UCL Term 2 and 3 to remain online

Teaching and assessment will likely resemble that of Term 1

With Term 1 teaching arrangements and assessments mainly being held online, with the exception of limited on-campus activity at a reduced capacity (25 per cent) with Covid-19 safety measure in place, many students have not returned to campus, opting to stay at home for the remainder of 2020. But what will happen for the next two terms?

The arrangements for Terms 2 and 3 were not fully addressed by UCL until recently, due to the ever-changing and developing Covid-19 case numbers. However, UCL students may now be thinking about making plans for Terms 2 and 3, in terms of their study, accommodation and travel. Therefore, students have understandably been wondering what UCL is planning from January onwards.

On Monday 26th October 2020, all UCL students received communication via email, from Vice-Provost Professor Anthony Smith (Education and Student Affairs), and Students’ Union UCL officers Ayman Benmati (Education Officer) and Jim Onyemenam (Postgraduate Students Officer). The email addressed what is likely to happen for the rest of the academic year.

The email states that:

“Cases of coronavirus have remained relatively low among staff and students and we are confident that our campus, teaching spaces and facilities are safe.  Of course, we are closely tracking the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact both on our community and on London more broadly.”

Whilst students may have hoped that Term 2 would consist of more in-person activity, in an attempt to return to ‘normal’ life under the current circumstances, it doesn’t look like that will be the case. In response to the current status of the Covid-19 pandemic:

“It is likely that teaching in Terms Two and Three will be similar to Term One: all core teaching and assessment online, a limited amount of educational activity on campus, and alternative activity for students not on campus. Our libraries and study spaces will remain open, subject to UK government guidance and social distancing requirements.”

UCL will continue to keep students updated on how the limited on-campus activity will work, as per the following:

“UCL is working closely with the Students’ Union and our public health and medical experts to agree our approach to Term Two and Term Three, including laboratory and studio activity and clinical programmes. An announcement will be made in the second week of November, when this has been confirmed through UCL’s formal procedures.”

The email then continues, saying:

“Your lecturers and support staff are doing all they can to provide a rich academic experience for you and we hope that you are getting involved with the clubs and societies, careers, enterprise, volunteering and other skills development opportunities and events. The coronavirus pandemic may be affecting your education in ways that you perhaps had not anticipated and your department will be happy to talk to you about your studies and to help you work through some of these challenges.”

With the way the pandemic is playing out, life for everyone is very uncertain. The fact that these plans are ‘likely’ could imply that the arrangements could change as the pandemic progresses. But for now, we should probably all get used to the heavily online format of university this year.