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Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance

As you will be aware, there is an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, now named COVID-19.

We want to assure you that Staffordshire University is monitoring the situation closely and is following guidance issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), Public Health England (PHE) and the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

If you are a Staffordshire University student studying with one of our Collaborative Academic Partners, please contact the institution in question for information about local arrangements.

This page was last updated on Monday 30 March 2020 at 1.43pm. Please check back for the latest guidance.

General information

What is a coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. Typical symptoms of coronaviruses include fever and a cough that may progress to severe pneumonia, causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019.

Generally, coronavirus 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.

What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19

The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has COVID-19 infection:

  • cough
  • difficulty in breathing
  • fever

Generally, these infections 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.

The government advice is not to go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital if you develop symptoms.

You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're self-isolating.

If your symptoms worsen during self-isolation or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency, dial 999.

How is COVID-19 spread?

From what we know about other coronaviruses, spread of COVID-19 is most likely to happen when there is close contact (within 2 metres or less) with an infected person. It is likely that the risk increases the longer someone has close contact with an infected person.

Respiratory secretions produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes containing the virus are most likely to be the main means of transmission. There are 2 main routes by which people can spread COVID-19:

  • infection can be spread to people who are nearby (within 2 metres) or possibly could be inhaled into the lungs.
  • it is also possible that someone may become infected by touching a surface, object or the hand of an infected person that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes (such as touching door knob or shaking hands then touching own face).

Anyone can spread the virus.

What is the latest government advice?

 The latest government guidance is:

Stay at home

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

You can find full guidance on staying at home and away from others here.

The latest government advice is to self-isolate for 7 days if:

  • you have a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • you have a new, continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly
  • you live with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms

Please see the 'Self-isolation' guidance below for more information on the University support available and how to let us know if you're self-isolating.

 

Using our facilities

Will the University stay open?

We are focusing on our transition to remote teaching wherever possible. Students will be contacted directly by their School with regards to alternative teaching, learning and assessment arrangements.

The University is home to many of our students. Where it is possible and safe to do so we will keep key facilities open and vital support will remain in place across our digital platforms.

Access to any facilities that remain open will require an active student or staff card until normal service resumes.

Which facilities are open?

Please note that the following list is constantly under review and is subject to change based on government guidance, requirements and usage.

Stoke-on-Trent campus

Facilities that are open:

  • Our Nursery remains open for both vulnerable children and children of key workers.
  • Accommodation will remain open for students still living on campus.
  • The Students’ Union shop on Leek Road will remain open for the foreseeable future, until such time as the UK government advises against this.

All other facilities are now closed.

If you need to access healthcare whilst the on-campus GP surgery is closed, students registered at the surgery can use the Harley Street Medical Centre.

Centre of Excellence in Healthcare Education - Stafford

All facilities at this site are closed. The hospital has been informed of this decision and, if needed, our simulation suites have been offered to the NHS Trust to utilise throughout the closure.

Centre of Excellence in Healthcare Education - Shrewsbury

All facilities at this site are closed. The hospital has been informed of this decision and, if needed, our simulation suites have been offered to the NHS Trust to utilise throughout the closure.

Staffordshire University London

Face to face teaching has been replaced by digital delivery at our Digital Institute and the facilities are closed.

Parking

Our car parks remain open to those with parking permits and on a pay and display basis to the public. Please see the 'Money matters' tab below for information on parking permit refunds.

Events

For the safety and wellbeing of our University community, we have taken the decision to cancel many of our events.

Open Days

Our on-campus Open Days throughout March have been postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. However, because we’re committed to your future, we're giving you the option to attend our event virtually.

If you were scheduled to attend one of our upcoming Open Days, the University will contact you via email to update you of alternative arrangements. Please check the email address that you used when making your booking for the latest information.

Students' Union events

If you are due to attend one of the Students' Union events, please check their website for any updates.

Corporate events on campus

Staffordshire University has taken the decision to cancel public events until further notice. If you were scheduled to attend one of our events e.g. a public lecture, changes to your visit will be communicated to you by the event organiser.  We will continue to monitor the situation closely, please check here for future event information.

School/ College visits

If you are scheduled to visit Staffordshire University with a school or college group, any changes to your visit will be communicated to you by your event organiser.

Graduation - Summer Awards 2020

Graduation is the highlight of our University calendar and each year we work hard to deliver an event that gives you and your loved ones the perfect opportunity to celebrate all of your hard work. Due to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, that has resulted in the cancellation of events around the globe, we have taken the difficult decision to postpone our Summer Awards Ceremonies until later on in the year. We will be in touch with information closer to the time and look forward to celebrating with you and your guests in the future.

Accommodation

Will accommodation stay open?

Our accommodation will remain open and support is in place for all of our resident students. 

I live in accommodation and have been advised to self-isolate.

We will support students with self-isolating on campus. We recognise that this is a challenging situation and we will do everything we can for you. Please call the Coronavirus Helpline on 01782 298500 for further guidance.

Returning home

The Government’s advice (as of 26 March 2020) is that students remaining at university in England 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. As the Prime Minister said, staying put and remaining indoors is a crucial step now to slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19, to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed, and save the lives of fellow citizens.

If I leave my halls will I be refunded?

Given these exceptional circumstances, we have also made the decision that we will not seek accommodation fees from students living in University-managed residences for the final term, providing those students have vacated their accommodation and returned their keys to our ResLife team by Sunday 29 March 2020 (this can be completed by post).

If you have already left your University accommodation and you have received an accommodation bill for the coming term, please note that it will not be progressed. Similarly, if you are an international student and have paid your fees in full, you will be reimbursed for the final term if you are no longer in residence. Our Financial Services team will contact you with further information in due course. Please bear with us through this busy and challenging time.

Private accommodation

Students living in private accommodation should seek guidance on their accommodation position from their landlords. The University and the Students’ Union will also be contacting private landlords to remind them of their responsibilities to our students. If you encounter any difficulties with private landlords, you can contact the Staffordshire University Students’ Union Advice Centre on 01782 294629, or by emailing sac@staffs.ac.uk. The team are in place to offer support, guidance and advocacy should this happen.

External examiners

Please contact quality@staffs.ac.uk to discuss arrangements regarding examinations and assignments going forward.

Visitors

In light of the government's 'stay at home' guidance, staff should explore alternative ways of communicating with visitors for the purposes of University business (eg. digital facilitation).

Students should not invite visitors onto campus unless the visitor is helping you to return home.

The University has taken the decision that, at this time, it is not be appropriate for foreign national visitors to travel to the UK.

 

Health guidance

Looking after your health

The WHO’s standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses include hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;
  • The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

If you develop a new, persistent cough or a high temperature, you should self-isolate and not leave your home for 14 days from when your symptoms started. 

Students or staff should contact NHS 111 if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home

or

  • your condition gets worse

or

  • your symptoms do not get better

If you feel better and no longer have a high temperature after 14 days, you can return to your normal routine.

Looking after your mental health

We know that staying in your room for a prolonged period can be difficult, frustrating and lonely for some people and that you may feel low. It’s important to remember to take care of your mind as well as your body and to get support if and when you need it. Stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or online. There are also sources of support and information that can help, such as: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/ and https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/#collapse140bd

There is a wealth of self-help information available online that may be of use to students and they can link to some of this via our web page: self-help

In addition, students could also access Big White Wall, an online support forum offering person to person support, courses on mental health and lifestyle topics, as well as a library of resources.

If support is needed more urgently or in an emergency, students can find contact details on our Emergency-and-24-hour-support page.

All Students have access to access support can fill in our online form on our webpage: www.staffs.ac.uk/studentwellbeing

Think about things you can do during your time in your room. People who have successfully completed a period of staying at home have kept themselves busy with activities such as reading, online learning and watching films. If you feel well enough you can take part in light exercise within your room.

How to avoid catching or spreading germs

There's currently no vaccine for coronavirus.

But there are things you can do to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading.

  • 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
  • wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

Pre-existing health conditions and accessing health services

If you are concerned because you have an existing medical condition or disability, please discuss this with your GP in the first instance.

If you are an extremely vulnerable person and require assistance with things like getting essential supplies whilst staying at home, you can register with the government here.

Accessing healthcare in the UK
Anyone can call NHS 111 for medical advice – you do not need to be registered with a GP to call. 

We recommend that all students and staff register with a GP to gain access to NHS healthcare.

Students 

You can register with the Stoke-on-Trent campus GP or, if you live further away, you can search for a more convenient GP using the NHS website.

Staff 

You can search for your most convenient GP using the NHS website.

 

Stay at home guidance

Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home and follow the self-isolation guidance if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

What to do if you need medical help for another reason

 If you need medical help not related to coronavirus, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

  • For health information and advice, use the NHS website or check your GP surgery website.
  • For urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service. Only call 111 if you're unable to get help online.
  • For life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance.

Read more advice about getting medical help at home.

Advice for people at high risk

If you're at high risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus, there are extra things you should do to avoid catching it.

These include:

  • not leaving your home – you should not go out to do shopping, visit friends or family, or attend any gatherings
  • avoiding close contact with other people in your home as much as possible

Read the full advice on protecting yourself if you're at high risk from coronavirus on GOV.UK.

Who is considered high risk?

You may be at high risk from coronavirus if you:

  • have had an organ transplant
  • are having certain types of cancer treatment
  • have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
  • have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
  • have a condition that makes you much more likely to get infections
  • are taking medicine that weakens your immune system
  • are pregnant and have a serious heart condition

If you're at high risk, you will be contacted by the NHS by Sunday 29 March 2020. Do not contact your GP or healthcare team at this stage – wait to be contacted.

 Getting support if you're vulnerable

If you are an extremely vulnerable person and require assistance with things like getting essential supplies whilst staying at home, you can register with the government here.

If you’re not sure whether your medical condition makes you extremely vulnerable, register anyway.

You can register yourself, or on behalf of someone else.

 

Self-isolation

Do people still need to self-isolate?

 Yes. The NHS guidance is that you should self-isolate for 7 days if you have symptoms or 14 days if someone you live with has symptoms.

Get an isolation note to give to your employer

While the University is not asking for self-isolation notes from those affected by COVID-19, we understand that some employers are. If you live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, you can get an isolation note to send to your employer from the NHS online service as proof you need to stay off work. You do not need to get a note from a GP.

Self-isolation guidance

I have been told that I need to self-isolate

You may be more comfortable self-isolating at home, if it is safe to do so and you can travel there by car. 

If you are a student and have been advised by NHS 111 to self-isolate, please notify us by completing this form and calling the Staffordshire University Coronavirus Helpline on 01782 298500. All students living in University-managed accommodation will have received an email about the self-isolation procedures and provision available for them. Please check your student email account for this guidance.

For health queries, dial NHS 111. 

I’m in a shared block/flat, what do I do about sharing the kitchen and bathroom?

Like many families, it isn’t always possible to self-isolate entirely on your own. If you are living with other people, you should aim to keep 3 steps (2 metres) from other people and use your own eating & drinking utensils, dishes, tea towels, towels, food, etc.

Try to use the bathroom and kitchen at different times to everyone else. When you do use them, make sure you clean the areas you have touched before you leave the room. You can use washing up liquid and warm water for this; then dry the areas with a separate tea towel.

What if my symptoms get worse?

If it’s not an emergency, contact NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk. If it is an emergency and you need to call an ambulance, dial 999 and inform the call handler or operator that you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.

If you are confirmed to have COVID-19, please let us know by completing this online form and calling our Coronavirus Helpline on 01782 298500.

What do I do about getting food and drink?

Ask a friend or family member if they can leave food and drink supplies outside your door for you to collect.

If you live in shared accommodation, items that need to go in the fridge or freezer should be kept sealed and labelled. We can provide you labels for anyone living in University-managed accommodation if you need them - contact reslife@staffs.ac.uk.

If this isn’t possible, you can order your groceries online from one of the major supermarket chains. If you can’t do this, please contact our Helpline for advice.

I live in University-managed accommodation, what do I do about waste?

We will provide you with black bin bags. Please put all your waste in them and then, when they are full, tie them closed and put them in another black bag and tie this securely closed. Keep your rubbish in your bedroom until you have finished self-isolating. We will then remove it. If you need more bin bags, please let us know at reslife@staffs.ac.uk.

What do I do about laundry?

If you do not have a washing machine in your home and/or live in shared accommodation, please keep your laundry in bin bags. (We can provide these for those living in University-managed accomodation.)

Once your isolation period has ended, wait a further 72 hours when you can then take your laundry to a launderette. Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can I have visitors?

Do not invite or allow social visitors, such as friends and family, to enter your room. If you want to speak to someone who is not a member of your household, use your phone or contact them online.

I live in shared accommodation, what do I do if the fire alarm is activated?

Leave your room, making sure you have suitable clothing to keep you warm and dry. Try to avoid touching handrails and doors as much as possible and avoid close contact with others. Once outside, tell the fire steward that you are in isolation, so they can let you back into your room as a priority. Whilst outside please keep at least 3 steps from other people.

What do I do when I have completed my self-isolation?

After your self-isolation period of 7 or 14 days, if you feel better and no longer have a high temperature, you can continue to follow the stay at home guidance outlined above.

If you have not had any signs of improvement and have not already sought medical advice, you should contact NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk and complete this online form to let us know the advice you have been given.

I live with someone who is self-isolating

Latest government guidance

The latest government guidance recommends that you should self-isolate for 14 days if you live with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms.

Wash your hands frequently

Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially if you come in contact with the isolated person or with items handled by them.

Limit contact with the isolated person as much as possible

Where possible, avoid touching them and their immediate environment.Ensure that shared spaces (kitchen, bathroom) are well ventilated. Keep windows opened as regularly as possible.

Do not invite visitors into the accommodation block

Only those who live in your accommodation block should be allowed to stay. Do not invite or allow visitors (such as friends and extended family) to enter. If it is urgent to speak to someone who does not live in your block, do this over the phone.

Ensure that individuals at increased risk of severe disease avoid contact with the isolated person

Anyone who is at increased risk of severe disease should not come into close contact with the isolated person. This includes anyone who has a chronic illness or who may have a weakened immune system due to treatment or medication.

Avoid sharing household items

You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items with a person who is undergoing testing for novel coronavirus infection until they have been cleaned thoroughly. Ideally, they should be the last person to use the kitchen and should clean the areas they have had contact with, when they have finished. Public Health England is advising that washing up liquid and warm water is enough for this.

Bathroom

Ideally the self-isolator will should use the bathroom after everyone else. When they have finished, they should clean the surfaces. Ensure the isolated person uses separate towels from other household members, both for drying themselves after bathing/showering and for hand hygiene purposes.

Laundry

The isolated person has been advised to wait until they have ended their isolation before they launder anything. For those living in University-managed accommodation, the University can provide them with additional bed linen and towels, if they need them.

Waste

The isolated person has been advised to keep all their waste in their bedroom until they have ended their isolation. The University has provided enough bin bags for them and additional bags are available on request.

What will happen if the fire alarm is activated?

All students will need to leave the accommodation, including the isolated person. Try to avoid close contact with them – try to keep at least 3 steps from them and avoid touching handrails and doors as much as possible.

What will happen when they have completed their self-isolation?

If they feel better, they will return to their normal routine. We will be in contact with them to find out how they are.

How can I support someone who is self-isolating?

Without putting yourself at risk, you can support other students by offering to get their groceries and drinking water. If you do this, you should leave the items outside their bedroom door for them to collect. Stay in contact with them online or by phone.

I'm the parent of a student who has been advised to self-isolate. What should I do?

We are updating our students regularly in emails to their student email addresses. They are asked to complete an online form and call our 24/7 Coronavirus Helpline on 01782 298500 for support and guidance.

Those self-isolating may be more comfortable returning to their off-campus home. If you have made arrangements to collect a self-isolating student, please ensure that the student has informed the University and be aware that, under the latest government guidance, anyone living with the student will also be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

If a student is unable to go home, we have support in place to facilitate their self-isolation on campus and make it as comfortable as possible for them. They can access this support by calling the Coronavirus Helpline. 

You can contact us with any queries not answered here by emailing Covid-19@staffs.ac.uk

Are any students self-isolating at the University

We are not able to comment on individual cases. However, please refer to the guidance and support available to students who may need to self-isolate. Press enquiries should be sent to comms@staffs.ac.uk

 

Student support

How to access support

We are regularly updating MyStaffsUni with the latest advice and guidance and you can find out details of support for student parents, staying well, and staying connected under the Social Distancing tile. Remember to use your Universiy IT login details to access the app.

While the Student Hub is physially closed, the team are still on hand to support you with the phonelines open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Get in touch by calling 01782 294751 or emailing studenthub@staffs.ac.uk

Student Loans Company (SLC) is planning to make Term 3 tuition fee payments as scheduled and that you will continue to receive maintenance payments on the scheduled dates, whether or not campuses are closed or learning has moved online.

Student Support Fund

If you’re struggling financially and worried this might impact on your ability to continue with your studies, we have a fund that might be able to help you.

We recognise that many of our students are facing unforeseen difficulties because of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and are pleased to announce that we are now able to extend this vital resource to all students who are experiencing hardship due to the direct and indirect impacts of COVID19 - including international, distance learning, and postgraduate students.

You can apply to the Fund using this form here.

If you require help and support applying please contact our Student Guidance Team at support@staffs.ac.uk.

Click here to learn more.

Mental health

We know that staying in your room for a prolonged period can be difficult, frustrating and lonely for some people and that you may feel low. It’s important to remember to take care of your mind as well as your body and to get support if and when you need it. Stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or online. There are also sources of support and information that can help, such as:

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

and

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/#collapse140bd 

There is a wealth of self-help information available online that may be of use to students and they can link to some of this via our webpage.

In addition, students could also access Big White Wall, an online support forum offering person to person support, courses on mental health and lifestyle topics, as well as a library of resources.

If support is needed more urgently or in an emergency, students can find contact details on our Emergency-and-24-hour-support page.

All Students have access to access support can fill in our online form on our webpage.

Think about things you can do during your time in your room. People who have successfully completed a period of staying at home have kept themselves busy with activities such as reading, online learning and watching films. If you feel well enough you can take part in light exercise within your room.

Support for assessments and deadlines

We understand that many of you wish to know what your University is doing to update academic regulations and what has been put in place as alternative methods of assessment throughout the disruption COVID-19 is causing to everyone’s lives. Please rest assured that we are doing everything in our power to support you in your studies while ensuring the high standards of our awards. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and we will continue to adopt a flexible approach based on the requirements of both our students and their courses. 

These are extremely challenging times and we know that the inevitable disruption caused by COVID-19 is seriously affecting your day-to-day lives as well as your ability to study. We have therefore updated our academic regulations and put in place alternative methods of assessment to support you in your studies while ensuring the high standards of our awards: Find out more and view all the latest support for deadlines and assessments.

Your primary point of contact for all academic enquiries, including alternative arrangements and exceptional circumstances, should be your course delivery team.
 
Finally, we would like to assure you that our staff are working around the clock in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19, and they will continue to do everything they can to make sure you have the details you need at the earliest possible opportunity.

Library information

From Tuesday 24 March all Staffordshire University Libraries will be closed in accordance with current government guidance. There will be no access to any of the University Libraries until further notice.

Available Support

Skills appointments

Appointments with all the Academic Skills Team are available online – book here http://libguides.staffs.ac.uk/appointments

Changes to other Library Services

  • Inter Library Loans - digitised chapters/articles and book home address delivery only  - SUBJECT TO BRITISH LIBRARY SERVICE.
  • Reservations are suspended until further notice
  • There are no limits on renewals during current pandemic
  • Alumni applications are not being processed until further notice
  • Bursary book requests - please contact libraryhelpdesk@staffs.ac.uk
  • Cash transactions are suspended until further notice
  • Topping up print accounts – online only
  • All fines will be waived during the current pandemic – if you receive an invoice please contact libraryhelpdesk@staffs.ac.uk
  • Postal loans are suspended until further notice

Graduation: Summer Awards

Graduation is the highlight of our University calendar and each year we work hard to deliver an event that gives you and your loved ones the perfect opportunity to celebrate all of your hard work.

Unfortunately, as you will be aware, there is an ongoing outbreak of the novel coronavirus, now named COVID-19, that has resulted in the cancellation of events around the globe. We want to assure you that Staffordshire University is monitoring the situation closely and are taking steps to protect health and wellbeing of our University community.

We are following guidance issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), Public Health England (PHE) and the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and have taken the difficult decision to postpone our Summer Awards Ceremonies until later on in the year.

We will be in touch with information closer to the time and look forward to celebrating with you and your guests in the autumn.

You can find out more about the postponement here.

GradEX20 and Art and Design Degree Show

To protect the safety and wellbeing of our University community, we have taken the decision to cancel these exhibitions. We are reviewing opportunities for students to showcase their talents and expertise, and make connections with employers. We will be in touch with all affected students as soon as possible.

GradEX

GradEX is a chance for our final-year students from the Schools of Computing, and Digital Technologies, Engineering and Creative Arts, Law, Forensics and Policing, Life Sciences and Education, Health and Social Care, and our Business School to exhibit their exciting and innovative work.

Art and Design Degree Show

Each year, the Art and Design Degree Show at Staffordshire University celebrates the work of over 250 students graduating from the BA (Hons) Awards within Art & Design and Media.

International students

Our International Student Support team continue to provide support to all of our international students. They can be contacted by emailing iss@staffs.ac.uk

On Tuesday 24 March, the Home Office updated their visa guidance to provide greater certainty for international higher education students and staff in the UK currently unable to return home due to COVID-19. This covers three main issues: visa extensions, in-country visa switching and distance learning. 

Visa extensions 

No individual who is in the UK legally, but whose visa is due to expire, or has already expired, and who cannot leave because of travel restrictions related to COVID-19, will be regarded as an overstayer, or suffer any detriment in the future.  

Anyone whose leave expired after the 24 January and who cannot leave the country because of travel restrictions or self-isolation will have their visas extended to 31 May 2020. Individuals must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team email to advise of their situation – please see contact details further down. 

In-country visa switching 

Individuals (students or staff) who cannot leave the UK due to travel restrictions or self-isolation and wish to stay in the UK in the long-term would ordinarily need to apply for a visa from their home country. Where individuals would normally be required to return to their country of residence to apply for a visa in a different category, they’ll now be able to apply from the UK to switch.  

Distance learning 

Tier 4 students are not normally permitted to undertake distance learning courses. However, due to the current exceptional circumstances, the Home Office will not consider it a breach of sponsor duties to offer distance learning to existing Tier 4 students in the UK or who have chosen to return overseas but wish to continue their current studies. Sponsors do not need to withdraw sponsorship in these circumstances.  

New international students who have been issued a Tier 4 visa but have been unable to travel to the UK are permitted to undertake distance learning and sponsorship does not need to be withdrawn.  

New international students who have not yet applied for a visa but wish to commence a course by distance learning do not need to travel to the UK to do so and therefore do not require sponsorship under Tier 4.  

Further information from the Home Office 

Full details covering the above visa issues above can be found here.   

The Home Office’s Coronavirus Immigration Helpline remains open: 0800 678 1767 (open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm – calls are free of charge if made from within the UK).  The Home Office asks that customers check gov.uk first as that is the central source of information, but if individuals remain concerned about their immigration status they can contact: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk

 

Staff support

#StaffsHomeworking

Our staff are a key part of our University community and we understand that adjusting to these exceptional circumstances can cause stress and anxiety. We've put in place measures to ensure colleagues don't become isolated whilst working remotely. Staff can visit our Homeworking area on IRIS to access information and support.

Remember, you still have your team around you and we are here to offer you all the support you need. Keep in touch on the Staff App and share your homeworking experiences on social media using #StaffsHomeworking.

Remote working: email responses

Many of our services remain operational as we have switched to remote working and online teaching wherever possible. This will cause an increase in email traffic and could impact on email response times.

Despite these unprecedented circumstances, staff will endeavour to respond to emails at the earliest opportunity. We appreciate your patience and understanding in the meantime.

 

Applicants

What will happen with my application?

We have written to all applicants to advise them of the latest guidance issued by the UK government in relation to university admissions during the COVID-19 crisis, and the position of Staffordshire University.

In line with instructions from Universities Minister Michelle Donelan and the Office for Students (OfS), Staffordshire University will not be changing any offers made to undergraduate students before Monday 6 April 2020. This temporary suspension will include activities such as converting conditional offers to unconditional offers, and changing our entry requirements.

Please rest assured that, during this period, we will remain as flexible as possible in our approach to ensure that your best interests are safeguarded. We aim to resume admissions activities as soon as we are permitted to do so, and we will also provide all applicants preparing to begin their studies with Staffordshire University in September 2020 with further guidance at the earliest possible opportunity.

Please be aware that a small number of institutions have announced their intention to ignore official guidance and continue changing applicants’ offers during the coming two weeks. Remember that going to university is life-changing decision, and accepting the right course at the right institution is paramount.

Always keep in mind that this is your decision. You will have plenty of time to make an informed choice during the coming weeks and months, so please do not feel pressured into accepting an offer in the short term simply because it is made unconditional. The temporary suspension, which we have introduced in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, is designed to ensure that your best interests are safeguarded.

In the meantime, we will continue to do everything we can to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak in the best interests of our prospective and existing students, staff and local communities, and we thank everyone for their patience and understanding during this difficult period.

Open Days

Our on-campus Open Days throughout March have been postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. However, because we’re committed to your future, we're giving you the option to attend our event virtually.

If you were scheduled to attend one of our upcoming Open Days, the University will contact you via email to update you of alternative arrangements. Please check the email address that you used when making your booking for the latest information.

Offer Holder Days

We are reviewing the possibilities of digitally enabled Offer Holder Days and will circulate information to our applicants as soon as possible.

 

Looking after our University community 

Staffordshire University's position

We understand that this is a stressful time for every member of our community and we want to reassure you that we are working hard to put things in place to support everyone as we all transition into new ways of working.

Please keep a regular check on your University email account for the latest updates.

Money matters

University parking permits

Staffordshire University will not be issuing any charges to permit holders for the second quarter of 2020 (1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020).

Permit payments have been disabled until further notice. If your new permit was due to be renewed on 1 April 2020, and you have already submitted your payment, you will receive a refund for this amount.

All current permits that are active or were awaiting payment will be added to the approved vehicle listings, enabling permit holders who have to attend the University for work purposes to continue to park on campus free of charge. This system will remain in place until 30 June 2020.

During this period, any non-permit holders who need to park on campus should use the pay-to-park options available across our University car parks, in line with the existing rules.

Sir Stanley Matthews Sports Centre memberships

SSMSC staff will be contacting members about their memberships in due course.

Rail season tickets

Anyone holding an advance ticket will be able to get a free of charge refund. All season ticket holders can claim a refund for time unused on their tickets. Ticket holders should contact their retailer for details.

The University is reviewing our arrangements for passes purchased as part of our sustainable travel scheme and will be in touch in due course.

Accommodation

Given these exceptional circumstances, we have also made the decision that we will not seek accommodation fees from students living in University-managed residences for the final term, providing those students have vacated their accommodation and returned their keys to our ResLife team by Sunday 29 March 2020 (this can be completed by post).

However, due to changing government guidance about restrictions and social isolation, we strongly advise that students choosing to go home do so as soon as possible. Further information about this will follow from the ResLife team in the coming days. 

If you are planning to leave your University-managed residence before Sunday 29 March 2020 and you have received an accommodation bill for the coming term, please note that it will not be progressed. Similarly, if you are an international student and have paid your fees in full, you will be reimbursed for the final term if you are no longer in residence. Our Financial Services team will contact you with further information in due course. Please bear with us through this busy and challenging time.

Students living in private accommodation should seek guidance on their accommodation position from their landlords. The University and the Students’ Union will also be contacting private landlords to remind them of their responsibilities to our students. If you encounter any difficulties with private landlords, you can contact the Staffordshire University Students’ Union Advice Centre on 01782 294629, or by emailing sac@staffs.ac.uk. The team are in place to offer support, guidance and advocacy should this happen.

Library

All fines will be waived during the current pandemic – if you receive an invoice please contact libraryhelpdesk@staffs.ac.uk

Graduation: Summer Awards

You will automatically get a refund for any guest tickets you have bought and we are aiming to have all refunds processed by 27 March 2020. Please note that it can take up to five days for the money to appear in your bank account. If you have booked your academic dress, you will need to contact Wippells directly via their contact form here: https://www.wippellgownhire.co.uk/questions/cancelling-an-order

Volunteering opportunities

NHS

Staffordshire University has opened up health facilities at our Centres of Excellence in Healthcare Education in Stafford and Shrewsbury for our partnered NHS Trusts.

If you, or someone you know has medical or healthcare knowledge, there will be volunteering opportunities to support our NHS. The Health Minister this week launched a call for volunteers to support vulnerable people to stay safe and well at home.

 If you would like to get involved, you can sign up as a NHS volunteer here

Staffordshire County Council

Several thousand elderly and disabled people in Staffordshire rely on support from home-care services to live in their own accommodation. With more than 100 providers, home-care services offer vital assistance with a range of household tasks throughout our local communities.

However, the COVID-19 outbreak is expected to deplete the home-care workforce through a combination of sickness and control measures, so Staffordshire County Council and other bodies are trying to find additional people to provide essential support during the coming weeks and months. The aim is to recruit as many volunteers as possible to bolster the county’s home-care workforce. People with previous experience in the care sector would be especially useful, but this is not essential. We are therefore encouraging staff and students from our University community, who find themselves with spare time when they are not working or studying, to offer their support in this time of need.

These roles would involve visiting elderly or disabled people in their homes to help with a range of tasks, including washing, dressing, getting upstairs and downstairs, preparing meals, assisting with medication, tidying and cleaning. The company, emotional support and advice that you can provide during this difficult period are equally important.

Volunteers would only be asked to help with tasks they feel comfortable performing, training will be provided as part of the programme, and Staffordshire County Council will cover travel expenses.

If you expect to have availability following the switch to remote working and you are interested in supporting this initiative, please send your contact details to Staffordshire County Council’s Vicky Perry (vicky.perry@staffordshire.gov.uk), and she will call you to provide further information.

 

Concerns about individuals

If you have concerns about friends or family affected by COVID-19, please contact your tutor, supervisor or line manager for support.

 

Concerns in the community

We understand that this is a worrying time for members of our University community. We are asking everyone to please be mindful of how your actions may be perceived.

Staffordshire University does not tolerate discrimination or harassment.

Anyone who has concerns should contact their tutor, supervisor or line manager. If you feel unable to do so, please contact us at Covid-19@staffs.ac.uk.

 

Additional information

We will continue to keep this area updated. Should there be any major changes, we will inform the University community directly.

Further advice and updates are also available on these sites: 

If you have any specific concerns not covered here you can email Covid-19@staffs.ac.uk or you can call the Coronavirus Helpline by calling 01782 298500 and your query will be directed to the most relevant person.

For press enquiries, please email comms@staffs.ac.uk.