Coronavirus (COVID-19): FAQs

Latest information from the College.

This page has been set up to provide updates on decisions taken by the college and information for incoming and returning students who have questions about the effect of Coronavirus (Covid-19) on College life. It will be updated on a regular basis.

Last reviewed 30 June 2020.

We are incredibly grateful for the creativity and flexibility that our staff and students have shown responding to these unprecedented and challenging times. We also give thanks for the innovative mission and ministry that so many are offering within their communities, workplaces, churches and local contexts.  

Although this season offers a range of opportunities and new possibilities for learning and formation, we are also aware that for many it is undoubtedly challenging and draining, and is placing extraordinary demands on staff and students across the College. We would ask that you be kind and compassionate to one another as faithful stewards of God’s grace.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the College’s plans for the 2020/21 academic year?

While we all long to be back together in person, the decision has been made that all teaching and preparatory content in the autumn term will be accessible via a blend of video lectures, activities, learning resources and live online classes. In the shift to online delivery, we want to maintain the excellent quality of both our academic and formational standards in teaching and learning to ensure that students continue to flourish. This also includes student support, academic development, and learning resources. With any plans made, flexibility is also necessary, allowing the College to respond quickly to changing external and internal circumstances. To ensure this, the plan for the autumn term in the 2020/21 academic year is marked by a move towards simplicity that, to a certain extent, streamlines our provision across the whole College.

Decisions about subsequent terms will be made by half term (e.g. end of October for the spring term).

How will the College deliver its academic programmes in the autumn term?

As we have done for the summer term 2020, the timetable for the autumn term has been reworked so that students from all centres follow the same mid-week teaching curriculum. This will allow us to move easily in and out of periods of lockdown, if required, throughout the first term.

While provision is online, the College will reduce the number of online live session delivery points to two days and one evening, as follows:

  • Monday day: London/North West 
  • Tuesday day: South West/East Midlands 
  • Tuesday evening: London/Chelmsford 

What will be the timings for my delivery day/evening?

For daytime delivery, students on undergraduate programmes can keep to their normal college hours and approach their teaching and learning as follows: 

  • 9.30am – 10am: Worship
  • 10am – 11am: The student works through the preparatory content (having done the preparatory reading in advance) 
  • 11am – 11.30am: Break
  • 11.30am – 1pm: Online class
  • 1pm – 2pm: Break
  • 2pm – 4pm: Afternoon Programme
  • 4.15-4.30pm: Worship

 

Due to the seminar style delivery of the MA programmes, the timetable will keep to normal college hours as follows:

  • 9.30am – 10am: Worship
  • 10am – 11am: Online Class 
  • 11am – 11.30am: Break
  • 11.30am – 1pm: Online Class
  • 1pm – 2pm: Break
  • 2pm – 4pm: Afternoon Programme (if applicable)
  • 4.15-4.30pm: Worship

 

For evening delivery, the pattern for the live portion of the evening will be as follows: 

  • 7.15 – 7.30pm: Worship 
  • 7.30 – 9.15pm: Online class 

If autumn term academic delivery is online, will there be any on-site activity?

While the College will deliver academic and formational content online in the autumn term so that it is available to all students no matter their situation (including those shielding), it is possible that centres may trial meeting on-site in small groups (a formation group with a formation group tutor, or where size permits, student year groups and staff, or even whole centres) during the autumn term.

Any on-site activity is, however, subject to the following requirements: 

Essential:

  • Group size does not exceed the government stipulated maximum for indoor meetings and groups are able to socially distance in accordance with government guidance
  • The site in question permits on-site activity
  • Staff and student safety is not compromised
  • Staff and students can make suitable travel arrangements and within government guidelines
  • Site staff (e.g. vergers) have the right protocols in place
  • In-person attendance is optional for students and staff during the period in which any trial meetings are held
  • The Covid-19 risk assessment is completed

Preferable:

  • Any small group is not below 5 in number for viability
  • Schools to have fully reopened

Please note that on-site activity in the autumn term may not be possible due to changing government guidelines, a second wave of infection, or any other relevant factors.

Can I still gain access to the College’s libraries or borrow books?

At present there are no plans to enable student access to physical libraries for the autumn term. However re-opening will be considered in light of the College’s phased return to its buildings. In order to support student learning online, all bibliographies will be updated to reflect the College’s growing digital resource provision.

What Academic Development is available online?

The Academic Development team have created an online version of the academic development programme for the autumn term. Academic development seminars will be pre-recorded and made available to students online in advance of the start of the academic year. Live Zoom seminars will also be timetabled, both for specific cohorts as well as for general attendance. The Academic Development Tutor will be available for one-on-one tutorials anytime during the week via Zoom. The Academic Development Tutor will also conduct surgeries at the Teaching Week & Residential Week to supplement the online pre-recorded material. Details of how to book and the seminar & surgery timetable will be available at the start of the academic year.

Can I still make an appointment to see a College Chaplain or Counsellor?

Yes – the College Chaplains and the College Counsellor remain available for students to book individual online one-on-one sessions. All students should contact their Centre Coordinator if they need more details.

What is the plan for ordinand residentials in the autumn term?

As stated above, all academic and taught content for the residentials in the autumn term will be delivered online, with the exception of the Leadership Formation Course due to take place at the November Residential week.

Online delivery of the residential week content will take place during the scheduled week, but with the timetable reworked so that teaching is Monday – Friday (except for students undertaking the leadership formation course as noted above). For the online delivery of the residential weekend content for the autumn term, ordinands will join the online December Teaching Week for independent students (Monday – Friday). Please see dates sheets on the website and Moodle.

By moving academic content away from residential weekends in the autumn term, the focus of weekends where we are able to meet together in person, dependent on government guidelines and the availability of our residential venues, will be on relationship building, corporate worship, formation, and ministry. This allows suitable flexibility should restrictions be reintroduced.

What is the plan for the undergraduate teaching week in the autumn term?

Teaching Week will go ahead as planned in December, but delivered online. Modules will be re-worked for online learning with content ready for students with enough time to prepare for the live sessions during Teaching Week. There will be at least one live session/day that draws together themes across the lectures for that day. However, this session would be run twice: once during the day and repeated in the evening.

What about the social side of College life?

All Centres will offer: an online local induction for incoming students;  some online ‘social’ space on mid-week teaching days  or evenings as relevant; a buddy system which groups incoming students with returning students to share and build College community and culture; online socials ; and a weekly ‘SMC Life’ email including a (staff/student) ‘Get to Know You’ section.

What about the worshipping life of the College?

As per usual the College will root its study of theology in the context of worship and prayer midweek, at residentials and at teaching week.

How will the College support ordinands in their placements?

All ordinands and supervisors will be briefed at online Supervisor Days/Evenings in September regarding realistic expectations for time in context (not least in relation to the need for ordinands to be able to give half their time each week to academic study).

In addition to the annual placement meeting, Formation Group Tutors will arrange two Zoom calls either side of half-term with their students and their supervisors, and (as in the usual course of business) continue to arrange one-to-one tutorials with their students.

I’m a full-time ordinand. What will my formational programme look like?

A timetabled Leadership for Healthy Churchesprogramme of online input (2-4pm following  the current timetable) will be provided across all centres. Contributors (whether internal or external) have been asked to provide one hour of live teaching on Zoom (or  pre-recorded content if necessary) including interaction between students and speaker. Formation Groups (or, where size permits, student year groups) will then meet online to discuss, contextualise and apply the content further and to provide further regular check in points for Formation Group Tutors with their students.

The timetabled programme of input will be largely centre specific but will include some sessions delivered across multiple centres.

I’m a part-time ordinand. What will my formational programme look like?

Formation Group Tutors will schedule at least four (two in each half-term) online sessions with their Formation Group. Additionally, part-time ordinands will have access to recorded content from the Leadership for Healthy Churchesprogramme and so Formation Group Tutors can also make use of this in the context of Formation Group time if they want to.

What is happening with the youth ministry programme and placements?

Youth Ministry students will join with the student body on a Monday as usual, beginning with worship and morning teaching provision. As afternoon teaching is also accredited under Middlesex for the Theology and Youth Ministry programme, Youth Ministry specific modules and Formation Groups will take place online between 2.30pm and 4pm each week. These afternoon lectures and seminars will also have preparatory work to complete beforehand.

We recognise that the placement element for Youth Ministry students will have taken on a variety of new and adapted shapes during lockdown and in the ongoing transition back into face to face ministry. It is important therefore to ensure that Mondays and your other weekly study day are protected as much as possible at this time.

All Youth Ministry students and supervisors will be briefed at the online Supervisor Day in September regarding realistic expectations for time in their placement context. In addition to the usual annual placement visit, Formation Group Tutors will arrange two Zoom calls, one either side of half-term with their students and their supervisors, and (as in the usual course of business) continue to arrange one-to-one tutorials with their students.

The Lead Tutor for Youth Ministry, Alice Smith is your key contact point for any queries not covered elsewhere in this guide.

I’m a full-time undergraduate student. What will my afternoon programme look like?

A timetabled programme of online input will be provided on a centre specific basis. Centre Directors (in liaison with the Lead Undergraduate Tutor) will decide which (if any) sessions of the Leadership for Healthy Churches programme undergraduate students can join ordinands for. Otherwise, the timetable(s) will reflect a mixed but mandatory diet of:

  1. Formation Group time 
  2. Reading and/or study skills seminars
  3. Independent study.

 

In addition, Formation Group Tutors (as in the usual course of business) will arrange one-to-one tutorials with their students.

In Centres that are offering reading and/or study skills seminars as part of their undergraduate afternoon programme, these seminars will be recorded so that students from other centres can access them should they want to.

What if I’m a part-time undergraduate?

Formation Groups will continue to meet online throughout the autumn term and tutors will continue to be available if you have any queries.

What if I’m a Peter Stream student?

During the Autumn term the Peter Stream will be delivered online via Zoom at the following times:

For Monday Students
  • 9:30am Worship
  • 10am Session One (Discernment, Life & Study Skills)
  • 11am Coffee Break
  • 11:30am Session Two (Theology)
For Tuesday Students
  • 6pm Session one (Discernment, Life & Study Skills)
  • 7pm Break
  • 7:15pm (optional worship)
  • 7:30pm Session Two (Theology)

 

If you have any questions about Peter Stream delivery in the autumn term then please contact PeterStream@stmellitus.ac.uk

What if I’m a Beginning Theology student?

Beginning Theology will have Formation Group time online as per the timetable. 

What if I’m an LLM student?

For Chelmsford LLM students the academic programme will be delivered as follows:

  • Year 1 and 2 students will meet on Tuesday evenings, and the pattern for the live portion of the evening will be:
    • 7.15 – 7.30pm: Worship 
    • 7.30 – 9.15pm: Online class

Additionally, Saturday workshops will take place online (supported by online material) for Year 1 students on 21 November (4ELC) and 5 December (4ELC), and for Year 2 students on 17 October (4P).  

  • Year 3 students will meet on Thursday evenings but online.

For further details, or if you have any questions about LLM delivery in Chelmsford in the autumn term then please contact rob.merchant@stmellitus.ac.uk or ejordan@chelmsford.anglican.org.

 

For London LLM students the academic programme will be delivered as follows:

  • Year 1, 2 and 3 students will meet on Tuesday evenings, and the pattern for the live portion of the evening will be:
    • 7.15 – 7.30pm: Worship
    • 7.30 – 9.15pm: Online Class

If you have any questions about LLM delivery in London in the autumn term then please contact matt.prior@stmellitus.ac.uk.

 

Formational work for all LLM students will continue as scheduled in the current timetable but online. Additionally, LLMs will have access to recorded content from the Leadership for Healthy Churches Programme and Formation Group Tutors may make use of this in the context of Formation Group time.

What if I’m a postgraduate?

Postgraduate formation groups will continue to meet online throughout the autumn term. Dissertation supervision will happen as normal, with meetings held on Zoom. The Graduate Tutor will also hold weekly virtual office hours if students have queries.

My question’s not been answered. Who should I contact?

If you have another question, please contact info@stmellitus.ac.uk.