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SUBU Service Updates

 

Last Updated: Friday 5th June

 

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 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.

 



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 is really wanted by you.

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.


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 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 *UPDATED Friday 5th June*

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. Please visit BU's Financial Support pages for details of support from BU and the government. BU will still treat students on a case by case basis, regardless of what their rental arrangements are. BU have recently updated their approach for students who have accommodation contracts directly with them. For updated information on BU and other providers, please see below:

  • Student Village, Dorchester House, Home Park, Unilet and Lettings BU (BU Accommodation): all remain open. BU have recently announced that all students who are not now living in these properties will have their rent reduced by 50% for the third term. Students remaining in those properties will pay their third term rents as normal. For full details of how this will work, please see here.

  • Bailey Point (The Student Housing Company): students should pay their third term rents as normal, but they are allowing students to make individual applications for early release. SHC will continue to review the situation and things may change, see their website here.

  • *UPDATED* Chesil House, Cranborne House, Lyme Regis House, Okeford House (Campus Living Villages): eligible students are now eligible for a 50% reduction in fees. CLV have provided a FAQ with what they are doing to support self-isolation and student other student needs.

  • 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, but they have offered to release students from 30 May. 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 *UPDATED Friday 5th June*

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.

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.

  • 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 some of you are frustrated by ongoing tuition fee payments. As a result of the strikes and Covid-19, some of you consider that you have not received the teaching that you expected when you started your degree.

At SUBU, we recognise and support some of your growing concerns. These concerns are currently reflected within the wider national landscape, with a petition calling for fee reimbursement, found here. This also highlights the Government's response to the issue.

NUS have also recently launched their #StudentSafetyNet campaign, calling for a hardship fund, a support package for graduates and the opportunity to re-sit, reimburse or write-off. More details about the campaign can be found here.

The Government's stance remains emains that you should not expect a tuition fee refund if you are receiving adequate online learning and support. This statement can be found here. If you believe that you are receiving inadequate online learning and support, please provide feedback to your course rep or through our Covid-19 feedback page.

Loans offered by Student Finance England will still be going ahead as planned. Please remember that the deadline for new students is 22nd May and the deadline for returning students is 19th June. Follow the steps here to complete your application.

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. BU have recently added to these to outline how the policy will impact dissertations, transcripts and credits.
  • 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.

 

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, Financial Support Fund and its new Santander Covid-19 Support Fund. Find full details of these here.

 

Covid-19 and Students: News Updates


  • Student accommodation issues briefing from Office for Students, explaining the national situation and what providers and the government are doing: here
  • FAQs for students from Michelle Donelan, Minister for Universities: here
  • Opinion piece exploring the possibility of a government bailout for universities: here
  • UUK have announced the #WeAreTogether campaign, exploring how universities are helping fight Covid-19: here
  • Six month extension announced for all UKRI-funded PhDs: 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.

 

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.


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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.

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 *UPDATED Friday 5th June*

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

On Tuesday 31st March, BU announced a ‘no detriment’ policy. This will make sure that your final grade will not be negatively impacted by any of your final assessments. Find full details of this policy here. These have been recently updated to include information on dissertations, credits and transcripts.

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

 

SUBU *UPDATED Friday 5th June*

Due to the current situation we have taken the difficult decision to furlough a number of our staff in order to protect the long-term interests of our members, staff and the organisation. This means that whilst all Departments in SUBU will be operational and offering services online where possible, we may take a little longer than normal to come back to you.

You are still able to engage with us and stay in contact through our social media including Staying Home with SUBU or why not try some Virtual Volunteering from your home. You can also still vote in our current referenda and ensure you have your say.

SUBU Advice are also still open. To arrange an appointment email: subuadvice@bournemouth.ac.uk

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.

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. We recently held our first online BSM, and 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.

For full details on how SUBU is supporting its clubs and society members and its committee members, please see here.

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.


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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.