Back on campus – University of Nottingham vet students resume face-to-face learning

Monday, 27 July 2020

Students from the University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science will become some of the first in the UK to return to face-to-face teaching following the coronavirus lockdown when they resume their studies on Sutton Bonington campus today (Monday 27 July). 

The package of practical health and safety measures put into place by the University to allow the safe return of almost 150 vet students will be used as a blueprint for the arrival of students on the University’s UK campuses when the new academic term begins on 21 September. 

The University’s position as a global institution has offered it vital insight into the coronavirus crisis and its UK campuses have been able to introduce best practice developed at its University of Nottingham Ningbo Campus, which has already seen the safe return of more than 5,000 of its students following the start of the outbreak at the beginning of 2020. 

The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science

Dr Paul Greatrix, Registrar of The University of Nottingham, said: “Our campuses are going to look a little different for a while as we continue to follow the latest guidance from government, the Department of Education and others to protect the health and safety of our staff and students. However, we’ve been working around the clock to ensure that the new academic year will begin as planned on 21 September with a blended approach to learning and a strong emphasis on face-to-face teaching. 

“Whether you are a returning student, or you are joining us at the start of your higher education journey in the new academic year, what won’t have changed is the warm welcome you will receive when you arrive in Nottingham and the unwavering commitment we have to providing you with the highest quality education and enriching student experience.” 

Among the measures which have been introduced at the Vet School on Sutton Bonington campus are: 

  • Accommodating the students on campus in cluster flats treated as a household and keeping students in these ‘bubbles’ for their teaching sessions to avoid exposure to larger groups of people  
  • A new one-way system and increased signage in the teaching building to control the flow of pedestrians and ensure adequate social distancing 
  • Availability of hand sanitiser at building entrances and enhanced cleaning in both teaching building and accommodation to ensure a rigorous standard of hygiene 
  • Safety screens at till points in the shop and coffee shop 
  • Offering a two-hour arrival slot for students, online registration and asking them to arrive with only one other person to assist with moving in to reduce the numbers of people on campus
  • Access to open air sports and other activities supported by the Vet School including weekly DJ sets streamed to student flats, lunchtime BBQs with school staff, pizza nights, and arts and crafts. 
Students return to campus

Since they joined the University in April at the height of the UK lockdown, the school has been able to offer a full and successful programme of technology-assisted Fresher’s Week and teaching activities. 

However, the early return of the April cohort will enable face-to-face teaching that cannot be delivered remotely, specifically essential animal handling and health and safety skills required by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons before students can embark on their work placements (Extra Mural Studies [EMS]). 

Vet School student Amy Thornton, 20, from Haworth in Yorkshire, said: “I am so excited to finally move onto campus, meet everyone that I have been talking to online for months and begin our practical teaching. I think we all know it’s going to be strange, and it definitely hasn’t been the start to Vet School that we expected, but as a group, I feel, we have risen to the unexpected circumstances and made the best of it! I am most excited for the practical teaching sessions we have got coming up, having spent the last 3 months palpating my dog so I am sure she will be glad to get a rest. 

Remote teaching

“The University has put a lot of effort in to making the Vet School and campus safe for us to move into and continue our studies. I feel confident that moving into accommodation and into the campus has been properly planned and all the risks and benefits weighed up. Representatives of our cohort are also working hard to plan as many socially distanced activities as possible, so we still get a chance to meet new people and feel at home at the Vet School.” 

The University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science has a reputation for the excellence of its student experience – in the most recent National Student Survey (NSS) it topped the table in almost every category and was the highest performing vet school in the sector, with an overall 97 per cent satisfaction rate. 

Charlotte Anscombe - Media Relations Manager - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Phone: 0115 748 4417

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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