SRUC reassures students over safety measures
Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has reassured its students that their safety and wellbeing is its priority during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following reports of a number of positive cases at Scottish university halls of residence, SRUC and SRUCSA, its students’ association, has reminded those returning to its campuses over the coming weeks and months of the steps it has taken to ensure they are able to study safely.
This includes its highly flexible accommodation policy of ‘pay what you need’, which removes the concerns of having to take out an annual contract for halls of residence when this might not be necessary or there could be further lockdowns.
SRUC has also created a rota of its programmes so that, when students are on campus, they are in small groups of 15 or fewer. This means they can plan their travel and accommodation in good time.
Professor Wayne Powell, Principal and Chief Executive of SRUC, said: “We understand that this is a worrying time for students, but we want to reassure those returning to our campuses that their safety and wellbeing – and that of our staff – is our priority.
“Early on, we took the strategic decision to take a staff and student-centric approach, rather than a financial one, particularly in terms of our ‘pay what you need’ accommodation policy.
“However, there can be no room for complacency at this crucial time and we recognise that everyone – including our students and staff – have a vital role to play to keep everyone safe.”
Issued today (Friday 25 September), the statement reads: “Whether you’re a returning student or are new to SRUC this year, we appreciate that this is a time of huge uncertainty and anxiety. This isn’t what you had in mind for your education – it’s not what we had envisaged either. However, SRUC is a community, and our responses have that community, and its safety and wellbeing, at their heart.
“Following the unsettling news about coronavirus cases in some Scottish universities, we have to emphasise that we are here for you. We all have our part to play, and we are seeking your support in making the best of a difficult time.
“Throughout the first months of this pandemic, we have put our students first. We changed our accommodation policy so that you just pay for the nights that you need when you have face-to-face teaching on campus.
“We have put in a lot of work to make our accommodation safe and ready for you in line with government guidelines. As you’re aware, this guidance is subject to change, but we will continue to keep you up to date.
“We have created an institution-wide teaching rota of our programmes so that campuses are never over-filled. With our blended learning model, we’ve ensured that, when you’re not learning online, group teaching is kept to 15 students or fewer, with strict physical distancing – and at this time our outdoor learning spaces really come into their own.
“We know that it’s difficult to plan ahead at the moment; that’s why we let you know the dates that you can expect to be on campus so that you can plan your travel, caring responsibilities or other commitments.
“Our entire educational set-up has been overhauled over the last six months to create a genuine blend of learning and teaching methods that are designed to give you the knowledge, inspiration and skills that you need and deserve.
“We know it can be stressful, so there are mental health and wellbeing support services – including counselling – for those of you who may need help. Free online support is available via our Togetherall platform, while the SRUCSA Student Space channel on Teams offers a range of ways to connect with other students, and your students’ association.
“In addition, all residential students will be contacted daily to check in with their health and wellbeing.
“SRUC and SRUCSA are working together to find ways to keep you feeling connected, supported, and part of a community.
“Everyone has their part to play and that includes you. So, here’s what we need you to do:
“This weekend: As part of a nationwide effort against Coronavirus, please don’t go to bars or hospitality venues. Stay in your household group for socialising.
“For the foreseeable future: Hold off on the parties. Imagine how much sweeter it will be when you can really let your hair down! But for now, you need to stay in your household group.
“We know it’s tough. We know it’s not what you had in mind. But we’ll get through this, and the SRUC Community is here for you.
“SRUC and SRUCSA.”
Posted by SRUC on 25/09/2020