From Professor Richard Reece, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education & Student Experience
As you will be aware, on Monday evening the Prime Minister announced another period of national lockdown due to increasing rates of Covid-19 infections across our country. Unlike the last lockdown period in November, universities have been instructed to suspend face-to-face teaching for most study programmes and students have been asked not to travel to their term-time addresses.
This leaves many of you unable to return to your University on-campus accommodation at this time.
I appreciate that this has been causing concern and has been worrying for many of you. Please be assured we are committed to doing all we can to support your studies and wellbeing during this difficult time.
Rent reduction scheme
We are introducing a rent reduction scheme for all students with contracts for accommodation on the Canterbury campus who are unable to return due to the current Government lockdown restrictions.
From next week, you will be able to complete a simple form to apply for the equivalent of a six-week reduction of your second term accommodation fee.
In order to allow time for the application process and for us to apply the reduction, we will also be delaying this term’s rent payment date until 1 March 2021. A revised statement will be sent to you during the week beginning Monday 22 February 2021 to confirm the new amount.
Our Accommodation Team will be in touch next Monday (11 January) with more details of the scheme and a link to the application form. For urgent questions only, please email email@example.com. Please note, we are unable to accept applications by email – you will need to use the form available from Monday.
The amount of the reduction will take into account whether or not you have ‘Bed and Flex’ or ‘Bed and Bistro’ packages as part of your fee. Those students who have purchased the Flex catering package in addition to their accommodation fee will be contacted by the Catering team separately.
Medway – For students in accommodation at Pier Quays in Medway, we are currently in discussion with Unite, the private provider of that accommodation, regarding rent rebates and we will provide an update on this as soon as we can.
Private accommodation – We will also be pledging our support to the work being done by Kent Union to represent the interests of our students in private rental accommodation in the region.
Please be aware we have emergency short term loans and other hardship funds available if you do find yourself in financial difficulty. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our Student Finance Team will help you.
Spring term restart
We recognise the importance of providing a blended approach to teaching and we aim to resume face-to-face sessions for all study programmes from 1 March 2021.
Please be aware that the provision of teaching will be solely online until 1 March 2021, except for the exempt study programmes which are medicine, social work and pharmacy. Students studying these programmes should speak with their School for further information on face-to-face teaching.
I would like to remind you that (with the exception of KMMS) Term 2 starts on 18 January 2021 and to please engage with all online teaching sessions as outlined on your timetable.
Students on campus
We appreciate that you may have already returned to campus, or may have been with us throughout the vacation period. Please be assured we will continue to support you.
For those of you already here, Government guidelines state you should remain at your term-time address and not move between here and your home address. If you haven’t done already, please book your two asymptomatic Covid-19 tests online.
Visiting campus to collect belongings
A number of you have asked for clarity as to whether you can come to campus to collect your belongings.
The Government is advising against returning to campus for this purpose, however “if you require medical supplies or equipment to support your online learning” you may return but only if this is absolutely necessary.
If you do return to collect items, please ensure you adhere to all social distancing regulations, wear a face-covering, bring and use your own hand sanitiser and remain on campus for as short a time as possible.
I understand this is an unsettling time for many of you and that there are still many more unanswered questions. Please be assured we are doing all we can to minimise the impact of this national lockdown on your studies and ensure you can access the support and advice you need. We are keeping this matter under constant review and will communicate any changes that will affect you as soon as we can.
With my best wishes,
Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience