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Coronavirus News March 2020

25 Mar 2020

Coronavirus

Find the latest updates about Coronavirus (Covid-19)

30 March 2020 – July Graduation Postponement

In light of the global Coronavirus situation, like many other universities, we have decided to take the difficult decision to postpone the graduation ceremonies scheduled to take place in July 2020. I am sure you will appreciate it was not an easy decision nor was it taken lightly, but we have done it to protect the safety and wellbeing of our graduates, guests and staff.

We recognise the importance of Graduation to your student experience and the need for you to join us on the UCLan campus, wear your gowns and celebrate your success with your family, friends and the University community. Once we have the revised dates, which are now planned for December 2020, these will be communicated to you and we hope that you will be able to celebrate your hard-earned success with family and friends as you had intended.

The University is now focusing on the processes required to ensure all our students formally graduate on time in July and whilst this will not be at a ceremony, results will be published as normal and documentation sent as soon as we are able to do so.

We appreciate your understanding at this very difficult and exceptional time and look forward to welcoming you to Graduation later in the year.

The graduation ceremony for Burnley students is still planned for September and we will continue to review this, given the current situation.

Best wishes,
Mike Mercer
Deputy Academic Registrar


25 March 2020 - Important update: all coursework deadlines from 26 March will automatically be extended by five days

In response to student feedback, and to help you to adjust to the new ways of studying and completing assignments, the University has decided to extend all coursework deadlines from tomorrow, 26 March, by five working days. This extension will be applied automatically, and you do not need to apply for the extension.

If unexpected circumstances mean that you need to request a longer extension (an extra five days, so ten days in total) then you will still need to submit a request. Examples of unexpected circumstances may include short-term illness, caring for a sick relative or unexpected personal difficulties.

That extension request process will now be via Starfish. You just need to raise a hand as you do for other support, rather than completing the online form.

Requests for these longer extensions must still be made prior to the original submission date, as extensions cannot be given retrospectively.

If you are a student studying a UCLan higher education course at one of our partner colleges or institutions, please discuss the latest updates with your lecturer and the partner college where you are studying, as the advice may be different.


24 March 2020 – Updated Advice on Social Distancing Measures

Last night, the Prime Minister introduced unprecedented restrictions on everyday life. This means that if you are not self-isolating, you can only leave your house, halls of residence or other accommodation for four reasons:

1. To shop for essential items, such as food and medicine. Shopping trips should be as infrequent as possible
2. One form of exercise a day such as a run, walk or cycle. This should be done alone or only with people you live with
3. To fulfil any medical or care needs or to help a vulnerable person
4. To travel to and from work where it is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

Even when following the above guidance, you should minimise the amount of time spent out of your homes or accommodation and should keep two metres (six feet) away from people you do not live with.

The full guidance on social distancing measures has now been updated on the government website.


Friday 20 March 2020 – Student Assessments Update

The University wants to keep you fully informed about the arrangements we are continuing to make to ensure that you are able to progress with your studies or complete your course at this time when we, along with the wider education sector and country, face challenges, which are unprecedented. Our first priority is always to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our student and staff community and your families, colleagues and friends. In making our decisions we are at all times following closely the advice and guidance of Public Health England and the Government. We will continue to communicate with you if there are any additional matters to make you aware of. Although we have moved away from face-to-face delivery of the vast majority of our education, we continue to operate as fully as possible. All our staff are continuing to work and to ensure that our academic and student services remain available to you through a variety of alternative means. Details of these are available through your course and student support teams, via this page, through our communications and in the frequently asked questions above.

We are in a situation where things are changing rapidly and it is difficult for any of us to predict how long the current issues will continue. However, we feel it is important that we give you as much certainty with regard to your studies as is possible. We have therefore taken the decision that all assessments due to take place face to face in the semester two and May examinations weeks, such as face-to-face exams and other practical assessments, will not take place face-to-face. The University’s Academic Board has agreed to invoke its Extraordinary Circumstances Regulations for Assessment to enable us to assess your progress by alternative means. The specific nature of the assessments will vary from course to course. For example, some may be coursework based, some may be assessments taken online, some may be video or audio recording, photographs of design work etc. All course teams are working with external examiners and, where appropriate, professional regulatory bodies, to ensure that the assessments meet their requirements. If there are professional body restrictions, which we are unable to overcome we will ensure that you know this and we will consider and communicate with you how we will support your progress as soon as we are able to do so.

You will shortly receive from your course team, details of the course-specific arrangements they are making for any of your assessments still to be completed in semester two. The learning and teaching you continue to receive, running up to our assessment periods, will include support to ensure that, with the work and studies you are doing, you are fully prepared to be successful in the assessments. It would be helpful if you could wait for your course teams to circulate this to you as each course has a number of external examiners to work with. We will get the communication to you as soon as it is agreed. This may take slightly longer for students on some courses than others.

Where online learning and assessment is a new part of your course as a result of the changes we have to make to protect the health and wellbeing of our university community, and you have no access to internet or hardware to enable you to engage with your studies online, please ensure you have told your course leader by email or in writing that you are in this situation. Please send this information to them as soon as possible in the next few days. We are working very hard to explore the alternative arrangements we can put in place to support your continued studies and assessment if you fall into this category.

I know many of you have also expressed concerns about whether you will be able to submit extenuating circumstances if the circumstances caused by the Coronavirus COVID-19 impact your studies and assessments. In accordance with the Extraordinary Circumstances’ arrangements in our Academic Regulations, which govern the assessment processes, we must maintain the academic standards of courses and the credibility of our awards during periods of significant disruption. Given we are now operating within Extraordinary Circumstances, Extenuating Circumstances’ applications relating directly to COVID-19 will be automatically approved, as will applications relating to child and caring responsibilities resulting from schools’ closures, and the requirement for evidence will be waived. However, for any other non COVID-19 circumstances, there is still a requirement to complete the online extenuating circumstances form, including the personal statement and relevant evidence in line with the policy.

I hope that this information is useful to you. We will continue to be in touch with you on a regular basis to keep you updated. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your course teams or student support services. I am sure you will appreciate they are receiving a very high volume of calls at the moment but be assured that our full staff body is continuing to work to support your studies and will respond to you as soon as they can. If this takes a little more time than usual we thank you for your understanding.

Best wishes,

Lynne Livesey

Deputy Vice-Chancellor


17 March 2020 – Student Coronavirus Update

Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin filmed this short video earlier today, to update and reassure students, colleagues and partners about the action we are taking to protect the health and safety of our whole University community:



16 March 2020 - Student Coronavirus Update

The situation is changing on a daily basis and there a number of changes we would like to go through with you. Please take some time to read this information carefully.

Changes to face-to-face teaching from Thursday 19 March

Given the decision by the UK government to move into the delay phase of combating the COVID-19 virus, we have decided that face-to-face teaching of all forms at the Preston, Burnley and Westlakes campuses will move to online delivery from Thursday 19 March until at least Friday 3 April, when we finish for the Easter break. This means there will be no on campus-based teaching from Thursday 19 March.

This decision has been made with the safety of our students, staff and visitors as our priority and we are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. Further updates will follow from your course team as this is a rapidly changing situation, but we thought it was important that you have clarity on the decisions we are taking in this challenging period.

This does not mean that the University is closing. We are fully committed to continuing your education - we are just having to change the way we do things. We do not want this to affect your learning and we are working hard to ensure you can do this remotely by using digital means such as Microsoft Teams and accessing resources on Blackboard.

We recognise that all courses are different and present different challenges when considering alternative means of delivering high-quality learning and teaching. Your course team is currently considering the ways to do this for your subject and they will be in touch with you via your UCLan email account with details. The library online resources remain available. Please could you therefore regularly check your UCLan email for updates from your course team.

As you will appreciate, this is an unprecedented situation and we thank you for your patience and understanding at this challenging time while we work through the solutions.

How will this affect assessments and exams?

Please be assured that you will be able to continue with your studies and assessments. We are making special arrangements to allow examinations to be completed. Exams will be carried out where possible online. For those courses where it won’t be practical to conduct assessments online, lecturers will be in touch about submitting work via post or alternative means. In all cases we will be confirming how assessments will be taking place. Please continue to look at your UCLan email account over the coming weeks for updates on how to carry out your assessments and exams online or remotely. For practical and other portfolio-type assessments, course teams will be in touch with details.

We are working closely with the professional bodies that accredit many of our courses to ensure that any changes we introduce to your assessments are with their full support.

We are committed that these unprecedented circumstances will not disadvantage you and your learning. We recognise this is an unsettling situation and please understand that we are working hard to work through all the questions, concerns and issues that are emerging, for us and the whole sector.

Advice about going home

As of today, any student who would like to go home and continue their learning online can do so.
If you do choose to return home you will NOT be withdrawn from your programme. If you are an overseas student your Visa status will remain unchanged and you can continue to study and be assessed remotely.

If you do plan to return home, please could we ask you to:
1. If you are choosing to leave your term-time address, please email your Hub so they know when you are leaving and where you are travelling to.
2. If you are flying home overseas, before you book your flight please check if you will be allowed to enter your home country and whether you will have to be quarantined on your return. It is your responsibility to check this before you fly.
3. Engage with your learning online, following the advice of your course team, and check your UCLan email account each day.

If you have not got a device or internet connection to continue your studies, please directly inform your lecturer.

Can I stay in halls if I can’t go home?

The halls of residence will remain open. If you choose to stay in halls you will be able to do so.

If I leave my halls will I be refunded?

You may choose to study at home, but we will keep your halls of residence available for you as part of your contract and there will be no refund if you decide to go home.

What will become unavailable on campus over the coming weeks?

To help reduce large numbers of people being together on the campus, from Thursday 19 March we will be closing the following:

• The main refectories (the Brook and Foster shops will remain open, as will the Students’ Union shop)
• All social spaces
• Libraries
• The Pre School
• All general and specialist teaching spaces
• All indoor sports facilities - Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre and UCLan Sports Arena will be closed for all UCLan-based activity. Externally run matches can still go ahead outside at the UCLan Sports Arena.

In addition, we are planning on reducing access to buildings on the campus from Monday 23 March. Details will be added to the Student Support News section in the next few days.

What if I am currently on placement?

Current placements are continuing at the moment unless you are informed otherwise by your course team. Whilst on placement you will be expected to follow the guidelines from the employer you are working for and maintaining a good level of hygiene with regular hand washing is strongly advised.

How will I access the wellbeing team?

From Thursday 19 March the Wellbeing team will provide a remote support service for students, both online and via telephone, but will not be offering face to face appointments. If you have an appointment already booked, one of our Advisors will contact you via telephone using the number you have provided.

If you would like to access any support, please fill in the online referral form. If you have any questions, please contact us by emailing wellbeing@uclan.ac.uk.

You may find some of the sources of support below helpful whilst you await our reply.
Internal
• UCLan Security – 01772 892068 – If you have an emergency that requires immediate assistance from UCLan, please call this number which is available 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.
• UCLan Headroom - uclansu.co.uk/headroom -This site gives practical information and links to support you with various issues you may be facing such as addiction, anxiety, eating disorders and self-harm.
• UCLan Medical Centre - 01772 214800 or visit the Medical Centre page.

Friday Prayers

Due to the changes outlined above, we are unable to continue to support Friday prayers at this present time. For further advice and support with regards to Friday prayers, please contact the Muslim Chaplain VBhayat@uclan.ac.uk

Open Day on Thursday 19 March

Due to the changing situation we have decided to cancel the Open Day planned for Thursday 19 March.

If you feel unwell

Please check with Public Health England for up to date advice.

Updates

The coronavirus situation is continuing to evolve on a daily basis, so please continue to keep checking the latest university advice and information here on the student support news page and your UCLan email account. The frequently asked questions are updated regularly. If you have any questions that are not answered, please email coronaenquiries@uclan.ac.uk

We recognise this is a difficult time and the situation is challenging. The university is a thriving learning community of students and staff, and this is not restricted to being on campus. We will continue to work through all the issues to ensure you can continue with your studies. Please keep checking back here for updates, as well as your UCLan email account.

Thank you.

Professor Graham Baldwin
Vice-Chancellor


12 March 2020 - Student Coronavirus Update

You will be aware of the daily news updates about the Coronavirus. As a University we are making plans to ensure we can continue to provide your learning as the situation progresses. This includes putting in place changes to the way we do things to help reduce the spread of the virus. As a University, we are well prepared for different eventualities and have the technology in place to support teaching and assessment even if we are asked to close the campus for a while.

In line with other universities and businesses, we have made some important decisions that will affect students over the coming weeks. All our decisions have been made to help keep you as healthy and safe as possible and with an attempt to try and limit, where we can, large numbers of people needing to be together on campus.

Teaching and Assessment

Please be assured that we will continue to maintain the quality of our teaching. However, how we do this over the coming weeks may be delivered through more digital means. Your lecturer will be in touch with you via your UCLan email account to let you know of any sessions that will be delivered in a different way from Monday 16 March onwards. You will be given instructions on how to do this directly from your lecturer. Please could you regularly check your UCLan email for updates from your course team.

We are also currently working on a detailed plan to manage assessments, including exams. Please be assured that despite any disruptions that may happen, you will be able to continue with your course. We will continue to keep you updated.

Temporary ban on overseas travel

Due to the rapidly changing situation regarding Coronavirus, the University has now stopped all overseas travel until at least the end of April. Overseas travel from May 2020 will be reviewed at a later point. We apologise for any disruption this may cause to your plans and want to reassure you that this is not a decision that has been taken lightly. The decision has been made in the interest of the health and wellbeing of UCLan students to help reduce the spread of potential infection. It is important that as a University we do not put students at risk, nor as an organisation be a contributor to the spread of the virus.

If you have booked international travel via the central travel office, they will now cancel the booking, prioritising travel in date order, and they will be in touch directly with you to confirm. If you have booked travel overseas yourself, which is directly part of your course e.g. work placement, overseas study, research etc, and received University funding to do this, you are now asked to cancel these arrangements and contact the School or Service providing the funding to confirm you have done this. If your travel was related to part of your course, please be assured that your course team will be working to ensure that any changes to your plans will not have a detrimental effect on your grades.

For those of you who are thinking of going overseas during the Easter break we would ask you to think carefully about travel to other countries during the Coronavirus outbreak. There could be a risk of further flight disruption that would mean you would not be allowed back in the UK or you could be faced with a 14-day isolation period before being allowed to do so.

Updates

The Coronavirus situation is continuing to evolve on a daily basis, so please continue to keep checking the latest university advice and information here on the student support news page and your UCLan email account. The frequently asked questions have been updated and will continue to be updated regularly. If you have any questions that are not answered, please email coronaenquiries@uclan.ac.uk


10 March 2020 - Updated Coronavirus Advice

The University's frequently asked questions about Coronavirus have been updated to reflect the latest advice from Public Health England and the UK Chief Medical Officers.

If you have any further questions, we have a dedicated mailbox for colleagues and student enquiries: coronaenquiries@uclan.ac.uk. We will continue to post the latest updates on this page.


4 March 2020 - Updated Coronavirus Advice

As the number of cases in the UK of people testing positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19) grows, we continue to update our guidance. The University's frequently asked questions about Coronavirus have been updated to reflect the latest advice from Public Health England and the UK Chief Medical Officers and we also recommend all students and staff follow Public Health England's advice for places of education.

If you have any further questions, we have a dedicated mailbox for colleagues and student enquiries: coronaenquiries@uclan.ac.uk. We will continue to post the latest updates on this page.