York St John and the University of York are preparing to welcome new and returning university students onto Covid-19 secure campuses.
University of York students will move onto campus on 28th September and begin studies from 5th October, whilst York St John students have moved into the city and began teaching last week.
Both universities plan to reduce Coronavirus transmission by closely working alongside the City of York Council, Public health and Protection Teams.
York St John has established a new service to support the coordination of COVID 19 reporting for both staff and students. University Secretary, Dr Amanda Wilcox, has emailed students stating: “Our COVID Coordination Center will report daily to the local health protection team with an anonymous update on the number of staff and students self-isolating and any positive test results.”
York St John University has begun teaching through the development of a blended learning approach to studies. Combining both online classes and campus teaching is the current method to learning.
Classes have reduced in size to keep social distance when on campus. Masks are mandatory throughout buildings and when walking around the grounds.
Whilst aiming to teach with as much face to face contact as possible, both universities are prioritising social distancing.
York St John’s Student Union adapted welcome week to ‘YSJ Fest’ to allow safe meet ups to occur on campus. A festival approach created a secure start for new students joining university.
University of York Vice-Chancellor, Charlie Jeffrey reassures students who are due to start in October. He said: ‘We know Covid-19 has been challenging and you may feel unsettled starting a new term but we are here to support you.
“The beginning of term is almost here and we hope to see you on campus soon.”
Unlike YSJ, there will not be a face to face welcome week, rather video calls are the new normality for the foreseeable future of welcoming Freshers. The University has been keeping staff and students updated throughout the lockdown through their website.
Currently, the infection rate in York is lower than the national average. Only time will show whether welcoming an increasing influx of university students will alter the rate of infection of York.
Updated York Coronavirus infection rates can be found through the City of York Council website.