The University of Greenwich's response to the COVID-19 pandemic has seen the return of students to campus, a move across the globe for international students in halls where they've had to quarantine and a new approach to learning with classes both online and in-person.
The Greenwich Students' Union (GSU) Officers, Bilal, Zoë, Mayo and Niel wrote to the University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane Harrington to ensure that students views are represented during this time.
The Officer Team wrote in their letter that they recognise that students are: '...a generation already extraordinarily negatively impacted by COVID-19 disrupting their education, A-Level results, friendship/ community connection and job prospects.' This was sent to the Vice-Chancellor at the end of September and contained the following...
Teaching and learning
School leavers this year will remember the closure was as far back as March, which eradicated face-to-face learning. The Officers have therefore advocated for the blended learning model, in recognition that those who can't be on campus are supported, whilst those who have paid to come to campus still get a University experience that is worth the commitment that they made when they left home.
The Officers further the point to say teaching experience of any virtual learning must be fit for purpose, consistent across courses and accessible and clear to students.
Expectations during lockdown
There is a recognition in the letter that there could be a move from the Government to enforce further lockdowns. Since the publication of this letter, the Government has introduced a new Tier system of lockdown measures which have required different measures to be in place in London and Medway.
Officers have asked for a range of measures to be in place in the event of a further lockdown including improved access to Lecturers, Personal Tutor support to be consistent and more frequent, digital hardship to be acknowledged, flexible avenues to services such as student academic services and greater sympathy towards students who may have extenuating circumstances.
There have been a huge number of articles reflecting the experience of students in halls during the pandemic. The Officers recognise that there is a huge benefit to having Resident Assistants, but they cannot be put in the difficult position of policing other students. They should be seen as positive influences in the halls that bring communities together.
The break clause must also be respected to ensure students can leave their contracts.
GSU and GKSU promise
The Officers finished with an outline of what GSU and partner students' union GKSU will do to ensure the good running of activities for students and a positive University experience.
These measures include Wellbeing Checks, activities across Term 1, Societies being supported to run online and ensuring venues remain open where possible.
For the full letter and list of requests, please check out our Decision Log. This is a resource that has been put together to outline measures that the GSU Officers have been part of since the Coronavirus outbreak.