As excitement builds for the return of students and staff to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) campuses, a wide variety of health and safety initiatives have been implemented to enable a safe September return.

Fashion staff are using their sewing skills to help with the implantation of the new Covid-19 health and safety procedures. A team of staff are helping to create 30,000 washable face coverings which will be ready for the start of the new academic term in September.

All students and returning staff will receive two UCLan branded reusable coverings to ensure they follow Government guidelines on the Preston, Burnley and Westlakes campuses.

Student and staff numbers across the three campuses will be reduced to enable strict social distancing, with timetables being amended to ensure around 30 percent of the University community can be on campus at any one time.

The teaching experience will be a mixture of face-to-face and online learning while non-essential staff will continue to work remotely.

The University has introduced a wide variety of additional safety measures which include:

  • The Preston Campus will be open seven days a week to allow for a more flexible timetable
  • Clear signage and keep left systems in place
  • Controlled access for staff and students via a UCLan ID card to all buildings
  • Safety ambassadors to encourage social distancing
  • Fixed hand sanitiser stations located around the campuses
  • Extra cleaning of classrooms, study and social spaces
  • Restrictions on the capacity of the Library
  • Introduction of a ‘click and collect’ service for Library resources

Walking and cycling are being encouraged as commuting options while those international students who must quarantine for 14 days will receive additional support.

Welcome Week will include online and face-to-face activities, with students being allocated time to attend their respective on-campus activity.

The Pre-School, on the Preston Campus, will reopen to coincide with the start of the new term.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin said: “While the excitement builds for a return to our campuses in September, we have to ensure that health and safety remains our priority.

“We are ensuring every sensible and reasonable step is taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19. We will be operating the same high standards that many workplaces have adopted to minimise the spread of infections.

“The clear social distancing and sanitisation protocols will mean that University life will be slightly different from that we’ve known previously but we are doing all we can to provide an authentic University experience.

“We are looking forward to welcoming new and returning students to UCLan ensuring they have face-to-face learning opportunities as far as possible on a weekly basis and can access our Library, all in a safe and secure environment.”

The Students’ Union will open from September, including The Atrium and Source Bar on the Preston Campus where food and drink will be served, again adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Opportunities for sporting activities will exist and there will also be a mix of physical and online social experiences based on where students live and study.

Zuleikha Chikh, UCLan Students’ Union President, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming new and returning students to campus in September and continue to work in partnership with the University to ensure the health and safety of students is a priority.

“Helping students to meet new people, have fun and feel part of the student community makes September one of our favourite times of the year and we know Welcome Week is an important time for that to start.

“We’ve been working on a programme of online and on campus events and activity. We can’t wait to share our plans over the next couple of weeks and will be posting important updates on our website and social media channels.

“The Students’ Union may be operating a little differently this Welcome Week, but we’re doing everything we can to ensure students have a great University experience and feel like ‘one of us’.”

Professor Baldwin added: “The students’ return to the Preston Campus will also coincide with the reopening of Friargate, a major milestone in our new Student Centre and Square development and we hope this reopening and the return of students will be good news for local businesses.”

An animation of the University’s new safety initiatives can be viewed online.