Academic Year 20/21 – Communication to Students

Published on 27 May 2020

Latest student announcement from Professor Blair Grubb, Vice-Principal Education

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Dear student,

We are approaching the end of the current academic year, and most of you will now have completed your exams and assessments. I want to thank you for your patience as we moved to online learning and assessment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. I also, of course, hope your hard work is rewarded when your results arrive.

Planning for the new Academic Year 2020/21

The University is planning to re-open our campuses in good time for the start of the next academic year, with teaching to start from October 5 2020.

We encourage all students who are able to travel to make plans to come to Dundee in good time to resume your studies.

We anticipate that the UK and Scottish governments will continue with the requirement for some social distancing in the new academic year. We will continue to monitor the wider situation and how it may affect us and you, providing updates as things change.

We very much look forward to welcoming you back, and in preparation for the new academic year we are planning some changes to ensure the health and safety of all staff, students and visitors.

We explain in more detail below how we will do this but in summary:

  1. The University takes your health and safety very seriously. We have established a high level team led by Dr Jim McGeorge, Chief Operating Officer, to oversee arrangements for the health and safety of students, staff and visitors to our campuses and associated facilities (for example, our halls of residence and sports facilities) and do so in a manner fully consistent with the most up to date government advice. This team will set and monitor rules around social distancing, the use of face masks and personal protective equipment, regular cleaning rotas, and management of any Covid-19 related issues.
  2. At the start of term we will be able to offer our courses in a blended mixture of online and face-to-face teaching, to allow for the greatest flexibility in student learning depending on what public health guidelines are in place.
  3. As government advice allows we will increase the level of face-to-face teaching as quickly and far as we are able.
  4. We will ensure that clear plans are in place and that guidance is published covering all these matters before you arrive back in the autumn.

Return to campus and safety

Teaching will start on October 5, with Welcome Week from September 26. As an institution renowned for our student experience and teaching quality, you can be assured that we are taking all steps we can to ensure we maintain our high standards, whether it is face-to-face teaching in a room or through digital platforms.

We plan to re-open the physical campus gradually over the summer with management of social distancing, in line with Scottish Government guidance. This will require all staff and students to follow new guidance about how we work, study, and move through the University buildings and campus spaces to ensure everyone’s safety.

Our plan is that you will return to campus from September to access face-to-face teaching where it is possible, libraries, learning support and other services. We will carefully manage the operations of student accommodation to ensure that you are as safe as possible while in residence. Our student support services will also be available, either in person or online, as they have been over the past few months

What happens if you cannot get here in October?

Students should make every reasonable effort to come to Dundee for the start of term. However, those who are unable to get to Dundee for October, belong to a vulnerable group or have other extenuating circumstances which are agreed by your school, will be able initially to study online and then join us on campus later, if their situation allows.

Our intention is that no matter where in the world students are, they will still be able to access courses and take part in high quality learning experiences. If travel restrictions are in place, we will take account of those and stay engaged.

How will we teach you?

Social distancing will change the way we have to deliver classes, and it is most likely we will adopt a blended approach that combines face-to-face and online learning, depending on the public health advice in place at the time.

We may have to work with a reduction in some types of teaching, for example large-scale lectures, as the capacity of many of our teaching spaces may be reduced as a result of social distancing rules. In those cases where we simply cannot accommodate the normal number of people in one space then teaching materials including audio and video will be made available to you through the Virtual Learning Environment (My Dundee).

We will offer as much as possible of our small group teaching, plus practical, studio, clinical skills and laboratory teaching, in a face-to-face format with appropriate social distancing in place. This will be heavily dependent on individual subjects/disciplines and programme structure, and your School will provide more information about this during the summer.

We will carefully manage access to library and learning resources by increasing the level of online provision but by also making library access available within the prevailing social distancing rules.

Keeping updated

We will continue to keep you updated about plans for October. Over the summer there are likely to be changes to the guidance from governments on travel, social distancing, and how we as a University can operate. You can follow the latest updates from the Scottish Government here.

Please remain alert for updates from us to your email address and stay engaged with your School for further information relating to your course.

I look forward to seeing you in Dundee in the autumn.

Professor Blair Grubb
Vice-Principal Education


Press Office, University of Dundee

Announcement Category