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Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for current students

Last updated: 03/08/2020 16:42

Ensuring the safety and welfare of our staff and students is a priority.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We will continue to update this page as advice changes, so please keep checking it for the latest information. Please also monitor your university email and intranet news for updates.

About coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a type of virus. Coronaviruses are common across the world, with typical symptoms including fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Generally, coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China.

We are following government advice as to the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19). All measures currently taken are a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of infection.

Our Incident Response Team has been established to monitor the situation as it unfolds and will respond to official advice and guidance as it becomes available. We remain in close contact with Public Health Wales and other official government bodies.

Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
  • stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider.

Read the UK Government's guidance about washing laundry, cleaning and disposing of waste if you have a confirmed or possible case of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advice for the public to avoid the spread of infection.

Cleaning

We aim to achieve the best possible cleaning standards via night time cleaning and day time janitorial services. We have recently increased focus on toilets/washrooms, replenishment of soap and towels and cleaning of touch points such as door handles and lift call buttons.

In University accommodation, we will continually be reviewing our cleaning and maintenance services and making changes as necessary according to staffing levels and government advice. In the interest of both staff and student wellbeing, we will not be entering any premises (flats/houses) where student(s) are self-isolating.

Face masks

It is debatable whether masks will be effective in this situation. However, it is a recognised custom for Asian communities to wear face masks to protect themselves and, in particular, others from the possibility of infection. It is very important that we recognise and respect this custom.

We have reports of staff and students receiving verbal abuse for using face masks and we would encourage all members of our community to be inclusive and supportive of what is a personal choice.

What can people do to protect themselves and others from getting the new coronavirus?

Living in shared accommodation

If you have symptoms you should read the Government's stay at home guidance for more information on how to help protect yourself and others in your community whilst you are infectious.

You should pay particular attention to personal hygiene at this time. The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests good practice to avoid the spread of infection.

In University accommodation, some students are also being proactive about reducing contact between residences staff and students and putting notices on their flat door to advise residences staff not to enter.

Flatmates living with someone in self-isolation

If you have symptoms, you do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111 (0845 4647 or 111). For a medical emergency, dial 999.

To avoid possible spread of the virus, you should not go to seek medical advice in person. Please read the Government's stay at home guidance.

If you, or someone you live with, with has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) you should follow the Government's self-isolation guidance.

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature.

Advice on self-isolation

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111 (0845 4647 or 111). For a medical emergency, dial 999.

To avoid possible spread of the virus, you should not go to seek medical advice in person.

Please read the Government's self-isolation guidance.

Obtaining essential items if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms

If you are staying in Cardiff, you can contact Cardiff City Council on +44(0)2920 871 071 to get help if you are unable to leave your accommodation and need essential items.

Most UK supermarkets will deliver food and other items either for free or for a low fee. You can order on the internet via specific mobile apps or supermarket websites. These services are currently very busy so you will need to plan orders a few weeks in advance.

Researchers at Guy's and St Thomas' and King’s College have launched an app to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and we all have an opportunity to support their research. It takes one minute to self-report daily, even if you are well. By taking part you will help scientists identify:

  • high-risk areas in the UK
  • who is most at risk
  • a better understanding of symptoms linked to underlying health conditions
  • how fast the virus is spreading in your area.

Find out more and download the app.

General advice for all students

It’s really important that you update us about your current situation, including:

  • whether you've gone home or are staying in Cardiff
  • if you have any underlying health conditions
  • if you are are self-isolating because you are displaying coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.

To update us: Log into SIMS Online and click on 'coronavirus 19 student form' on the top left of your screen. If your situation changes you can log in to SIMS Online and update the form.

If you've told us you are in Cardiff our check-in service will be in touch with you by phone in the next week to see how you’re getting on.

Please note: The Government has released new advice that students who are still at university should now stay where they are and not attempt to travel. If you are living in student halls, or private rented accommodation, you should remain there and stay indoors while current restrictions are in force.

If you are feeling worried about coronavirus (COVID-19), this is normal and you’re not alone. Many people are feeling unsettled by this given the uncertainty of the situation and because things are rapidly evolving. Take a look at our advice on staying on top of your wellbeing.

On Monday 23 March the government announced that we should all stay at home and away from others.

Being in lockdown means changes to the way we manage our buildings. The only buildings we are keeping open are Halls of Residence, and those areas requested by the NHS, to include Cochrane Building, Ty Dewi Sant, Michael Griffiths Education Centre, and Eastgate House.

Due to reduced resources within Estates and their associated contract service providers, priority in terms of maintenance, security, cleaning and support services has been directed to these areas.

All other buildings will be shut, with access granted only to essential or key workers. Anyone not on essential business will not be granted access to the buildings.

Estates and Security Services will however continue to carry out regular inspections of the buildings during the period of lockdown to ensure they are kept in a safe and secure condition and will respond to any emergency issues in these areas should this be required.

Security Services are being maintained on University Campus with the Security Control room staffed on a 24/7 basis.

Students living in University accommodation

Information about staying in University accommodation and details about what to do if you want to leave.

University sports

All student sport services will be closed from 17:00, 17 March 2020.

Students' Union

Read the latest information from the Student's Union about services and events during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

08/06/2020 - The Welsh Government have published guidance outlining how students who have left private rented accommodation can return solely to collect their remaining possessions. Read  Welsh Government guidelines on collecting your possessions from privately rented accommodation.

The Vice-Chancellor has written to all private providers urging them to release students from having to pay for accommodation for this final term if they have left accommodation. However, this is not something the University has control over as these are private contracts between the student and accommodation provider.

Nowhere to live

If your contract with a private accommodation provider has ended and you have nowhere else to live, please get in touch with the Residences Office by email at residences@cardiff.ac.uk and they will try and find you a room in University accommodation.

Please note that they are receiving a high volume of emails at the moment, so add Nowhere to live to the subject of your email.

Obtaining essential items if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms

If you are staying in Cardiff, you can contact Cardiff City Council on +44(0)29 2087 1071 to get help if you are unable to leave your accommodation and need essential items.

Accessing emergency or hardship money

If you are experiencing financial difficulty we have a Hardship Fund called the Financial Assistance Programme. Details of this and how to apply are on the student intranet.

There are no emergency loans available, as these need to take place face to face. You will need to apply to the Financial Assistance Programme, and we will make an assessment as soon as possible based on current need.

Financial issues related to returning from placements abroad

Please see our section on study, work or volunteer placements abroad if you are not able to travel from your placement abroad due to financial reasons.

Payment of tuition fees

Tuition fees are still required to be paid in full and will be collected as normal. However, we do appreciate that for some students this may be difficult and have developed new ways of assisting you should you require financial support at this time.

If you are struggling to manage your fee payments you can contact the fee team by email: fees@cardiff.ac.uk. Please include your student number and a short summary of the financial challenges you are facing.

The fees team will review your email and/or request form and advise you of the options available to you.

Options could include:

  • Agreeing a more manageable repayment plan. If you feel you would benefit from this option, please complete the tuition fee instalment request form.
  • Applying a temporary hold on the outstanding value of your fees for a short period of time until your situation becomes clearer.

Tuition fee refunds/reductions

During these unprecedented times, the University’s priority and commitment is to ensure that you are provided with appropriate learning opportunities and to ensure that you have been supported to achieve the relevant learning outcomes of your programme. We are working hard to maintaining teaching, learning and service provision remotely in what is an exceptional and rapidly changing situation.

We do not yet know what the full impact of coronavirus will be or the timescale for the current lockdown. The University is working extremely hard to address the wide range of issues that are facing our students, staff and local community and we need time to put in place the full range of measures and actions necessary to ensure you are able to continue and progress in your learning. As such, the University has no plans to reduce, or issue refunds, for tuition fees.

The time to submit a complaint if you are dissatisfied with the actions taken by the University is at the end of the academic year, and through the University complaints procedure. This provides for a range of remedies, including financial.

Student Funding and Advice service

The building and offices are closed, but advice is available by email, phone and Skype appointments. Priority is being given to estranged students, care leavers, student carers, asylum seekers and students whose funding issue is impacting on their current year of study.

To contact the service, telephone +44 (0) 2922 518 888 (option 5) or email adviceandmoney@cardiff.ac.uk.

Contacting your funding body

Following the most recent Government guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) your funding body has had to change the way they deliver their services. Check the website of your funding body for further information:

  • for students funded by Student Finance Wales, this includes EU students, information can be found on the Welsh Government website
  • information for Student Finance England can be found on the UK Government website
  • for students funded by Student Finance Northern Ireland check the Student Finance NI website
  • for students funded by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland, check the SAAS website.

It is with deep regret that we have decided to postpone the summer 2020 graduation ceremonies. We appreciate this news will be disappointing, but we can assure you that this decision has not been taken lightly. Our primary concern is the health and wellbeing of our students, their guests and our staff – especially in such difficult and challenging times.

New dates for graduation ceremonies

Unfortunately, we are not in a position yet to say when the postponed ceremonies will run. As soon as we are able, we will update the graduation website and contact all students who were eligible to attend July’s ceremonies with the new arrangements. All students will have the opportunity to celebrate with us on a future occasion.

Virtual celebrations

As well as rearranging your physical graduation ceremonies we are also planning virtual celebrations to give you an opportunity to mark receiving your award. Students will receive information about arrangements for this in mid-June.

Awarding your degree

It is important to stress that the postponement of graduation does not impact on us awarding you your degree. Provided you meet the requirements of your course, we will confer your degree. We will make sure we get your award documents (degree certificate and final transcript) to you in the normal way, as soon as possible after you receive your results.

It is very important you tell someone from the University if you experience unpleasant behaviour or abuse. We have a team of staff who are here to help if you experience violence or abuse.

Find more information about how to access this support.

Isolation, even for short periods, can be stressful. You should continue to communicate with friends and family regularly at this time.

We've provided information about things you can do to support your wellbeing - including information about online platforms to talk to others.

You can also check what student support and wellbeing services are available at this time.

Learning, teaching and assessment

We are implementing our plans for remote learning and assessment rapidly to:

  • ensure that final year students (undergraduate and postgraduate) are able to successfully complete their degree programmes on time, or as close as possible to the expected end date - demonstrating achievement of programme learning outcomes, and, where relevant, satisfy the requirements of Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs).
  • enable non-final year students progress to the next stage of their degree programmes in the next academic session.

The principle that no student should be disadvantaged in terms of their achievement as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is an important one. This is addressed in our new ‘safety-net’ policy (available on the student intranet), which addresses both the disruption caused by coronavirus and, where applicable, the disruption caused by strike action.

Colleagues in Academic Schools are working hard to ensure we offer remote learning opportunities through Learning Central, Panopto and, where appropriate, subject specific online applications. We are working to ensure the quality of the student experience and our high standards are maintained throughout this changing and unprecedented disruption.

You will receive notifications from your Academic School via email and Learning Central on the arrangements for remote learning.

In addition, you are able to access the electronic library and journals to support your studies.

You already have access to Learning Central module resources and it will be important that you keep accessing this to receive information, engage with academic staff and continue your learning.

Due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, colleagues in Academic Schools are reviewing and, if necessary, revising the methods and format of assessment to enable the remote assessment of learning outcomes to be completed by the end of the session.

It is possible that the assessments you were expecting to undertake before the end of the session will change. You will receive notifications from your Academic School via email and Learning Central on the arrangements for remote assessment. We will be producing further guidance shortly but we can assure our students that we will be implementing a no-detriment approach.

Coursework

You should continue to complete and submit all coursework assessments in the normal way, unless informed otherwise by your Academic School.

Your Academic Schools will contact you directly via email and Learning Central when necessary to inform you of any matters relating to assessments.

We will not be holding face-to-face examinations in physical locations at the University. The examination timetable will not be published as expected on 27 March 2020.

It is possible that some examinations will be changed to a remote examination with the questions released electronically at a specified time, and the answers to be submitted by a later specified time. A schedule for remote examinations will be published by 24 April 2020.

Remote learning

As we move toward working remotely, we have created some guidance around remote learning to help you make the most of your time whilst you are unable to physically attend University.

Our teaching staff will be making decisions about the most appropriate way to move your learning activities online.  You should follow any specific information from your Academic School but this remote learning guidance includes help with some of the most common remote learning activities:

  • watching videos and lecture recordings
  • webinars and virtual classrooms
  • presentations
  • one-to-one meetings
  • group work
  • video submission
  • study skills.

Read our guidance for remote learning in English.

Read our guidance for remote learning in Welsh.

Accessing study skills support from home

We have online tutorials to help with key aspects of essay writing. Just search 'study skills' on the student intranet and click on the relevant pages.

Help with referencing

Referencing is taught by the Library staff. There is guidance and tutorials on the student intranet. You can find it by searching ‘study skills’.

Interruption of study

If, from 16 March 2020 onwards, you are not present at the University but are able to engage with remote learning and assessment, there is no need to apply for an interruption of study.

If you are unable to engage with remote learning and assessment for a period greater than 14 days, you are required to apply for interruption of study in order that the Head of School can confirm arrangements for your return to study.

Disabled students should contact the Disability and Dyslexia Service if they require a review of reasonable adjustments as a result of the alternative arrangements.

If applying for interruption of study due to ill-health from coronavirus (COVID-19), no medical certification is required.

You are not required to apply for an interruption of study during the exam period and you should report your extenuating circumstances.

Extenuating circumstances

We recognise that the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a significant disruption, causing all students to experience exceptional circumstances and having a particular impact on those with protected characteristics and/or caring responsibilities.

The University has put in place a new extenuating circumstances policy for the coronavirus lockdown period which applies to assessments taken on and after 16 March 2020. Full details of the new extenuating circumstances policy can be found in the student intranet.

Students on paid placements with UK employers

If you are on a paid or long-term placement with an employer you will have a contract of employment. This means that you will need to discuss any change of circumstances with your employer.

You should carefully follow all guidance from Public Health England/Wales and the employer. Immediate changes are likely to include social distancing in the workplace, remote or home working or potentially ending the placement early. Your School or other University contact will be in touch with you regularly.

If you need to self-isolate, become unwell, or if your workplace closes, you need to follow your employer’s guidelines. If you decide you want to leave your placement early because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic you should discuss this with your employer/placement provider and your contact in your Academic School.

As of May 2020, some employers may be implementing government advice in England to begin to ease lockdown measures and you may be asked to return to the workplace to complete your placement. If the employer makes this decision, please ensure that you follow all government and organisational advice when returning to work. If you are uncertain about any aspect of completing your placement because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you should discuss this with your employer/placement provider and your contact in your Academic School.

Your safety and well-being are our primary concern. If you are unsure about any aspect of your placement and cannot resolve concerns with your supervisor or line manager at the place of employment, please contact your Academic School or University contact for advice before taking any action.

We would also ask that you confirm your well-being and whereabouts by logging into SIMS Online and completing the  'Coronavirus 19 student form' on the top left of your screen.

Students on short-term and/or unpaid placements with a UK employer

If you are on a short-term or unpaid placement you should carefully follow all guidance from Public Health England/Wales and the placement provider.

If you are on a short term or unpaid placement it is unlikely you will have contractual obligations to your employer/placement provider.

Immediate changes are likely to include social distancing in the workplace, remote or home working or ending the placement early. If you and your placement provider decide to end your placement early you should let your contact at the University know.

You may wish to make other choices based on local information available to you and guidance from Public Health. If you decide to end your short term or unpaid placement early you should talk to the placement provider and the area of the University which helped organise your placement (usually the Careers and Employability Service or your Academic School) as soon as possible.

In the event your short-term/unpaid placement finishes early (or you do not undertake that placement at all), and you are a continuing student, we will seek to work with you in the future to seek a similar opportunity after the current crisis is over.

What if I have incurred expenses and am unable to continue with my placement?

If you leave a paid or unpaid placement early because of the coronavirus (COViD-19) pandemic, we are aware that you may incur costs, such as funds paid in advance for local accommodation in order to be able to undertake a placement.

Your safety and well-being are our primary concern. If you incur costs, please keep a record of these with receipts etc. You may be able to gain financial assistance from the University Hardship Fund and should contact fapa@cardiff.ac.uk to discuss your circumstances. Please note that demand on this area is very high at the moment so you may have a wait for a response.

On-campus placements

Due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, all our On-campus Internships including research, learning and teaching and professional service placements for summer 2020 have been postponed. Find out more about On-campus Internships.

  • We are advising all students on placements abroad to return home.
  • Upcoming field trips and placements outside the UK for the 2019/20 academic year have been cancelled or postponed until further notice. This includes international summer programmes.
  • We've also put together advice for students who are applying for placements for the 2020/21 academic year.

Read the full guidance on study, work or volunteer placements abroad.

Your School will be in contact with the regulatory body for your programme to ensure that any actions taken by the University are in compliance with, and that you are able to fulfil, their requirements.

Our library services are changing as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Read our updated information about libraries services for current students on the student intranet.

Next academic year

Our focus is on creating a safe environment for you to study and learn, and we are taking part in discussions with government on how to re-open universities safely. At Cardiff we are currently considering how we could reopen each academic building, identifying the social distancing and hygiene measures required for reopening with staff, students and visitor safety as the main focus. This plan also extends to library, laboratories, IT services, and wider social and study space.  We will update you in due course on our plans, and the safety and hygiene measures we are putting in place.

It will be necessary to look at new and innovative ways to deliver the Cardiff University experience without compromising our public health requirements. Our approach to learning and teaching therefore needs to be flexible and adaptable to ensure that you continue to receive the high-quality learning experience that will help you succeed.

Large lectures will not take place on campus so we will continue with engaging and enhanced online learning activities and classes, together with on-campus teaching and learning. Where social distancing requirements can be met, we are exploring some small-group teaching on campus, such as tutorials or clinical, studio and laboratory sessions. A dedicated team is currently reworking our buildings to maximise the space given over to teaching so that we can deliver as much learning on-site as possible.

We are also considering how to open our libraries to allow students and researchers to access resources that are not available online – where we can provide safe study space we will.

Your feedback

Through this process, we are consulting with students about their experience of this way of studying and building on their feedback in the course materials that are being prepared now.

Current students will soon receive an invitation to complete a short survey so you can contribute directly to shaping our education provision in the new academic session. We are also working with the Students’ Union looking at other aspects of student life for 2020/21.

Updating students

Our plan is to contact students in mid-August to confirm all arrangements to help you prepare for the start of the new year. This will also extend to changes to the curriculum that we may need to make in response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

We are working with our academic schools and support services to consider the feasibility of study trips, years abroad and work placements in response to the government guidelines in place across the UK and internationally.

Where these activities cannot be delivered or there are changes to delivery we will be open and honest with you, and share information with you as soon as we have it.