Preparations are underway at Ulster University to allow students and staff to work from home in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Universities in the South of Ireland and in other parts of the world have taken the decision to facilitate home study in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Ulster University is now actively working to make key materials available online for students who may need to self-isolate, or in the event that it is required by a future government directive to close its campuses.
In a letter sent to students and staff on Friday afternoon, Interim Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Bartholomew said: “Course Directors and module co-ordinators will provide updated information and you are encouraged to visit the relevant Blackboard module areas regularly.
“If you have not already done so, you should now download the Blackboard App.
“Consideration is also being given to semester two assessments and any potential scope for revision. Any module changes (whether in terms of content, assessment or delivery) will be communicated to students as soon as possible.
“We are deploying a number of options that will enable our staff to continue to work away from campuses if necessary and further details will be communicated in the coming days.”
He added: “I appreciate this can be a very anxious time for students and staff, not least because of the differing approach being adopted across a number of countries in respect of the response to COVID-19, including the Republic of Ireland.
“However I would wish to offer reassurance that we are continuing to closely monitor this fast-moving situation in line with official Public Health Agency (NI) guidance and will respond immediately if the advice being offered changes at any point.”
Large scale public events have also been postponed across all campuses. Students and staff are being given regular updates as the situation unfolds.
In a statement to the Derry News, a spokesperson for Ulster University commented: “The safety and welfare of our students and staff is a key priority for Ulster University, we have issued advice and guidance to all students and staff regarding the COVID-19 in line with official Public Health Agency guidance.
“We will continue to monitor the evolving situation and have established a working group taking advice from the relevant agencies to put in place suitable contingency measures.”
Whilst UU is not mandating the return of any staff or students who are currently outside Northern Ireland for work or study, it is ‘actively supporting’ any who wish to return home.
Further advice, support and information is available from the student and staff wellbeing teams.
Students and staff can stay fully informed of the latest official advice from the Public Health Authority, and receive updated advice and guidance on its website, at www.ulster.ac.uk/coronavirus
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