Dear students and colleagues,
A very Happy New Year to you all and a warm welcome back to RCS. I hope that you have had a good rest and some fun over the winter break.
As you may have just seen First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has made a statement to the Scottish Parliament this afternoon regarding new restrictions being put in place across Scotland from tomorrow.
Further details of the impact of this on Higher Education are still emerging. However, based on today’s briefing by Scottish Government colleagues to Universities Scotland, our current understanding of implications for RCS is as follows:
- All students due to re-commence in-person teaching prior to January 25 can do so as planned, therefore Term 2 activity of carefully-limited teaching at RCS will commence from tomorrow as planned.
- Research activity is not impacted
On this basis – and until further notice – all learning and teaching at RCS will continue as planned with Department Heads and Programme Leaders advising students directly by email of any changes.
Institutionally, we will continue to prioritise all in-person learning and teaching activities are directly linked to productions and formalised assessment points. However, in response to the current environment and with the continued health and safety of our community as our key priority we have taken the additional decision to further reduce the number of people using the campus facilities on a daily basis. This may impact in the following ways:
- School of Music:
Assessments and Opera Production:
It is still our intention to hold the mid-session (Performance B) assessments live as planned, beginning towards the end of January. Arrangements for the current Opera production will be discussed on Tuesday. Any changes to current plans will be alerted to students and colleagues as soon as possible.
All 1:1 lessons will take place online/remotely at least until 17 January, with the following exceptions:
• piano (45 minutes online and 45 minutes in-person will continue)
• timpani & percussion (all in-person)
• double bass
Ensemble Activities and Supporting Studies classes (e.g. technique classes, repertoire classes, performance classes):
In-person departmental Supporting Studies classes will continue as planned, unless you are contacted about alternative arrangements.
B Ed and PGDE
Any changes to current timetables will be communicated to you directly
Please check your email for any further communications from your Head of Department/Head of Programme.
Classes that were online during T1 will continue to take place online/remotely, with the exception of Conducting classes for Integrated Music Studies, which will take place in-person.
Finally, given the changing circumstances of the pandemic, please be aware that the arrangements outlined above may be subject to change, therefore please keep checking your emails for further advice.
- School of DDPF:
Your Head of Programme will be in contact with you directly if there are any changes to your blend of in-person and online activities.
It should be noted that 1:1 lessons in Musical Theatre will be online; class sizes for dance may be reduced and some activity planned to be in-person will be rescheduled for later in the term.
You should assume that your activity is proceeding as scheduled however noting that we may need to make last-minute adjustments should student/staff availability or formal guidance change.
- Student Travel to Glasgow:
Under Level Four restrictions, travel is permitted for the purpose of education. However, students with no in-person timetabled activity in the first two weeks of term may consider staying at their current place of residence for this period.
Any student who does have in-person timetabled activity in the first two weeks of term, but who would prefer to stay at their current place of residence, please simply contact your Head of Department and request this via the Absence Reporting system on your student contract https://portal.rcs.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Absence-Request-Instructions-Student-Guidance.pdf
We will do everything we can to support your decision. Please also consider any mandatory quarantining that may be required when assessing your decision to travel in relation to your programme. For example, you may wish to utilise online learning to coincide with any quarantining you may require.
At this time travel for educational purposes continues to be regarded as essential and is therefore permissible for students both within Scotland and for the purpose of returning to Scotland for study. For more information on travel please see link from Scottish government: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/
- Student Covid Testing
A free two-stage Covid testing service is available to all students at GCU from tomorrow. We would encourage students to take up this opportunity of additional reassurance for themselves and for the RCS community. Appointments are bookable via this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/post-christmas-student-test-site-book-your-appointments-here-tickets-132510178511?fbclid=IwAR3T12n2RivGHOyDcbwUCRZ6btEcAb5x_vyJ0iwLoJQ7rDjQcC4T8mXP3-k
- Professional Services Staff
Professional services staff should continue to operate under Level Four guidelines and as previously agreed with Department Heads i.e. only those whose attendance is deemed essential should be on RCS premises.
Delayed Opening of Schools
We appreciate that other restrictions announced today, including the delayed opening of schools, may have an additional impact on individuals. Any students with concerns should notify their Programme Leader, while any staff impacted should discuss their concerns with their line manager and take guidance from Human Resources on their individual circumstances.
Campus Safety and well-being
As we have continued to do throughout we will be assessing all campus activity and protocols to ensure in-person learning as safe as possible. Please follow all safety guidelines and only attend campus when necessary. Staff who do not require to be on campus should continue to work from home.
- General Guidance to all students and staff:
Last term we had very few cases of Coronavirus among staff and students, which is of great credit to everyone in the community.
It is essential that we all continue to pay scrupulous attention to all safety and well-being measures including:
- wear face coverings whenever possible
- avoiding crowded places
- cleaning hands regularly
- maintain 2m physical distance
- self-isolating and booking a test if you have any Covid symptoms
- leave the building promptly at the end of your scheduled activity.
In conclusion, I hope this is a helpful update. Should we receive any further or additional guidance from Scottish Government or public health colleagues in the coming days we will share it as soon as possible.
On behalf of the senior team, we look forward to welcoming you back to a new term and a good new year at RCS.