Campus to Reopen After Coronavirus Lockdown

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Stirling University have announced that the university campus will be open again for students at the start of next semester for some face to face teaching. 

This comes after a recent announcement from the university which conformed the undergraduate semester will start on Monday 14 September.

The university have said in their announcement: “At this time our campus will be open to students and staff, with enhanced safety and hygiene measures in place.

“Most teaching will initially take place online, however, one-to-ones, seminars and tutorials will be available to many students from the beginning of semester.”

The university then went on to say: “Where face-to-face learning is not available, or where a student cannot attend campus, they will be able to undertake their studies remotely.”

As the university has announced the campus will be open for some things, it has come with mixed emotions.

On one hand, Stirling’s MP Alyn Smith, along with Clackmanshire MSP Keith Brown have welcomed the announcement from the university, on a staged re-opening for students and staff in September. 

MSP for Clackmanshire Keith Brown said: “The University plays a huge role in communities right across Forth Valley – from attracting world-class researchers, boosting the local economy as a significant employer, or its students and staff choosing to call us home.

“As we continue to bring COVID-19 under control and infection numbers decline, thoughts are understandable turning to economic recovery in the ‘new normal’. My hopes remains we can build back better, and encourage green, substantiable growth to our communities. The University will play a crucial part in that endeavour, as a major partner in the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal.”

Also, MP for Stirling Alyn Smith said: “This is really welcome news and will be great relief to countless student who were otherwise faced with a very different university experience.

“Professor Gerry McCormac and his team have diligently navigated these unprecedent times with great care for their institution and community. I’m glad that a cornerstone of Stirling’s economy is planning for a phased return to a ‘new normal’.”

“Scotland is facing a long read to economic recovery from COVID-19, and through the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal the University will have key role in boosting the regional economy and promoting sustainable growth. Students and staff will have a pivotal role in building back better, and I’m greatly enthused to see them return to the campus and city.” 

The university has been closed since the end of March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the remaining learning and teaching taken place online. 

While politicians from the area have praised the announcement of the university having plans to reopen, feeling have varied from others. 

On the other hand, students have mixed feelings about returning partly to campus next semester, and about the university re-opening.

One Facebook user expressed that they missed some of the campus facilities.

Another student Ross Davidson said about returning: “There’s a level of nerves to the situation. Personally, for me surrounding accommodation. For example, do I pay for accommodation in September or hold off until January.” 

“The university have been very professional in informing us as best they know but there is definitely a sense of nerves surrounding the unclarity of the situation (i.e. COVID-19).”

Also, another student said: “I’m disappointed at the university’s response to the pandemic. I recently contact the student hub, as I’m shielding and concerned that if I were to return back to campus, I would catch the virus.

“I believed that the university gave students the option to have their courses fully online if they wish to do so. But when I asked, I was given conflicting advice. I’ve been told it’s not down to the lecturer to decide whether their course is fully online.”

“I think this is very unhelpful as a person who is shielding and could potentially damage international students’ ability to continue their degree as it’s now the lecturer to decide instead of the university.”

The University has said social distancing and hygiene controls which will be in line with government guidance will be set out and in place for the start of semester.

However, the news may come as relief to some students after initial reports suggested the university may continue a fully online module for the next academic term.

Image credit: Brig Newspaper

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