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Uni lockdown insights

Claire Humble, Head of Campus Security at Teesside University; and Frankie O’Connell, Head of Operations for London at Unite Students, are offering ‘lockdown insights’ in a webinar on Thursday, May 28. It’s under the umbrella of the uni security and safety accreditation scheme ProtectED.

The hour from 11am will cover how the COVID-19 lockdown is affecting student accommodation and the provision of campus services. The webinar is free to attend; click here.

As background about the speakers, Teesside is an early adopter of ProtectED and Claire Humble is a former Cleveland Police officer whose service included time in New Zealand. She’s spoken at a previous, in-person, ProtectED event, at the University of Coventry. Like other unis, Teesside has most staff working remotely and the main, town centre campus is under ‘restricted operations and is open for the continuation of critical functions only’.

Unite Students (uS) offers student rooms in the UK for some 50,000 students, across 27 places, from Aberdeen and Glasgow to Southampton and Portsmouth. Its staff during lockdown will still ‘actively manage and respond’ to fire alarms, welfare concerns and security issues, but uS says that the method of managing some of these may change. For example, a Welfare Lead may contact you by phone, rather than visiting in person. Student blocks’ communal areas, including common rooms, gyms, receptions and study rooms, are closed to enforce social distancing. uS also has to manage return of keys, fobs and postbox keys as students leave rooms at the end of their academic year shortly.

Institution example

For example, to take Trinity College Dublin; only two of the city centre gates are open, and only students who are residents, essential staff such as researchers and contractors can access the campus. A staff member has to install the SafeZone app from CriticalArc on their mobile phone which automatically checks arrivals at any College premises in, and automatically checks out on departing. As at many institutions, Trinity has continued (online) teaching, and has held virtual graduation ceremonies.

About ProtectED

Briefly, it’s a scheme (whose staff are working from home during lockdown) whereby members review the ProtectED Code of Practice, and self-assess, before verification; covered are besides physical asset security, staff and student safety and well-being for all the ‘student experience’ in the widest sense. The aim; to offer reassurance to students seeking to choose a place to go, and parents. Visit

Photo by Mark Rowe; University of Leicester central square.


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