How the Vet School has adapted teaching and safety practices in light of COVID-19.
Teaching & Learning in 2021
We currently plan to deliver a mix of in person and digital teaching for the academic year starting in September 2021. We’re monitoring government guidance on Covid-19 prevention measures and we’ll adjust our 2021-22 plans in response to any relevant changes. Based on current information we expect some physical distancing measures are very likely to still apply when the academic year starts in September 2021.
At the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, your safety is our top priority.
We realise that you may have some questions about what teaching and learning will look like in light of the current pandemic, and the health and safety measures arising as a result of social distancing rules. We've included here some information on what you can expect.
Lectures and seminars
In order to keep our community safe, teaching will be both digital and in person this year. We are adopting a hybrid model, blending the best that we can offer you from both worlds.
Undergraduate BVM&S programmes
Final year students will be fully integrated into hospital teams in a mix of on-clinic, practical class and digital formats.
All other years will be welcomed onto the campus weekly for immersive practical experiences in our laboratories and farms. Small group tutorials will also be in person in some courses. These will be supported by digital content including a range of pre-recorded materials and live discussions.
Undergraduate Global Agriculture and Food Security programmes
We currently plan to deliver a mix of in-person and digital teaching for the academic year starting in Sept 2021. We expect our courses to be delivered at Easter Bush, Kings Buildings or in part of the central Edinburgh campus area. We expect that some Covid-19 restrictions will have to continue, such as physical distancing, face coverings and hand hygiene measures.
While our plans will be determined by Scottish Government guidance, we are anticipating that:
- You will receive a mix of digital and in-person teaching, with our plan being predominantly in-person teaching.
- Smaller group teaching, such as seminars, tutorials and lab work, is most likely to be delivered in-person and on-campus
- Any digital teaching will be delivered in real-time as well as recordings being available.
Postgraduate taught programmes
The majority of our Postgraduate Taught Programmes are online, and will continue to be delivered in this manner. For our on-campus programmes, teaching will be provided via a hybrid model that blends digital and in person delivery.
There are no formal lectures for the majority of our PhD or MScR students whose degree is based on original research completed by the student. All PGR students are encouraged though to attend the virtual series of Institute seminars which are advertised by email.
Undergraduate BVM&S programmes
We pride ourselves on a commitment to ensuring all our students feel supported in their academic studies. Locally this is provided via personal tutors, the Study Skills Team and each course’s teaching team. Much of the support this year is likely to be provided digitally, and students are encouraged to contact the relevant member of staff in the first instance. Our very successful student peer assisted learning (PAL) schemes will also be providing regular (likely digital) sessions, available to all new students joining the BVM&S course.
Undergraduate Global Agriculture and Food Security programmes
Students will be offered a meeting with their Personal Tutor at the start of semester to discuss any concerns and to make elective course choices. New students will also meet the Programme Director, Dr Alfy Gathorne-Hardy, during Welcome Week. You are welcome to contact us at any time if there is anything you want to ask: firstname.lastname@example.org
All Postgraduate Taught students on online and on-campus programmes are assigned a Personal Tutor at the beginning of their studies. If you have any questions about the personal tutoring support available, please do not hesitate to contact your programme team.
Many supervisors will have few opportunities to be physically on the campus during the 2nd semester and therefore the opportunities to meet face to face will be limited. However, if you are about to start your PhD or MScR studies you must contact your supervisor before you plan to come on to campus so arrangements can be made to visit the laboratories and meet other group members. During the 2nd semester you are strongly encouraged to keep in close contact with your supervisory team. All new PhD or MScR students should contact their Divisional PGR convenor or Director of PGR – email@example.com.
Our wellbeing services are currently working remotely but we are still online and ready to support you. As soon as it is safe to do so, our services will be offering in-person support. Our new Health and Wellbeing Centre will open according to Scottish Government and University guidelines, and we look forward to welcoming you there in the near future.
Student Counselling Service
Our Student Counselling Service is now delivering remote support by telephone, email and online via Microsoft Teams during the Coronavirus pandemic. Please visit the Student Counselling Service website for further information.
The Advice Place
The Advice Place has now also moved to a fully remote service. The offices at Potterow and King's Buildings House are closed until further notice. They will be available to provide advice over the phone and via email within their usual opening hours.
Libraries and study spaces
The University is working to reopen libraries and other study spaces as part of the phased reopening of buildings.
Planning the re-opening of libraries is being done in line with advice from the Scottish Government. There are a lot of steps to take before staff and students can return to our library buildings - as well as general building reviews, risk assessments will be undertaken as each area of activity is planned to resume.
For research students, your supervisor or their delegated colleague will show you the lab (for lab-based students) and desk space. However, before you can work in the lab all students must attend a campus H&S and lab induction. The lab induction will be done in person but the campus H&S course will be delivered digitally. More details will be communicated via email.
The Easter Bush Campus combines cutting-edge clinical provision with state-of-the-art teaching facilities. The Hospital for Small Animals, Dick Vet GP, Dick Vet Equine, Farm Animal Services and Easter Bush Pathology are all part of the campus on which we study and work.
While Covid-19 continues, hospital settings should be considered as higher risk settings than university buildings and we must minimise the risk of inadvertent carriage of virus from them.
All staff and students must minimise travel to, from and through clinical areas. If you need to do as part of work or study, you must:
- change out of scrubs, uniforms or lab coats worn in clinical areas
- dispose of any PPE (including surgical masks) and thoroughly wash your hands
- consider whether you should wear separate footwear or clean your footwear surfaces before entering university buildings
- make sure that any material brought to or from clinical and university buildings is thoroughly sanitised before and after any activities – this includes mobile phones and laptops.
For research students: Your thesis committee (TC) will meet after 10 weeks of you starting to assess your progress towards understanding research techniques, developing appropriate laboratory skills, and understanding the relevant literature. This TC meeting of which more details will be available at the induction on 9 October will likely be delivered digitally. More details will be sent via email.
If you cannot travel to Edinburgh in September you will still be able to start your degree remotely, wherever you are in the world, and join us later. Please ensure that you have communicated to us your intentions with regard to the start of term.
Physical distancing measures
We want to ensure that our campus is a safe environment for everyone. We are working to introduce additional health and safety measures for the start of term, based on the two-metre physical distancing as required by the Scottish Government as well as good hygiene.
These will vary by building, but will include the introduction of:
- hand hygiene facilities near entrances
- one way systems and circulation spaces
- screens at all reception areas
- clear health and safety signage
- increased cleaning regimes for all shared spaces and equipment
- reduced occupancy and reconfigured layouts in shared rooms
- We would expect all students to follow these measures as much as possible.
Access to suitable hand washing facilities (and/or hand sanitiser) will be available close to the entrance of building premises and all those entering are expected to use these facilities as they enter, as well as at very regular intervals during the day.
The University has just launched EdHelp - a new service bringing together frequently used student services, all in one place. This self-service area will make it easier for you to find answers to your questions about key topics including learning resources, IT help, and paying fees.
The launch of EdHelp online is the first of a three-phased approach, with the service expanding over the coming months to provide a central support team and a live-chat function.