18 September 2020
Professor Alec Cameron, Vice-Chancellor, Aston University said:
While this is a special time of year when we look forward to welcoming our new and returning students, we recognise that there may be concern about how the arrival of students to the Aston University campus will affect the number of cases of COVID-19 in the wider community.
The health and wellbeing of our students, staff and the wider community are at the heart of all our decision-making, as they have been since the outbreak of coronavirus. As we prepare to welcome our students to Aston University, health and safety remain our top priorities.
We have introduced a comprehensive range of measures to help create and maintain a COVID-secure environment on campus to ensure a safe return for students, while trying to protect communities as much as possible.
This includes clear social distancing and sanitisation protocols, a reduction in the capacity of learning spaces, all large group teaching taking place online and the wearing of face coverings in communal areas. We will be issuing all students with packs of reusable face coverings as part of their welcome pack.
Before staff and students come onto campus we are providing them with clear guidance about the measures that are in place, together with information about what they can do to prevent the spread of the virus.
We are working closely with the Director of Public Health in Birmingham, and we have developed an early warning system for cases on campus and will be using tracking and tracing to help prevent any further spread of the virus. We have plans developed to support students both in terms of remote teaching and welfare assistance should they need to go into isolation.
As part of our partnership approach with the local authority to coordinate efforts to control the spread of coronavirus, the University has agreed to the use of one of its car parking areas for a drive-in testing centre in order to increase the capacity of provision in the city. We are also in conversation about plans for an additional walk-in facility on site.
Both centres will provide pre-booked test appointments for staff, students and local residents by calling 119 or via the NHS website.
Opening our universities is critical to students’ life chances, as well as being important to the local economy. The steps that we are taking for the coming year will help to ensure that we operate in a way that minimises the risk from COVID, while enabling our students to progress with their studies in a safe and secure environment.
We look forward to welcoming our students back to Aston University and want to reassure them, our staff and the wider local community that we are doing everything we can to make sure they feel safe and supported while they are here.
- Notes to Editors
About Aston University
Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.
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