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Socially-distanced campus to open in September

LSE Director Dame Minouche Shafik announced today via email that LSE’s campus shall open as planned in September, with rules enforcing social distancing and public health.

The email states that whilst lectures will remain online over Michaelmas term, classes will be in-person “where possible, all in socially distanced environments”. Campus shall also follow social distancing rules, enforcing one-way systems and face coverings “whilst indoors on campus, in shared areas, and in communal spaces in residences”. Halls of residences are also obliged to follow these health safety measures. 

The email omitted what actions will be taken to ensure the LSE cleaning staff’s safety, which came under concern at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shafik also admitted that where the university shall try to follow government advice where possible, the university will likely “go beyond government guidance, based on scientific advice and the expertise of our academic facility”.

The full email can be read below

Dear all,

I hope that your Summer Term has gone well so far. Whilst I appreciate that you may still have remaining assessments to complete, I do want to look further ahead and update you on the next academic year at LSE in 2020/2021 when you return to our School.

Teaching and learning at LSE in Michaelmas Term 2020

LSE’s campus and halls of residence will be open to welcome you back for the start of term in September, with students expected to be in London for Michaelmas Term 2020. A range of enhanced safety measures will be in place to protect and support you, your peers and staff. To ensure your excellent educational experience continues safely, we are taking a flexible approach to your teaching and learning for the duration of the term.

Here are some key elements to flexible teaching and learning at LSE that will shape your Michaelmas Term in 2020:

  • Small in-person classes, seminars, tutorial groups and Harvard style teaching sessions will run on campus where possible, all in socially distanced environments. These activities as well as other student support will also be accessible to students unable to access campus if there is a delay to you joining us in London.
  • Lectures will be delivered online for Michaelmas Term 2020. All lectures will be recorded and made available for you to access.
  • All programmes will continue to maximise students’ ability to work together, both online and on campus, so that you can contribute safely to your learning community. A mix of interactive activities between classes will give you the opportunity to connect with world-leading faculty, share ideas with peers and engage with LSE’s rich education and research culture.
  • Across campus and halls of residences we will introduce enhanced health and safety measures. LSE will always, at a minimum, comply with and follow UK government guidance. However, where appropriate, it is likely that we will go beyond government guidance, based on scientific advice and the expertise of our academic faculty.
  • Face coverings whilst indoors on campus, in shared areas and in communal spaces in residences will be mandatory. A robust set of protocols will also be put in place that take a holistic view of how to keep our community safe and well. This includes enhanced cleaning and hygiene practices, recalibrating space, floor markings to ensure social distancing, controlled access to campus buildings and mechanisms to identify and assist individuals and our community more widely if people are unwell. We will also explore what contributions ‘test, trace and isolate’ processes and temperature checks at key points on campus can make to safety. This will be alongside other proposed measures such as hand sanitising stations, disinfectant wipes for classroom settings, one-way circulation routes and reduced capacities in teaching and social learning spaces, all directed by thorough risk assessments and equality impact assessments.
  • We know your experience at LSE is shaped outside of the classroom too, and we will continue to offer you a range of opportunities to make the most of your next academic year. We look forward to welcoming you back to develop skills and try new things, whether giving back through volunteering, developing your entrepreneurial ideas via LSE Generate, shaping your community through LSE Students’ Union activities and societies, or attending our new online public lecture programme. All activity will start from Welcome 2020, which will be delivered digitally and in-person, with registration online. Students can always access our thriving regional alumni groups which operate across the globe.
  • Being part of LSE is also about the support you can expect from your School, no matter the situation you may be facing. We are committed to working in partnership with you to enhance your experiences and the Disability and Wellbeing teams, Careers and LSE LIFE are available to guide you through the next academic year and beyond through excellent online and in-person services where possible.

I know that you will have further questions and we’ll keep you updated over the summer to help you prepare for the return to campus. More information, guidance and resources are also available via our COVID-19 guidance for student webpages, which will be added to in the coming weeks.

Finally, I wanted to let you know how proud I am of you, and all our students. I know this academic year was not how any of us imagined it would be, and we faced many challenges as a School, as well as personally. As an LSE alumna, I know that the skills and knowledge you’ve been developing will not have left you, despite the circumstances. Now more than ever they will help you continue your journey at LSE and truly shape the world for the better.

I look forward to welcoming you back in September.

Warm wishes,

Minouche Shafik

LSE Director