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Freshers 2020 - How will this work out?

(40 Posts)
SpiderPlantSally Wed 03-Jun-20 10:47:37

"Students might have to stay in a 'protective bubble' of the same small group, when the UK's university campuses reopen in the autumn. University leaders suggested students would live and study with the same group to minimise mixing"
Article from BBC News this morning:
www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-52897727
How will this affect student life and help freshers settle? Is it a good or bad idea or just a necessary evil?

Your thoughts?

OP’s posts: |
Nettleskeins Wed 03-Jun-20 11:43:35

If everywhere else they are having to observe social distancing it might be the only chance they get to have normal interactions. The bubbles should be large and the students should be discouraged from going home at weekends.

I think the social distancing approach is becoming unworkable quite frankly. We cannot expect people to live like this, especially those who are low risk as a group of the population. The cost to society of isolating and restricting people at this stage of their lives, when they havent formed friendshio groups or met partners or trained properly is just unworkable. This is becoming like the emperors new clothes. Social distancing is unworkable in our society because we are herd animals. Illicit rule breaking is going to divide society. No one is going to obey the guidelines if they are so restrictive and punishing. No one is going to go to university either.....

BlueEggsAndSpam Wed 03-Jun-20 11:49:04

As someone who works at a university, fuck knows sad
I think uptake for first years is going to be very low this year.

Nettleskeins Wed 03-Jun-20 11:56:52

Why cannot university academics/scientists/pyschologists come out.and.say that longterm the safety rules are going to be more damaging to the students.than protecting THEM (students)from coronavirus. We are throwing out the baby with the bathwater here. Students are a more homogenous population than school kids, they live together mostly, and not with older people. Why do they have to socially distance at uni...let them develop immunity in their uni halls and then the rest of us have less chance of getting it from them!!!

Onesipmore Wed 03-Jun-20 12:00:54

It's certainly a tricky one and also Im not sure how it applies to second years who will be living off campus with their flatmates of choice. I have one going into second year and one into first year. The view seems to be that the larger lectures will be online and then there will be smaller seminars for face to face. Have no idea how they handle freshers or joining teams and societies though. If too many people defer some of the smaller Unis will struggle and places will be harder to come by the following year !

Oneteen Wed 03-Jun-20 15:00:59

Totally agree with @Nettleskeins.. Hopefully by August there will be a more accurate picture of the people really at risk... Universities should be able to test on site and hopefully there will be quite a few students who have had the virus and may have developed some form of immunity..

Stats from Italy seem to indicate that risks are extremely low with this age group although it maybe dependent on viral load.

It's probably the lecturers and other staff that are the real risk...

Monkey2001 Thu 04-Jun-20 01:36:23

Yes, staff and academics will be at risk if the virus is flying around campuses. I think the bubble idea to enable people to have some permitted "normal" interactions and allow seminars with a couple of bubbles and a tutor spread appropriately makes a lot of sense.

It is extraordinary that we are living in a time which accepts that the govt can tell couples that they can't get closer to each other than 2m unless they are living together. A lot of people will just not obey the rules, particularly when Dominic Cummings got away with driving to Durham with his wife knowing they had the virus which SO broke the rules!

Thisismytimetoshine Thu 04-Jun-20 08:13:56

Nettleskeins

Why cannot university academics/scientists/pyschologists come out.and.say that longterm the safety rules are going to be more damaging to the students.than protecting THEM (students)from coronavirus. We are throwing out the baby with the bathwater here. Students are a more homogenous population than school kids, they live together mostly, and not with older people. Why do they have to socially distance at uni...let them develop immunity in their uni halls and then the rest of us have less chance of getting it from them!!!

Absolutely agree.

CatandtheFiddle Thu 04-Jun-20 09:46:10

We cannot expect people to live like this, especially those who are low risk as a group of the population

Part of the problem here is that students aren't the only people at a university, and students are also part of wider society.

Most students (but not all) are at low risk, but many staff won't be. And students' families may not be - nor ay other people students come into contact with in 'normal' life.

We're all interconnected, snd it's how the health and safety of everyone is best respected that is the conundrum - and believe me, universities and teaching and administrative staff are working non-stop on trying to find ways to teach in the ways that we know are the best, while ensuring that staff and students' health is protected.

I love my job, and I'm desperate to teach in person, but I'd like not to die or be severely harmed by my job.

CatandtheFiddle Thu 04-Jun-20 09:50:51

It's probably the lecturers and other staff that are the real risk

And are at risk - from students, mostly if young people tend to be asymptomatic carriers.

Fanthorpe Thu 04-Jun-20 10:00:40

My concern is that there is already a problem with isolation and loneliness amongst students, I’m concerned that opportunities for breaking into new experiences are going to be even harder. Halls vary so much, so many have tiny rooms and limited communal space, and if there’s a restriction on student unions, libraries and societies abilities to provide opportunities for meeting how will it be a good experience?

I’ve had three go through uni and their experiences were varied. Access to shared spaces and good activities were vital for wellbeing. Spending your time in a small room for studying and now participation in lectures turns it into less of a haven and more of a prison.

bpisok Thu 04-Jun-20 10:40:31

I agree that it's going to be a less than satisfactory experience. Assuming nothing changes between now and September how would you all propose that Unis proceed?

....Being mindful of protecting vulnerable students, lecturers, caterers, cleaners etc, and abiding by the law and government advice (also being mindful of the fact that government advice isn't there as a punishment but is there to stem the spread and minimise loss of life).

Very interested in viable options that Unis may have missed.

Monkey2001 Thu 04-Jun-20 10:50:17

The most resilient ones will take active parts in the virtual activities and some of the students who were not looking forwards to the party culture may find it better than a normal year, but I don't see how the social experience can be anything like a normal student year. I am sure the universities are worried about impacts on the mental health of students and it will be harder to be sure they are OK as the staff will not see them as much as usual. sad

CatandtheFiddle Thu 04-Jun-20 12:15:39

Very interested in viable options that Unis may have missed

I dream of a magic wand.

Or a government with ethics, principles and even mediocre leadership (good effective leadership is too much to expect of this lot).

And that UK universities and researchers - underfunded, over-worked and much-maligned and treated like servants by some parents - keep working on and succeeding in finding some sort of vaccine or even alleviation of the scariest symptoms.

It's that 20% of people who have it badly that I am anxious about not joining.

CatandtheFiddle Thu 04-Jun-20 12:19:20

it will be harder to be sure they are OK as the staff will not see them as much as usual

Our current planning is actually doubling the time we'll see them - because some of our contact will be online, and so we are planning to see them more frequently, but for shorter periods of time - but it's about doubling the time we'll be teaching. Our teaching week is already 8:30-18:30 - I expect we'll be working Saturdays at some point. ad a 20% pay cut is being talked about ...

Fanthorpe Thu 04-Jun-20 12:32:57

I am completely in sympathy with uni staff, there is an incredible amount of expectation from students and faculties.

I’m under no illusion that there’s a magic wand to wave.

I’m also concerned about all the thousands of families cross-crossing the country in sept/Oct, delivery students. All those mums and dads in their 50’s and 60’s with elderly parents themselves. It’s a tricky problem to solve.

CatandtheFiddle Thu 04-Jun-20 13:16:20

All those mums and dads in their 50’s and 60’s with elderly parents themselves

That will all be managed by Estates and Residence staff. It's the "easy" bit. I imagine incoming students will be given a specific time slot, there will be marked one-way routes in & out of buildings, and masks, hand sanitisers gloves and social distancing required.

Certainly, that is what I have to go through in July to have access to my office - for only 30 minutes at a booked, specified time. And no collection of mail, printing or photocopying. I'm taking a suitcase to cram in books & papers ...

SeasonFinale Thu 04-Jun-20 14:56:06

www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses

Guidance issued yesterday

boys3 Thu 04-Jun-20 19:23:50

some of the practical logistics of the "bubble" approach intrigue me. Recognising this comes from a fairly superficial news article, however is it implying for example:
- living together ; designated halls or corridors within halls allocated to students studying a specific subject or subject combo (eg joint honours). The former would seem difficult given the range of room price options at most unis, unless some standardised single price is going to be suggested, with all the knock on implications. Then students doing the subject but living at home and travelling in.

Initially it is going to be a very different experience for students, and I do not envy the task facing uni staff - acedemic, administrators, wider support staff (including cleaners entering bubbles) - in trying to develop the necessary multi-level approaches needed.

Thisismytimetoshine Thu 04-Jun-20 19:29:10

What about all the second year students who've already contracted for their next years accomodation? Are they really to be banned from campus unless they agree to living with their course mates only?
Bearing in mind most will have paid three months rent before they even move in?

Monkey2001 Thu 04-Jun-20 21:16:07

I think they could be members of a couple of bubbles - primary school children are in a school bubble of 15 and a home bubble of their household.

It is just a matter of defining a limited number of people for whom you do not have to observe social distancing.

Cantgowrongwithstripedcurtains Fri 05-Jun-20 09:19:50

Yes thisismytime, many existing students (Most?) have already signed up (As long ago as last autumn!) to 12 month tenancies with private landlords, starting in august/september this year, and often with friends doing different courses. Whats the proposal there, i wonder? I assume universities are aware of the issue as they know how accommodation works.
I dont see how you could ban science and art/design students from campus and still offer a proper course?

Cantgowrongwithstripedcurtains Fri 05-Jun-20 09:26:38

Good point monkey. I suppose the difficulty with limiting social bubbles though is that students may not find like-minded friends amongst such limited groups. and particularly for non-vocational degrees, that is, realistically, part of the point of university for many young people. For some, it may be a bit too reminiscent of school to be confined to those groups! And how will clubs/societies work?

On the other hand, what are the many students who are thinking of deferring going to do instead for that year? Employment might recover quickly i suppose (but may not) - and for those who can afford it, travel may be coming back on the cards.

CatandtheFiddle Fri 05-Jun-20 10:08:02

We have to keep hold of the fact that this will only be temporary. It's likely that in 18 months time there will be either a vaccine, or effective treatments, or a dying out of the virus or some sort of "herd immunity" (although that last is at the cost of people's lives).

It's just one year.

Monkey2001 Fri 05-Jun-20 10:30:54

@Cantgowrongwithstripedcurtains as I mentioned on another thread, you would not want the university to choose your friends for you, but my first year room mate became my best friend although we had little in common. Most of the DCs of friends seem to get flats for the second year with at least some of their university allocated flatmates.

Not ideal, but not dreadful either.

We are happy to go with anything which lets DS live on campus and get going with his degree after his gap year with as much face-to-face teaching as possible. Maybe the strength of the virus will reduce naturally as it appears to have done in Europe as they reduced lock-down measures. As Cat said, it should be one year at the most before they have huge "refresher" events!

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