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Teaching and COVID testing in spring term

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This message from Professor Julian Park and Professor Dominik Zaum, Co-Chairs of the University of Reading Major Recovery Team, was sent to all colleagues by email

Dear colleagues,

As you know, last week the government released guidance for universities regarding plans for students returning to campuses for the spring term.

Universities have been advised to ‘stagger’ the return of students, prioritising those on programmes with practical elements or placements, and to provide Lateral Flow Tests for non-symptomatic students when they return to campus. After carefully considering this guidance, we can now share our plans for the start of face-to-face teaching in the spring term with you.

Face-to-face teaching on campus

The spring term will start as planned on Monday 11 January, with a small number of programmes returning from Tuesday 5 January as usual.

There will be a gradual return to face-to-face teaching, prioritising programmes with practical or placement elements. A number of programmes will be taught online only for the first one or two weeks of term, with on-campus teaching on all programmes resuming by w/c 25 January.

This ‘staggered’ return approach will apply to all foundation, undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes, including new students enrolling in January. Our postgraduate research students should continue their research activities as planned, in consultation with their supervisor.

Joint Honours students, and students taking modules from other Schools, can start to attend face-to-face classes in line with their timetable.

The table below indicates when face-to-face teaching will resume on modules in each School: 


Face-to-face teaching resumes from

Arts & Communication Design

w/c 11 January

Agriculture Policy & Development

w/c 18 January

Archaeology, Geography & Environmental Science

w/c 18 January

Biological Sciences

w/c 11 January

Built Environment

w/c 18 January

Chemistry, Food & Pharmacy

w/c 4 January (for Physician Associate and CIPPET programmes, if applicable for their start date)

w/c 11 January (for all other programmes)

Henley Business School

w/c 25 January


w/c 25 January

Institute of Education

w/c 4 January (for PGCE and School Direct programmes)

w/c 11 January (for all other programmes)

International Study & Language Institute

w/c 11 January

Literature & Languages

w/c 18 January


w/c 25 January

Mathematical, Physical & Computational Sciences

w/c 18 January

Politics, Economics & International Relations

w/c 18 January

Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences

w/c 4 January (for Charlie Waller Institute only)

w/c 11 January (for all other programmes)

Lateral Flow Tests for students and staff

We will make Lateral Flow Tests available for all students, as well as for colleagues who will be working on campus in the first few weeks of term. As with the end of the autumn term, testing is optional for students and colleagues. The same government advice to take two Lateral Flow Tests, three days apart, continues to apply.

Testing will be available from Tuesday 5 January through until Friday 29 January and will, once again, take place in the sports hall at the SportsPark.  Bookings will open on Thursday 10 December and we will send a link once this is available. If you wish to take a test, please book as soon as possible, before the Christmas closure period, as daily capacity will be limited.

For those students and colleagues returning to face-to-face teaching the week commencing 4 January, we are looking into making some earlier tests available and will contact relevant Schools directly.

Campus services and facilities

Campus services and facilities, including the Library, study spaces, catering outlets and student support services, will reopen as planned from 4 January following the Christmas closure period, subject to the relevant government restrictions in place at the time.

We know many of you are keen to see the SportsPark’s fitness facilities reopen. We are currently working to make adjustments to be able to safely reopen some of these facilities in January and will keep you updated.

Communications for students

We will be sending a similar email to students on Thursday this week, with links to further information published on Essentials, and advice about booking Lateral Flow Tests. A copy of the email to students will be saved on this Essentials page on Thursday. 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing patience and cooperation as we all work together to make the coming term as successful and safe as possible.

If you have any questions, our COVID-19 support line remains available on 0118 214 7813 between 9am and 5pm on weekdays and 11am and 4pm on weekends. 

Best wishes, 

Julian and Dominik


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