Campus spring flowers

How we are supporting your health, safety and wellbeing

As the City of Plymouth’s higher and further education sector, we warmly welcome back our students for the 2021/22 academic year. In doing so, we want you to know that the health, safety and wellbeing of our whole community – students, staff, city residents and visitors was and continues to be uppermost in our minds.

In coming up to the two years that we have all lived with COVID-19, we’ve been committed to doing everything we can to look after and support our city – and want to reassure you that we will continue to do so.

Over the last year we have:

Kept everyone safe and informed by:

  • Hosting and investing in campus COVID test centres
  • Creating dedicated COVID advice teams
  • Redesigning our spaces and adapting our learning and working practices to be COVID-secure
  • Keeping in constant communication with our students as to how to keep themselves, each other and the wider community safe
  • Setting up new contact methods to directly address community concerns
  • Maintaining regular and robust information sharing with each other, Plymouth City Council, Public Health England and at national level, the Department for Education

Used our expertise and resources to tackle the pandemic by:

  • Supporting research into vaccination
  • Students helping the NHS through volunteering, placements and graduating early to start work
  • Staff returning to the NHS front line
  • Delivering training to NHS staff
  • Supplying equipment to the NHS and staff in the city
  • Supporting home-schooling through expertise, research and resources
  • Donating school and office supplies to aid social distancing

Welcoming students

With the general easing of restrictions, the return of students reignites the social, cultural and economic benefits they bring to our Ocean City – so for many businesses, and the array of community initiatives that our students support, we know their return has been welcomed by many.

In fact, we have carefully welcomed students back on a staggered return basis since January 2020, with all students being allowed back since May 2020 in line with government guidance. In this time there was no reported local student ‘spike’ in cases. This continues to be the the case. Collectively, our COVID rates have been some of the lowest thus far in comparison with other comparably sized higher/further education establishments across the country – and our hope is to keep it this way.

Our commitment to you, our community

We want to reassure you that we have each again planned carefully throughout this academic year building on all we have learned over the past two years.

We are focused on working together to encourage all students to get vaccinated and to test before they arrive, either for the first time, or from any breaks; again, when they get here and regularly from there on in – in line with any evolving government guidance.

We continue to work together, and with relevant local and national agencies spanning government, public health and emergency services to ensure our risk assessments and contingency measures are robust.

For those of us who have our own or university/college managed accommodation, we will continue to ensure these have appropriate risk assessments and that health and safety monitoring measures are in place to protect all residents. This includes quarantine accommodation for any international students who arrive and need to self-isolate.

One Plymouth – let’s work together

Inevitably, students will be excited to commence their studies after periods of social and academic abnormality. We all continue to engage strongly with students on what they can expect from us and our expectations of them and their conduct.

We ask any member of the local community to report concerns through the official channels as appropriate – emergency services (police/fire service/ambulance) for serious or urgent matters; Plymouth City Council for issues like antisocial behaviour or litter. We have close relationships with all the authorities and work with them accordingly.

We are committed to delivering the highest quality education for our students and we are following all government guidance to ensure that we are operating in the safest and responsible manner possible. We have always highly valued the support of our community for our institutions and our students and are sure that the great Plymouth spirit will shine through to continue to show kindness and tolerance.

A supporting note from Plymouth City Council

Councillor David Downie, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Children and Young People, said;

We have always had a close relationship with our city’s higher and further education providers, but never-more-so than during the pandemic era. We commend and thank our colleges and universities for working with us and each other as one to ensure the health, safety and welfare of everyone.

The impact of their COVID research, expertise and generosity of resource has benefited many across Plymouth and put our city on the map more widely as an exemplar of how the higher and further education sector playing such a crucial role in fighting the pandemic and using its influence for public good.

We look forward to continuing to work together as one in keeping our communities and people safe, happy and healthy.

University and College signatories

  • City College Plymouth: Ms Jackie Grubb, Chief Executive and Principal
  • Plymouth College of Art: Professor Paul Fieldsend-Danks, Principal
  • Plymouth Marjon University: Professor Rob Warner, Vice-Chancellor
  • University of Plymouth: Professor Judith Petts CBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive