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Kingston University Vice-Chancellor's message to local community

Professor Steven Spier Vice Chancellor Kingston University
Professor Steven Spier Vice-Chancellor, Kingston University

Professor Steven Spier explains the action the University is taking to protect the safety of students, staff and residents across the borough.

"As we welcome students and staff back to our campuses, I want to reassure you that the safety of our students, staff and our local community has been, and remains, our absolute priority. I understand many of our residents may have concerns about the start of term so I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on what we are doing as a university to manage this safely and responsibly.  

"For the start of term, we are carrying out a phased, managed return to campus-based activities. Fewer students will return to campus and many of our administrative and management staff will continue to work from home to reduce the number of people using our buildings.

"For the first term, all lectures will take place online and students will only come on to campus for small group teaching and to use the libraries, workshops and laboratories. In addition to reducing capacity in our buildings, we have implemented a raft of measures designed to help maintain a Covid-secure campus that align with and go beyond government guidelines.

"Importantly, we have been working closely with our local partners to ensure a joined up approach. Since the start of the pandemic, the University has been playing an active role in the Kingston Borough Resilience Forum and manufacturing and distributing PPE to the NHS, care homes and other services. In addition, we are now contributing to the Council’s Economic Recovery Taskforce and working closely with the Public Health Forum, which has endorsed the measures we have put in place to protect our community.

"Throughout the pandemic our staff and students have made direct contributions to the fight against Covid-19. Colleagues in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing have been making face shields for frontline workers, while critical care and nursing experts from the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education were seconded to deliver vital intensive care training to NHS staff.

"As part of the University’s responsibility within the community, we will be asking all staff and students to pledge their support in striving to maintain a Covid-secure campus. The community pledge will remind our staff and students to act as good citizens and to be respectful and mindful of others, in particular taking responsibility for personal wellbeing and maintaining behaviours that will help keep our wider community safe. 

"Face coverings must be worn in all indoor spaces on campus and on public transport, including the University bus. 

"All staff, students and visitors to campus are asked to maintain social distancing of at least one metre and, where possible, two, to wash their hands frequently and to clean work spaces with sanitising wipes.

"We have reduced capacity in all our buildings and adopted new signage to indicate space and equipment that should and should not be used, to highlight one-way systems and entrances and exits, maximum occupancy and social distancing measures. Some of the other measures we have introduced to maintain a Covid-secure environment include:

  • Reinforced cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures. 

  • Protective screens at reception desks, student offices and library desks.  

  • Fixed sanitiser points available at all building entrances. 

  • Enhanced ventilation, to improve air flow and air quality. 

  • High touchpoint areas being cleaned more regularly.

  • Reduced the number of workstations in libraries and computer labs available to use to help with social distancing.

  • Reduced the capacity of lifts – the lifts are also marked with footprints to indicate where users should be standing when in them to reduce the risk associated with being too close.

"Please do not hesitate to contact us on [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns.

"While we are committed to ensuring young people can continue their education towards their chosen career, we are doing everything we can to make the return of students as safe as possible for everyone. 

"I know we are all keen to get back to something approaching ‘normal’ but, in doing so, we take seriously our duty to ensure the welfare of our students, staff and residents. We will work closely with our wider community to help us meet these aims and help ensure a safe environment for all."