Studying at Leo Baeck College during Coronavirus

The College continues to adapt the way it operates during the pandemic while taking into account government regulations and the guidance from Public Health England.  The plans for the delivery of its programmes reflect the College’s continuing concern to maintain everyone’s safety and wellbeing, provide a positive learning experience for students and to maintain high academic standards.

Preparations for the 2021-22 academic year

Following consultations with students, faculty and staff and current advice it has been decided to revert back to in-person teaching from October 3rd.   This decision will be reviewed on a regular basis as circumstances evolve and change.   Students and faculty who have individual concerns about this arrangement, be it for medical or other reasons are asked to contact the Principal or Dean of the College.

As it is impossible to know how this year may unfold, the College has prepared two timetables, one for the delivery of courses in-person and the other for online delivery.   From October 3rd the in-person timetable will be used even if a minority of modules are delivered online.   In circumstances in which students reside abroad, have received permission to study online, or are isolating because they have been in proximity to another person (tutor, student, family member, etc.) who has tested positive to Covid will be able to join the class via Zoom.   Students who have contracted Covid are ill and are not expected to attend class virtually.

Should circumstances in the country change due to an increase in Covid infections, a decision may be taken to revert back to online teaching.

For more information about the impact on learning and teaching online, please see the guidance below from the 2020-21 academic year.

Library

The library is open to students and faculty during the teaching week with some social distancing measures in place in line with the College’s CV-19 Protocols. Students and faculty are able to access the library out-of-hours after individual inductions. As we return to in-person teaching we will no longer be offering blanket additional services but will continue to support individuals according to their particular circumstances. We will keep students and faculty updated as services and circumstances evolve and as always, encourage students and faculty to be in touch about their teaching, learning and research needs so we can support their specific needs.

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Preparations for the 2020-21 academic year

The College is striving to run as many of its programmes as possible. There will, however, be changes in the method of delivery of the programmes. The changes to teaching, learning and assessment on validated awards due to Coronavirus have been agreed with the validating body, Middlesex University.

Fourth and Fifth year internships and placements forming part of the programme for Ordination have also been duly modified.

Learning and Teaching

The College has taken a decision to deliver its programmes using blended/on-line teaching during the first semester of 2020-21.    A decision about the second semester will be taken in due course in response to the evolving Covid-19 situation.

With a view to keeping everyone safe the first semester will be taught through a mixture of synchronous online teaching and asynchronous learning.  This will require a modification of the timetable to free up time for more independent learning.  This will hopefully provide students with some flexibility and choice as to when to study independently.

Examples of synchronous online sessions will include tutor led seminars, individual and small group tutorials, work in groups and chavruta.

Supported asynchronous learning will include listening to pre-recorded presentations by tutors as well as exercises, quizzes and guided reading.

Independent learning can include preparation for class through undertaking tasks set by tutors and also reading, listening and reflecting.

Placements and Internships

Although Government advice is that places of worship can physically reopen from 4 July 2020, Leo Baeck students will continue to conduct placements and internships online rather than leading services in person on synagogue premises.

Government advice for faith communities is still being formulated and there are many areas still being discussed. The College will keep updated and examine Government guidance, as it continues to become available while ensuring that students have all the information they need once synagogues reopen.

In the meantime, Leo Baeck College will support students leading online services until such a time that the situation changes.

Library

We are planning for the library to be open to students and faculty by appointment with social distancing measures in place. We will offer a number of additional services including contactless borrowing, scans on request and video browsing to support individual circumstances. We will provide support for online research and are looking to expand our digital resources. We will keep students and faculty updated as services and circumstances evolve and as always, encourage students and faculty to be in touch about their teaching, learning and research needs so we can support your specific needs.

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Update on the Second Semester

A decision to continue to teach on-line during the second semester was taken in consultation with students and staff at a second extraordinary meeting of the Academic Board in October.  This decision was taken in response to the continuing health challenges posed by the pandemic. Programmes will therefore continue to be taught through a mixture of synchronous online teaching and asynchronous learning.   The timetable for this semester has also been changed to free up time for more independent learning.  This will hopefully provide students with some flexibility and choice as to when to study independently.  Assessments have been modified accordingly and in agreement with Middlesex University. Students requiring additional support are encouraged to come forward and talk to the Principal, Dean or Head of Academic Services.

Placements and Internships

Leo Baeck students will continue during the second semester to conduct placements and internships online rather than leading services in person on synagogue premises. The College will examine and update Government guidance, as it continues to become available while ensuring that students have all the information they need once synagogues reopen.

In the meantime, Leo Baeck College will continue to support students leading online services and doing their placements and internships online until such time that the situation changes.

Library

Having been safely open during the first semester, the physical library will reopen to students and faculty in person when it is safe and possible to do so under UK government and PHE guidance. Access will continue to be by appointment with social distancing measures in place. The library will continue to offer a number of additional services including contactless borrowing, scans on request and remote browsing to support individual circumstances. Support for online research and sourcing digital material will also continue.  The library will be able to temporarily extend our ebook provision to support remote research. Students and faculty will be updated as services and circumstances evolve and as always, encourage students and faculty to be in touch about their teaching, learning and research needs so we can support your specific needs.