Responding to Covid-19

We are supporting efforts to respond to the current and future challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Advice for students and applicants

We remain as committed as ever to transform the knowledge, action and leadership to responding to global disruption and shocks such as the Covid-19 crisis.

A huge range of new measures have been put in place and we will continue to adapt and respond in the best interests of our community. We know that students, staff, parents, carers and members of the public want to know what we are doing, and we are keen to share this information with you. If you have a question about our response, plans or student support at this time, please call the University of Sussex student support line on: 01273 876500.

If you have applied to study at IDS or are thinking of applying, please see our advice and information for applicants on the University of Sussex website.

If you are a current student, you can find everything you need to know about the Covid-19 situation at the University of Sussex and how to support yourself, via the advice and guidance on the University of Sussex website.

Message from our Director of Teaching and Learning

Update: August 2021 – Statement from our Director of Teaching and Learning

IDS is committed to protecting the safety of our students and staff while delivering excellent education in these challenging and rapidly changing times. We are closely monitoring UK Government guidelines while listening to the recommendations of the Science Advisory group on Emergencies (SAGE), our students and our staff to understand how we best adapt teaching to provide as rich and rewarding an experience at IDS as possible.

Taking all perspectives into account, for 2021/22 we have decided to retain the best elements of our online learning as we believe this provides the best pedagogy to support our international student cohort, alongside face-to-face interactive sessions with lecturers, and small group seminars. We expect that the bulk of our teaching will take the following format (although the exact approach will vary between courses and modules):

  • Pre-recorded lectures to watch in your own time. Pre-recorded lectures have been very beneficial for international students because you can rewind, listen again, read the captions, and view at your own pace. This prepares students better for the sessions that follow.
  • Structured sessions which provide opportunities for interaction and discussion. In these sessions, lecturers might provide a mini-lecture going over key elements of the pre-recorded lecture, or might offer some group exercises or pose some questions for discussion.
  • Seminars (1½ hours) which provide a space for small group discussion with other students and teaching staff. Seminars will, Covid-19 permitting, primarily be in classrooms, although we may provide some online seminars for students who need to isolate or cannot attend due to travel restrictions.

In the IDS building, we continue to maintain Covid mitigation measures, including enhanced cleaning, ventilation and social distancing measures to facilitate a safe environment in the IDS building.

Ongoing, we will closely monitor the situation and formally review at regular intervals based on student and staff feedback to determine teaching protocols.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, our focus has been to balance safety, quality education and equity. We know that many students have responded positively to our online teaching which, while not the same as face-to-face, has in many cases exceeded expectations.

We recognise that many of our students have invested significant amounts of time and money to be with us and we want the IDS experience to be as enriching and valuable as it has always been. With this in mind, we are focussed on providing a full range of activities that will complement learning and encourage students to build connections that are so important to feeling part of our vibrant community. Over the past year, we have used a range of ways to interact, this has included a student–faculty online Debate Series; regular ‘Community Fora’; and where possible, workshops and other social events which together have made up an active, yet when necessary flexible, events calendar. We look forward to doing the same this year and sharing ideas at these sessions.

Going forward, we will continue to listen and support students and staff through these difficult times. Working together, we will make the very best of this unprecedented situation.

Our research on Covid-19

Together with partners worldwide, our researchers are providing critical evidence and analysis that is shaping the spread of the virus and informing immediate responses. We are also collaborating across disciplines and sectors to understand the longer-term impacts of the pandemic on development globally, and the transformations needed to support the recovery and rebuild more equitable and sustainable societies and economies.

Read more about our work on Covid-19.