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Updates on the Covid19 situation

A message from the Chair of the History Faculty


A message to all History Undergraduates.

Message for all undergraduate students in the Faculty of History

Over the past week, the coronavirus epidemic has created immense challenges and concerns for us all.

This message is to provide an update regarding the planning that has taken place since it became is clear that teaching and examinations will not take place in their usual form in the Easter Term. Along with colleagues around the University, the Faculty has been working extremely hard to develop plans for alternative assessments. In formulating these, we have endeavoured to take account of both the practical and psychological impact of the pandemic, including the issue of varied access to resources, the internet, and appropriate study space and the likelihood that many of you will be caring for siblings, parents, and other relatives. We have learnt much from the results of the survey initiated by the undergraduate representatives, to whom we are very grateful, and also from the many thoughtful comments sent in by individual students. Thank you for taking the trouble to write. The Faculty's plans were submitted to the University on Friday. These will be assessed, moderated and approved over the coming week and we will be given permission to communicate them to History and History and Politics students by 31 March. In the case of History and Modern Languages students, communication will come directly from MML.

The Faculty is all too conscious of the considerable anxieties that the uncertainties surrounding the nature of these plans are causing for many of you. Please understand that we are doing all that we can to provide the clarity you need as soon as possible, within the constraints of the University's timetable. We very much hope that when we are able to do so, this will help to allay many of the frustrations, concerns and worries that you feel. The University has prepared answers to a series of FAQs and posted these on its coronavirus website, but do remember that these are generic rather than specific to individual subjects. What should be underlined is that there will be an opportunity to sit examinations in their conventional mode for the first time once the University reopens, if that is what individual students prefer.

In the interim, paper convenors, Directors of Studies, and supervisors have been offering as much support and advice as they can, via email and Moodle. Please do not hesitate to contact them if you have particular questions and concerns.

The University and Seeley Librarians are working very hard to identify, publicise and (where possible) acquire electronic resources now that the libraries have physically shut. Many publishers are now making material available freely. Within your college cohorts and faculty class groups, please do try to help each other in sharing material to which you may have access.

In this time of crisis, the most important thing is that we look after ourselves and our families. Please keep safe and well.

Yours sincerely,
Alex Walsham (Chair of the Faculty), Lucy Delap (Deputy Chair), Chris Briggs (Director of Undergraduate Studies)


Message to all students in the History Faculty

This message provides some information about the coronavirus outbreak and the contingency planning that the Faculty and the University are currently undertaking to mitigate the disruption it is may cause to your studies. As you will be aware, the situation is developing rapidly. Many of you will have concerns and questions and it is hoped that what follows will provide some answers, albeit necessarily of a provisional and interim kind. We are actively engaged in preparing for a range of eventualities, including the possibility that the University may need to close for a period of time. In making these plans, we shall, of course, be conscious of the needs of students and staff who may themselves be unwell or be caring for relatives.

The University has issued guidance and this is being regularly updated.
See the University's website:
Colleges are likewise issuing advice to students and we are aware that many of you are being asked to return home.

Undergraduate students
The Faculty and University are committed to doing all we can to continue to provide undergraduate teaching and to ensure that examinations and assessments proceed as far as possible over the coming weeks and months.
At the present time, University facilities and buildings remain open. On Friday, however, we were asked to develop plans if lectures, revision classes and supervisions cannot be delivered in the Easter Term. We are working out arrangements to address this, which may include more extensive use of Moodle and individual and collective teaching delivered electronically via Skype and other facilities. We will provide further information about this before the Easter Term begins.

We have also been asked by the University to plan alternative modes of assessment should this become necessary, and to submit these for approval by 20 March. We will share any decisions taken with students as soon as the University permits – they have given 31 March as a deadline for approval of plans. Any assessment will be designed to test the same skills and knowledge as traditional undergraduate examinations and will take into account the current circumstances, including potential limitations on access to libraries and other resources needed for revision, as well as the impact of industrial action in the Michaelmas and Lent Terms.

MPhil students
Messages have already been sent to MPhil students regarding electronic submission of their Option essays and acknowledging the potential consequences of the current situation on dissertation research. Again, we are considering ways of mitigating and ameliorating this, including extensions, intermissions and other measures. We encourage you to make early contact with your supervisors to work out arrangements for remote supervisions if this becomes necessary and to discuss ways in which you might be able to adapt your dissertation research and writing in the light of current and future constraints. Rest assured that we shall seek to be as flexible as possible.

PhD students
The current situation will also have an impact on PhD students. First year PhD students who are currently preparing for their Registration exercises in the early part of Easter Term may have limited access to libraries and resources. Where possible, such exercises can be carried out electronically; we shall also be open minded about extensions and postponement. Second and third year students will in many cases be able to maintain contact with their supervisors via skype or other means, but restrictions on travel will inevitably constrain or prevent archival work. We shall endeavour to respond to these disruptions on a case by case basis, including via intermissions.

These are very uncertain and challenging times for us all and the situation is evolving quickly and unpredictably. The Faculty and University are working extremely hard to anticipate and address the concerns you will have. If you have particular questions, please do hesitate to direct them to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (), Director of Graduate Training (), Director of Graduate Studies (), or the Chair (). Directors of Studies, Supervisors, College Tutors and Graduate Tutors will also be on hand to provide advice.

Please take care of yourselves and do what you can to help each other.

Yours sincerely,
Alex Walsham (Chair of the Faculty)


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