Leicester leads the way against COVID-19

The University of Leicester remains one of the top UK universities in terms of the global impact of its COVID-19 research, and has been nationally recognised for its response to the pandemic.

As students prepare to return to campus this September, here’s a reminder of the role Leicester has played…

World-leading research

Leicester research, in partnership with the University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust, has played a key part in transforming patient outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic and, ultimately, saved lives.

Leicester researchers lead PHOSP-COVID, a major research study into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 on hospitalised patients. Initial findings from the first 1,000 patients recruited to the study, published in March, showed that seven in 10 survivors had not fully recovered five months after discharge from hospital.

The University has also led the way on examining the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on minority ethnic groups, as well as studies on vaccine hesitancy among healthcare workers.

Other studies include research into national and local lockdowns’ impact on air pollution, as well as pioneering research into ‘decoy proteins’ that could be used as a long-term treatment for SARS-CoV-2 and calls for improved indoor ventilation standards.

A complete response

The University of Leicester has been at the forefront of the conversation into universities’ reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teaching and learning moved to the online Ignite platform in record time, while University President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, published clear, early guidance to ease student anxieties around A-level Results Day.

Students were also offered a free on-campus testing service, and additional wellbeing support, as well as financial support through a student hardship fund and rent rebates for those in University-operated accommodation.

The Higher Education Business Continuity Network (HEBCoN) – a consortium of HE institutions set up to respond to disruptive sector-changing events – selected the University’s approach to the pandemic for its prestigious Contribution to Sector Award.

Looking ahead

The University has also taken action to ensure students continue to receive top-class teaching and learning opportunities in-line with UK Government restrictions.

From September 2021, there will be more in-person teaching for lectures, seminars, labs and other teaching events. Since March 2020 the University’s online teaching platforms have been very successful with our staff and students, and we will keep the best of these methods in place alongside our in-person teaching.

As Government guidelines are introduced, changed or withdrawn, the amount of in-person and online teaching delivered will adjust accordingly. Only new Government rules will prevent practical lab work study continuing.

In line with current Government guidance on the use of face coverings, there is no longer a legal requirement to wear masks in indoors. However, staff and students will continue to be encouraged to wear a face covering in any crowded places on campus.

Students will also be encouraged to utilise a vaccination programme delivered in partnership with neighbouring Victoria Park Healthcare Centre, following Leicester research which showed that 93% of undergraduate students favoured the COVID-19 jab

International students travelling to Leicester from Red and Amber List countries will also be offered financial support for their mandatory quarantine period, while all students will be provided with resources specifically designed to help them settle into University life through the successful HeadStart programme.