By Georgiana Scott, Deputy Editor and Robin Connolly, Co-Editor-in-Chief
A four hour cap has been placed on the total time Bristol University students are allowed to spend in campus libraries each week to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The original 10 hour restriction was reduced following a trial scheme in the Beacon House Study Centre showed it would not allow fair access for all students, particularly once everyone returned to campus.
Students will be able to split the four hours across different study spaces, but will need to book their library seat in advance.
They will be able to do this through the newly implemented ‘study seat booking system,’ where a library slot can be reserved by filling out an online form.
Depending on the capacity, it will still be possible to enter the library and browse for books, but any that are touched will need to go into quarantine for 72 hours.
However, this does not include Queens, Wills Memorial and Physics library, where limited space means a ‘click and collect’ system will be in place.
Ed Fay, director of library services said that ‘We have worked incredibly hard to get our libraries set up in the best possible way that we can.
‘We are absolutely confident that they are safe and that they are within the guidelines set down for us by the government, Public Health England (PHE) and the University.
‘The libraries are significantly changed to how they would normally be and we realise that will be frustrating.
‘We are incredibly disappointed that we are not able to do more and do better, but we will keep looking for opportunities to increase our spaces and improve what we offer and we very much welcome feedback on that to find ways that we can improve this.’
The seating capacity of all university study spaces has been reduced with 105 spaces in Wills Memorial, 74 in the Chemistry building and 246 in the Arts and Social Sciences library - a 75 per cent decrease from 900 seats.
Overall, seats have been reduced from 4,000 seats to 925 across all study spaces.
There will also no longer be any 24 hour study spaces available, but opening and closing times will be aligned with university teaching hours which are 8am to 8pm.
On Monday, when teaching week commences, a total of eight libraries and three study centres are due to open.
Further new safety precautions include for masks to be worn at all times and a QR scanning system where upon entry. Students will need to use the ‘venue check-in’ function on the NHS Track and Trace app.
Featured Image: Teddy Coward
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