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A Message from Ralph Dennison, Director of Campus Oxford
18th August 2020
Despite the past few months of ‘lockdown’ and having to cancel face-to-face teaching, things are slowly returning to normal in the UK. Social distancing is in place, and people are now wearing masks or face coverings in shops, indoor businesses, public transport, museums and galleries.
In recent weeks, we’ve received many enquiries from students worldwide. There’s a real appetite for face-to-face teaching in small groups, after what feels like endless virtual learning. Although it’s hard to make choices at this time, some students are opting to defer college entry, with taking a Gap year being a good option.
We’ve been working hard to make students and staff feel safe in the school environment. The college and halls of residence have undergone a deep clean and classrooms and common areas have been rearranged to allow students to socially distance. Once term begins, surfaces, door handles and toilets will be sanitised several times each day. PPE and cleansing stations are now in place throughout the college for student and staff use.
Large group gatherings won’t be possible, for now at least. Year group meetings will be online. Orientation has been adapted to avoid large groups. There will be dining rotas with tables more widely spaced. Contact with those outside the college community will be restricted.
Additional Covid-19 risk assessments will take place for excursions and trips to make sure each visit is safe for students and staff. With venues now opening up in the UK we should have a good range of excursions on offer.
Students on the ‘Gap Year’ are taught in small groups and have individual time with their tutor, desirable in the current climate. Dorms are a short walk from classrooms, avoiding the need to take public transport, and Oxford is a very bicycle friendly city.
The college has a strong relationship with the local NHS medical practice with whom the college nurse is in regular contact. Students may purchase private medical health insurance during their stay in the UK. Plans are ready should a student fall ill or a household group be required to self-isolate. Online work will then enable them to follow the course remotely.
We’re still accepting applications for Fall admission with the enrolment process taking place normally. A two-week government isolation regulation is in place for students arriving from outside the government’s ‘travel area’. Students may arrive from 23rd of August, isolate in college accommodation with others in a similar situation, supervised by a member of staff, and have access to the common room and gardens.
We ask students to complete a health questionnaire on arrival, daily temperature will be taken for the first two weeks and we request that students conduct themselves in the safest possible way prior to arrival and during their time in the UK.
The Boarding Schools Association is working with the government and BSA schools to ensure a safe study environment. The UK is by any standards one of the safest places in the world and has an excellent and globally-recognised education system. Meanwhile the University of Oxford is at the forefront of research into developing a Covid-19 vaccine, antibody testing and contact tracing, and Oxford has one of the best teaching hospitals in the world.
We constantly monitor the situation here and abroad, following government guidelines, and update our Covid-19 message on our website as these change. We hope this will give you the confidence to come to the UK, that we’ll hear from you soon.