Home News University announces plans to keep Chichester and Bognor Regis communities safe as students return

University announces plans to keep Chichester and Bognor Regis communities safe as students return

PLANS to protect University of Chichester students from Covid-19 have been announced in the run-up to the new academic year – in a move which also intends to shield West Sussex residents.

Hundreds of new starters will arrive on campus in early September and will be joined by thousands of returning students who have been learning remotely since lockdown began.

Now, to allay concerns around the restart, its Vice-Chancellor has outlined the University’s actions which include introducing infection-control measures to stop the spread of any possible cases.

Professor Jane Longmore, pictured below, said: “Our top priority is keeping our University and nearby communities healthy. I want to emphasise that we have made extensive and careful preparations to ensure our campuses are Covid-secure – this includes walk-in testing facilities on both campuses which will be open to the local community.

“Although the University hasn’t lost any of its celebrated community appeal, students are returning to a different setting – one where regimented cleaning measures are part of the new-normal to maintain safe living and learning environments. Students are required to wear facemasks in all indoor teaching spaces where alternative mitigation is not possible.”


Rooms ready for students from quarantined countries

Chichester has a university which attracts many students from the south of England – with 48 per cent from West Sussex, East Sussex and Hampshire, where rates of Covid-19 cases are among the lowest in the country.

Compared to other UK higher education institutions, it welcomes only a small number of international students each year. Preparations have been made to ensure accommodation is ready for those from countries on the quarantine list who might need to self-isolate for 14 days.

Prof Longmore added: “We are also strengthening our learning culture to include the importance of keeping to social distancing guidelines and upholding good hygiene so that all students and staff recognise the essential role they play in keeping Chichester and Bognor Regis safe.”

Continuing to provide an excellent studying experience while upholding the government’s social-distancing guidance is a fine balance for a university which was recently named in the UK’s top 15 for student satisfaction by the 2020 Complete University Guide.

“We expect teaching to remain close to normal but with a greater focus on online learning alongside smaller class sizes,” Deputy Vice-Chancellor Dr Mark Mason added.

“We have two spacious campuses, covering 69 acres in total, and a student-to-staff ratio among the top third in the UK. This means we can provide socially-distanced learning which adheres to government guidelines and enables students to study with as little disruption as possible.”


University provides £126million to West Sussex economy each year

Before lockdown, the University provided Chichester and Bognor Regis businesses with a ready supply of part-time employees from its pool of 5,000 students, while staff and students also regularly spent money in the city and town centres.

According to statistics from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, the University contributes £126million to the local economy each year.

Its Students’ Union President Moyin Ekundayo and Vice-President Jamel McFarlane are now speaking with Chichester and Bognor Regis businesses as the students return but recognise it will take time to get back to normal.

President Moyin said: “We know that the start of this new term will be unlike any other – and while we will lose some of the social activities associated with university life, we are adapting our welcome week to give new starters a memorable experience. Our students will still have a visible presence in the city and town centres, supporting the local retail and hospitality sectors.”

Vice-president Jamel added: “Those who remained on campus since lockdown have been incredibly considerate of the guidance and, across the summer, we have introduced new and current students to the new-normal of University life. We’ve had a positive response and feel confident that our students will not only keep our University safe, but also protect the West Sussex community.”

The University’s welcome week for new starters begins on Monday 14 September, while lectures for all students restart a week later.

For more about the University of Chichester’s plans around the return of teaching as well as keeping students and its nearby community safe from Covid-19 go to www.chi.ac.uk/coronavirus.

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