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University of Exeter, UK – Covid UpdaTE

University of Exeter, UK – Covid UpdaTE

Key points:

  • England has entered a new period of national lockdown, which will last for at least seven weeks.
  • In line with Government restrictions, teaching must remain online until at least mid-February for all students, with the exception of a small number of exemptions, listed below
  • As per Government instructions, students who do not have any in-person teaching scheduled should not travel to the University or to term-time accommodation yet
  • Those students who are living in University or FX Plus accommodation, or whose contracts were arranged through the University with a nominated partner, we will waive the rent charges that would be payable during this lockdown period, for those who do not return to their accommodation.
  • Students who are already in Exeter or Penryn should remain in place and not travel away
  • All students who are already in Exeter or Penryn should arrange to get two COVID-19 tests as a matter of urgency. Booking links are below
  • Students who are travelling to the UK must present a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure
  • Additional financial support is available for those impacted by these measures
  • Our wellbeing support remains in place. Full details are on our COVID-19 Wellbeing web page
  • We must all abide by the new restrictions, and continue to observe the highest standards of COVID-19 hygiene

Full message – Introduction
I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year and I hope that you and your loved ones are keeping safe and well.On 4th January 2021, the Prime Minister announced that England will enter a new period of national lockdown. This period will last for at least seven weeks, and the measures will be reviewed in mid-February. The full details of the new measures are available on the Government website.This will be another worrying and challenging period for us all, and the University will do everything possible to support our students, staff and of course all our partners. We worked together as one community last term to help each other and those around us. I am confident that we can do so again.
Teaching and Assessment  The new measures announced by the Government mean that University teaching must remain online and in-person teaching will be delayed until at least mid-February for all students except for the exemptions listed below, which are for those studying ‘future critical worker’ courses and certain limited courses that require accreditation from a professional body (PSRB):In the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences:- final year undergraduate students requiring access to specialist facilities for projects in order to meet PSRB requirements in Physics, Engineering, Geology and Camborne School of Mines (and then only for project work)In the College of Medicine and Health- all undergraduate BMBS, Medical Imaging and Nursing studentsIn the College of Social Sciences and International Studies – all PGCE students undertaking Initial Teacher Training (currently on placements)In-person teaching has begun already for students on these courses. All other students will study online and the Government’s advice is that students should not travel to the University or to term-time accommodation. Timetables will be updated this week to reflect these changes.Students who are already at the University should remain in place and not travel away. We will shortly be sharing a survey to all students to identify those who are at the University and who may need additional support.
The Government have previously made it clear that students may return to university in order to access study spaces and support if they are:

  • International students who have remained in the UK, or those who have arrived and do not have alternative accommodation
  • Students without access to appropriate study spaces or facilities in their vacation accommodation
  • Students who have remained in their university accommodation over the winter break
  • Those requiring additional support, including those with mental health issues

Accommodation arrangements I am pleased to say that for those students who are living in University or FX Plus accommodation, or whose contracts were arranged through the University with a nominated partner, we will waive the rent charges that would be payable during this lockdown period, for those who do not return to their accommodation.This arrangement will cover the period of the national lockdown during which many students have been asked by Government not to return to their term time accommodation. This began on 4 January and is currently expected to stay in place until mid-February.
Next steps for students

  • If you are not currently occupying your University accommodation, please do not make a payment for the January invoice. 
  • If you have already made a payment for the January invoice but have not been able to return to occupy your accommodation, we will adjust your account by the appropriate amount following the lifting of the national lockdown. We’ll set out the process for doing this in due course.
  • Some students on specific programmes, or with specific personal circumstances are permitted to return to campus, and some have remained with us over the winter break. They should pay their rent as currently invoice.
  • Any student who returns to their accommodation or begins their occupation (for example in the case of certain PGT programmes) during the period of the national lockdown will be charged from the date of arrival.

contracts with private accommodation providers are outside of our control. We know that many students who are not in University-managed or nominated rooms are also being impacted by the national lockdown and may suffer an additional financial burden because of these measures. In partnership with the Students’ Guild and Students’ Union we have doubled the support available through the ‘Success for All’ Hardship Fund. If you are suffering additional financial burdens then please reach out for support and apply to the fund. The Students’ Union Advice Service and the Students’ Guild Advice Service are available to offer guidance to students in Cornwall and Exeter respectively on matters including accommodation and finance.
Testing All students who are already in Exeter or Penryn should arrange to get two tests as a matter of urgency, regardless of whether they are taking part in any on-campus teaching or study. Tests can be booked via the links below and we will keep our testing facilities open for all students who are in Exeter or Penryn. Students who have not yet arrived but who will shortly be beginning in-person teaching or placements for future critical workers, or those who cannot work at home and plan to travel should book tests urgently to help us to assess the demand for testing in the coming weeks.We are also providing tests for staff who are required to work on our campuses.Tests for students and staff can be booked via the following links:

COVID test when travelling to the UK On January 8th, the Government announced that all international arrivals to England, including UK nationals, will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure. Students will therefore need to arrange to take a test in the country you are currently in before travelling. Passengers will be subject to an immediate fine of £500 when they arrive in the UK if they fail to comply with the new regulations on pre-departure testing.Passengers will still be required to fill in a passenger locator form and will be subject to national lockdown restrictions in the UK. All passengers arriving from countries not on the government’s travel corridor list will still be required to self-isolate for 10 days when they arrive in the UK, regardless of whether they have received a negative test result prior to travel. Students may still choose to participate in the Government’s ‘Test to Release Scheme’ to reduce your time in self-isolation.
Hardship support We know that some students may suffer an additional financial burden because of these measures. In partnership with the Students’ Guild and Students’ Union we have doubled the support available through the ‘Success for All’ Hardship Fund. These are difficult times for all of us, with further restrictions placed on our lives and inevitable concerns about the continued spread of COVID-19 and the impact this is having on our loved ones and those around us. Please remember that we have a range of services and resources available to students if they feel they need additional wellbeing or mental health support. Many of these are collected in our COVID-19 Wellbeing web page.
Every person at the university is working to ensure that we support every member of our community; staff, students (both existing and new starters) and all of our partners. We understand that this a particularly challenging time for us all, and so please do let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.

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