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SUBU Service Updates

 

Last Updated: Friday 9the October

 

The whole of SUBU is working hard to ensure your student experience is affected as little as possible by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. We understand the current circumstances are less than ideal, and that you have a lot of questions and concerns about your studies, finances and future.

We have created this page to inform you about current developments and what we are doing to support students. Keep up to date with what we are working on for students by checking our Action Tracker, and also check our information sections below:

  • Accommodation
  • Assessment and Learning
  • Welfare
  • Guidance for International Students
  • FAQs

    Rest assured that SUBU is doing all it can to ensure you’re not adversely affected by Coronavirus (Covid-19), and we’re working closely with the university to ensure your voice is heard.

     



    We understand that this is a difficult time for us all. With unexpected disruptions to every aspect of our lives, it is now more important than ever that we are here to support you every step of the way. At SUBU, feedback has always been at the heart of everything we do, ensuring that all of our decisions are informed by what you want.

    We wanted to take this opportunity to outline what we have been doing on your behalf throughout the crisis. Every day, we have been carrying out work in response to your feedback, making sure that your voice is heard loud and clear during this period of uncertainty.

    We are sharing student issues and SUBU's progress on these, along with other work to support students, through our full Action Tracker below. Please keep checking this for updates.

    We received a large number of emails from you highlighting the importance of accommodation reimbursement, showing that we needed to act quickly and decisively on your behalf. As a result of your feedback, we provided the following actions:

    • We listed up to date information on all accommodation providers on our website, making sure that you were aware of what your provider was offering.
    • We sent a letter out to all accommodation providers, placing pressure on them to consider their stance on fee reimbursement.
    • We have continued to apply pressure on accommodation providers at BU meetings, to ensure that as many providers as possible are offering appropriate reimbursement.
    • As a result of our actions based on your feedback, almost all accommodation providers in Bournemouth now have a policy on fee reimbursement.

    Following the closure of campus, we understand that many of you were worried about the transition to online learning. We continue to receive large amounts of feedback on how you are finding the challenges of online learning, and what we can do to best support you. As a result of your feedback we provided the following actions:

    • We shared your concerns about Brightspace with BU, to ensure that changes were made to the service.
    • We shared your concerns about your learning content at BU meetings.
    • We supported BU’s decision to change the policy around placements, making sure that the process would be as smooth as possible.
    • We shared your feedback with BU to support the creation of an extenuating circumstances policy.
    • Through our Advice team, we have offered support in how to make sure that you are fully equipped to facilitate learning from home.

    We received a substantial amount of comments highlighting concern over your grades being negatively affected by the current crisis. One comment said “With the stress of home lives and the corona virus which already have an astronomical impact on mental health, the stress of two assignments and unscheduled lessons has affected everyone in a negative manner.” We have worked hard to understand how other institutions have approached this issue, and because of your feedback we provided the following actions:

    • We placed pressure on BU to release a no detriment policy, ensuring that your assessments will not negatively impact your overall grade.
    • We made sure that BU was one of the first universities to have this policy in place, giving you peace of mind as soon as possible.
    • We provided BU with student feedback on a no detriment policy, ensuring that your voice was heard in the formation of the policy.

    Since the start of the crisis, we have received a number of comments relating to your mental health and how you are coping with the current situation. One example of this is: “Students are finding it very difficult to produce high quality level of work with the difficulties of adapting to the new situation and the amount of stresses going on that the moment”. There are over 200 pieces of feedback relating to your wellbeing, and for this we have provided the following actions:

    • Despite our reduced services, we have kept our Advice service in operation to support you through any scenario.
    • We have fielded and tracked 257 pieces of feedback about your issues, supporting with wellbeing, finances, accommodation and online learning.

    • We set up a continually updated student feedback page with FAQs, key information and an action tracker.
    • We have provided clear opportunities of feedback through direct email, our general feedback survey, and through SimOn.
    • We established ‘Stay Home with SUBU’ across our social media channels.
    • We have enabled our AGM to still take place, and we have continued to support clubs and societies through facilitating online AGMs and continuing to work on our new funding structure.

    With the new academic year starting, we understand that many of you are concerned and unsure about returning to campus. From online learning to accommodation, we are here to answer your questions and make sure that you have the best possible time at university, regardless of the circumstances. So far, we have provided the following actions:

    • We will be maintaing this webpage to reflect any changes and updates to services offered by BU and SUBU.
    • We have done our best to keep a 'normal' feel to campus by re-opening some of our outlets.
    • We have worked hard to deliver as many Freshers' activities as possible, including in-person and online events.
    • We we will continue to represent your concerns and worries to BU. Returning students can still submit responses to our survey here.

    At SUBU, your student voice informs eveything we do. During the Pandemic, we have continued to provide you with opportunities to give feedback and we have been rapdily acting on this information. So far, we have used your feedback in the following ways:

    • We gathered your feedback to inform BU's No Detriment Policy. This was crucial in securing this assessment safety net for students
    • We ran our We Are Freshers and We Are Returners surveys. These results were communicated with key members of staff at BU and has informed the information provided on this page. We will also be sharing these results more widely with students.
    • We have continued to present your feedback to key staff members at both SUBU and BU. This feedback has been used to inform key decisions made at meetings, such as the No Detriment Policy, and it also informs the way we communicate with you.
    • We meet bi-weekly with your elected officers to discuss any recent student issues, obtained from multiple channels including SimOn and any direct emails to officers. We then monitor these issues and work to develop a clear action plan to resolve these problems and have a positive impact on your student experience


    SUBU is here to support and represent students at this challenging time. It is important that you tell us about your student experience so that SUBU can work with BU on the issues that are important to students.

    We have updated this page to provide you with the most up to date information for your return to campus. We have provided you with all you need to know on what you can expect from SUBU in the new term, including our Covid-19 safety measures, information on our social events and the campus services we will be re-opening.

    We have written a letter to accommodation providers, including BU, highlighting the feedback we have received about accommodation costs and we have asked them to reconsider their position. You can read this letter here

    We have worked with BU to ensure that a ‘no detriment’ policy is put in place to support students through assessments. We provided BU with your feedback and input from our faculty reps, securing the best possible outcome for your studies. You can find the policy here.

    We worked closely with BU to secure an Exceptional Circumstances policy for anyone directly affected by the virus.

    Our top priority remains keeping you informed with the latest updates. This page will be constantly updated with the relevant information to make this situation as stress-free as we possibly can.

    We have worked on a way to build a sense of community for you all during this time of remote learning. This dedicated social media channel will be used to share updates, stay in touch and provide you with fun ways of keeping yourself occupied.

    We have worked on a way to keep students up to date on relevent news across other universities and the education sector. Every week our team will update a section of the webpage with information from the news on how Coronavirus is impacting students and universities.

    Following feedback from some students who are experiencing challenges in securing placements due to Covid-19, we have sought clarity from BU on what is expected of students regarding finding placements at this time. BU has outlined that Programme Teams have, where possible and appropriate, worked to allow for more flexibility in placements where needed. Any student who has placement questions or concerns should contact their Programme Leader directly, who will be able to advise on the placement approach in place for that specific programme.

    Our team are looking into the best ways to support clubs and societies through this uncertain time. We are currently offering support with online AGMs, and hope to offer support for any virtual events and activities societies might want to run. For full information and updates on support offered, please check here.

    We are in ongoing talks with BU on how best to support your accommodation needs. Following student feedback, BU have recently announced that for students who pay their rent direct to BU, those who have had to leave their student accommodation due to Covid-19 will only pay 50% of their third term rent. We have also explored with BU other ways to represent students' ongoing third term rent issues to Campus Living Village, in addition to the letter recently sent from SUBU to CLV. Following recent feedback from students that SUBU shared with the university, BU have secured with CLV the reduction of third term rent for eligible students.You should have been contacted by CLV with this information.

    Following feedback from students asking for clarity on how the No Detriment policy will work with dissertations, we have spoken to BU who have written specific information to provide greater clarity for students. This information can now be found here.


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    Accommodation

    We understand that many of you have concerns about how your accommodation provider will adhere to Covid-19 safety measures, such as enforcing household bubbles, social distancing and regular cleaning of communal areas.

    BU have updated their page on accommodation and have included further information on the safety measures of each provider.

    We understand that some of you are worried about over staying your contract or being evicted. We support the Government’s No Eviction Policy which is currently extended until 20th September 2020.

    Under the new rules, Landlords must also give tenants a six month notice period in order to protect those most at risk.

     

    Assessment and Learning

    Due to the impact of Covid-19, all university teaching for the new academic year 2020/21 will be a blend of online and in-person teaching. Further details relating to your specific course can be found in your timetable on Brightspace. We understand that this is a difficult period as we adjust to new ways of working, and we want to make sure that your voice remains heard throughout this process.

    BU have recently developed a new area in Me@BU called Online Learning@BU, accessed through Brightspace. It includes practical advice about how to use the technology and engage with online learning, in addition to useful information such as support for ALS students and wellbeing advice - please use Online Learning@BU to support your online learning. Further advice from BU can be found here.

    • If you have any feedback on your experience of online learning, then please contact your course rep.
    • Remember that students up and down the country are in the same boat as you. You can find some helpful tips on studying at home in this article, showing how we are all adapting to this new way of learning.

    We understand that due to the blend of online and in-person teaching, some of you are frustrated by ongoing tuition fee payments. New students might be concerned that the experience of univeristy will be very different from what you had imagined.

    The Government's statement on fees explains that you should not expect a tuition fee refund if you are receiving adequate online learning and support. If you believe that you are receiving inadequate online learning and support, please contact the relevant member of academic staff.

    You are able to apply for student finance up to 9 months after the first day of the academic year for your course. All information relating to student finance can be found on this page.

    If you are worried about changes in your household income impacting your student finance application, SFE are able to use an estimated income for the current tax year. More information can be found here.

     

    Welfare, mental health and wellbeing

    We understand that this is a difficult time for you, as we face a future of uncertainty with limited options to take our mind off the situation at hand. Now, more than ever, is a time to invest time in yourself, ensuring that you are taking all the steps necessary to promote positive wellbeing. We are here to help you every step of the way and would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the support we can offer.

    • Keep an eye on our social media channels for tips on how to stay well whilst staying at home. Find us on Instagram, Facebook and even Spotify for our specially-made relaxing playlist.
    • You can find our Stay Home with SUBU group on Facebook, giving you the opportunity to stay in touch with the SUBU community.
    • You can still reach SUBU Advice for email appointments by contacting subuadvice@bournemouth.ac.uk. Whilst they are not a counselling service, they will be able to signpost you to the support you need.
    • Bournemouth University offer their own wellbeing service which you can still access. They also have a helpful list of resources should you need any further support.

    Whilst there is a world of resources online for mental health support, we understand that this can sometimes feel overwhelming and often you’re not even sure where to begin or who to reach out to. We have put together a list of the most accessible resources should you need any extra support through this difficult time.

    • The Office for Students (OfS) have released a useful briefing on diffferent ways that students' mental health and wellbeing is being supported at this time.
    • Big White Wall is an anonymous, online community run by trained mental health professionals. They also offer additional information, such as programmes on sleep, anxiety and depression. This service is free to all BU students.
    • Student Minds is a charity that supports students to develop the skills needed to look after their mental health. Their website contains helpful information on accessing support.
    • Connection is a 24/7 metal health helpline open to all Dorset residents. You can call them directly on 0300 123 5440.
    • Samaritans is a 24/7 listening service run by volunteers for anyone in need. These volunteers are not medically trained; however, they offer listening and support to anyone who may need it. They can be reached by calling 116 123.

    BU offers financial support to students through its Small Emergency Grant, Emergency Loan and BU Financial Support Fund.

     

    Guidance for International Students

    BU's immigration help and advice for International Students on Tier 4 visas can be found here. We can confirm that should you wish or need to return home because of the impact of Covid-19, you should inform BU of your intention to leave the UK by contacting AskBU. The UKVI website says sponsors do not need to report student absences related to coronavirus which they have authorised.

    • Immigration support is still available through BU. Please email immigration@bournemouth.ac.uk or call 01202 969696 between 10am-4pm.
    • You can receive assistance from the Government by contracting the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre. You can reach them by sending an email to CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk or by calling 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, calls are free of charge).
    • UKCISA are offering advice on their website, as are Study UK.
    • SUBU Advice can help with signposting you to the right service. They can still be reached by email at subuadvice@bournemouth.ac.uk.
    • Under the new guidelines, international students at BU who are unable to engage with their studies online for over 60 days due to Covid-19, will not be reported. In addition, T4 students can engage with their studies online either from their home country or within the UK (including if they need to self-isolate but have no symptoms). These students also do not need to be reported to the Home Office. Further information can be found in BU's dedicated FAQs.


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    Student Welfare

    SUBU’s Advice service is continuing as normal. Whilst they cannot offer direct counselling, they can signpost you to the right support. Please contact the team by email: subuadvice@bournemouth.ac.uk.

    You can also find wellbeing advice on our website and through our social media channels. BU also have a dedicated page for wellbeing support through the crisis and a general wellbeing page with links to useful resources and support channels. These are both continually updated as the situation develops.

    External support also remains in place, with Student Minds offering a range of resources for help and guidance. We would like to remind you that the Dorset Mental Health advice line can still be reached through Connection, a 24/7 service accessed by calling 0300 123 5440.

    SUBU Advice are available via email to answer any financial and budgeting concerns. They can signpost you to the appropriate service and support from BU.

    In addtion, CareersBU and SUBU Volunteering will be hosting an online Part-Time and Volunteering jobs fair on 23rd September.

    It is very important that you follow government guidelines if you are quarantining. SUBU Advice are available via phone or email to support you during this period. They can advise you on available academic support and signpost you to other wellbeing services.

    Please contact your accommodation provider who will be able to support you with self-isolating.

    SUBU Advice are on hand to discuss your options. They will be able to signpost you to appropriate academic or wellbeing support offered by BU.

    We understand that this is a difficult period for new students and we want to remind you that we are here to support you and your needs through this time.

     

    Education

    You can still talk to a member of our Advice team, or contact our officers directly. You can also submit Covid-19 related feedback online, which is checked regularly by a member of the Student Voice and Policy team.

    We understand that there is a growing frustration amongst the national student community about value for money from the university. With both the strike action and Coronavirus, we understand that some of our students consider they have not received the education they expected to.

    However, the university is following guidance and advice from the UK Government and Public Health England, continuing online teaching and assessments for the majority of our students.

    At the time of writing, BU’s position remains that they are unable to refund tuition fees for students. For now, our main concern is supporting you through the situation as it stands, and we welcome your feedback.

    For Semester One, BU have committed to running a blended model of online and in-person learning. Information about your own learning will have been emailed or made available on Brightspace.

    Priority will be given to students who require specialist facilities on campus, however all students will be able to access certain facilities. Further information can be found here. For those staying off-campus, BU have created a webpage to support offline studying.

     

    SUBU

    Throughout Semester 1, the Student Centre will be open Monday-Friday 0800-1700. It will remain closed at weekends, however we will review this later on in the academic year.

    We are hoping to re-open as many of our outlets as possible, including the Union Shop, Dylan's and the cafes in the Student Centre. These will all adhere to the necessary Covid-19 guidelines. We are also excited to announce that we will be launching The Engine Room at The Old Fire Station, where you can reserve tables of up to six at our exclusive, students-only bar.

    As always, we thank you for your understanding. Our Covid-19 Information and Guidance page will be updated regularly, so please check this when you can. We will keep you updated as things continue to develop, and we hope to be back to full service as soon as possible.

    We are in constant communication with BU in order to ensure that your views are heard and that disruption to your student experience is at a minimum.

    We have provided representatives at BU with your views, expressed through our rep team, to ensure that your feedback is at the forefront of every process. This has led to changes such as the introduction of a ‘no detriment’ policy, guaranteeing that your assessments will not negatively impact your grades.

    Your elected officers are also in contact with representatives at BU, lobbying them on issues such as finance and accommodation to make sure that the best possible outcome for our students is reached.

    Services remain open, however appointments should still be made through phone or telephone. Further details can be found on the Advice webpage.

    We are currently changing how policy is created at SUBU. The new format for Big Student Meetings, now called SUBU Summit will be launched at the start of the academic year, including dates for the next meeting.

    With the newly launched SUBU Summit, we have also created an ideas platform where you can sumbit any idea for change you would like to see at SUBU. In addition, any feedback on our response to Coronavirus can be given here.

     

    Activities, Societies and Events

    The decision to postpone Freshers' did not come easily, but we felt we had to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of our staff and students. Whilst we work on an alternative solution, we are still working hard to plan a host of virtual and online activities for new and returning students. For more information on our arrivals events, please have a look at SUBU Online Welcome.

    Due to the current restrictions still in place, official BU/SUBU events will not go on sale until these have been lifted. Our current advice is to not buy tickets for any event, as we feel it is irresponsible for event organisers to be selling these when we do not know when restrictions will be lifted.

    Please remember that all official events will carry the BU/SUBU logo.

    Until restrictions are lifted, SUBU will be offering online events for students. Please keep an eye on our social media channels for more information.

    Yes! Our clubs and societies will be ready to welcome you with a programme of online and in-person events.

    Throughout September, we will be hosting a series of events where you can get to know out Clubs and Societies team and our wide range of committees.

    There are plenty of volunteering opportunities available in the local area. Guidance for the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area can be found here.

    We also have Virtual Volunteering opportunities listed on our website, that will allow you to remotely participate. There can be found on our hub here.

     

    Support and Information

    Your newly elected Officers for 20/21 are ready to deal with any of your queries. Their emails can be found here. We are also excited to launch Officer Question Time, every Wednesday at 1pm. This will be your chance to see what the officers are up to and ask them any questions you want answered.


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    If you are concerned about your health or the health of a housemate, friend or member of your family, go online to 111.nhs.uk or call 111.

    If you have a query about Coronavirus relating to university you can contact the Department for Education helpline.