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by David Hewlett -
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In the light of updated government and ecclesial guidance on Covid-19, the QF Leadership Team has agreed that, as of March 18th, the Queen's campus can no longer be accessed by external visitors and non-residential students.  We have been guided by our primary concern which is for your well-being but we know this decision will have a significant impact on your studies and your preparation for ministry.  This message gives headline information about how we are planning to move learning to online and virtual modes and what we are asking of you at this time.  You will receive in due course more information from Centre Directors and Module leads about the details of this.

We have decided that no activities will take place on the campus from now until the end of first half of the summer term.  We anticipate that it is likely that this will continue for the second half of the summer term but will continue to review.  Our plans include some timetable changes for continuing students which may involve an earlier start to the term.  Please do not book holidays in early or mid-September until dates have been confirmed.

For all students: the library will be closed from today to all users and there will be no library postal service available. This is because information about how the virus remains live on books is not clear and it is difficult to ensure a library is clean and safe. We will continue to seek advice on this as practice in universities and colleges is varied and we will continue to review whether we can re-introduce some form of service. We hope that there will be rapid developments about additional electronic resources that will become available, but we recognise that the library closure will impact on your studies.  We will therefore be generous about extensions (apply in the usual way), and we can apply to the University for Serious Adverse Circumstances to be taken into account when they have affected an entire module cohort, or particular individual students. We will ensure that you will be able to gain the credits required for your academic award and the necessary learning for your intended ministry.  Any assessments that are due should be submitted in the normal way.  For all registry and Moodle questions or problems email or as usual.   We will continue to endeavour to return work to you within stated times but if staff are ill then delay will be inevitable and we will inform you about this.  All supervision meetings, tutorials, and other required meetings will take place by skype or email. The chaplain will continue to be available by email on  Regrettably, the Foundation event for leavers at the beginning of June cannot go ahead but we are looking at alternatives.      

For residential students: we will shortly be issuing guidance about your well being, and about practicalities of living in community, whether in FYH or the Handsworth Flats, including arrangements for those who need to self-isolate.  The kitchen will be distributing some food today so watch out for a notice about this. If you face financial hardship for any reason (e.g. if a partner loses income) contact your personal tutor or centre director.  We will discuss with you arrangements for the summer term if there is no catering.

For Track 2 Students: Easter Schools and residential weekends will move to online teaching and learning.  Some of this will take place in 'real time' so you should continue to reserve the time you expected to be on campus for this different form of learning.  We will do as much as we can to make this shared and corporate, and therefore formational.  You will hear soon from those leading these different events about the details of this, and this will include seeking information from you if you lack essential equipment to undertake online learning.  You will also hear soon about our plans for the summer term, for the face to face teaching and for placements or attachments, which we do not expect to be able to take place.

For Track 1 Students:  we plan to re-shape the summer term so that learning that is most appropriate in an online mode provides a full timetable and to re-shape part of the autumn term to enable placements to be undertaken.  You should plan to be available for the summer term for such learning (according to your normal pattern of attendance) and we will provide fuller details about this and proposed arrangements for the autumn term as soon as we can.

For Readers, CBT students, and other independent students: we are working with Reader Directors of training and will advise you about how we plan to offer online learning in place of evening classes and residential weekends.  For Lichfield Readers in training there will be no evening classes at the Beacon Centre until further notice.    

Although no activities are taking place on the campus academic and administrative staff continue to work by virtual/electronic means.   You can be in contact by email with your personal tutor, or those responsible for overseeing your learning, and we will endeavour to be in regular contact with you to check on your well-being and to enable any concerns or problems to be identified.   We continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation daily and will inform students/staff/visitors as soon as plans or procedures change.  

We know that the virus spreads not only illness but can be as destructive in the transmission of fear and anxiety.  We assume that you will be playing your full part in local communities and churches, in action and in prayer, to spread Jesus' word: 'fear not' and the trust that 'nothing can separate us from the love of God'.

David Hewlett