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Coronavirus information for the Brunel community

Our campus is now closed. We will maintain on campus security and a minimal number of staff to support students in residences. Education and support services continue to operate remotely.

Please click here for details of how to access services during campus closure. See how we are supporting the coronavirus effort #WeareBrunel

Information updated: Wednesday 10 June

Important changes to this guidance issued today:

Important changes to this guidance issued in the past week:

General coronavirus advice

What is coronavirus and what effect could it have on me? 

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses common across the world in animals and humans; certain types cause illnesses in people.

COVID-19 is the name of the disease seen in people infected with a new strain of coronavirus not previously seen in humans. The virus that causes this disease is “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)”.

Based on current evidence, the main symptoms of COVID-19 are a cough, a high temperature and, in severe cases, shortness of breath, however for the majority of people, the symptoms are mild.                                                                  

As it is a new virus, the lack of immunity in the population (and the absence as yet of an effective vaccine) means that COVID-19 has the potential to spread extensively. Among those who become infected, some will exhibit no symptoms. Data suggests that the great majority will have a mild-to-moderate, but self-limiting illness and will not require any medical treatment.

It is, however, also clear that a minority of people who get COVID-19 will develop complications, most often pneumonia, severe enough to require hospital care. The data suggests that the risk of severe disease and death increases amongst elderly people and in people with underlying health conditions.

Illness is less common and usually less severe in younger adults. So far, there has been no obvious sign that pregnant women are more likely to be seriously affected.

When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. 

How can I protect myself and others? 

The Government issued update guidance on 10 May concerning measures to prevent spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives. The lastest Government advice is to Stay Alert > Control the Virus > Save Lives. 

We can all help to control the virus if we stay alert. This means you must: 

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Do not leave your home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms. 

Detailed Government guidance on how you can help to protect yourself and others is available here

There are a limited number of things you can now do that you could not do before: 

  • spend time outdoors - for example sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picknicking or sunbathing
  • meet one other person from a different household outdoors - following social distancing guidelines
  • exercise outdoors as often as you wish - following social distancing guidelines
  • use outdoor sports course or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or golf course - with members of your household or one other person (staying 2 metres apart)
  • go to a garden centre

At all times, you should continue to observe social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home, including ensuring you are 2 metres away from anyone outside your household.

As with before, you cannot:

  • visit friends and family in their homes
  • exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool
  • use an outdoor gym or playground
  • visit a private or ticketed attraction
  • gather in a group of more than two (excluding members of your own household), except for a few specific exceptions set out in law (for work, funerals, house moves, supporting the vulnerable, in emergencies and to fulfil legal obligations)

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home - this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

The most effective way to avoid getting or spreading coronavirus is to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, and to encourage others to do the same. The NHS advises washing your hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice, about 20 seconds in all.

The NHS also advises people to do the following:

  • 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

The NHS 111 online coronavirus service, 111.nhs.uk/covid-19, can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

What should I do if I have an underlying health condition? 

The Government is still advising that those who are at increased risk of severe illness should be particularly stringent. This group includes people who are:

There are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this group, the NHS in England should have been in direct contact with advice on the more stringent measures you should take in order to keep yourself and others safe. People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:

  • people who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication
  • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment
  • people with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
  • people with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)

If you are a student with particular concerns about a serious existing health condition, you should contact our Coronavirus Helpdesk. If you are a member of staff with particular concerns about a serious existing health condition, tell your Line Manager.

Both students and staff may want to consult a doctor, however because NHS services are under pressure people are being told to call NHS24 (111) in the first instance. Please don't contact or visit the Medical Centre on campus. The online coronavirus service, 111.nhs.uk/covid-19, can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Use the online NHS 111 service if:

  • ​you think you might have coronavirus
  • you've been in close contact with someone with coronavirus

What can I do if I'm feeling anxious about coronavirus? 

It is perfectly understandable that you might be anxious or worried about coronavirus and the impact it is having on your life.

Mind has created a guide here focusing on staying mentally healthy in light of the current situation and we would encourage any students or staff who feel concerned to read the information carefully.

Hillingdon Health and Care Partners have also put together a guide here with various rescources for those in the local area.

Students who feel they need further support should contact the Student Services team on 01895 267045. 

Staff who feel they need further support should tell their Line Manager or access our 24-hour Employee Assistance Programme here, which includes a package of health and wellbeing support and advice.

Please don’t suffer in silence – we know this is a difficult time for many people, but all of our support services are open and available to our whole Brunel community.

How well prepared is Brunel to respond to COVID-19? 

The University is well prepared. We are working closely with the NHS and closely monitoring the latest advice to ensure a best-practice response to limit the risk of the spread of coronavirus.

Brunel's senior leadership team meets regularly to ensure that we have appropriate plans in place. Staff and students receive updates via email, and on the staff and student intranets.

We have also held webinars for College staff in order to share information and answer specific questions as they are asked. 

We have set up our Coronavirus Helpdesk for all enquiries from students, parents and staff. You can contact the Helpdesk on c-virus@brunel.ac.uk

What should I do if I develop cold or flu-like symptoms? 

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

  • A new continuous cough and/or
  • A high temperature

If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus, however mild, stay at home for seven days from when your symptoms started. If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for seven days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.

For anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for seven days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period. It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.

If you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible.

If you have coronavirus symptoms:

  • do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
  • you do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
  • testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home

Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser. If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after seven days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

Both students and staff may want to consult a doctor, however because NHS services are under pressure people are being told to call NHS24 (111) in the first instance. Please don't contact or visit the Medical Centre on campus. The online coronavirus service, 111.nhs.uk/covid-19, can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Follow the Government guidance on staying at home here. The official NHS pages are an excellent source of reliable, up to date information and guidance on symptoms and the measures you can take to protect yourself and others.

What should I do if I feel as though I have been bullied or harassed due to coronavirus? 

Any form of discrimination is unacceptable and won't be tolerated at Brunel. If you have experienced this or seen it happen on campus, please report it to the Student Centre or through our Report and Support service here.

What can I do to support the nationwide coronavirus response? 

Brunel is working in a number of ways to support the coronavirus response locally, which includes supporting the NHS. See our #WeareBrunel page for more information. 

If you are fit, well and able to support the NHS, you can find out more information about becoming a volunteer responder here.

I am a worried parent of a student at Brunel. What should I do? 

Stay in close touch with them if you can. Encourage them to familiarise themselves with the information and advice available on these pages and ask them to check their university email accounts regularly for any updates.

Also encourage them to wash their hands regularly! It’s the best defence against infection with coronavirus.

We have been writing directly to all students for several weeks with updates and advice, and we will continue to do that to ensure they have the information and support they need. 

If you have concerns about a particular student you can speak to our Student Services team by phoning 01895 267045, but please do try to make contact yourself with the student first.

I have overseas visitors staying with me, would they be charged for treatment if they were diagnosed with COVID-19?

The NHS will not charge overseas visitors for the diagnosis or treatment of Coronavirus. You can find out more information here.

Will my Student Loan payments be made as usual? 

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

Campus services and events

Is the University campus closed? 

Brunel University London campus is closed, but some services remain open and education and support services continue to be delivered remotely. This closure remains in place following the Government update on 10 May. 

We will maintain on campus security and a minimal number of staff to support students in residences as it is the only home for many of our students. Costcutter is open for supplies, along with the Pharmacy and Medical Centre. All other buildings and facilities are closed. 

The Eastern Gateway reception is closed, however the switchboard will remain fully operational between 9am and 5pm.

We stopped face-to-face teaching from Monday 16 March and have replaced with online learning resources and support. The College Deans are working with Heads of Departments to ensure that all up-to-date materials are accessible online. Students will be contacted by their departments with any further arrangements.

I'm a returning student, what plans are Brunel making for teaching in the next academic year? 

Firstly, thank you for your patience and also your amazing resilience to keep on top of your studies in these very difficult times.

We are working on some changes ready for September so that you can continue your education and prepare for your future.

Our team of academics are putting together a range of innovative ways for you to learn, study, keep in touch with your classmates and work towards your dream career, no matter what restrictions are in place.

When the world gets back to normal, you’ll be able to carry on where you left off, keep using these new methods of learning – or do both at the same time. We’ll make sure everything fits around you and your circumstances.

Please visit http://www.corporide.com/study/2020-changes for more information.

We can’t wait to have you back in September.

Is the Library open?

The Library is now closed in line with government guidance, but staff are working at home to support students and adding more online resources daily. Get support from the LibSmart academic librarian team here and from the scholarly communications team here. We would also ask that all students follow the government's stay at home advice.

Although the library is closed, the external book drop at the front of Bannerman is still open for students to return books at any time. You can also give your books to a staff member when returning your key to the residences reception desk, they will ensure the books are returned to the library. 

If you are a final year student and unable to return your library books we will be setting up a free postal return service in June. Further information on this service will follow. 

Please contact library@brunel.ac.uk if you have any queries.

What is happening to research activity at Brunel?

The campus is now closed, therefore research activity (conducted by staff and doctoral researchers) should not continue on campus; where possible research should be undertaken from home. In a limited number of cases, experiments and research facilities will need to be wound down. This must be completed by the end of Wednesday 25 March, and the following arrangements apply to wind down in laboratory and workshop work:

  • For any requests for access, a risk assessment for each piece of work on campus should be completed giving details on how COVID-19 risks will be managed, including lone working etc. This must be approved by the Dean, DCO or Vice Dean, Research  (For BCAST, the Director of Operations or nominee) or a nominated deputy in their absence (nominated by the Head of Department), who will keep a log in a central register.

  • Individuals coming onto campus need to inform Security Services, as well as report to any local contacts, as required.

  • Face-to-face research interviews have been suspended and should be replaced by alternative means. CRECS have a document and email to circulate among staff, doctoral researchers and students explaining the circumstances for dissertations. We suggest the supervisors should be the first port of call for individual doctoral researchers and students.

  • Fieldwork should also be suspended, but overseas work currently in progress will be dealt with on an individual basis. However, we will be following current government guidelines and the safety of staff and student is a priority.

  • Any other ongoing work involving face-to-face interaction with participants will be halted and contingencies put in place to protect doctoral researchers and students’ wellbeing and ultimately awards. We will determine who is responsible for individual doctoral researchers and students currently undertaking fieldwork overseas – this is the supervisor in the first instance but the decision to bring students back to the UK and/or arrangements for future study and awards will be taken at a higher level.

  • Research involving taking biological samples from participants must stop; potential issues associated with awards and research deadlines are being monitored.  

What guidance is available for Research project managers?

The Research Support and Development Office is currently contacting Principal Investigators to discuss individual circumstances on grants and to support arrangements such as requests for grant extensions. Detailed information is availbale on the staff intranet.

Can I still access services from the Professional Development Centre?

The Professional Development Centre is now closed. Appointments for careers and placements are being conducted virtually. The team is still able to offer the same number of appointments remotely. Appointments can be booked here. 

All careers events planned for the coming weeks have been postponed. We are exploring options for virtual events and will provide updates when we have more information. 

Is the Brunel Language Centre open?

We are offering fully interactive online tuition for our pre-sessional English courses, at which students will have intensive English training before commencing academic studies at Brunel. The online course content is exactly the same as our face-to-face course, and includes one-to-one tutorials, assessment and an online social programme. Find out more here.

UKVI have confirmed that Tier 4 students who have returned home won't lose their student status on the condition that they continue their studies where study opportunities are possible, so we would encourage all current students of the Language Centre to continue their studies online.

For students who have started their course and have travelled home, please email languagecentre@brunel.ac.uk  with the following information:

  • Date of travel (flight details)
  • Date you expect to be able to join our online course
  • Country and city you are travelling to
  • Evidence of returning home (e.g. passport stamps, boarding passes)

Can I collect my post on campus? 

You can collect your post from the Distribution Centre, which will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9am-3pm.

Can I leave my car on campus?

All restrictions on parking on campus have been suspended for the foreseeable future.

How will Applicant and Open Days be delivered? 

Applicant Days, Open Days and Selection Days will be replaced with virtual open days and Skype interviews. Click here to register for updates. The university will contact applicants and liaise with academics directly.

Will events go ahead as planned?

No events will be held on campus for the foreseeable future, however we are planning a range of virtual events for all our stakeholders including our students and staff.

All previously advertised events organised by The Union of Brunel Students have been cancelled.The Union will be in contact with those who have paid for tickets, but if you have any queries please email Union.Reception@brunel.ac.uk. The Union will continue to run their campaigns online. Follow @brunelstudents on Twitter and Instagram.

Will Graduation go ahead as planned?

We have had to postpone Summer Graduation this year in line with government guidance. We realise that this will be very disappointing news for many students, and staff.

We will make arrangements for those of you finishing your studies at Brunel to receive your degree certificate and graduate from the University this summer. We also hope to make arrangements for a virtual celebration in the summer and we will be arranging a full ceremony in due course, which we very much hope that you will attend.

Students who have hired gowns or pre-ordered photography with our supplier Ede and Ravenscroft will be able to transfer their order to the new ceremony date (once it is confirmed). However, if they are unable to attend they can cancel and receive a refund in accordance with the company's terms and conditions. Login to their website for more information or contact details.

Once you have been awarded you will be able to request your certificate through eVision. By visiting the “My Courses” / “View Award” section of eVision you can request to have your certificate posted to the address you provide. Even if you choose to receive your certificate in this way you will still eligible to attend your graduation.

Once your award has conferred, an electronic version of your Certificate can be viewed and shared from within Brunel University London’s VerifyAward service, which may prove valuable while awaiting your certificate via the postal service. 

Will I still be expected to pay rent?

UPDATE: Brunel has taken the decision to release students from their fourth term instalment. This follows the decision in March to release students from the third term. The fourth term instalment is due to be collected on 29th May to cover the period 8th June to 16th September 2020. All those affected have received information directly. 

If you remain on campus, please be assured that we will do all we can to support and assist you whilst you are here. If you have left, or intend to, then we wish you a safe and healthy summer and we look forward to seeing you when you return to campus. If you are graduating this year, we wish you the very best for the future and hope to see you at Graduation, which will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

Brunel will not be charging rent for the third period for campus rooms that are no longer occupied.  All residents have received more information about this directly.

If you have a Direct Debit set up for Term 3 rent and you are no longer occupying your room on campus, please cancel it with your bank to avoid being charged in error. 

Will my deposit for the third period be returned?

Brunel will not be charging rent for the third period for campus rooms that are no longer occupied. All residents have now received more information about this. For those students who are no longer on campus, your £350 deposit is included in your total rent amount for the third term. This will be credited back to you and refunded to the card with which it was originally paid.

We are working through refunds as quickly as possible but this may take some time, so please be patient while we do so. If you have any other outstanding debts to the University we will use any credit to cover those first and then refund the remaining balance

How should I return my keys?

If you are living on campus and due to leave, please post your keys through the letterbox at Bishop Hall / Concourse Hall. If you have already left but still have your keys, please post them by recorded delivery to Concourse Hall Reception, Isambard Complex, Station Road, Uxbridge, UB8 3FG.

How can I stay active while staying/working at home?

Staying fit and healthy is as important as ever and there are a number of ways to keep yourself active.

Thanks to Brunel Sport and our campus gym, all students and staff are able to access a free 60-day trial with Les Mills On Demand. You can challenge yourself to over 800 workouts including strength, cardio, high-intensity, dance, flexibility, and more. Click on this link to access the free trial. On the webpage click on 'Start Your Free Trial' and complete your details (including payment details). You will not be charged for the 60-day trial however it is your responsibility to cancel at the end of the free period or you will be auto-subscribed to the service.

We are also sharing lots of other free content, including home workouts, which you can find by searching for @Brunel_Sport on Instagram and Facebook or by downloading the Brunel Sport app. Some online (live) gym classes are still going too and details on how to take part in the classes will also be published weekly on our socials and on the Brunel Sport app so keep your eyes out for the updates.

What are the terms dates for the 2020/21 academic year? 

Revised term dates for the next academic year have been confirmed, you can view the full dates here.

Autumn term

*Term 1: 21 September - 18 December 2020

Spring term

Term 2: 11 January 2021 - 23 April 2021

Summer term

Term 3: 26 April 2021 - 2 July 2021                                                                                                     

Term 4: 5 July 2021 - 17 September 2021

*NOTE: Teaching for Postgraduate students begins 21 September alongside enrolment for Undergraduates. Undergraduate teaching begins on 28 September.

Information for students collecting belongings from residences

Am I able to leave my belongings in my room or should I come and collect them?

With the summer term coming to an end and with travel restrictions eased, we are encouraging those who can return to campus and collect their belongings to do so by Friday 19 June.

In order for you to be able to collect your belongings quickly, easily and safely we have set up a secure booking system.You can book slots:

 Isambard, Flemming or Galbraith halls  Book here
 Kilmorey, Lacy or Gordon halls  Book here
 Bishop, Lancaster and Faraday halls  Book here

Please do not visit campus in the meantime as we will have to turn you away. We would ask for your patience while we implement this process for everyone’s safety.

If you do not require your possessions to be returned or stored please notify us at Res@Brunel.ac.uk  by Friday 19 June.

We really appreciate your continued understanding and support. We have included answers to some questions you may have below, but if you have any further concerns please contact us at res@brunel.ac.uk.

How will collection work? 

All collections will be arranged in advance with the Residences team. The process we are implementing, which adheres to the current social distancing guidelines, has been designed to ensure your safety as well as that of your peers, University employees and members of our wider community. Please don’t travel to campus until you receive further instructions from the Residences team.

When can I collect my belongings? 

Please book a collection slot before Friday 19 June using the links below:

 Isambard, Flemming or Galbraith halls  Book here
 Kilmorey, Lacy or Gordon halls  Book here
 Bishop, Lancaster and Faraday halls  Book here

 

What if I'm late or missed by booked slot? 

If you are running late please let Residences know by calling 01895 267100 and we can arrange access when you arrive.

How will you ensure my safety?

Once you book a slot we will confirm a date and time for you to come to campus. This will help us to manage collections safely and ensure only one person is permitted per stairwell/house at any time.

Can I bring family members or friends to help me collect my belongings?

You will be permitted to bring a maximum of two people with you. In line with current social distancing guidelines they must be from the household in which you are residing. They will be asked to adhere to the guidelines at all times while on campus.

Can a friend pack and collect my belongings on my behalf? 

Yes but you would need to book a slot in the same way and notify res@brunel.ac.uk of the name of the person coming to collect the key. They would need to have a copy of your emailed booking confirmation with them.

How long do I have to collect my items? 

You will be given a two-hour window in which to collect all of your belongings from your accommodation. Please let the Residences team know if you think you might need specific support.

I've already handed in my keys. Can I still collect my belongings?

If you have already returned your keys, you will need to collect them from either Bishops Reception or Concourse Hall for the period of your visit only – they must be returned to the collection points at Bishops reception or Isambard reception before you leave.

If I still have my key do I need to book a slot?

Yes, you will be required to book a slot in the same way, and once you have collected your belongings you must return the key to the collection points at Bishops reception or Isambard reception before you leave.

I am currently overseas and unable to travel back to collect my belongings. What can I do? 

We appreciate that collecting belongings may not be possible for some students, particularly those who may have returned to their homes overseas. 

If you are unable to return to campus, you will need to contact us at Res@Brunel.ac.uk before Friday 19 June. We can arrange for your belongings to be packed; shipped or placed into storage. If you require your belongings to be shipped, we can facilitate this, but you will be responsible for payment directly to the shipping company.

What if I can't collect my belongings? What will happen to my items? 

We are only able to store belongings if you plan to return to campus for the next academic year. Your items will be stored on campus until Wednesday 30 September. If you have not collected your belonging by this date we will contact you to arrange for disposal.

If you are unable to return to campus, you will need to contact us at Res@Brunel.ac.uk before Friday 19 June. We can arrange for your belongings to be packed; shipped or placed into storage. If you require your belongings to be shipped, we can facilitate this, but you will be responsible for payment directly to the shipping company.

We are only able to store belongings if you plan to return to campus for the next academic year. Your items will be stored on campus until Wednesday 30 September. If you have not collected your belonging by this date we will contact you to arrange for disposal.

What if you have contacted me to say my items have been packed up and are in storage? 

Please contact res@brunel.ac.uk to make arrangements for collection. You will then be sent the link to book a slot for pre-packed collection.

We are only able to store belongings if you plan to return to campus for the next academic year. Your items will be stored on campus until Wednesday 30 September. If you have not collected your belonging by this date we will contact you to arrange for disposal.

Will trolleys be available as they were for arrivals? 

Unfortunately, due to the current COVID-19 situation we are unable to provide trolleys for use. Please ensure you bring bags and packing boxes with you.

Will I need to book parking?

No, you will not need to book parking. Security and Residences staff will be on hand to direct you once you arrive. If you are collecting belonging in the Bishops, Faraday, Lancaster complexes, including standard halls, please use the main campus entrance. If you are collecting belongings from Mill, Fleming, Galbraith or any of the Isambard Halls please use the Cleveland Road entrance. 

How will you ensure our safety and that social distancing can be observed?

There will be strict limits to the numbers of students allowed in each halls/flat at any one time. Main hall doors an entrance to flats will be left open and there will be hand sanitisers at each entrance.

What if some rooms in my flat are still occupied?

Students still living in the flat where you will be collecting belongings will be asked to leave the flat for the duration if safe to do so or remain in their room whilst you pack and remove belongings.

How can I return my library books?

Although the library is closed, the external book drop at the front of Bannerman is still open for students to return books at any time. You can also give your books to a staff member when returning your key to the residences reception desk, they will ensure the books are returned to the library. 

If you are a final year student and unable to return your library books we will be setting up a free postal return service in June. Further information on this service will follow. 

Please contact library@brunel.ac.uk if you have any queries.

Teaching and assessment updates

Is my teaching still going ahead?

All teaching and learning resources are now online. The College Deans are working with Heads of Departments to ensure that up-to-date materials are accessible. 

Students are being contacted by their departments with particular arrangements.

Will one-to-one meetings continue?

One-to-one meetings between staff and students should be held by telephone or Skype.

Will I be able to complete my placement?

We would ask all placement students to follow the guidance from your employer, which should follow government guidance, and to let your department know if your placement has been disrupted. If you have to stay at home and are able to work from home please discuss with your placement tutor.

This is a unique and constantly changing situation so please try not to worry about your placement hours and the impact this will have on your course. We will ensure arrangements are put in place to mitigate the impact of this disruption.

Will assessments go ahead as normal?

We have changed arrangements for spring examinations, in line with government guidance. There will be no on-campus exams this spring, and instead assessments will include online assessments, delays to examinations or alternative forms of assessment where necessary.

We recognise that the forthcoming examination period might be affected by both staff and students and their loved ones being ill. For that reason we have taken the decision to focus the assessment opportunities where they matter most: for those completing their studies (final year and Integrated Master’s) and those progressing into the final year.

Details of all the examinations are in the exam timetable that was released on Friday 27 March. With some exceptions (mainly related to accreditation requirements), Foundation and first-year undergraduate students will take no end of year examinations, with progression decisions based on assessments already completed. MSc/MA Master’s students, with some exceptions, will defer their exams until the August exam period, and start (or continue with) their dissertations. 

We have worked closely with professional accrediting bodies in deciding the alternative assessment format and so you can be assured that the changes we have made will not impact on you achieving a professionally recognised award. 

All the forthcoming April/May examinations will be conducted remotely, and as a consequence the exam formats have been modified to make them suitable for open-book, time-limited assessments. You will by now have received your examination timetable, and so you are aware of when any exams you have will take place; for some of you located overseas the time difference may mean you have to sit the exam early or late in the day. For fairness, all students doing a particular exam will start their assessment at the same time. 

For open-book, time-limited assessments, your exam questions will be released on WISEflow at the specified time, and this is also where you will upload and submit your answers. We are currently working on specific guidance for you, which will support you in successfully completing your remote examinations. This will also have details of who to contact should you experience any problems. 

In some cases students will need access to a PC/laptop to complete their ‘at home’ timed assessment. Those students should try to make their own arrangements if they do not have access to a PC/laptop. Departments will be contacting students directly to offer support, and to understand any additional requirements you might have. 

Please refer to our updated policies and guidelines here.

Thank you for your continued patience as these arrangements are made.

Why has Brunel not cancelled all assessments?

The University’s regulator expects us to continue with teaching and assessment so that students can progress or complete their studies as they were expecting to.

However, we recognise that this is an incredibly difficult time for everyone, which is why we have put in place a safety net/no-detriment policy for our students so that they are not disadvantaged.

Why do I have different exam lengths to other students?

The lengths of the exams vary by discipline and module, as it is determined by the questions and expectations of students in answering those questions This means that there is no uniform exam format or exam length for our students. For example, we have exams that give students 15 min reading time followed by a 30 min viva or answering 100 questions in 90 minutes; others will be 3 hr exams with additional time for uploading answers. In all cases the time allowed is based on what is expected of the students. Please refer to our updated policies and guidelines here.

What happens if I cannot access a laptop or PC from home?

You can request to borrow a laptop if you are an undergraduate student, living on campus, undertaking assessments in April/May and do not have access to a computer. If you fit the criteria please email computing-support@brunel.ac.uk with your request, they will respond within one working day.

If you are living off campus and have concerns about your ability to complete your assessments please contact your Taught Programmes Office, you can find details here. For more information on our laptop loan service please click here.

What happens if I cannot take my assessments in April/May?

Students can decide whether they take some or all of their assessments in April/May or in August without needing to submit Extenuating Circumstances. We are also not asking students to let us know their intentions in advance (as some other institutions are), thereby giving students flexibility in deciding what is right for them without any pressure.

Our aim is to support students to progress or complete their studies as planned, whilst making reasonable adaptations where necessary that do not compromise academic standards. Progression and award decisions can therefore only be made where students have demonstrated achievement of the expected programme learning outcomes.

 The following points set out the safety net we have in place for our students:

  • The Extenuating Circumstances (EC) Procedure has been suspended, meaning that there is no need to submit EC claims.
  • Students unable to submit coursework assignments on time are able to request extensions via e-Vision for consideration by the Division/Department. Please note that if you require an extension for a piece of coursework, you will still need to submit a Coursework Request Form via your eVision account.  You will automatically be granted an extension, but we require a copy of the Form so that we can update the system, allowing you to submit at a later date.  
  • Students who do not submit coursework assignments or take exams will be allowed to take the assessments at the next opportunity, which will be in the August examination period*.
  • Students who submit coursework assignments or sit exams and fail will be given a second, uncapped attempt in August*.
  • The Boards of Examiners will carefully review the performance of all students to determine if performance in the exams and other assessments submitted on or after 16 March is out of line with assessments completed up until that time. This will help us identify students who have not failed, but performed worse than expected. Where impact is evident, Boards will take appropriate actions by, for example, giving students a further uncapped attempt.
  • Boards of Examiners in June 2021 will look at students’ performance across the whole programme and take account of the challenges students were facing during their second year. 

*The August examination period will take place between 10-28 August.

Will I be able to resit my exams in August if I don't like my grade?

No, students won't be able to resit exams in August just because they aren't happy with their grades. However, the Board of Examiners looks at the performance of every student, and looks at previous years too. This is where we pick up anyone who has not done as well as expected based on their previous results.

In normal times this is often linked to extenuating circumstances, and the Board has discretion to, for example, waiver the result for that particular assessment so that it does not contribute to the module grade or award calculation.

What happens if I fail my exam?

Students who sit their exams and fail will automatically be given a second, uncapped attempt in August. Not all institutions are offering another opportunity for students to complete their assessments in August, but we believe it is important to allow students another opportunity in what will hopefully be much improved circumstances. 

Does Brunel have a safety net or no-detriment policy in place for students?

We have a policy in place which is designed to be fair to all students, including those students on programmes accredited by professional bodies and applies irrespective of how many assessment credits (and with what weighting) they have accumulated so far this academic year.

The following points set out the safety net we have in place for our students:

  • The Extenuating Circumstances (EC) Procedure has been suspended, meaning that there is no need to submit EC claims.
  • Students unable to submit coursework assignments on time are able to request extensions via e-Vision for consideration by the Division/Department. Please note that if you require an extension for a piece of coursework, you will still need to submit a Coursework Request Form via your eVision account.  You will automatically be granted an extension, but we require a copy of the Form so that we can update the system, allowing you to submit at a later date.  
  • Students who do not submit coursework assignments or take exams will be allowed to take the assessments at the next opportunity, which will be in the August examination period*.
  • Students who submit coursework assignments or sit exams and fail will be given a second, uncapped attempt in August*.
  • The Boards of Examiners will carefully review the performance of all students to determine if performance in the exams and other assessments submitted on or after 16 March is out of line with assessments completed up until that time. This will help us identify students who have not failed, but performed worse than expected. Where impact is evident, Boards will take appropriate actions by, for example, giving students a further uncapped attempt.
  • Boards of Examiners in June 2021 will look at students’ performance across the whole programme and take account of the challenges students were facing during their second year. 

*The August examination period will take place between 10-28 August.

Why does Brunel’s safety net/no-detriment policy differ from other institutions?

The simple reason is that institutions are organised and operate differently, which means that any safety net will have to be tailored to each institution’s circumstances.

For example, Brunel has a single set of regulations that applies to all students, and therefore our safety net needs to be fair to our student body as a whole irrespective of whether they are on programmes accredited by professional bodies, or how many assessment credits (and with what weighting) they have accumulated so far this academic year.

Universities also organise their term dates, their programmes, modules and assessments according to what suits them best: some universities will have formal mid-year exams which means that students at those institutions will have completed half their assessment credits for the year in January; some, like Brunel, deliver their teaching over two long terms and run their exams in April/May; while some teach over three shorter terms and have a later summer exam period than Brunel. 

I don't have any assessments in spring - how am I affected?

If you are a Foundation or first year student who has no assessments scheduled in April/May, you will receive information directly from your department about what you will be doing in Term 3.

If you are a Master's student on an MA or MSc programme who has no exams scheduled in April/May, you should be starting (or continuing with) your dissertation. Your exams will be arranged for August.

Will I be entitled to a refund because of the disruption caused by coronavirus?

These are extraordinary times and both our academic and support staff are working tirelessly to ensure that our students get the education and support they expect. While this involves some changes to the delivery mechanism for both services and learning, the effort and cost of delivering these is more rather than less.

All of our student services remain open and available to students (see our list of essential services and how to contact them) and staff are ready to help and advise you on all issues including student support, academic skills and careers advice. The majority of learning resources are available online.

Our academics are working extremely hard to move their teaching materials and tutorials online very quickly and are currently working to redesign our summer assessments to ensure that you can progress or graduate, depending on your level. Staff are available to you for academic support, using the contact arrangements shared on Blackboard. 

We appreciate that the situation may cause you difficulty in meeting deadlines or producing some types of work and we are making adjustments to accommodate students’ various challenges, such as changing our policy for extenuating circumstances on missed assessments.

We are making every effort to ensure that there is no detriment to the value or quality of your Brunel education, despite the changes. We hope therefore you will understand that we will not be refunding tuition fees, but instead focusing on investing in a rapid and effective response to what is a global crisis.

I am graduating in June 2021 – how will the exam board look at my second year performance?

Exam Boards in June 2021 will look at students’ performance across the whole of their programme and be aware of the challenges students were facing during their second year. Therefore, the academic performance of those graduating in summer 2021 will be scrutinised equally carefully to those completing their studies this summer, to ensure that the challenging and exceptional circumstances we are currently experiencing are appropriately accounted for.  

Support for postgraduate students

I’m a Doctoral Researcher, how do I submit my Thesis?

Now that the campus is closed, hard copies must be submitted by post (not in person). There will be appropriate cover and safety measures in place to receive these submissions. Electronic/soft copies can be submitted by email, drop box, USB or other online methods. Your college will contact you by email with specific guidance.

For post six-month resubmissions, one electronic version of the revised thesis along with a summary document should be emailed to your Doctoral Research office.

For post 12-month revisions, two hard copies and one electronic copy must be submitted. Now the campus is closed, hard copies must be submitted by post (not in person). There will be appropriate cover and safety measures in place to receive these submissions. Your college will contact you by email with specific guidance.

I'm a Doctoral Researcher, how do I complete my viva voce?

Until the end of July 2020 no case-by-case approval is required for an examiner or participants to proceed with the viva remotely. Over the coming weeks, we will review this deadline to see whether it needs to be extended.

For vivas that are scheduled to take place over the coming months and where the PhD candidate is an overseas student, the PhD candidate (and their families, where relevant) can choose to go home (if they are able to). The PhD candidate can then participate remotely in the viva if they have gone home due to the pandemic and are not able or willing to return. No specific approval is required for this up until the end of July 2020.

In normal times, in the exceptional circumstances that a viva is conducted with the PhD candidate based overseas, it is advised that the candidate should attend a local Higher Education Institution, British Council Office or other verifiable education establishment for the purposes of the viva voce examination. We recognise that this is unlikely at the moment but may become so in some parts of the world in the coming months. We would ask therefore that in these circumstances each viva should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The following guidance applies to PhD viva voices conducted remotely (e.g. via Skype):

  • An ID check should be undertaken of all participants in the remote viva, e.g. a work/student ID badge, passport or driving licence.

  • If documents are likely to be shown between parties, then these should be shared beforehand if possible and otherwise shared via Skype (or alternative pre-agreed file sharing mechanism) during the viva.

  • The remote meeting should be set up so all participants can see all other participants, and all participants should find a quiet, undisturbed location with a good quality internet connection.

  • The Chair should give positive prompts, using the names of participants appropriately, to maintain a smooth, disciplined discussion. Viva voce examinations conducted by remotely demand a much higher level of discipline and structure than those where everyone is present in the same room.

  • The Chair should make careful notes of any disturbances or interruptions to reception and record them in their report.

  • At the end of the viva, the Chair must ask the PhD candidate to confirm that they are content with the process (not the outcome), and note the response. If the PhD candidate is not content, if it is possible to rectify the issues at the time, e.g. clarifying a portion of discussion where the audio was disrupted, then this should be attempted. If the technical issues are more extensive, then the Chair will be responsible for determining whether the viva voce examination will need to be resat.

  • The supervisor should be available to speak to the PhD candidate directly after the viva.

  • The viva voce examination should be recorded in case it needs to be reviewed at a later date.

How will progression reviews and supervisor meetings for Doctoral Researchers take place?

All progression reviews will be conducted virtually and your college will contact you directly with details of how this will work. We have confirmed that this will be acceptable for compliance with Tier 4 Visa monitoring requirements.

Engagement/supervisor meetings should be conducted via Skype or similar and recorded in eVision. We have confirmed that this will be acceptable for compliance with Tier 4 Visa monitoring requirements. Your college will contact you directly with details.

What arrangements are in place to support Doctoral Researchers? 

The last few weeks have been far from normal as our lives have become increasingly impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. We have had to adapt to new ways of studying and working, and our capacity to adapt to new demands and changing circumstances has been tested.

Please read our letter to all Doctoral Researchers, which outlines some specific information regarding: working arrangements & support; extensions to deadlines & funding; progress reviews, completion & examination; and graduation. 

The government has announced that UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funded doctoral researchers who are in their final year and have had their studies disrupted by COVID-19 will receive an extension to their research with additional grants, known as a costed extension, of up to six months. The extension offer applies to students whose course is due to be completed by 31 March 2021, and will be reviewed in four months’ time to ensure any further impact is taken into account.

UKRI has put together answers to frequently asked questions here. We will now be working with UKRI on implementation details. Thank you for your patience while this is put in place.

What arrangements are in place for extensions for Doctoral Researchers?

PGR offices have delegated authority to approve 28-day late (re)submission extensions for all Doctoral Researchers. 

UKRI-funded Doctoral Researchers in their final year (due to complete by 31 March 2021) can apply for a costed extension to their origianl funding period of up to six months if impacted by Covid-19. The UKRI expects Doctoral Researchers to submit at the end of any extended funding period

Doctoral Researchers who are not funded by UKRI and are in their final year (due to complete by March 2021) can have an automatic extension of three months (to the maximum end registration period) to enable them to complete ther writing up. Part-time Doctoral Researchers can have an equivalent pro-rata extension. This is a no cost extension, i.e. no tuition fees will be charged. 

All other extension requests will require a formal request via e-Vision, with supporting evidence, in the usual way. 

Stay at home and travel advice for students

When and how should I follow government advice to stay at home?

The Government has now clarified that, while travelling from your home to stay at another home is not allowed, students are permitted to travel if they are moving permanently from student accommodation back to their family home.  

The Government issued update guidance on 10 May concerning measures to prevent spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives. The lastest Government advice is to Stay Alert > Control the Virus > Save Lives. 

We can all help to control the virus if we stay alert. This means you must: 

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Do not leave your home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms. 

Detailed Government guidance on how you can help to protect yourself and others is available here

There are a limited number of things you can now do that you could not do before: 

  • spend time outdoors - for example sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picknicking or sunbathing
  • meet one other person from a different household outdoors - following social distancing guidelines
  • exercise outdoors as often as you wish - following social distancing guidelines
  • use outdoor sports course or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or golf course - with members of your household or one other person (staying 2 metres apart)
  • go to a garden centre

At all times, you should continue to observe social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home, including ensuring you are 2 metres away from anyone outside your household.

As with before, you cannot:

  • visit friends and family in their homes
  • exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool
  • use an outdoor gym or playground
  • visit a private or ticketed attraction
  • gather in a group of more than two (excluding members of your own household), except for a few specific exceptions set out in law (for work, funerals, house moves, supporting the vulnerable, in emergencies and to fulfil legal obligations)

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home - this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

The most effective way to avoid getting or spreading coronavirus is to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, and to encourage others to do the same. The NHS advises washing your hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice, about 20 seconds in all.

How do I look after my wellbeing and stay motivated while staying at home?

We know having to self-isolate will come with challenges, especially if you live alone. It may be difficult, but by following guidance on social distancing, or staying at home, you are helping to protect yourself, your family, the NHS and your community. Public Health England has prepared some useful advice on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during this time. Everyone reacts differently to events and the way we think, feel and behave will change over time. It's important that you take care of your mind as well as your body and get further support if you need it. 

It can be easy to slip into a negative way of thinking so below are some tips from TrueStudent blog on how to look after yourself and on getting through this new ‘normal’. They may not all work for you all of the time, so mix and match!

Break the days into ‘manageable chunks’
Blocks of an hour or two, then decide on activities for each block. Don’t look too far ahead, and focus on each day. It makes the time seem less overwhelming and might even feel like it goes more quickly. If it helps, draw out a timetable and fill it in with activities for each block of time, and each day.

Get into a routine
Don’t spend all day in bed, just because you can - unless you are actually unwell. Get up when it’s daylight and go to bed at a reasonable time. Eat regular meals and snacks. Tune into lectures or webinars online, if they are available to you. Don’t let the days blend into one, as it will feel endless and confusing. 

You’ve got work to finish
Now is the time! Research your essays, revise or plan your projects - look up the ‘extra/ bonus info’ you wouldn’t normally have time to and make your work even better. Really grasp the opportunity to get ‘stuck in’, and do something you’re really proud of. If you’ve always wanted to write a blog, or an article, or even a book, make a start. Use the ‘headspace’ and quiet solitude to let your mind wander and be creative.

Get creative!
If writing is not your thing, then be creative in other ways - plan some holidays and trips for when you are ‘free’ again or make birthday cards for people you care about- you might not normally have time, but it will mean a lot to them!

Exercise (gently)
In your space, use the floor for yoga/ Pilates, or do star jumps and squats. Don’t overdo it, but maybe have breaks from your other activities, and do a few stretches, or if you feel up to it, go crazy to a Zumba video on YouTube. Open the windows and make sure you get some fresh air every day. If you can go outside that’s even better, but be guided by up to date medical advice.

Be sociable (online!)
You may not be able to see people in person, but don’t isolate yourself from your loved ones, and try to stay upbeat where you can, to help each other through. If you’re really struggling and feeling down, of course, it is important to ensure a person you trust is aware. 

Talk to them regularly to help you through. Don’t forget all those people out there who love you, even if they can’t hug you today. Give each other virtual hugs via technology. If you need more help, contact our Student Welfare team on Studentsupport@brunel.ac.uk or by Skype on +44 (0) 1895 267045.

Relax when you can
If you love films or TV then you have a brilliant opportunity to binge-watch the series you have been meaning to see for ages or relax in front of all the 80s films of John Cusack or Molly Ringwald - they’re well worth a look- and the very definition of ‘feel-good movies’, which might be just what you need! If you’re a big fan of a particular actor or director, treat yourself, and catch up on their back catalogue. Make yourself a cosy nest in your room, and settle in to watch some quality entertainment.

Organise your life
And finally - have a really good sort out of your clothes, decide what you want to keep, what would make for a good swap with friends – in a while - and what might be ready for donation to a charity shop or clothes recycling point. It will feel productive to do, and you’ll be doing something nice for others as a bonus.

I'm an international student - can I go home? 

The Government has now clarified that, while travelling from your home to stay at another home is not allowed, students are permitted to travel if they are moving permanently from student accommodation back to their family home (subject to any international travel restrictions). 

I am an international student - where can I access more information specific to me?

Please look at the rest of the information on these pages as it is full of advice and support related to your study and travel. For further information and national support services specifically for international students, as well as general immigration guidance, visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website and click on 'Info & Advice'. 

I am an exchange student visiting Brunel - what should I do?

The Government has now advised that its definition of essential travel does not include students returning home and asks that students currently living away from home should remain where they are until these travel restrictions are lifted. 

Our campus is now closed. We have stopped face-to-face teaching and there won't be any on-campus exams this spring. Departments are making alternative arrangements and placing learning resources and support online. However the residences are still open and available for students that are still living on campus. 

If you have specific questions regarding your programme of study, please contact your Academic Exchange Coordinator.

I am planning to travel overseas – what should I do?

The Government has now advised that its definition of essential travel does not include students returning home and asks that students currently living away from home should remain where they are until these travel restrictions are lifted. 

We have made the decision to cancel or postpone international student field trips until further notice. Students and staff will be notified directly about the changes.

I’m a Brunel student on an exchange overseas - what should I do?

We would encourage all students studying overseas to try to come home if it is safe to do so. We are aware that most of our partner institutions are offering distance learning options; if your host university is offering this option and you want to:

Return to the UK:

  • Please ensure that you inform the partner institution of your departure.
  • Ensure that you are able to access any online coursework/ assessments, as these will still count towards your degree.
  • Please inform the Academic Partnerships Office of your return date. 

Remain in country:

  • Please ensure that you inform your department and the Academic Partnerships Office.
  • We strongly advise you to follow the local government’s advice and take the necessary precautions.
  • Please also try to stay in regular contact with friends/family, to let them know that you are safe and well.

If you are having difficulties in returning to the UK, please contact the Academic Partnerships Office via exchanges@brunel.ac.uk

I’ve travelled abroad, but am unable to return to campus because of travel restrictions

We know that this is a difficult and worrying time for you all and we are grateful for your patience as we work through how to do things differently to support you to continue with your education.Departments have put teaching material and resources online so that students can access learning remotely. Please contact your department for more information.

You will not need to submit any Extenuating Circumstances for missed assessments (including coursework assignments and alternatives to exams). We know that many of you may be directly or indirectly affected by the coronavirus, and if you don’t complete and submit your assessments then we are making the assumption that you have valid reasons for not doing so. You will not be asked to provide any evidence. A full explanation can be seen here.

I am currently overseas but wish to return to the UK. Do I have to self-isolate upon returning?

From 8 June 2020, most people entering the UK will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Please visit the Home Office website for further information. When these rules are in place you will need to provide your journey and contact details when you travel to the UK and will not be allowed the leave the place where you're staying for the first 14 days (except in very limited situations). You also must not travel if you have coronavirus symptoms

In the event of a prolonged absence of several weeks or months as a result of a travel ban, how will this affect the University's sponsorship of my Tier 4 visa?

Brunel will continue to sponsor the Tier 4 visas of our international students while on-campus teaching/assessment has been suspended. This includes students who have left the UK. Please note that this will be on the provision that students continue to engage with the online delivery of their courses. 

If you would like further immigration advice, please contact our immigration team.

I’m planning to study abroad next semester – will my placement be impacted?

We currently anticipate that 2020-2021 Study Abroad placements will not be affected by the current situation. However, it is possible that there may be disruption in some locations around the world. The University will continue to monitor the situation closely and communicate with all students scheduled to study or work abroad next year.

My Tier 4 Visa requires me to attend all lectures and classes to maintain sponsorship. How will my engagement be monitored without face-to-face teaching?

We will continue to sponser the Tier 4 Visas of our international students while face-to-face teaching is suspended. Students will be expected to engage with all online learning opportunities, complete assessments as required and participate in one-to-one sessions with tutors (either in person or via Skype). If this is not possible for any reason you must contact your academic department as soon as possible.

International students are permitted to return to their home countries while face-to-face teaching is suspended, but should follow government travel advice. The University is still required to inform UKVI of any students who fail to engage with their course of study.

I have an appointment with the Police Registration Services - what should I do?

Tier 4 students who need to register with the Police Registration Services as part of their visa conditions are being informed that the service is currently suspended in line with social distancing guidance. This applies for as long as social distancing restrictions are in place. More information can be found here

If you have booked an appointment through the online appointment booking facility, you should not attend your appointment. 

If you are travelling back to your home country before registering, you should ensure you have the email ready to show to border control on re-entry to the UK. 

What happens if my UK visa expires while I am in the UK and I am not able to leave and return to my home country due to self-isolation or travel restrictions?

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) published guidance on their website. Visas will be extended to 31 July 2020, although you will need to contact UKVI as instructed at the website. 

I'm a Tier 4 student remaining in the UK - am I allowed to work full-time now that on-campus teaching has been suspended?

Brunel's Tier 4 Rights to Work policy remains in place as we still expect all of our students to engage with the online delivery of their course. There are no current changes to the term dates outlined in this. During term-time, Tier 4 students will be restricted to working the maximum number of hours their visa allows.

However, there is an exception to this. Tier 4 students who have the right to work in the UK will be allowed to work full-time during term if they are employed by the National Health Service (NHS) as a doctor, nurse or paramedic. There will be no restriction on the weekly working limit in this case, but please note that this only applies to employment in one of these roles within the NHS.  

Please contact the Immigration team if you require any further information. 

 Information for students living on campus

I'm living on campus, will I be asked to leave?

No.The Government has now advised that its definition of essential travel does not include students returning home and asks that students currently living away from home should remain where they are until these travel restrictions are lifted.

The campus remains home for many students who have nowhere else to go, and you will be able to stay. For those wishing to or having to stay on campus, further information is being sent to you directly.

Can I still use the communal areas in my accommodation?

We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone and that you may wish to be in contact with fellow students, but please follow these social distancing guidelines issued by the government.

Please do not meet in groups in kitchens or elsewhere on campus, including open air areas. Please restrict your movements as much as possible and respect the need for all of us to adhere to government guidance at this time to protect ourselves and others. 

We appreciate your co-operation at this very difficult time.

Can I meet up with my friends on campus? 

We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone and that you may wish to be in contact with fellow students, but please follow these  social distancing guidelines (revised 10 May) issued by the Government.

Please do not meet in groups in kitchens or elsewhere on campus, including open air areas. You can now meet with one person from outside your household group in the open air provided you maintain social distancing. Please respect the need for all of us to adhere to government guidance at this time to protect ourselves and others.

We appreciate your co-operation at this very difficult time.

What should I do if I need to self-isolate on campus?

Notifications of self-isolation may come to the University’s attention in the following ways:

  • Self-reporting from a student 
  • Reports from friends/family/flatmates

Students should report their symptoms on eVision in the task on the My Profile page, while reports from third parties will be entered by the COVID-19 Information Team.

Once the details of the case have been received by the COVID-19 Information Team, the University will contact the student by telephone to understand if there are any concerns around getting enough food and drink and to provide additional cleaning materials. Cleaning staff will be made aware of the isolation and will stop entering the flat, in line with government guidelines.

The team will advise the isolated student and send support information. Flatmates will be informed that the student is in self-isolation and be advised further. The residences team will continue to monitor the situation and if they have any concerns about any students they will inform the security team. If a student needs further support, the student services team will respond accordingly.

How can I do my laundry?

Laundry cards can be purchased at Concourse Hall reception and used in Galbraith laundry rooms. Cash only machines are available in Isambard.

I am registered with the Medical Centre - how can I get medical treatment?

Please follow NHS guidance if you think you have symptoms of Coronavirus. For all other medical requirements, please call the Medical Centre on 01895 266904 to arrange telephone consultations. Do not go to the Medical Centre unless advised to do so by them.

I need to get my prescription - how can I do that?

You can go to the pharmacy on campus, next to the medical centre, which is open. There may be some disruption to their opening hours at the moment – please call them on 01895 257187 before going along.

What cleaning will be provided in my residences?

Whilst residents are responsible for cleaning up after themselves, Residences continue to provide a cleaning service to shared kitchens on a weekly basis, as far as possible.

Shared showers and WCs in Saltash, Clifton and Chepstow Halls will be cleaned daily. We will try to remove rubbish from shared kitchens, but if you are able to do that yourself that would be very helpful.

For the next few weeks, we will not separate general waste and recycling streams so you can use either the black or green wheelie bins. Cleaning products will be provided for students who are self-isolating only to clean their own kitchens. These will be left outside of your flat.

How do I report a maintenance problem in my room/flat?

Please use the Planon app as you would normally, but only report urgent maintenance issues, as we will be unable to respond to non-urgent issues. 

Please open the windows in your room and communal areas if a member of our Maintenance team is due to fix your reported problem.

Can I move to a different room on campus?

In order to continue to ensure the safety of students and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic we are asking all or our students who are currently living in Halls in the Bishops and Lancaster complexes to move into accommodation on the Isambard complex.All students affected by this have been contacted directly. 

This will help in a number of ways: 

  • we can make empty rooms on campus available to local NHS staff working round the clock to treat some of the most vulnerable members of our community
  • we can continue to provide essential services to students while putting our own staff at the least possible risk

We are not able to complete any additional requests for room moves or issue any new contracts at this time.

I've left campus but my belongings are in my room. What should I do?

With the summer term coming to an end and with travel restrictions eased, we are encouraging those who can return to campus and collect their belongings to do so by Friday 19 June.

In order for you to be able to collect your belongings quickly, easily and safely we have set up a secure booking system.You can book slots:

 Isambard, Flemming or Galbraith halls  Book here
 Kilmorey, Lacy or Gordon halls  Book here
 Bishop, Lancaster and Faraday halls  Book here

Please do not visit campus in the meantime as we will have to turn you away. We would ask for your patience while we implement this process for everyone’s safety. 

If you do not require your possessions to be returned or stored please notify us at Res@Brunel.ac.uk  by Friday 19 June.

We really appreciate your continued understanding and support. We have included answers to some questions you may have below, but if you have any further concerns please contact us at res@brunel.ac.uk.

Can I stay on campus over the summer?

Students who would like to extend their current accommodation contract or are arriving on campus early for the next academic year can apply online for the summer period from 12 June - 6 September. Please note, we cannot guarantee accommodation in the same room.

Stay at home and travel advice for staff

When and how should I follow government advice to stay at home?

The Government issued update guidance on 10 May concerning measures to prevent spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives. The lastest Government advice is to Stay Alert > Control the Virus > Save Lives. 

We can all help to control the virus if we stay alert. This means you must: 

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Do not leave your home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms. 

Detailed Government guidance on how you can help to protect yourself and others is available here

There are a limited number of things you can now do that you could not do before: 

  • spend time outdoors - for example sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picknicking or sunbathing
  • meet one other person from a different household outdoors - following social distancing guidelines
  • exercise outdoors as often as you wish - following social distancing guidelines
  • use outdoor sports course or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or golf course - with members of your household or one other person (staying 2 metres apart)
  • go to a garden centre

At all times, you should continue to observe social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home, including ensuring you are 2 metres away from anyone outside your household.

As with before, you cannot:

  • visit friends and family in their homes
  • exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool
  • use an outdoor gym or playground
  • visit a private or ticketed attraction
  • gather in a group of more than two (excluding members of your own household), except for a few specific exceptions set out in law (for work, funerals, house moves, supporting the vulnerable, in emergencies and to fulfil legal obligations)

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home - this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

The most effective way to avoid getting or spreading coronavirus is to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, and to encourage others to do the same. The NHS advises washing your hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice, about 20 seconds in all.

I am planning to travel overseas – what should I do?

Please follow the latest government travel advice before making any personal trips.

We have made the decision to stop all travel, except by exception and with the express permision of Deans or Directors. Staff are being encouraged to use Skype, Teams and other virtual methods of holding meetings. 

What if I am abroad and I cannot return to the UK?

You must contact your Line Manager to inform them of the situation, and thereafter keep them up-to-date. The University would require that if you are well enough to do so, you undertake work from the location you are in.  We appreciate that this may not always be possible and you should discuss this further with your Line Manager. 

For as long as you are prevented from returning to the UK you will receive your salary as normal. 

I am currently overseas but wish to return to the UK. Do I have to self-isolate upon returning? 

From 8 June 2020, most people entering the UK will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Please visit the Home Office website for further information. When these rules are in place you will need to provide your journey and contact details when you travel to the UK and will not be allowed to leave the place where you're staying for the first 14 days (except in very limited situations). You also must not travel if you have coronavirus symptoms. 

My Visa is due to expire but I am unable to return to my home country. What should I do? 

The UK Government has announced that visas will be extended to 31 July 2020 for anybody who is unable to return to their home country due to travel restrictions or self-isolation. This applies if your visa expires between 24 January and 31 July 2020 . A dedicated COVID-19 immigration team has been set up within UKVI. Please contact this team via CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk to let them know why you cannot return to your home country (eg if borders have been closed) and your visa will be extended. Detailed information for UK visa applicants and temporary residents is available here.

How will refunds be processed for cancelled travel?

The guidance below is provided by Clarity (the University travel supplier).

  • It is the traveller/booker's responsibility to check the status of their booking in advance of their original reservations and to make the necessary changes or cancellations. Clarity’s offline team will be happy to assist with requests for changes and cancellations.
  • Wherever travel bookings are cancelled, Clarity are requesting refunds on our behalf. Some airlines are not offering cash refunds in favour of vouchers for future travel. Please note, Clarity is automatically applying for refunds for flights cancelled by the airline, however it is still the responsibility of the traveller/booker to cancel any other flights. There is an administration cost associated with the processing of refunds.
  • Clarity are automatically applying for refunds for flights cancelled where applicable and are working through them as quickly as possible. This is likely to take longer than normal with airlines stating that is could take up to 3 months before refunds are made, therefore you may have to wait longer than usual to receive a refund
  • To stay up to date with the latest travel news /updates from Clarity, sign up to Clarity Alerts.

Guidelines and assistance for staff

Should I work from home?

Yes, all colleagues should now be working from home.

We will maintain on campus security and a minimal number of staff to support students in residences. Please do not come to campus unless you are on a rota to provide essential services. 

Our COVID-19 Recovery Strategy Group is considering how we can transition back to work on campus while prioritising the health and safety of staff and students – in the meantime, please don’t change your working arrangements.

We appreciate that research staff, particularly those receiving external funding, are keen to return to campus to continue their work. We are currently carrying out a detailed analysis of lab space to see how we can accommodate the needs of the research community. Please make any requests to your head of department in the first instance to help inform this work.

My child's school has closed - am I still expected to work from home?

The government has asked that all schools close except in some special circumstances, which means that many staff with children will be juggling their youngsters' needs with working from home. 

We know this isn't an easy situation and so we are asking all staff in this position to just do the best they can. Please let your Line Manager know if you are affected and come to an arrangement if you are able, to manage your time as effectively as possible. Managers should consider where teams can be flexible and understand when members of staff might not be online or able to work effectively.

What do I need to do if I'm a key worker?

The Government has announced that all workers except those in essential services should stay at home, and work from home unless unable. Those who are considered key workers are able to work as normal and their children should be able to attend school or nursery if available.

The Department for Education has confirmed that the term key workers can be extended to some sepcialist education professionals, including in Higher Education. Staff who fall into this category have recieved letters from their head of department, indentifying them as key workers, which they should carry to and from work. 

I have symptoms of coronavirus and am unable to work, how do I record my absence in CHIME?

Members of staff who are unwell due to COVID-19 should contact your Line Manager as usual who will then record the Sickness Absence in CHIME on your behalf. Relevant training notes can be found here for a Line Manager and for an Employee

You will not be required to provide a Medical Certificate as you will be unable to obtain this from your GP. However, you must keep in touch with your Line Manager and follow the standard absence reporting procedures.

Can I still book annual leave? 

Whilst going away on holiday isn’t possible for now, it is important for our wellbeing that we still take leave and have a break from work. In most cases staff should still be able to take their leave over the course of the leave year and are encouraged to do so wherever possible.

We are grateful for all the work staff are doing to support our students and their colleagues during this difficult time and recognise that some staff have postponed annual leave to assist with the response or due to sickness or self-isolation. We have therefore agreed that colleagues may carry over an additional five days’ annual leave, above the normal five day carry-over limit, into the next leave year. 

You may have also seen that the Government has eased restrictions on the carry-over of statutory leave, which is aimed at key workers where it is not reasonably practicable for them to take some, or all, of their annual leave due to the impact of coronavirus. In exceptional cases, where this genuinely isn’t possible due to the operational impact of the virus and subject to approval by your Head of Department and HR, it may be possible to carry over additional leave into the 2020/21 and, if necessary, 2021/22 leave years. 

Please discuss and agree any cancelled leave and/or additional carry over hours/days with your line manager. The line manager should contact the HR Operations team advising of the additional number of hours/days that need be added to CHIME and the reason why. Your CHIME record will be updated accordingly.

Will the University be furloughing staff?

We are considering where staff may be furloughed temporarily if they are unable to work off-campus, and in discussion with individuals and the unions. Those staff that are on furlough leave will continue to receive 100% of wages, as the University will fund the top up to the 80% of the wages up to £2,500 a month that can be claimed from the government. See Brunel's job retention scheme guidelines here.

It’s important to remember that any decision to furlough a member of staff is entirely temporary in order to address short-term issues; it has absolutely no effect on their long-term employment at Brunel.

I'm a Line Manager, how can I support my team working from home?

It's good practice for line managers to ensure they keep in touch regularly with their staff.Using our Office 365 tools and platforms can be a really good way of keeping that team contact going, but regular email and phone contact should become routine where possible. It would also be useful for line managers to keep a record of when members of staff are working.

It’s not easy to change your working habits in such a short space of time, and one thing you may miss more than anything is day-to-day contact with your colleagues and that team spirit we take for granted.

Teams is a platform that is available to all of us through Office 365 – it’s a really good way of sharing work, ideas or simply conversation. Find out more about how to use it here.

There's no better time to start using Yammer either. There's a university-wide channel, and a new homeworking hub, where staff are sharing resources and ideas about staying healthy and happy while at home. Just sign in to your Office365 portal and select the app. More information about all platforms is available here

The Brunel community is already putting in practice some creative ways of using Teams and Yammer to keep colleagues communicating – have a look at the following for some inspiration:

  • Host a weekly film or book club – there’s a box set out there for us all
  • Set a time for a virtual catch-up over a cup of coffee
  • Step back from the screen and take part in a team workout or yoga session
  • Share your morning playlist – everyone needs five songs to get through a Monday

I'm working from home - how do I access Brunel's services?

There are a number of different tools and platforms that can help members of staff access their files and work as part of a team from home. These include our Office365 applications, some of which you may already be familiar with, as well as tools you may use every day and can also access from off-campus. 

We've put together a guide here for staff on how to use the services available to us, as well as some guidance around keeping in touch with your team. If you get stuck, there is more specific information about these packages on the Connect portal here.

How do I set up my home workspace safely?

A large proportion of Brunel University staff are now temporarily working from home. Guidance has been prepared to help you ensure your home set up is suitable, including a shortened self-assessment version of the Display Screen Equipment checklist. Please complete the form and upload it to your CHIME record. 

Should you require further assistance or guidance please contact your line manager in the first instance. They should be able to guide you through the process and provide you with information relevant to your area. If you find that you need further specific advice then please contact the Health and Safety team  healthandsafey@brunel.ac.uk.

How can I contact other departments within the University?

An updated list of essential services for staff and how to contact them remotely is available here.

How do I look after my wellbeing and stay motivated at home?

We know having to stay at home will come with challenges, especially if you live alone. It may be difficult, but by following guidance on social distancing, or staying at home, you are helping to protect yourself, your family, the NHS and your community. Public Health England has prepared some useful advice on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during this time. Everyone reacts differently to events and the way we think, feel and behave will change over time. It's important that you take care of your mind as well as your body and get further support if you need it. 

Moving to working from home will have its challenges here are some tips for the Brunel community on how to look after yourself, your colleagues and on getting through this new ‘normal’. Have a look at these eight top tips, they may not all work for you all the time – try to mix and match. 

  1. Routine and getting dressed

It sounds like a really simple one, but getting up at the same time and getting dressed is great for motivation, separating the workday from evenings and weekends. 

  1. Make a work space

Have a think about what kind of space might be most productive – do you work well in the quiet or with ambient noise around? We don’t know how long we may be working from home for so try and sit at a desk (or table) with a supportive chair. If you can, have a separate keyboard, mouse and monitor to avoid fatigue. That way, when you sit on the sofa – it’s a break from work rather than always being in the same spot.

  1. Set mini goals

Whether it’s finally typing up those pesky minutes, reviewing a policy or updating that web page – set yourself mini goals for the day and the week and tick them off! Also – plan ahead with your manager so you know what your work stream looks like, this may help manage your time.

  1. Talk to each other

This one is key. We don’t just mean in the work sense either. Check in regularly with your friends and family, play online games together or have a group chat.

Work wise, agree with your team and/or line manager that you will check in regularly (and use video calling) to bring a sense of normality to your work life. Microsoft Teams is great for video calling, group chat and meetings – so get scheduling.

  1. Keep moving (exercise)

Obviously this one depends on your health, and government advice, but staying as active as possible is good for the mind and the body. There are loads of free workouts to follow online, video classes on YouTube or if the restrictions allow, go for a walk/run (maintaining at least 2 metres distance from others).

  1. There are other sites other than BBC news

Don’t always subject yourself to the rolling news coverage. There are loads of interesting sites out there and watching constant negative coverage can impact your mood. You could set up alerts to breaking news or watch the 6pm news to stay up to date. This one is a personal choice – but you will feel better if you diversify the websites and tv channels you watch.

  1. Apps, reading and being creative

There are loads of apps out there that can help us manage our mood and emotional wellbeing. Have a look in your app store for apps like Headspace! Reading is a fantastic way to pass the time too and can really help you drift off to sleep – so try and find a good book. If reading isn’t for you – get creative and paint, draw and create. 

  1. Playing games (with your colleagues too)

Yes, games are a great way to lighten your mood, reduce stress and promote social interaction. There are loads of free online games to play – maybe once a week have a tournament with your team to see who is the Pictionary champion over Skype or something similar. Ask your manager what may work – but we are encouraging some social time in the work week too.

All in all, try and keep things varied, find what works for you and let us know if you need help. There is nothing wrong with finding this period difficult, but we are here for you and will do whatever we can to help.

I don't have access to a laptop in order to work from home. What should I do?

If you aren't able to use a personal laptop or computer at home, please let your Line Manager know. Information services are working with departments across the University to meet the demand and more will be available to staff soon - please bear with us while arrangements are made and talk to your Line Manager about any work that can be carried out in the meantime.

Where can I find support for delivering teaching and assessment remotely?

There has been no face-to-face teaching on campus from Monday 16 March and we are asking staff to use available tools and technologies to help deliver their teaching and assessment remotely. The College Deans are working with Heads of Departments to ensure that up-to-date materials are accessible online. 

Please familiarise yourself with these digital tools and access further information here. Further support and advice is available from the Digital Education Team at ltt@brunel.ac.uk.

I am a Supervisor for Doctoral Researchers, how can I support them?  

Please see the information for Supervisors available on the staff intranet.

Will I still be expected to attend meetings on campus?

The University campus is now closed in line with government guidelines. Staff should contact colleagues via telephone, Skype or Teams. See above for using tools to work from home.

Can I make maintenance requests in the normal way?

The Estates team is currently prioritising emergency requests from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, because of limited staffing. These requests should be reported to Security on 01895 255786 or extension 66943, and they will be passed on to the Estates On-Call Manager. The On-Call Manager will deploy available trades or contractors as necessary. They include:

  • Electrical fire or smouldering socket/light fitting
  • Leaking pipework within a room or flat
  • Overflowing or blocked toilet
  • Loss of electrical supply to sockets within a room or flat
  • Loss of potable water to a room or flat that is occupied
  • Loss of hot water to an occupied flat or room
  • Loss of heating to an occupied building……may require the provision of a temporary oil filled electric heater
  • Damage that compromises the security of a room or flat (forced or damaged door or lock)
  • Faulty lift
  • All blocked drains (external and internal)
  • Access control issues

Any other work order request not listed above should be submitted online in the normal manner via the Planon system, which is being infrequently monitored during normal working hours – these work orders will remain on hold until the University returns to normal.

Out of hours support will be provided by Estates through the usual process of reporting your issues to Security (on 01895 255786 or extension 66943), who will in turn convey the issue to the Estates On-Call Manager. The On-Call Manager will deploy available trades or contractors as necessary.

  • We are becoming aware that a number of our wholesalers and parts providers are either closing their business or only providing reduced services. This could, in time, affect our ability to react or repair issues that arise.

  • We are taking further advice from our Health and Safety Department regarding the appropriate PPE to be worn in situations where an Estates tradesperson is required to enter a room where a self-isolating student is in residence. Depending on their feedback and to ensure the wellbeing of our staff, Estates may have to add further caveats to its current working strategy. Further advice will follow.

 

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