Dear Bath students,

Each year, we look forward to this special time when we reunite with returning students and welcome new arrivals to our city, universities and community.

However, this year, we face a unique and serious situation in light of Covid-19.

Community matters more than ever at times like these. We must work together to play our part in tackling this global pandemic. We know that many of you have already been through a turbulent year and we thank you for your patience, resilience and flexibility.

Staff and students at our universities have been working extremely hard in the fight against the virus, manufacturing personal protective equipment for local NHS workers, volunteering for local charities, and tackling medical, scientific, cultural, educational and social challenges from Covid-19 through our research.

We have also been preparing extensively for the new academic year, with comprehensive health and safety measures in place. Following Government and public health guidance, we are implementing social distancing, enhancing cleaning regimes, reducing numbers on public transport and on our campuses, and working with public health officials on testing plans.

You, our students, have a vital role to play in helping to keep our communities safe.

We know coming to Bath is an important milestone for our students. We have done everything possible to provide a quality education and rich extra-curricular activities within Covid-19 guidelines. In all your activities, whether studying or social, you must keep safety at the forefront of your minds.

So that everyone understands their obligations and responsibilities, all members of both university communities have been given clear information on expected standards of behaviour. This includes observing social distancing and following Government rules about the maximum number of people who can gather socially from different households, which is currently six people.

Breaching these rules could not only break University regulations and policies, but UK law, and could risk the health and lives of others.

We must all play our part to protect each other. We trust that all our students will follow these rules, but the universities won’t hesitate to take action if breaches do occur.

We all feel lucky to call the welcoming and beautiful city of Bath our home. It is vital we play our part as responsible citizens. In this way, we can build relationships of mutual respect as good neighbours and work together to help keep one another safe and to have a successful academic year.

With best wishes,

Professor Ian White, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bath

Professor Sue Rigby, Vice-Chancellor of Bath Spa University

Francesco Masala, President of The SU (University of Bath)

Emily Casey, Students’ Union President (Bath Spa University)