Almost 2,000 students have arrived at the University of Cumbria’s five campuses this week.
For the first time in more than 18 months, the new 1,900 students and those returning to university will experience much of their learning in person and with all the facilities you expect, such as café, library and sports halls, to be fully open again.
The university said it had worked tirelessly to keep its students, staff and the wider community safe and this remains a priority.
Students on professional programmes such as nursing and teaching, plus a number of international learners, have already returned to learning at the university.
The university is continuing to work closely with public health and other partners to make sure they protect the safety of students, staff and wider community, it said.
Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, deputy vice chancellor (health, environment and innovation), said: “To see our campuses return to the bustle of students enjoying a full university experience is wonderful.
“We are excited to welcome new and returning students back into the classroom to deliver face to face and practical learning experiences.
“We are also working to ensure that all of our students and staff feel safe and comfortable on campus, through the continuation of COVID-secure measures such as testing, engaging with vaccination and making socially responsible decisions around face coverings and social distancing.
“The pandemic has brought forward our developments to provide a combination of different levels of in-person and virtual activities tailored to each course, and is now part of a planned, future-focused approach to our learning offer and our staff operations.”
Student Welcome Week will be a combination of different virtual and face to face events per campus that includes a Howdy barbecue and Karaoke night, women’s hockey and netball taster sessions, escape room session and wildlife society walk.
A spokesman for the University of Cumbria Students’ Union, said: “There is excitement and anticipation for the start of this new academic year.
“Together with the university, we are working hard to provide a warm welcome and safe return to campus for all and have organised a series of in-person and virtual events, taking learnings and experiences gained through the pandemic to ensure a range of measures are in place to support our new and returning students.”
Staff will be spending the majority of the working week on campus with students mirroring this working pattern with their studies.
In line with Government advice, the university no longer imposes COVID restrictions, but it is recommending the use of face coverings and social distancing in crowded areas on its campus and on public transport.
Vaccination is a personal choice but the university encourages all its staff and students to get vaccinated this winter.
During Welcome Week, NHS vaccination vans will be on campus in Carlisle, Ambleside and Lancaster to deliver vaccinations.
To keep everyone as safe as possible, the university expects staff and students to continue to test for coronavirus using lateral flow tests twice a week.