Coronavirus Information and Advice

 

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SUBU Service Updates

 

Last Updated: Wednesday 8th April

 

The whole of SUBU is working hard to ensure your student experience is affected as little as possible by the Coronavirus 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 you in several areas: Accommodation, Assessment and Learning, Welfare, Guidance for Healthcare Students, Guidance for International Students and FAQs. Please check this page regularly for updates. We also have sections at the top for you to read BU Advice, tell us what you’re thinking and get the latest status updates for SUBU services.

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. Keep up to date with what we've been working on using our Action Tracker.

 

Accommodation

We understand that many of you have concerns about your accommodation contracts. You may have gone home early and are worried about having to continue paying for your student accommodation, you might be worried about being charged for ending your contract early, or you might be worried because you are meant to be self-isolating but your student accommodation isn’t ideal for this. We are lobbying the university in support of students who are in these and other situations. We are working to understand what different providers are doing, but if you like some more information, please go to our Advice FAQs page.

  • Student Village, Dorchester House, Home Park, Unilet (BU Accommodation): all remain open. BU have recently announced ‘a temporary halt on issuing any further invoices for rent’, until they have decided on the best course of action regarding accommodation. This will also include students living in LettingsBU fully-managed houses who pay rent monthly. Due to the uncertainty the current situation presents, BU are keeping their approach under review and will contact all residents if things change. Please check their FAQs for updates.
  • Bailey Point (The Student Housing Company): students should pay their third term rents as normal. SHC will continue to review the situation and things may change, see their website here.
  • Chesil House, Cranborne House, Lyme Regis House, Okeford House (Campus Living Villages): students should pay their third term rents as normal CLV have provided a FAQ with what they are doing to support self-isolation. They are reviewing the issue of final term payment internally and are expected to reach a decision shortly.
  • Corfe House (Student Roost): students can move out early without paying a fee, or can get a refund if they paid for the year already, by emailing early.release@studentroost.co.uk and filling in this form by 13th April. They are also offering support for students who need to stay in accommodation and for those who are self-isolating.
  • Purbeck House (Unite): students can move out early without paying a fee, as long as they email the provider – cancellations@unitestudents.com - by 10th April. Unite also say vulnerable students can ask to re-locate, students who need to extend their contracts will be supported, and are also offering support for those in self-isolation. See their update here.
  • Lansdowne Point (Kaplan Living): students should pay their third term rents as normal. KL are offering support for those self-isolating.

We understand that some of you are worried about over staying your contract or being evicted. We support the Government’s No Eviction Policy and are lobbying the university to ensure that halls allow students to overstay contracts if needed.

 

Assessment and Learning

Information from Bournemouth University: The University is operating a 14 day self-certification period for any student whose studies have been impacted by the unique circumstances related to COVID-19. Students who have been impacted due to COVID-19 should read the specific FAQs and submit the specific Exceptional Circumstances form below. Completed forms should be sent to your faculty support team as follows:

If your exceptional circumstances are not related to COVID-19 please read the specific FAQs. You should use the standard extension request or board consideration request forms as normal. Please see the information below for further guidance.

Due to the impact of Covid-19, all university teaching has now moved online. 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.

  • If you have any feedback on your experience of online learning, then please contact your course rep or you can provide feedback yourself here.
  • 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 the transition to online learning hasn’t been easy, and that many of you are now worried about the impact of the university’s closure on your exams and assessments. We have been in close contact with BU and have reached a policy that we believe will have the best impact on all of our students. By keeping assessments, you will be on track to complete your year of study and we want to support this outcome as best as we can.

  • With our support, BU have announced their ‘no detriment policy’. This means that your grade for this year will not be negatively impacted by any of your assessments taken in the final term. We expect the full terms of this policy to be announced later this week.
  • If you have any further concerns about your assessments, please contact your course rep or submit your feedback here.
  • Under information provided by BU in their FAQs, viva voce examinations for postgraduate research students will proceed as planned via video conferencing.


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Welfare

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.


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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.

  • 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.


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BU offers financial support to students through its Small Emergency Grant, Emergency Loan, Financial Support Fund and its new Santander Covid-19 Support Fund. Find full details of these here.

 

Guidance for Healthcare Students

Whilst the Government have stated that 18,700 final-year nursing students will now join the NHS, we remain unsure of what this will look like and what the implications will be. This is also expected to now include second year students and first year postgraduates. We are in contact with the relevant members of staff at the university to see how this situation will progress and what it will mean for our students.

  • The Nursing and Midwifery Council have released a set of emergency standards that will allow students to complete their final years whilst on placement with the NHS.
  • Final year students will be able to receive payment for their final placements. They will also be given the option to continue their work or become Healthcare Assistants during the crisis as stated in the new standards. Pay rates for students on extended placements are yet to be decided on by the Government.
  • A statement has been released which confirms the process as ‘opt in’ for students.
  • As it stands, students on placement will still be required to pay tuition fees.
  • Further FAQs can be found here.


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Guidance for International Students

It wasn’t clear at first how international students on a Tier 4 visa would be able to return home for more than 60 days and then be able to return. We can confirm that should you wish to return home, you must inform BU of your intention to leave the UK by completing a Coronavirus Return Home Notification Form, obtained by contacting AskBU. The UKVI website says sponsors do not need to report student absences related to coronavirus which they have authorised.


SUBU Action Tracker

 

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, and we expect the full policy to be published soon.

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 are still in talks with BU on how best to support your accommodation needs.

Our team are looking into the best ways to support clubs and societies through this uncertain time. We hope to offer support with online AGMs, events and any virtual activities societies might want to run.

 


FAQs

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.

We are sorry that you are in this situation. SUBU Advice are still available via email to answer any financial concerns. They can signpost you to the appropriate service and support from BU. They have put together some financial advice on their website here. We would also like to remind you that you will still receive your maintenance loan payment for term 3.

BU have a section on commonly asked accommodation queries which are regularly updated and these can be found here. Unfortunately, unless your agency or landlord has explicitly said that they will allow early release without fees, then you will need to continue to pay your rent as normal.

BU have also confirmed on their FAQ page that, ‘The Student Loans Company (SLC) has confirmed that it is planning to make term 3 tuition fee payments as scheduled and that students will continue to receive maintenance payments on the scheduled dates, whether or not campuses are closed. This decision has been made on the basis that students are still able to engage with their learning, even if online, and services are still being delivered.’

 

Education

Please contact your course or faculty rep via email and they will be able to log this on SimOn, our Simple Online feedback tool. Individual students can also use SimOn to submit detailed feedback, which is being checked regularly by a member of the Student Voice and Policy team. Please click here to access SimOn.

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 accommodation or tuition fees for students. For now, our main concern is supporting you through the situation as it stands, and we welcome your feedback.

As of Tuesday 31st March, BU have announced a ‘no detriment’ policy. This will make sure that your final grade will not be negatively impacted by any of your final assessments. BU are working on this policy and the details should be in place by the end of this week.

This decision was reached with input and feedback from you through our rep system.

 

SUBU

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.

As of BU’s update on Tuesday 24th March, the campus remains closed. BU have explicitly stated in the update that you cannot come on site unless you have express permission to do so. You can view the latest status updates of SUBU services here.

We are sorry that Big Student Meeting was cancelled, compromising your chance to have your say on SUBU’s key policies. As we are moving to online meetings, we hope to be able to set up different ways for you to engage with policy.

You can still vote on the Referenda that was initially meant to go to BSM here. You can still submit a motion here and any feedback on our response to Coronavirus can be given here.

 

Activities, Societies and Events

SUBU has made the difficult decision to cancel both events. We will keep you informed of any updates on this situation. If you have already purchased a ticket, you should have received a refund for the Summer Ball.

If you have already purchased a ticket for Summer Ball 2020, you will have received a refund. You do not need to take any further action. For society events, you will need to contact the organisers.

You should have been emailed by the organisation stating their new guidelines, following Government instructions. Please follow their instructions and if you are unsure at any stage, please contact the organisation directly.

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

Furlough is a new term to the UK. It refers to an employee whose company has required them to take a leave of absence from their job. Because of the current situation the UK Government has recently announced plans to help those who have been affected in this way under the Job Retention Scheme and still receive wages. The Scheme announced by the Government allows some employers to place some of their employees on furlough – meaning that they will still be employed by them in spite of not working – while offering financial assistance to ensure they are being paid. The Government are covering 80% of salary costs up to £2500 per month for employers who use the scheme, and some employers will make up the remaining 20% so that furloughed workers still receive full pay. Both you and your employer must agree to put you on furlough - so speak to your employer about whether they can claim. You cannot apply for the scheme yourself. Once agreed your employer must write to you confirming you have been furloughed to be eligible to claim. Click here for more information.

Please contact your employer first so they can advise the process of your individual contract. SUBU advice can support with the after effects of furloughing such as advising on finances. But please gather information from your employer first before contacting subu advice - here

Your elected Officers for 19/20 are still contactable during the crisis. Their emails can be found here. They remain your elected representatives and are here to offer help and support during this difficult time.


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.