As of 20-05-2020
The following list of frequently asked questions is intended to answer a number of queries being raised by the student body as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent institutional move to online delivery methods. As the current situation remains fluid, aspects of this document will need to be revised to ensure it meets latest government guidance. The questions and answers below are accurate at the time of publishing.
- Academic Queries
- Mitigating Circumstances
- Student Support & Wellbeing
- Academic Skills Support
- Careers & Employability Service
- Printing Services & PrintShop
- Royal Literary Fund
- Students' Union
How is the university managing the impact of COVID-19 on students’ academic achievements?
The University will not allow any student to be academically disadvantaged due to circumstances beyond their control (such as those relating to Covid-19).
How will I find out how my programme will be affected?
Communications with students about their specific programme will be through the relevant staff in their academic area. Details on how the remainder of your programme this academic year will be delivered and any other necessary changes that have/are being made will be provided to you. Any queries about your academic studies should be discussed with your Module Co-ordinators, Programme Co-ordinator or, if necessary, Head or Director of area in the first instance. They will continue to respond to you as quickly as possible offering guidance, practical support and reassurance.
What's the best course of action if your lecturer is not replying?
If your lecturer is not replying please contact your Programme Coordinator, or your Head of Department / Director of Institute. If you do not already have their contact information, your Programme Administrator or the SIZ will be able to provide this information.
Will I still need to complete the same work as originally advised at the beginning of the year?
If they haven’t already done so, staff in your academic area will be confirming with you the assessment arrangements for each of your modules. In many cases, the assessment to be undertaken will remain the same as originally intended for each module. However, due to the specifics of the subject and/or module (e.g. performance subjects) changes have needed to be made to the planned assessment in order to assure academic quality, standards and transparency.
When will I know if my assignments/assessment are changing?
All academic areas will have completed this process by the week commencing 30th March 2020 and will communicate with you as required as soon as possible after that.
Will marking turnaround times take longer than three weeks now?
We are still intending to be able to meet this target, however many academic colleagues are adjusting to new ways of teaching remotely, so patience would be appreciated if this takes slightly longer.
Will there be a delay in feedback for assignments?
Each subject area is changing their assessment criteria individually, so we would ask that you contact your academic advisor or lecturer so they can advise on any changes. While the University has changed to remote teaching, all our staff are endeavouring to provide the same levels of support and guidance to all students.
I’m a Post-Graduate Student – how will this affect me?
All answers above relate to post-graduate students as well.
How do I apply for Mitigating Circumstances?
Given the current exceptional national and international situation, the University will be applying mitigating circumstances on your behalf for any modules that are failed during the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. This means that where a module is failed (including through non-submission) then you will have an opportunity to submit the relevant assessment(s) one further time on a ‘first-sit’ basis.
Accordingly, there is no need for you to submit either a mitigating circumstance claim, or related evidence, for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. This will be actioned on your behalf at the summer 2020 assessment point or at the subsequent January 2021 assessment point.
Do I still need to apply for Mitigating Circumstances if my reason does not relate to the COVID-19 outbreak?
Yes, the same process for applying for mitigating circumstances remains in place for other issues not related to Covid-19.
I am not sure I will do as well in my assessments given the situation. What should I do?
Please ask your programme coordinator or module tutor for an extension so you are able to have more time to complete your work. Programme coordinators and module tutors are able to give extensions to deadlines for several weeks which should enable you to complete your work as well as you are able.
How will my overall mark be impacted as a result of Covid-19 if I don’t do as well this semester?
For undergraduate students, providing that you qualify to progress to the next level, or graduate, based on your marks obtained this year, including those obtained through assessments from the remainder of this current Semester 2 period, then we will ensure that your final academic year average is no less than the overall average that you have attained based on all of the other/remaining semesters that we would normally take in to account when calculating your degree award.
In other words, and at whatever level or stage of your studies you are currently at, we will not allow your average from Semester 2 (2019-20) to negatively impact on your overall degree result at the end of your programme of studies; if it does then we won’t include it and, instead, use the average of the other/remaining semesters when calculating your final degree result.
I’m a final year undergraduate student. How will my dissertation or individual project be affected?
For final-year students who undertake and submit their Dissertation/Individual Project (or equivalent) in Semester 2 this academic year and receive a mark for that individual piece of work which is lower than their Semester 1 (2019-20) average, mitigating circumstances will apply and they will be given the following choice:
- To accept the mark that they have been given and for their degree result to be calculated accordingly, or
- To submit their Dissertation/Individual Project (or equivalent) one further time on a ‘first-sit’ basis and, if receiving a higher mark than on the previous attempt, for this mark to be used in calculating their degree result.
For final year students in 2019/20, we will remove the requirement for your dissertation to be in the higher classification category when calculating your degree outcome.
I’m a Postgraduate Taught student undertaking and submitting a Dissertation or Individual Project (or equivalent) during the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. How am I being supported?
If you achieve a grade of at least ‘A’ in the majority of taught modules (equivalent to at least 120 credits), you will be awarded a Master’s degree with Distinction irrespective of the grade you achieve in your dissertation. Similarly, if you achieve a grade of at least ‘B’ in the majority of taught modules (equivalent to at least 120 credits), you will be awarded a Master’s degree with Merit, irrespective of the grade you achieve in your dissertation.
What about students with courses that have modules running across both semesters, courses with Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies [PSRB] requirements and Masters students?
If any of this applies to you, your academic area (Programme Co-ordinator or Head/Director) will provide you with further guidance as soon as possible (if they have not already done so).
Will I get a refund on my accommodation fees if I am no longer living there?
If the current situation remains unchanged and normal face to face teaching cannot resume, then it has been decided that students who have already left their university halls will not be charged for the third rental period (i.e. from 20th April onwards). This allows students to leave their contract several weeks early. This will apply even where belongings remain in their room. Therefore, no charge will be collected and no rental invoice will be raised from the 20th April onwards.
For students who remain in halls, rental charges will apply as normal. These will be collected in the standard way.
I’ve left my university halls but my belongings are still in my room. What should I do?
The Endsleigh cover which is included within your rental payments will continue until the end of the academic year. Therefore, within this period of lock-down it is not necessary to come to campus to collect your belongings. Once the advice changes and social distancing rules are relaxed, we will write again to advise on the most suitable way to collect any remaining belongings that remain in halls.
I’m a student in private rented accommodation – how does the above affect me?
In the first instance we would encourage you to talk to your landlord about any concerns relating to your tenancy. However, whilst the University does not have a tenancy relationship with you, our Accommodation Team are able to advise and help you work with your landlord through this difficult time. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for advice.
I’m still on campus – what is happening about my postal deliveries?
Students based at BOC can collect post from the Post Room between 9.30am and 3.30pm.
Students based at BRC can collect post by contacting the Caretaker (based in the Lodge by the main entrance) between 9.30am and 3.30pm.
You must show your valid student ID.
What financial aid is currently available from the University for students? If I already had an application for the hardship fund will this still be processed?
Those students that had submitted a hardship application are being contacted or we are processing the application based upon the evidence that has been submitted to date. We intend to support wherever possible. As you are aware Student Loan payments are being made around April 20th. If you can’t last out until then please do try legitimate alternatives. If you have run out of options, please do contact Panashe or Karena, the Student Money Advisers on email@example.com and they may be able to assist with a limited interest free loan to be paid back after you receive your student loan or other expected payment.
I am still on campus – are the nurses available to help me with general health queries still?
Becky and Denise are both off-campus but can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be contacted on 07739 983703. There is Nurse Health Adviser cover over the two-week Easter period and beyond. They are very happy to discuss your personal needs, advise you and seek a positive way forward.
I am still on campus – what mental health and wellbeing support can you offer me?
Just email email@example.com. One of our supportive and experienced advisers will be able to get back to you and discuss how best to support you. This may be a direct exchange of ideas with supportive actions and/or signposting to a more appropriate external link.
I have returned home for the time being – what mental health and wellbeing support can you offer me?
If at all possible, bearing in mind the current strain on all NHS resources including Mental Health, GP’s and Counselling services, you should seek local support, however, student wellbeing can continue to be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What other resources are available to help me get through the next few weeks?
Student Health App - offers information and reassurance on all health problems particularly relevant to students from first aid emergencies, common ailments, mental health problems, physical (body) symptoms, love and sex, healthy living, travel health, alcohol and drugs, staying safe at University and how to access health services (free).
What’s Up App - provides daily tools to promote positive mental health for issues such as anxiety, depression, anger, stress and more (free).
Student minds - website with general information on coping with student life.
The Mix - website for under 25’s with everything you need to know about mental health.
Headspace - information for young people up to 25 relating to general mental health and physical health.
Every Mind Matters - website with practical advice on stress, anxiety, mood and sleep including a free personalised plan showing you how you can take care of your mental health.
Patient UK - leaflets and health tools for mental health conditions.
Living Life to the Full - free online courses to help overcome stress, anxiety and low mood.
NHS choices ‘Moodzone’ - website with information and resources on stress, anxiety & depression.
Centre for Clinical Interventions - free online CBT self-help courses for generalised anxiety, health anxiety, worry, panic and social shyness.
The Mix - one to one focused support for young people under 25 by either phone, web chat or email.
HOPELINEUK - specialist telephone service staffed by trained professionals who give non-judgmental support, practical advice and information to young people up to the age of 35.
Do I need to bring my books back? I have been unable to renew my book online as it has a reservation against it and I am receiving emails from the Library team.
Please ignore any emails regarding overdue items at this time and return items when you are back at university. These emails are generated automatically and we are working with our software provider to stop them.
Can I request an e-book that is not in the catalogue?
Please email email@example.com and we will order e-books where they are available.
I cannot access a database on the Library Moodle page. What do I do?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and the Library team will investigate. Alternatively, contact the SIZ.
There is a book I need in the Library, is there a way to obtain it?
Physical access to the library is not available at the moment. Please email email@example.com and we will try and purchase an e-book for you.
Can I return books to the Library whilst it is closed?
Whilst we do not expect students to return items, we are aware that a number of you are wanting to. Whilst the LRCs remain closed, books can be returned via the out of hours return drop boxes outside of each LRC.
How do I get help with my academic skills?
The Academic Skills Adviser, Emma Nolan, is working remotely. Tutorials are still available with either over the phone or by Skype and these can be booked by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Academic Skills Advisor can help with:
- essay structuring
- writing critically
- reflective writing
- grammar and punctuation
- time management
There are also lots of resources on the Moodle Study Skills page.
I need career guidance and want help to find a job?
The Careers & Employability Team are fully working from home and continue to be available to support you. Please contact them by email (email@example.com) or phone (01243 816035).
To book an online appointment and to keep up-to-date with the latest job and career opportunities, please visit careers.chi.ac.uk.
How can I get my dissertation printed and bound?
The PrintShop is currently closed. Due to the University moving to complete online delivery, there is no need to print and submit a hardcopy of your dissertation or individual project. Once the PrintShop reopens, they would of course be happy to provide this service for you.
Where can I print something if the LRCs are closed?
Only essential services remain available onsite. Printers in other student areas (e.g. canteens) are still functional and available.
I would like to see one of the Royal Literary Fund team to talk about my writing style – can I still book this?
The Royal Literary Fund who provide the RLF service have withdrawn their service for the rest of this academic year due to the Covid-19 outbreak. They hope to be back with us in September. In the meantime, please see the above information on the Academic Advisor for alternative means of support.
If an event I have already bought a ticket for from the UCSU is cancelled can I have a refund?
Cancellations of all SU events will be fully refunded.
What is happening with the Summer Ball and the Sports Awards?
The Students’ Union have taken the hard decision to cancel all events until further notice, including Summer Ball and Sports Awards. Refunds have been processed. All tickets will be refunded in full back into the account tickets were originally purchased from.
Please visit ucsu.org or follow social media for up-to-date news.
Can I still get support and representation from the Students' Union?
Yes, this will not impact the level of representation that is offered. Where possible SU officers and staff are now working from home. SU staff and officers can be contacted via email and phone (office landline numbers are being diverted). If you have a generic enquiry or unsure who to talk to please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and one of the team will be in contact.
Whether you are in the UK or in your home country, the International Student Advisory Service is here to provide you with practical and welfare support. You can access our services via phone/Skype for Business/ Zoom/ text/Wechat/WhatsApp and email. Please check our Moodle pages for the full list of contact details.
International Students – Tier 4
What do I need to do to keep my Tier 4 visa safe while studying remotely?
The Home Office will allow us to continue to sponsor you while you are studying remotely as long as you engage with your studies and we continue to monitor your attendance and progress. This arrangement applies until 31st May 2020 when it will be reviewed.
To keep your visa safe, you need to do the following:
- Continue your studies and engage with the online provision that has been put in place by your academic department. Your academic department will continue to monitor your attendance and progress.
- Communicate with your department if you fall ill so that the period of illness can be authorised.
- Re-register after the Spring break (online).
Can I keep my visa safe while studying remotely from my home country?
Yes, your visa will remain safe as long as you follow the above steps.
Do I need to apply for a new Tier 4 visa when face-to-face teaching resumes?
If your Tier 4 visa is valid for the duration of your course then you can use it to return to the UK without applying for a new visa.
If your visa is due to expire before, or soon after you return to the UK please speak to the International Student Advisers (email@example.com) about your options.
What if my visa expires while I am in the UK and I am unable to leave?
If your visa is due to expire before 31 May 2020 and you are unable to leave the UK due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, you can extend your stay in the UK for up to 31 May 2020. You must submit an application to the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre.
What if I need extra time to complete my studies and my visa expires before I can complete?
Please contact the International Student Advisory Service to discuss your circumstances.
Where can I find more information?
Information is constantly updating and we strongly recommend that your check the UKCISA website for the latest information relating to UKVI, Tier 4 status and COVID-19 etc. Make sure you check the information regularly.
Who can I contact if I have any questions about my visa?
International Student Advisory Service firstname.lastname@example.org
European Students – The EU Settlement Scheme
The UK left the EU on the 31st January 2020 and entered a transition period which is due to end on 31st December 2020. During this transition period, freedom of movement continues as usual. If you are an EU/EEA national you will not need a visa to return to the UK as long as you arrive in the UK by 31st December 2020.
I am in my home country due to COVID-19 travel restrictions/UK lockdown. Can I apply to the EU Settlement Scheme outside the UK?
Yes, you can apply even if you are not currently in the UK. You should visit our EU Settlement Scheme information on our website.
Will a long-term COVID-19 outbreak related absence from the UK impact on my settlement application/status?
If you are absent for less than 6 months in a 12-month period, your continuous residence is not affected under the settlement scheme rules. If your absence becomes longer and you are concerned about your status, please get in touch with the International Student Advisory Service (email@example.com).
Where can I find more information relating to the status of EU/EEA students in the UK?
Please visit the UKCISA website for the latest updates.
Will the University be open again in September 2020?
At the present time we are planning to deliver an on-campus learning experience as normal from September 2020 onward. Obviously, this has to be subject to the latest advice from Public Health England (PHE) and the Government, but our plan is to provide the same high-quality teaching experience as always.
When is Freshers' Week?
Freshers' week for the 2020-21 student intake will be the week commencing 14 September 2020.
Is Graduation still happening?
The 2020 undergraduate Graduation ceremonies will be taking place between the 24 - 28 August.
The 2020 postgraduate Graduation ceremonies will be taking place on the 22 - 23 October.
The University is keeping the arrangements for its August 2020 graduation ceremonies under careful review in light of the ongoing situation regarding Covid-19. We have no plans to cancel this event at this stage and are currently advising students who have received an invitation to register their attendance as well as their guest(s)’s attendance to ensure they have a place.
You can cancel or defer your attendance at any time up until 8am (UK time) on 10 August 2020 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We will give a full refund for any guest tickets purchased.
If you are booking travel in order to attend Graduation, we strongly suggest that you take out insurance in case you need to cancel your travel bookings at a later date.
I’m due to finish my course soon but due to the current situation I need to continue to access my IT and library account. What should I do?
We recognise this may be the case so we’ve extended all finalists’ (including postgraduate students) IT and library accounts, including campus door access, until 23/01/2021.
If you have any problems please contact the SIZ team via email@example.com who will be happy to resolve them for you.