to complete a 14-day quarantine period.
Vice-chancellor and chief executive, professor Paul Croney, said: “I am very proud of the way that Team Teesside has responded to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our staff and students have displayed huge amounts of agility, patience and innovation as we implemented rapid changes to ensure continuity of learning whilst prioritising the health, safety and wellbeing of our university community.
“As a result of this, I am delighted we are now in a position where we can look at beginning to re-open areas of our campus.
“We continue to ensure that every precaution is taken to ensure the safety and well-being of our campus community and look forward to welcoming our new students in September.”
For more information visit: tees.ac.uk/sections/about/university/coronavirus_campus_phases.cfm