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University helps shape sector's Covid-secure response

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London's HE institutions prepare for new term

The University of East London’s chief operating officer Dr Ian Pickup has spearheaded the development of Covid-secure principles that will shape the response to the pandemic across London’s higher education institutions.

He chaired the committee that has drawn up a 10-point charterfor London Higher, the umbrella organisation representing nearly 50 universities and colleges in the capital. After sharing knowledge and best practice, members will now work towards meeting the principles ahead of the autumn term.

Among the charter’s measures is a commitment to ensure social distancing can be maintained throughout campus estates as well as an assurance that face-to-face teaching will be available.

Dr Pickup said, “We’ve encountered some unprecedented challenges in the past few months which the University community has come together to tackle.

“We’ve now built on that spirit of ingenuity and togetherness with a ground-breaking programme of operational changes that will offer our students the complete University experience, albeit under very testing circumstances.

“I’m very pleased and proud that the lessons we have learned and the measures we have enacted have informed the London Higher charter and it is pleasing that the University of East London continues to lead the way in these innovative approaches from which the entire HE sector in the capital can benefit.”

Many of the measures reflect the pioneering approach of the University of East London to the restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes Covid-19 Secure Campus measures and a dual delivery model that will allow students to move seamlessly between on-campus and online teaching.

Other examples from the University of East London’s plan of action feature in London Higher’s Covid-19 Secure Charter. These include online exercise classes for all students; additional bike storage and loans for a cycle-to-work scheme; and investment in digital infrastructure to support the dual delivery model.