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The government has established ‘tiers of HE restriction’ relating to teaching provision, which may be used to impose local restrictions. The tiers are described below but please check the government guidance for any updates:

  • HE tier 1 (default position): HE providers are expected to provide blended learning with face-to-face tuition while following the provisions of this, and public health guidance (for example, the appropriate use of face coverings).

  • HE tier 2 (fallback position): HE providers should move to an increased level of online learning where possible. Providers should prioritise the continuation of face-to-face provision based on their own risk assessment. We expect that, in the majority of cases, this will be for those courses where it is most beneficial (for example, clinical or practical learning and research)

  • HE tier 3 (where stricter measures are needed): HE providers should increase the level of online learning to retain face-to-face provision for priority courses (for example, clinical and medical courses), and in as limited a number of situations as possible.

  • HE tier 4 (last resort): We expect the majority of provision to be online, with buildings open for essential workers only. This should include the continuation of essential research

St George’s planning for activities continuing across HE tiers 2-4

HE tier 4: For St George’s, teaching activities that continue on campus at HE tier 4 will be:

  • laboratory research projects that cannot be moved online and are essential for meeting learning outcomes for graduation.

  • hands-on clinical skills/simulation teaching and assessment in specialist space that is essential for meeting learning outcomes for graduation/progression* of healthcare students (and for which a strong argument can be made by the programme director that it is on a par with clinical placement). *likely to be sessions for students in final and penultimate years only

All other on campus teaching would need to stop on campus (and move online or be rescheduled).

HE tier 3: For St George’s, teaching activities that continue on-campus at HE tier 3 will be those listed above for HE tier 4, plus:

  • hands-on clinical skills/simulation teaching in specialist space for which meeting learning outcomes for graduation/progression requires on campus teaching. (NB in keeping with the “as limited a number of situations as possible” guide, programmes should consider whether ALL hands-on clinical skills/simulation teaching needs to remain on campus following a move from HE tier 2 to HE tier 3 conditions, or whether a proportion could move online and still see the learning outcomes met).

  • hands-on laboratory/practical teaching in specialist space for which meeting learning outcomes for graduation/progression requires on campus teaching. (NB in keeping with the “as limited a number of situations as possible” guide, programmes should consider whether ALL hands-on laboratory/practical teaching needs to remain on campus following a move from HE tier 2 to HE tier 3 conditions, or whether a proportion could move online and still see the learning outcomes met).

HE tier 2 (current tier): includes those listed above for HE tier 3 and HE tier 4, plus

  • hands-on practical teaching that enhances learning and understanding to meet learning outcomes and is not easily replicated online (e.g. dissecting room sessions may fall into this category for some cohorts)

  • skills-based teaching that is not hands on but enhances learning and understanding to meet learning outcomes and is not easily replicated online (e.g. some communications skills sessions may fall into this category)

  • a limited number of seminars/lectures for small programmes with little or no hands-on sessions on campus, where permitted under national guidance

Triggers for moving between the HE tiers

Possible triggers which may instigate discussions and consideration of a move from HE tier 2 (current position) to the HE tier 3 include:

  • We are instructed to do so by London Coronavirus Response Cell / PHE/ London Borough of Wandsworth PH/ London Borough of Wandsworth Director of Public Health

  • The local Covid alert level is raised to Very High in the London Borough of Wandsworth outside a national lockdown where this has implications for education (as imposed by the government).

  • We are instructed by the government to further reduce limited skills sessions on campus for priority clinical and medical courses.

All onsite teaching will need to take into consideration possible changes when:

  • A significant number of academic staff are isolating or no longer available to deliver onsite teaching.

  • A significant number of support staff are no longer available to setup clinical skills sessions, lab sessions or simulations.

  • A significant number of students are isolating and it would be more effective to postpone teaching sessions and deliver later rather than run a separate catch up session for the majority of students.

  • The site becomes restricted due to increased capacity supporting the Covid effort.

  • The supply of PPE fails (or costs become prohibitive) meaning we have to prioritise its use by clinical and medical courses where it is required.

  • Internal and external Covid control measures can no longer be relied upon to contain the spread of the virus e.g. failure of NHS Track and Trace.

  • Key services providers for cleaning etc are unable to meet the service levels which have been agreed.

 

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