By Gordon McColm
Despite a series of meetings at the start of the week, UWS is still yet to clarify the extent measures it will take as the Coronavirus spreads across Scotland. Cases have more than doubled since students were advised not to be on campus last Friday.
Staff have spent this week on site providing support to students remotely. Student services have remained open, the gym, library and student support are all still accesible.
Students with deadlines are waiting to find out how they could complete tasks. Callum studies Music Production and told me how he spent all of last week in university using a mixer to complete some work. Work that he would have been unable to do this week.
“I haven’t got a £60,000 mixer at home you know”Callum, speaking about the limitations of remote working
It’s not just hardware access that Callum is concerned about. The software packs like Adobe Creative Cloud are expensive and he is worried there may be students unable to use the tools without heading on to campus and using computers there.
Catalina is another student affected by the sudden loss of access to tools. She’s considering switching her documentary to audio only. She believes doing that means she’ll have something to submit as the deadline approaches.
Both, like many others, are still waiting to find out what exactly will happen with their assessments.
Crucially, the UWS Studio Team have confirmed that the studios and kit store are still accessible. They have also asked that students clear any requests with module leaders before contacting them. The team are also testing out alternate arrangements including online classes and live streaming workshops.
UWS released another update to students in an email on Tuesday afternoon, but one that won’t ease the pressure for students. It does note that staff will be in contact with replacements to lectures and tutorials, as well as contact over the form exams may take. For those in practical orientated courses it seems as though the decisions have been delegated to Schools. That means a longer wait for students to see what exactly they’ll need to do before the end of term.
The wellbeing of our students and staff is our first priority and colleagues continue to work tirelessly to mitigate the local impacts of the rapidly evolving international coronavirus situation.Information included in an email sent to students today.
The University remains open and all campuses are operational; however, the University recognises that your health and wellbeing, and that of your family or those you care for, will be a priority.
Students are anxious about the fluid nature of their assessments but both Callum and Catalina did tell me they understood the reasons for the delay.
They are making a big effort but it’s a really complex situation for everyone, so it’s really unexpected […] It’s going to take some timeCatalina on UWS’s handling of the spread of COVID-19
Information will no doubt be forthcoming for students, though likely directly through course and module co-ordinators. Until then students are left juggling their responsibility to follow University and NHS advice and the work they’re expected to complete.