The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) is preparing to welcome new and returning students to its Cirencester campus for the start of the autumn term.
While the campus has remained open since the Covid-19 outbreak to support a small number of students in residence who have been unable to return home, all teaching and assessments have been delivered online since March 18th. The University’s catering staff have been providing meals for the ‘Feeding the 5,000’ project and a small number of homeless people have also been accommodated on campus.
The RAU plans to open its campus fully to new and returning students in time for the start of the new academic year in September. Facilities including the library, study areas, catering outlets and sports pitches will be available with a range of robust protective measures in place for the safety and wellbeing of students and staff, as well as for the wider local community.
The University intends to offer on-site accommodation to all new students who wish to reside in halls. This will include an option for international students to carry out any required quarantine on campus before the term starts.
Teaching arrangements are expected to comprise a blend of large group sessions and lectures delivered online, with small group seminars, tutorials and practical sessions delivered face to face in suitably adapted classrooms.
The RAU is very fortunate to have a spacious campus in a rural location, with sufficient accommodation on site to house all first year students.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Joanna Price said:
“As we move closer to the start of the new academic year it is very important to give as much clarity as possible to applicants, students and staff about our plans, which take into account advice from the government and a range of external bodies across the higher education sector. However, we are mindful that at any time our plans may need to change in accordance with government guidance.
“Staff are working very hard to make sure that all necessary arrangements are in place for September. Ensuring the safety of the entire RAU community on campus is our top priority, while also maintaining the high quality of our student experience.
“We want all our students to have a full and memorable university experience, despite the restrictions imposed by Covid-19. We are confident that we can achieve this, as although we are currently undertaking all teaching and assessment online, our students remain highly engaged and their feedback on their experience has been very positive. This is helped by our small size, enabling staff to provide individual students with the support and guidance they deserve.
“I would like to thank both our academic and support staff for their ongoing commitment and dedication during a very challenging period of lockdown. It truly is a fantastic team effort and our strong sense of community really does shine through.”
The University will continue to keep current and prospective students, and staff, updated with more details as plans develop.