18 August 2021: Autumn semester and return to campus - message for all students
With COVID restrictions now eased and Scotland moving to 'beyond Level Zero', this significant moment represents for all of us the welcome prospect of a much more normal way of living.
As such, I am pleased to advise that student life on the University of Stirling campus will be much closer to normal this autumn — with the majority of undergraduate students beginning semester on Monday 13 September and postgraduate students on Monday 27 September.
Campus life and the student experience
From the beginning of semester you will be able to enjoy an enriching learning experience, as well as those social aspects that make student life so special. As with the rest of society, the wider University campus will return to near normal – with our Library, Sports Centre, the Students’ Union, cafes and restaurants, and Macrobert Arts Centre all open.
To celebrate the beginning of semester – and to welcome both new and returning students – the University and Students’ Union are working together to put on an exciting programme of in-person and online events and activities as part of Freshers’ Week. New students can find information on the welcome pages of the website.
The calendar of events will include opportunities for students to join the Union’s clubs and societies and sports teams and to make new friends. Our hugely successful Be Connected programme with vibrant social and community building activities, and a strong focus on health and wellbeing, will be running all year. And, of course, we have plenty of green, outdoor spaces right here on our beautiful campus where you can meet up with friends or take some time out for yourself.
Learning and teaching
Many of you will have already accessed your autumn timetable ahead of the new semester and your faculties will be in touch with you directly on specific teaching plans. Our general approach though, is to carry out as much in-person teaching as we can safely deliver in small group settings – such as in tutorials, seminars and labs. We plan to add in more opportunities for in-person learning throughout the course of the semester, while retaining the very best elements of online teaching which have proved popular with students. This flexible and blended approach – informed by student feedback and best practice – ensures that our students’ learning experience will be positive, rewarding and safe, regardless of individual circumstances.
Should you require any support during your time at university – whether you’re joining us in person or learning online for the time being – please contact our Student Services team or speak with your faculty.
Health and safety
As we transition to enjoying a more normal way of life, prioritising your health, safety and wellbeing is at the centre of everything we do. A suite of base measures will be in place across campus including: promotion of hand hygiene and sanitisation; wearing of face coverings; ventilation of space and enhanced cleaning measures; and encouraging one-metre physical distancing in teaching rooms, laboratories and offices. Where physical distancing isn't possible in these settings, you should wear a face covering. Please note that the Scottish Government requires face coverings to be worn in communal, indoor public spaces, such as corridors and some specific settings – but there are fewer restrictions when using hospitality and sports facilities.
Supporting our campus community
Complementing the existing on-site PCR COVID-19 test centre, we have also opened a vaccination centre on campus. Vaccinations are available to all students, including international students and those who have not yet registered with a GP surgery. Further information – including details on how to book your vaccine appointment – is available on the University webpages.
I’m also extremely pleased that following agreement with the Scottish Government, we are now also able to offer managed isolation, free-of-charge, to all international students from Red List countries within our own university accommodation. Students from Amber List countries who are staying in university- managed accommodation can also arrive early, at no additional cost, to carry out their isolation period.
As is the case in wider society, we will be navigating our way carefully through the coming weeks and months, as we return to more a normal way of life and adjust to the measures in place. In doing so, it's imperative that we all take on greater levels of personal responsibility and accountability. In this regard we are asking all members of our university community – students, staff and visitors — to adhere to the Stirling Campus Pledge and respect each other’s space and personal circumstances.
We will continue to monitor and respond to government guidance, keeping you up to date with any changes. In the meantime, should you have further questions, more information is available on our website along with contact details for colleagues at the University, or alternatively you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing you on campus very soon.
University Secretary and Chief Operating Officer
COVID Response Lead