The university introduced a Safety Net policy on Monday 1 February 2021. This enhances measures in place at Richmond International Academic and Soccer Academy (RIASA) to ensure that student-athletes are supported during the COVID-19 pandemic, while ensuring that the programme’s academic and athletic standards are maintained. The policy also recognises the practical, social and emotional challenges student-athletes have had to face in recent months, and outlines the support we continue to offer.
The measures which have been put in place at RIASA since March 2020 are focussed on these key areas:
We recognise there will be challenges for the programme, but we will endeavour to rectify any such problems as soon as they arise and keep the RIASA community informed with any relevant updates.
RIASA’s aim is to make sure that a student-athlete’s overall performance for the year is not negatively affected by circumstances associated with the COVID-19 period, while simultaneously ensuring that the quality of our awards is maintained.
RIASA has restructured its teaching to ensure that all of our student-athletes, wherever they are located, are provided with a high standard of flexible online learning, with blended learning offered when and where possible.
“Our top priority is to provide students-athletes with an excellent quality of teaching, even if we adjust the way we teach. We remain committed to providing the best possible online learning experience for our student-athletes, which will include digital resources such as videos, podcasts and interactive content, personal teaching support, plus engagement with fellow student-athletes from around the world. Any student-athlete who chooses to study online for the rest of the academic year will not be negatively impacted by this decision.”
Dr Colin Howley Director of RIASA Programme.
The University’s Academic Board has approved Emergency Academic Regulations for Examinations and Examination Boards for Spring 2020 – Summer 2021. These supportive measures include:
Other initiatives include:
In order to ensure student-athletes maintain their fitness and well-being, the academy has put in place an extensive programme of both tactical and physical sessions. These measures have been in place since January 2021:
“We are determined to continue the development of all our student-athletes whilst we remain in this challenging period. The distance learning programme and delivery is designed to help all types of learning styles and prepare the student-athletes to hit the ground running in readiness for the restart at the Carnegie campus.”
Martin Hunter RIASA Football Strategy & Mentoring Officer.
RIASA will be reimbursing accommodation costs if student-athletes are not using or unable to access accommodation at the Carnegie Student Village. We believe this is a reasonable and appropriate approach to this difficult issue.
Communication with students
At RIASA we know our students-athletes, and have worked with them throughout. We have used a combination of email, social media, our learning resource, Blackboard Learn. Our independent Student Government has supported our Student Affairs and our Recruitment and Admissions teams using direct communication with students (and their parents) to inform them of the latest university news.
Best possible student-athlete experience
A number of health and wellbeing measures have been introduced by the Student Affairs team to help ensure the best experience possible for students:
Many of the clubs and societies organised by the Student Government and the Student Affairs team are meeting and organising activities virtually. The Richmond Leadership Academy which provides opportunities for leadership development activities such as student representation, virtual work experience and volunteering, is also taking place virtually, as is the University’s Careers portal, events and services.
Student-athletes are also invited to participate in virtual student senate meetings where they can offer feedback on their degree majors and on individual courses. In addition, student-athletes are represented on University committees to ensure that their voice is not just heard but listened to and acted on.
“We are so proud of our student-athletes for how they have continued to adapt during this challenging time and we want to ensure that they have the best possible support to meet their goals resulting in a positive student experience. We are working continuously to help and guide our student-athlete community with learning and teaching, mental health, wellbeing and welfare resources.”
Kirsty Ibbitson RIASA Student Affairs Coordinator.