Over the months, many of our staff and students have worked hard to support the fight against Covid-19. Some contributed through their research or through the production of essential PPE. Others, including those students who remained living locally, were on the frontline of support for the nation as healthcare workers, delivery drivers, supermarket staff or as volunteers in the community helping those who were shielding. We are both so proud of their work.
Together with our students’ unions, we remain committed to this fight as new and returning students join our community. We will remind them of their responsibilities in helping to reduce the transmission of the virus in our city and in acting as our ambassadors in the areas in which they live. We also started our Street Marshal scheme earlier than usual to provide additional reassurance to students and to the community and our Good Neighbour campaign will promote the need for appropriate behaviours at all times.
We will alert our students to any changes in government guidance and legislation as well bringing to their attention to our Code of Conduct and Student Discipline Procedures that set out the behaviours we expect from our students. These apply to conduct on and off campus including situations where students display disruptive behaviour in the community or break government Covid-19 guidelines.
We are also working with local health authorities to support the NHS Test and Trace, including hosting local testing sites on our Canterbury and Medway campuses for students, staff and the local community. This is a key part of the strategy of early identification of cases, to enable prevention of onward transmission.
As well as the public health authorities, we are working with the NHS, and regional and national government to ensure we have appropriate safety measures, guidance and regulations in place across our universities. We will continue to work with other community partners through the HE/FE Community (strategic) Group, which includes representatives from local authorities, the police and landlords.
We will also continue to liaise with our local residents’ associations on a regular basis to ensure we understand their concerns and respond appropriately.
These are unprecedented and turbulent times, but we are confident that the steps we are taking will support the health and wellbeing of our student, staff and local communities as we continue to work together to minimise the impact of Covid-19.
Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Canterbury Christ Church University
Professor Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Kent