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Coronavirus

The Department of Genetics is committed to supporting the learning and wellbeing of our staff and students during the coronavirus pandemic.

On this webpage, you will find FAQs, documents and useful links to answer your questions and support you through the academic year in a time of Coronavirus.  Items will be updated as more information becomes available. For the University’s updated guidance, please see the Coronavirus webpages.

Updated 23 Oct 2020

 

Information for Students

The Genetics Building

At the current time, the Genetics Building on the Downing Site is working on a strict shift pattern and at a reduced staff only capacity. All lectures will be held online and uploaded on the appropriate course Moodle sites. Some in-person teaching sessions will also take place and these will also be recorded. Practical sessions and supervisions are yet to be confirmed. If students are allowed in to the Genetics building, all students will be expected to wear a face covering, adhere to the social distance rules and one way systems that are put into place.

Library Services

The University Library on West Road is open in a limited capacity and online. The University Library is offering ‘Book a Visit’ for pre-booked in person visits, and a range of electronic services such as ‘Scan and Deliver’, ‘Click and Collect’ and ‘Ask a Curator’. More information regarding the University Library on West Road services can be found in their FAQs here.

At the current time, the Genetics Library is closed. For more information or further enquiries, please contact the Genetics and Plant Sciences Librarian .

Wellbeing and Physical and Mental Health

At the current time, the Wellbeing and Health of our students is a high priority. 

For supporting Mental Health, we suggest keeping in regular contact with friends, family, colleagues and social networks to stay connected and supported. There is a wealth of useful information on the University’s Student Wellbeing webpages including where to access support, such as the Student Counselling Service. There are also hints and tips from the NHS on looking after your mental health. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/improve-mental-wellbeing/

There is Coronavirus specific advice available here if you think have developed the characteristic symptoms of Covid-19 (i.e. a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, however mild)

The University offers swab tests to College and University staff and students displaying symptoms of COVID-19. 

To arrange your test, please visit the online web portal.  Please note that testing is only presently available from 8.30am to 5pm on Monday to Friday. If requesting a test at the weekend, you will not be contacted about your appointment until the following Monday. However, tests are available seven days a week via the NHS website.

When arranging a test, we recommend that you also sign up to MyChart by ticking the box under ‘Receiving your results through MyChart’. This is the fastest way to receive results. If you do not consent to receiving your results via MyChart, they will be communicated to you via email, which is likely to be substantially slower.

If you choose to be tested at the University testing pod outside the Dyson Building, you should not try to access the pod via the main entrance at the Department of Engineering. Updated directions are now available online.

For more information on what to do if you have possible symptoms of COVID-19, please visit the Stay Safe Cambridge Uni website

This can be a difficult time for all, department staff and students are welcome to contact the Department's wellbeing advocates.

Wellbeing Advocates: Sam Laister, HR Coordinator, and Marisa Segal, Lecturer.

Staying Safe

To ensure your safety and of those around you, we recommend following the guidance from the Government, NHS  and Public Health England of washing hands for 20 seconds frequently or using hand sanitizers, wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing with other people.

Students and Staff are recommended to download and use the NHS Test and Trace App for both in and outside of work and education. There are QR codes stationed in the centrally managed spaces of the University, including lecture theatres, cafes, museums, libraries and other public areas where the people may gather for a significant amount of time.

 

FAQs

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions regarding the teaching and learning that will take place over the next academic year. The FAQs below will be updated as new information becomes available. As the University goes through the academic year, information may change or be adjusted, and these FAQs will be updated.

If the information below doesn’t answer your question, please , Undergraduate Teaching Administrator.

How will remote lectures work?

Generally, remote lectures will follow the format of an approximately one-hour pre-recorded lecture that will be available ahead of time or in the timetabled slot for the subject. For Part II Genetic Students, Lectures are made available in the same time slots as the physical lecture would be. Handouts and other lecture resources are also made available through Moodle.

Your course organisers and administrators will be in touch throughout the academic year with more information

What about small group teaching, Q&A sessions and supervisions?

For the time being, you should assume that small group teaching and supervisions will be delivered remotely, except for Part II Genetics students.

Part II Genetics students will have in-person supervisions in the Part II Teaching Room or in the Biffen Lecture Theatre. Other small group teaching, Q&A sessions and supervisions will generally be on Zoom, as this is easy to schedule and operate.

In any case, for supervisions and small group teaching to proceed in person, all participants for a particular session – both staff and students – must be comfortable with this. Your supervisor will communicate with you about this.

Below is a map of the Genetics Building for the Part II Genetics Students.  This shows safe entrance/exit points, routes and rooms within the department that can be used for small group teaching and supervisions.

Ground floor plan 

What technologies will be used for remote teaching?

A number of factors are being taken into consideration with respect to choices of teaching technologies, including: an element of standardization for simplicity, balanced with room for creativity and tailoring to the needs of particular papers; cost and availability (i.e. the University has contracts with particular technologies that allow staff and students to use them at no cost to themselves); and the ownership and control of these technologies, including their data collection and use policies. 

Each paper will have a dedicated Moodle site, which will be organized with a folder for each topic, which can contain lecture slides, lecture recordings (made via Panopto) and a topic-specific forum.  This forum will be for discussion among students and questions on the topic; lecturers will check it regularly. 

Papers with an interactive element consisting of a Q&A will generally run these on Zoom or Teams, as these can easily be recorded there.  Papers with an interactive element consisting of a seminar will generally run these on Zoom or another video chat platform that allows for break-out rooms.

Small group teaching and supervisions will generally be on Zoom or Teams, as this is easy to schedule and operate via group chats.

In all cases, your course organisers will communicate the technologies specific to your papers with you.  This will be an open dialogue, so please feel free to make suggestions and feedback on these choices, as well as to consider these technologies critically.

What are the policies around the recording of teaching?

The ability to record our teaching is very helpful while we working remotely and outside of our normal routines.  Yet, it also introduces new risks and challenges to the classroom, such as silencing risks for all participants arising from worries about being remediated and intellectual property risks for lecturers. 

As a result, the University has developed a policy on the ‘use of recordings for remote teaching and learning'. According to this policy, the copyright of this video belongs to its lecturer.  This video is only to be used by the cohort of students enrolled in this course and only for the current academic year; in other words, it may not be shared more widely.

From the 5th October, the University also released a new Policy on Recordings of Teaching Materials/Lectures, and other Teaching, Learning and Assessment Activities

This policy governs the creation, usage and management of these materials. This policy also states that staff and students must give their consent if an online session is to be recorded and that this can be given in writing or verbally. For more information about the policy and the consent forms that accompany it for staff and students, please visit the webpage.  

How will BBS Dissertations be impacted?

Currently, all dissertation title suggestions are based on ‘dry lab’ and computational elements. Staff from the University and affiliated institutions have been working together to gather interesting and original Dissertation Title suggestions for students. Research for dissertations will not be lab based this year for health and safety reasons. If you have any questions regarding dissertations, please contact Dr Christine Farr (Part II Course Organiser) or Amy Glover (Course Administrator). 

How will the Part II Projects be impacted?

The Part II Genetics projects will all be ‘Dry Lab’ Projects and computationally based. Staff from the University and affiliated institutions have been working together to gather interesting and original project suggestions for students.

Projects will be allocated soon. If you have any questions regarding the projects, please speak with the project contact, Dr Christine Farr or Amy Glover.

If I have feedback regarding the teaching for 2020/21, what should I do?

Staff encourage students to engage in feedback regarding lectures, their formats, availability etc. Staff aim to incorporate student ideas and feedback, as the academic year progresses as best suits the course. This is an unusual year for everyone, and all ideas, suggestions and feedback are welcome.

Will events such as the Winter Pantomime and Open Days be going ahead?

We will be looking at and risk assessing the upcoming events in the Department in due course. Staff are currently thinking of other events and activities that could take place over the academic year and students and staff will be informed when decisions are confirmed. If students have ideas or suggestions for events and activities that could take place online and during these times, please email them to Undergraduate Teaching Administrator.

Where should I direct further questions?

Questions about papers should be directed to the relevant Moodle forum or asked in the interactive sessions or in supervision (rather than via email, unless it is a personal matter).  This helps us keep track of this correspondence and allows your fellow students to hear answers to questions that are often pertinent to them as well.

Questions not addressed by this FAQ or by the University’s information page can be emailed to your course administrator.

Other Information

You can also find additional information at the Cambridge Student Union website. https://www.cambridgesu.co.uk/support/coronavirus/

 

Information for Staff

On this webpage, you will find FAQs, documents and useful links to answer your questions and support you through the academic year in a time of Coronavirus.  Items will be updated as more information becomes available. For the University’s updated guidance, please see the Coronavirus webpages. https://www.cam.ac.uk/coronavirus

Updated 23 Oct 2020

 

Wellbeing and Physical and Mental Health

The wellbeing and health of our staff is a high priority. For supporting your mental health, we suggest keeping in contact with friends, family, colleagues and social networks to stay connected and supported.

The University offers swab tests to College and University staff and students displaying symptoms of COVID-19. 

To arrange your test, please visit the online web portal.  Please note that testing is only presently available from 8.30am to 5pm on Monday to Friday. If requesting a test at the weekend, you will not be contacted about your appointment until the following Monday. However, tests are available seven days a week via the NHS website.

When arranging a test, we recommend that you also sign up to MyChart by ticking the box under ‘Receiving your results through MyChart’. This is the fastest way to receive results. If you do not consent to receiving your results via MyChart, they will be communicated to you via email, which is likely to be substantially slower.

If you choose to be tested at the University testing pod outside the Dyson Building, you should not try to access the pod via the main entrance at the Department of Engineering. Updated directions are now available online.

For more information on what to do if you have possible symptoms of COVID-19, please visit the Stay Safe Cambridge Uni website.

The University Central HR Team have put together some guidance, activity ideas and general advice for looking after your wellbeing and mental health, which can be found in the following links, https://www.wellbeing.admin.cam.ac.uk/ and   https://www.hr.admin.cam.ac.uk/coronavirus_wellbeing_mentalhealth

During this difficult time, department staff and students are welcome to contact the Department's wellbeing advocates.

Wellbeing Advocates: Sam Laister, HR Coordinator, and Marisa Segal, Lecturer.

Test and Trace App

Students and Staff are recommended to download and use the NHS Test and Trace App for both in and outside of work and education. There are QR codes stationed in the centrally managed spaces of the University, including lecture theatres, cafes, museums, libraries and other public areas where the people may gather for a significant amount of time.

Teaching Guidance

This academic year, the University’s lectures and teaching is moving online. We have gathered a range of resources and links to support teaching staff to go online with their topics. Please see the Teaching Guidance page for more information.