Social bubbles and one-way systems on campus

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When UK university campuses reopen in September, it is expected to be very different from before.

According to The Guardian, there will be a number of changes that students and staff will have to get used to. Although nothing has been confirmed, universities are discussing plans such as creating “social bubbles” to minimize the risk of coronavirus infection.

UK university students may be required to live in halls of residence with classmates taking the same courses, staying in these physically distant ‘social bubbles’.

A study from the University of Oxford published in Nature Human behavior recently found that social bubbles – a strategic distancing measure instead of just social distancing – can keep infection rates low and are the best option for reducing transmission in large groups.

According to the results, “maintaining similarity between contacts, such as interacting only with people who live in the same neighborhood, and decreasing ties that connect social groups, such as casual acquaintances, were also found to be very effective in terms of reducing contact. randomly.”

Other changes in British university life?

Expect new ways to learn. UK universities are set to resume in September via hybrid learning which is a mix of online and face-to-face learning. Lectures with large numbers of students will likely be online, although smaller face-to-face tutorials may be permitted.

Julia Buckingham, vice-chancellor of Brunel University, said universities would not move fully online for the September semester, but students would be offered a “blended” education.

“Students want a college experience that’s as close as possible to what they expected when they filled out their application in the fall. We will deliver in person, teach and learn wherever possible, accompanied by online lectures and digital materials where needed,” she said during a briefing outlining Universities UK’s guidance for exiting lockdown.

Students, staff and faculty may also have to move through a one-way system on campus to avoid close contact with others.

A red London bus travels down Regent Street in London, June 15, 2020, as some non-essential retailers reopen after their coronavirus lockdown. Various shops and outdoor attractions in England are set to open on Monday for the first time in nearly three months as the government continues to ease its coronavirus lockdown. Source:
Glyn Kirk / AFP

A poll of the union of universities and colleges found that 71% of candidates prefer to delay the start of the academic year if it means they could benefit from more face-to-face teaching.

Freshmen Week, usually held in September and October in the UK, will likely be replaced by virtual events so students can still engage with each other and sign up for extracurricular activities.

Depending on government guidelines and physical distancing rules, some may hold a freshman week in a smaller capacity. Shearer West, the University of Nottingham’s vice-chancellor, said he would consider holding a scaled-down version of its freshman fair this year.

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