Need to know – 12 August

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Here are the top updates from the Adaptation and Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Guidance to support Semester 1 planning

Detailed information and guidance has been added to the Adaptation and Renewal SharePoint page to help staff to plan for Semester 1. This includes key information around buildings and estates, health and safety, learning and teaching activities and student support services. This page will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.

2. Update on Welcome Week 2020 

Welcome Week will be held on Monday 14 – Friday 18 September. This year there will be a longer ‘welcome period’ to ensure we provide a warm welcome at the point that new or returning students start their studies, whether on-campus or not, to provide additional support to receive the information and experiences when they can access them. Central Welcome Week induction activities are being adapted and will be delivered virtually and will be available throughout the entire welcome period. More information can be found on the induction activities pages of the new students (pre-arrival and induction) sharepoint site.

3. Working with local partners 

The University continues to work with partners across Edinburgh, including the Local Authority; NHS Lothian; Police Scotland; other Higher Education Institutions and Edinburgh Airport to coordinate an effective local response that prioritises health and safety, supports our students and follows Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland guidance.

What to expect on campus

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As we move out of lockdown, it’s natural that you will have questions about what things will be like when you return to campus.

This short film provides a snapshot of the measures that you will see in place when you return – whether that be in the coming weeks, or further down the line.

Reassuring our returning students: behind the scenes of creating the ‘Welcoming you back’ webpages

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The outbreak of Covid-19 has been an uncertain and challenging time for everyone. Our staff have shown an incredible commitment to adapting to the ongoing situation, changing ways of working to address new issues and collaborating across teams to support each other.

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On your bike

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It’s not surprising that a recent report from Cycling Scotland has seen a huge increase in cycling since social distancing was introduced in Scotland. While we’ve all been stuck in our homes, many of us have turned to cycling, rather than walking or running, as another way to enjoy our limited time outside. Lots of us have got into (or back into) cycling as a way to stay active, and look after our mental health by getting that much needed fresh air fix.

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Staying on holiday at home

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As Scotland and the rest of the UK slowly easing lockdown restrictions, many of us are planning to get back out there and enjoy our summer. Here Kitty Wheater, Mindfulness Chaplain, explores how we can reclaim our holiday without leaving our homes.

Over recent weeks, Scotland has shifted towards re-opening dentists, hairdressers, and cinemas. There are new possibilities for physically-distanced socialising, and staying somewhere overnight. And many of us are thinking: could I… might I… go on holiday?

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Sea change

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With holidays to other countries cancelled this year, finding new things to do near Edinburgh can seem challenging. Try snorkelling and be amazed, writes Sarah Ford-Hutchinson, Communication Manager in the Social Responsibility and Sustainability team. 

The first time I tried snorkelling, I was terrible. 

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Next week: Town Hall session

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Don’t forget that next week will be the first University-wide virtual Town Hall session. On Tuesday 18 August from 3.00pm–4.00pm, the Principal will be talking through a range of updates, as well as answering any other questions you may have.

The session will focus on preparations for Semester 1, work from the Adaptation and Renewal teams, and the key areas of focus for 2020/21.

The senior leadership team will also be answering questions raised during the session. You can submit a question beforehand here. The deadline is 5.00pm today (Tuesday 11 August).

You can book a place through MyEd.

As not everyone will be able to attend, the session will be recorded and published after the event.

Thought for the week – 12 August

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This week Professor Mona Siddiqui, Assistant Principal Religion and Society, reflects on how recent months have changed our understanding of family relationships.

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New boot camps from Sport & Exercise

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From 24 August, Sport & Exercise are starting outdoor boot camps at Peffermill and Easter Bush.

Get yourself moving in a one-of-a-kind workout, set in a unique outdoor setting.

The new sessions are a fun mixture of HIIT, sport-style drills and bodyweight exercises. Sport & Exercise experts will make sure that you’re doing the most effective exercises to maximise your training time no matter what your goal is: weight loss, fat loss, body toning or improving your strength and stamina. The sessions are booked in four-week blocks and are suitable for all ability levels.

For more details visit the Sport & Exercise website.

Need to know – 28 July

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Here are the top updates from the Adaptation and Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Guidance for face-to-face research

Detailed guidance for restarting face to face research both in the UK and overseas is now available. This applies to all face to face research, whether in Edinburgh, elsewhere in the UK or in another country. Your proposed activities must be able to comply with the relevant norms on physical distancing. You should refer to the Decision Making Flowchart and Risk Assessment documents.

2. Wearing face coverings

The University will continue to implement Government and Health Protection Scotland guidance to manage and reduce the risk of Covid-19. Physical distancing, good standards of hand and respiratory hygiene, and enhanced cleaning regimes remain the most effective measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

We will also support our staff, students and visitors, in terms of good public hygiene, by strongly encouraging people to wear their own face coverings within University buildings.

3. Digital resources for research available

Lockdown has emphasised the increasing importance of data and digital technologies in conducting research. The University’s Digital Research Services is a single point of access to University-wide data and computing services available to all researchers. There are about 40 resources designed for academics with all levels of experience and for all stages of their research journey. The interactive web service is available at www.digitalresearchservices.ed.ac.uk

4. Updates to travel advice

Travel advice for staff and students has now been updated including information around travelling on University Business, the Go Abroad scheme, going abroad on holiday and UK-based fieldtrips and placements.

Adaptation & Renewal: Expertise in the time of Covid

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Edd McCracken, Head of News, examines how our researchers have been using their expertise to provide insight on the pandemic. 

Among the many things that the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown have brought is a certain metronomic quality to life. For months, the daily rhythm of caring, working, Zooming, eating and sleeping has gone unchanged. The easing of restrictions is adding more interesting and varied beats, but one daily occurrence remains the same.

Turn on your TV, tune into a radio station, open a newspaper or read an article online, and chances are there will be a University of Edinburgh expert providing some insight into the coronavirus outbreak.

Since the first major reports of the virus in Wuhan, China in January 2020, scores of our researchers have been called upon to help us make sense of a world that has been turned upside down.

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Adaptation & Renewal: The Edinburgh Hybrid Teaching Exchange

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Over the past few months the Students work stream in Adaptation & Renewal has been looking at a range of work strands focussed on our returning students. Here bulletin looks at the work that has gone into launching the Hybrid Teaching Exchange website which shares how colleagues across the University are planning and preparing for the shift to a hybrid teaching approach for September.

There’s been a lot of thinking and planning around hybrid teaching recently with a lot more work still to navigate. The Students work stream of Adaptation and Renewal has been exploring how best to support, complement and celebrate the work going on in Schools and programmes.

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Get your fresh air fix

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Now that lockdown is slowly lifting, and we can venture out a bit further from our homes, we asked staff where they’ve been going to enjoy the bonnie Scottish summer.

“We recently visited Tyninghame Beach (otherwise known as Ravensheugh Sands) near Dunbar. It is a beautiful sandy beach with dramatic views of Bass Rock. Parking spaces are limited so it never feels too busy. It’s a great beach to let our dachshund, Shelly zoom around off the lead, she absolutely loves the beach like we do!” – Kristin Mason, Digital and Comms Officer

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