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Progress update on our phased return to campus

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Dear colleagues,

Since my last update, and thanks to significant hard work by colleagues across the University, we are now preparing to move from Phase 2 to Phase 3 of our phased return roadmap.

It would be impossible to list everything that has been achieved in recent weeks but, to give you a sense of the scope of work, here’s a summary of some key areas:

  • our Assisted Recording Rooms in Palmer are now available to book
  • CQSD have developed a suite of supporting materials and training sessions to help colleagues prepare for online teaching
  • research activities have resumed in a number of buildings, following risk assessment and MRT approval
  • our process to collect essential items from campus is live, with Heads of School/Function able to approve requests on a case-by-case basis
  • our process to enable students to collect study related items from academic buildings is ongoing
  • the Library’s Click & Collect service launched on 13 July
  • we’ve facilitated the safe collection of belongings for 4484 Halls residents
  • we've provided study space for students in Halls of Residence
  • a variation on the Halls of Residence contract has been agreed, to confirm that we would waive rent if all teaching had to be moved online again for four weeks or more
  • RUSU’s Little Learners nursery has reopened.

As we progress into Phase 3, we will be focussing on the next set of priorities, including:

  • finalising the academic timetable for the autumn term
  • putting a range of safety precautions in place on a building-by-building basis, informed by institutional and local risk assessments – this will include hand hygiene opportunities across campus, an enhanced cleaning regime, one-way systems, protective screens in communal Reception areas, and the disconnection of water fountains
  • developing further health and safety guidance for students and staff, which will be embedded into induction and re-induction programmes
  • enabling the gradual return of staff and PGR students to working on campus
  • continuing to make arrangements for a ‘blended’ approach to Welcome Week, working with RUSU to combine face-to-face activities on campus with online sessions (including planning for an extended Enrolment period)
  • reconfiguring our social spaces to accommodate the latest social distancing requirements
  • expanding resumption of research activities on campus
  • re-opening The Study and assessing the demand for further study space
  • working with the local authority Health Protection Team to implement an outbreak control plan

So we are well on track to providing new and returning students with a safe, but vibrant and active campus in September. However, work does not end when term begins, and the Major Recovery Team is now working towards maintaining as ‘normal’ a campus environment as possible, while putting in place measures to reduce the risk of an outbreak. We are also considering how we might manage should a local outbreak occur.

The amount of work that it has taken to get us this far is immense. It has involved a review of almost every aspect of our operation, and my UEB colleagues and I are indebted to all those who have contributed tirelessly over many months. The excellent progress we have made so far is a collective effort and we should all take a moment to be proud of what we have achieved so far.

We will continue to update you on progress, and if you have any questions, please share them with the Major Recovery Team through communications@reading.ac.uk.  

Kind regards,

Parveen

Professor Parveen Yaqoob

Co-Chair of the Major Recovery Team

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