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Life at King’s guide for students

Preparing for the new academic year

We are now just a few weeks away from the start of the new academic year and we are so excited to welcome our new and returning students to King’s. We know that many of you are wondering what the new academic year will look like, both in relation to our educational delivery and how we can work together to protect the health of our community.

Our approach to dealing with COVID-19 goes beyond our campuses – King’s has been at the forefront of the global response to the ongoing pandemic. We are tackling the pandemic head-on by initiating urgent research, delivering frontline clinical care, supporting our NHS partners, and volunteering in our local communities.

Whilst the next few months will feel different from what you are used to, or what you were expecting before the pandemic, we are confident that you will still have a great experience. We have pulled together some of the key changes you might experience to help you know what to expect. Please look out for messages about your specific programme arrangements from your faculties and departments.

Our campuses will be open and the term will start as scheduled, with our virtual Welcome to King’s taking place over two weeks from 14 September, and teaching beginning for most of you on 28 September.  

We understand that some of you may not be able to join us in London for the start of term. If this is the case, your departments and faculties will work with you to ensure you have access to our high-quality education and support remotely. Please let us know if you will be studying online for the first semester by completing the Remote Study Form within Student Records, Further information is available from Student Services Online.

What to expect in the new academic year

The new academic year may be a little different from what you had expected. Watch this video to find out what you can expect in 2020/21.

We are taking a flexible approach to teaching and in order to protect the health of our community, we will have to limit the amount of people inside our buildings at any one time to ensure we can meet two metre safe distancing guidelines.

Where possible, we will deliver as much small group teaching, including clinical and lab-based sessions on campus as we can. We have planned for these sessions using safe distancing measures and by staggering teaching times where possible to manage the flow of people in our buildings. For clinical and lab-based programmes, we will also be using immersive simulation technology to support your learning.

Other teaching, including large group sessions and lectures, will be delivered online, through our virtual learning environment, KEATS, and Microsoft Teams. This means that you can work at your own pace and from your preferred location. We have an excellent provision for online teaching and our academics will be using interactive ways to ensure you can fully engage with your studies and with your classmates, wherever you are.

The methods used will vary by programme, your faculties and programme leads will continue to provide you with updates for what this means for your programme. You will have access to free software to download on your personal devices and our Service Desk is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to support you with all your IT queries.

When you come to campus for in person sessions, you will need to follow additional safety measures to ensure that we are all keeping King’s safe together. Details of the extra measures are available on our website.

We will keep our approach under active review, and hope to increase the amount of small group teaching we can deliver on campus later in the academic year.

As in any other year, we will support each of you with your individual situation and we understand that your personal circumstances may change during your studies. Please make sure that you speak to someone if you need support or assistance.

You will be able to meet with your personal tutor regularly online and we will aim to provide opportunities to meet them in person. They are your primary academic point of contact and can offer support and guidance, discuss academic progress, or direct you to specialist support services.

You will have access to all our support services including counselling, student advice, mental health support, disability support, immigration, housing support and the chaplaincy for all faiths and none. Details of our support for specific and diverse needs are available on Student Services Online.

Our Students’ Union, KCLSU also provides free, confidential, and impartial academic advice to students with issues affecting their studies. They can also help represent your views through the KCLSU student officers.

We have a rich offer of activities for you to get involved in, beyond the modules of your programme. Opportunities cover culture, entrepreneurship, leadership, and volunteering among many other options for you to explore. You will have access to all these opportunities online and there may be some in-person sessions taking place after the first semester, depending on the circumstances of the pandemic.

Our Students’ Union, KCLSU, will be providing a mix of on-campus and online sessions for you to get involved with societies and meet new people. Make sure to attend the digital welcome fair from 24 to 26 August where you can meet other students and connect with over 300 groups and sports clubs – from the Harry Potter Society to Tennis.

Being in London is a big part of your experience as a King’s student. There is so much to explore in the city, including museums, parks, and historical landmarks. The UK Government is encouraging safety measures including wearing face coverings and safe distancing so that you can enjoy your time in the city responsibly. Our partnerships and collaborations with communities and organisations across the capital will continue, especially in our home boroughs; Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster, where you can develop lifelong connections and networks; and give you opportunities to learn and to work side-by-side with our communities.

Please join us on campus on the days that you have timetabled on-campus teaching or for activities that you have pre-booked, for example through our Student Services or KCLSU. When on campus you will also be able to access bookable study spaces, borrow books from our libraries and visit any of the open cafés and bars for food and drink. When you're on campus, we ask that you observe all safety measures to look after yourselves and others. If you are unsure what these are, please visit the Keeping King's Safe Together web pages.

You will have full access to our range of services, including library, careers, and welfare services online. Some services will also have an on-campus service for those who need a face to face appointment to speak to our staff.

Our King’s Sport gyms will be open and the BeActive activity programme is continuing. The programme will include an extensive online timetable to help you stay active and meet new people. Classes will also take place in outdoor spaces to ensure the popular classes are still available at full capacity.

The health and safety of all our students and staff is a priority. We are following the latest government guidelines and working with our expert academics to protect the health of our community.

We have a range of measures in place, which include:

  • Keeping you up to date on the latest guidance
  • Enhanced cleaning regimes in our buildings
  • Wearing of face coverings inside our buildings, unless you are exempt
  • Limiting numbers in lifts, with priority access for those who need it most and encouraging use of stairs
  • Providing wipe pods with disinfectant wipes to clean desks, chairs, study areas and shared equipment before and after use
  • Hand sanitising stations at every entrance and hand washing stations where space permits.

We are prepared to respond quickly to implement additional and appropriate measures where necessary and in the instance of suspected or confirmed cases, in line with UK Government guidance and our health and safety team. This means that you may be asked not to come to campus at short notice, this is to protect yourself and others.

This is how we will ask you to help reduce the transmission of the virus:

  • If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19 you must either stay at home or return home and self-isolate for ten days and contact NHS 111 online and complete our self-isolation reporting form on the website
  • Stay 2 metres apart wherever possible whilst on campus
  • Wear a face covering inside our buildings, unless you are exempt
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser
  • Clean your study area and shared equipment before and after use
  • Only use marked entrances and exits
  • Follow the signs and floor markings
  • If you are travelling to the UK from abroad it is important that you keep up to date with the latest travel advice. Visit the UK Government website and local government information for guidance, and whether you need to quarantine when you arrive in the UK.

As members of a community, we all have a personal responsibility to protect each other.

We are an inclusive and open-minded community and it is so important that we look out for one another and be respectful. Not all disabilities are visible, such as mental health conditions, neurodiversity, and mobility, speech, visual or hearing impairments, and some of our community may be exempt from wearing face coverings. It is important that we understand and support all members of our community, in a way that is responsive and inclusive of diverse needs and backgrounds.

Our residences team are really looking forward to welcoming those staying in King’s Residences. Additional safety measures have been put in place to ensure that you can get the most from your experience.

Once you move in, you and your flatmates will be considered a household; this means that you and your flatmates will be able to spend time together and enjoy London. You will also be able to talk to our Welfare team about any concerns you have.

If you need to quarantine on arrival or if you feel unwell and need to self-isolate, we’ll support you with food deliveries, care packages and waste collection and check you are ok by phone or online.

Whether you live in a King’s residence, or not, you will have access to the ResiLife programme of online events and activities. This will help you to meet new people and feel part of a community. Sessions include Tea Talk Podcasts, Guided Meditations, Kitchen Hacks, and entertainment evenings which take place every week.

If you are looking to arrange private accommodation you can take our Looking for Housing module and find more information on Student Services Online.