After several months of vague emails and speculation, Arts University Bournemouth has finally published its official plan to re-open campus for students in time for the autumn and winter semester. As off October, all students can expect a partial return to campus, and specific groups are expected to return as early as 28th September 2020.
Will all teaching be delivered online?
In short: no. However, due to social distancing guidelines, increased studio space is required for many courses, meaning class sizes will be reduced and sessions staggered. Workshops are expected to take place between 9am-9pm to facilitate staggered classes.
Some lectures will be delivered online through Microsoft Teams, as experienced by many students in the final months of the summer semester. This is to provide extra space required for socially distanced workshops (e.g photography, creative writing, dance, art) where students must showcase and discuss work in person.
Unless otherwise specifically stated, courses are not going to be fully online and taught 100% remotely. Campus is waiting to welcome everyone back with socially distanced and sanitised arms.
Theatre rehearsals and film production
AUB has not released a specific statement about how their film and theatre productions will take place moving forward. As Sean Mathia’s Hamlet starring Ian McKellen is due to recommence rehearsals tomorrow, and the government has finally released Covid-19 guidelines for the film and television industry, production will be possible (albeit very differently to before), and AUB will likely follow industry guidelines moving forward.
Will the library be open?
This has still not been specified. All that has been said about learning resources is that AUB wants to “ensure all students can enjoy the benefit of digital and remote learning”. Libraries across the UK have remained closed since lockdown was put into place in March and there is no news on their re-opening as of yet. It would seem the library will not open until given the go-ahead along with general public libraries.
Online resources are still accessible, and AUB has made all software required for courses (e.g Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Autodesk) free and accessible all through the summer break. Due to shortage of physical resources, many courses have been encouraged to begin projects during the summer term.
‘Get Back To Study’
Given the long break from study, the university has created a two week programme they are calling ‘Get Back To Study’ to help students re-adjust to studying after the long hiatus. A fortnight’s worth of study skills sessions will be delivered at no extra cost to students in preparation for their return.
Will the campus close again?
If the government requires it to: yes. AUB has recognised the potential for future lockdowns in its statement, and has made preparations to provide mitigating circumstances (i.e deadline extensions), as well as welfare support that can be accessed online and via telephone in the event of another campus closure.
All information given to students remains subject to change, and many aspects of the return to campus have still not been specified. Little information on the exact PPE that will be provided to staff, as well as sanitising procedures and exact social distancing guidelines on campus have not yet been released.