January arrangements (further information) - a message from Roger Gair

Roger Gair, University Secretary, wrote to all colleagues on Wednesday 9 December about how we're implementing the Government’s guidance on the return of students for the spring term.

Dear colleagues,

As you know, we have been asked to stagger the return of students in the spring term over the five-week period from 4 January to 5 February, starting with students on practical courses and placements. I am writing with more information as to how the staggered return of students will be implemented.

The Government has stated clearly that it is confident that the face-to-face teaching element of blended learning can be provided in Covid-secure environments but is concerned that the mass movement of students across the country poses greater risks for the transmission of infection between areas. The Government wants universities to stagger students’ return and to offer lateral flow testing to every student immediately upon arrival. Further details are set out on the Government’s guidance on students returning for the spring term

We will adopt the following principles to govern the return of students in the spring term:

  1. We have concluded that there is no need to revise the teaching timetable for the term as a result of the staggered return of students.
  2. Students travelling from outside the UK do not need to alter their travel arrangements and can arrive as planned. We will be issuing biometric residence permits and student identity (ID) cards from Monday 4 January.
  3. Students living in the Leeds City region and those who remain in Leeds over the Christmas vacation may of course use available campus facilities at any time.
  4. Student wellbeing remains our focus. Students will be welcome to return to campus at any point between 4 January and 5 February if they need to access University facilities to take or prepare for assessments, or if they cannot study away from Leeds, or if they need to be on campus for reasons of health or wellbeing.
  5. New and existing postgraduate research students will be welcome to arrive or return at any point between 4 January and 5 February as and when they need access to University facilities to support their research.

Subject to 1 to 5 above, we will expect students to arrive in or return to Leeds on the following basis (the idea being that all students will be able and encouraged to be back on campus no later than 5 February):

Week commencing 4 January

  • Clinical students and those with immediate placements 
  • New international students

Weeks commencing 11 and 18 January (Semester 1 examinations fortnight)

  • Students with practical examinations or assessments or practical activities scheduled during this period
  • Taught postgraduate students with face-to-face teaching scheduled during this period

Weeks commencing 25 January and 1 February

  • Students with face-to-face teaching commencing in this period are advised to return to Leeds in time for their first face-to-face activity
  • Schools will only need to advise students precisely when they are due to start face to face teaching (which would be done anyway) 

Asymptomatic (lateral flow) testing

Asymptomatic testing will be available to students between 4 January and 5 February. Students will be encouraged to book two tests and bookings will be open from next week. More information can be found on the coronavirus website


We are very aware of the impact that these changes will have on students, particularly during an already challenging time. We will be sending an email to students later on today to outline these arrangements and this will be available to read later the coronavirus website

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your constructive and creative response to the pandemic, and for your continued contribution and efforts in what has been a very difficult year. I wish you and your friends and family a restful and peaceful break.

Best wishes

Roger Gair

University Secretary

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