We remain committed to ensuring that our campus environment remains a safe and welcoming environment within which to study and learn, and your wellbeing remains our priority during this extended pandemic period.
In setting out our expectations for teaching and learning conditions in September, they are, of course, subject to national guidance and the potential for a range of regulations to be changed. We are also very conscious of the variable circumstances facing our international students and the ongoing challenges of travel restrictions, so we are planning to be adaptable and flexible where we can within the regulations.
We will be offering all of our programmes in person on-campus as much as we can, in line with current COVID-19 regulations. We are very aware that the pandemic circumstances remain highly changeable around the world. To be resilient to whatever happens during the academic year, we have also planned to offer hybrid elements of the programmes and we are ready to switch to fully online if necessary.
This means that wherever on campus in-person sessions are offered, it is expected that students will attend on campus. Hence, we expect our students to begin to make necessary travel and accommodation plans so that they are ready to attend campus from 19th September 2021.
If it is not possible for you to travel to Dubai because of travel restrictions, or there are evidenced health related reasons recognised by the UAE Health Authorities that prevent you from coming to campus, you can apply to start your studies online. In the event that this application is accepted you would still be expected to make your way to Dubai and onto campus as soon as the conditions allowed that to be the case. You should apply using this form.
Please note that PGCE Primary students will be required to attend the placement element of the programme in person at their designated school.
In line with the UAE Ministry of Education COVID-19 Operating Protocols, all our students will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and to provide both evidence of their vaccination status and a clear PCR test to the University prior to entering for the first time in the academic year. Students who have been provided with a vaccination exemption certificate will follow the procedures put in place by the relevant health authority for their Emirate. For most students this will be the Dubai Health Authority or the Ministry of Health and Prevention. Details about how to provide the necessary information to the University closer to the start of the Academic Year will follow in further communications prior to the year starting.
The Ministry of Education COVID-19 Operating Protocols also require all students to download and register the AlHosn app. It is mandatory to have the app downloaded and active on your device.
Temperature checks on entry remain in place as well as sanitisers and other protective measures. Students will also be required to wear face masks at all times while on campus, with one-meter social distancing regulations remaining in place across campus too.
What you can expect
1. Lectures will go ahead in person, in the normal way wherever possible, unless government requires us to introduce COVID-19 related restrictions that make this impossible. These interactive lectures will reinforce and extend the core lecture content that will still be available in advance online, so your lecturer can focus on explanation, clarification, examples and interactive learning. These sessions will be recorded (where appropriate) so they are available to you even if, for example, you are self-isolating or unable to travel.
For international students who may face travel restrictions and have had online learning approved for extended periods of time, we are also preparing to make live remote access available to many of the large group lectures.
2. Small group teaching such as seminars, labs and skills sessions will go ahead in-person in the usual way unless we are required to introduce COVID-19 related restrictions. If we do need to restrict access at any point in the year, we will update you on the specific plans in line with what we can do within the restrictions imposed, but will ensure that we are providing the appropriate teaching input.
3. Core lecture content will be pre-recorded and made available online as preparation for the in-person lectures. This year, our students reported they found the availability of preparatory content online to be very helpful in supporting their learning. This is particularly the case for students with a disability, caring responsibilities, or English as a second language. This also means that students can continue to access core teaching content even if they are required to self-isolate or are unable to travel, or if staff are required to isolate.
4. Every student has a Personal Academic Tutor and in addition to the opportunity to meet with your tutor individually, you will have regular academic support with our Online Group Tutorials. Based on our experience of running online group tutorials this year, students reported that the online format was convenient and accessible, and the group format helped them to connect with their peers.
5. Assessments will take a range of formats including many different types of examination and coursework (your tutors will explain). Based on our success in delivering inclusive online assessments in 2020-21, we can also invoke online assessments for all programmes if the government reintroduces further COVID-19 related restrictions.
6. There are some programmes with specific practical and professional requirements where on-campus in-person teaching and assessments will be required at some point in order to graduate/progress. We will advise if this applies to you.
Staying Covid Safe:
7. You can also expect that we will continue to prioritise your safety and wellbeing and that will include measures to mitigate any risks as well as following the Ministry of Education Protocols for Operating safety during COVID-19 . For example, temperature checks, face masks being required, hand sanitiser, and some one-way systems for moving around campus.
In developing these plans, we have taken into account a range of different Covid-related scenarios and the lessons learnt from the last year. This means we are confident we will be able to deliver education successfully whether, for example, all restrictions are lifted for the whole academic year, some restrictions are imposed by government at certain points in the year, or staff and students are required to self-isolate at short notice. In summary, we have planned to be ready for (almost) anything!
We look forward to welcoming you back to our campus which has felt far too empty this year.
On behalf of all of us at UoBD, enjoy the rest of your summer, take good care, and we’ll see you in September.