How the NUA community is responding to Covid-19
How is teaching and learning working at NUA during the pandemic?
We put the health of students and staff at the heart of our decisions while making sure high-quality teaching continues.
From 8 March 2021, in line with government rules, NUA is returning to a blend of on-campus teaching and live streamed digital sessions.
During national lockdowns, we deliver teaching online through a mix of live-streamed sessions and pre-recorded sessions that students can watch on-demand.
We have been operating click-and-collect or postal delivery services from our digital print and other workshops and our library, and students in Norwich have been able to book and borrow equipment from our Media Resource Centre (MRC).
Between the lockdowns last year, we re-organised buildings, studios and workshops, timetables, and teaching arrangements to ensure that the NUA campus could re-open in line with the Government’s health and safety guidelines about Covid-19.
We ran a blend of timetabled on-campus teaching sessions and live streamed digital sessions—such as lectures, visiting lectures, seminars, or tutorials, and pre-recorded or on-demand materials to support on-campus and live digital teaching.
We do everything we can to ensure that students can book access to our industry-standard computers and workshop equipment as far as possible within Government guidelines and there has been limited access to specialist resources where possible.
What steps has NUA taken to make the campus as safe as possible?
There are new rules in place governing visitors to the campus, a new cleaning regime has been put in place, and the university has used the government guidance and applied it to all campus spaces.
Furniture has been rearranged so that rooms can accommodate the maximum number of students safely.
Timetables have been arranged so students can be taught in recommended group sizes; inductions and large group teaching will be delivered digitally.
Equipment and rooms are cleaned daily, and touch points (such as door handles) are cleaned regularly throughout the day.
How has NUA supported students in need?
We have been offering help to all students who need financial support to continue their studies and in 2020 and 2021 offered discounts on rent to students living in university-managed halls of residents. We have urged privately-run halls to do the same.
Taking care of everyone’s mental health and well-being in the NUA community has been a priority during the pandemic. As a close, caring community, it all starts with asking friends and colleagues to look out for each other when we are all facing the uncertainty and stress of lockdown and worries about work and health. But the university has also put extra support in place to help students through the lockdown.
All NUA students have access to a free 24/7 online community and professional support from trained counsellors to support their mental health and well-being, called Togetherall.
Whether they are struggling to sleep, feeling low, stressed, or unable to cope, our Togetherall community helps students to get the support they need whenever they need it. Our Student Support team has also been working remotely throughout the pandemic offering one-to-one advice across the full range of student needs and concerns.
We have run a programme of well-being events, including our Winterfest, run in collaboration with the Students’ Union at NUA, which helps draw our community together in the winter months through virtual events such as yoga or Pilates through learning new arts and crafts to visiting speakers.
How has Covid affected NUA’s approach to assessment?
We know how difficult circumstances are for all students during the pandemic. We are committed to ensure everyone is marked fairly taking the current circumstances in account.
Assessment deadlines have been extended and we also have changed our Extenuating Circumstances process through which students can submit Covid-19 related claims. For third years who will graduate in 2021, there already is a safety net in place to ensure they are not disadvantaged.
Does NUA have a testing system in place?
Yes. We currently have a test-on-arrival/test-on-return to Norwich system in conjunction with the University of East Anglia, which allows students to book a Lateral Flow Test as soon as they arrive back in the city.
During term-time, if a member of staff or a student has symptoms and cannot book a test quickly through the NHS, the university can arrange for a rapid test to be carried out.
What advice can you give international students about travel arrangements?
We have been supporting our community of international students throughout the pandemic—doing everything we can to support their learning and help them maintain close contact with friends and family at home and with the NUA community.
As travel guidance has changed regularly during the pandemic, the best advice is always to check the UK Government website before making travel arrangements.
Are the new teaching and learning arrangements permanent?
We do not envisage the new teaching and learning arrangements being permanent, although some elements of digital delivery are working well and will continue. We all look forward to the time when we can move more freely around the campus without the need to physically distance. Unfortunately, we cannot predict when this will be.