Coronavirus (Covid-19) Student information & FAQs

Latest updates

Frequently asked questions

Academic study, assessment and progression

Can I access the University?

On 23 March 2020, the UK government announced that everyone is required to stay at home. Learning and teaching for all students is no longer taking place with face-to-face activities and is instead taking place online. The University Library closed at 5pm on 20 March 2020 and will remain closed until further notice. All fieldwork trips and similar activities are postponed until further notice. Students should not attempt to come to campus or access University buildings.

I have an underlying health condition, and/or care for someone with an underlying health condition, and am concerned about attending the University for some activities (for example field trips) or assessments.

The University fully appreciates that this a worrying time and that concerns may be heightened for students with underlying health conditions and for students who have caring responsibilities for individuals with underlying health conditions. 

The University will be taking a supportive and flexible approach in managing situations where students are finding it challenging to engage with their studies due to underlying health concerns. To ensure that the University has as much information as possible to support students in this situation, please ensure you update your Department if you are not able to engage with activities or assessments.

If you are self-isolating or displaying any of the symptoms of Covid-19- a new and continuous cough and fever, please enter details on Pegasus using the the self-certification facility. Both the start and end date should be the date the self-certification form is completed. In the comments field, please enter one of the following:

  • COVID-19 – diagnosis, (please also state the start and end date of the period of absence)

Or

  • COVID-19 – self isolation, (please also state the start and end date of the period of absence) 

Help & advice

The Disability & Wellbeing Service can also offer advice and guidance to students with disabilities and/or underlying health conditions. Please contact the Disability and Wellbeing Service on 0141 548 3402 or email studenthealthenquiries@strath.ac.uk.

How should I submit a Personal Circumstance when the University has ceased face-to-face contact with students?

While the University has now ceased face-to-face contact with students, the self-certificate facility should be used to notify the University of any personal circumstances (including medical reasons) that will affect your continued studies.

During this time when non-face-to-face contact is in operation, the University will NOT be seeking medical evidence to support your personal circumstances.

Only where you are easily able to provide supporting evidence should this then be scanned and emailed to personal-circumstances@strath.ac.uk.

No evidence is required where your personal circumstance is in relation to, or affected by, the COVID-19 situation.

For other circumstances, your Department or School may contact you for further information.

In all cases, please follow Government guidance and do not contact your GP unnecessarily. Please enter the dates of your personal circumstance in the boxes provided.

Should your circumstance extend beyond the dates you have already recorded you can enter a further self-certificate.

You MUST record a BRIEF reason in the text box below. However, please keep the number of words to a minimum to describe your circumstance e.g. CV19 Self Isolation Close bereavement

To record a self certificate, log on to Pegasus>Personal tab>Personal Circumstances>ADD SELF CERTIFICATE.

Will classes go ahead for the remainder of the Semester?

Your classes will be taught through Myplace, supported by an online web conferencing tool, where appropriate. Your lecturers will be in contact with you regularly through Myplace so please make sure that you regularly access the system to review notices and guidance. You should continue to prepare for and submit existing course works through the system as normal.

Your department/school or Faculty Office will stay in contact with you and will keep you informed. You should also check MyPlace, e-mail and Twitter for updates.

I am worried about completing my learning fully online, where can I get help?

We recognise that for some of you this will be the first time you will be learning fully online. Please be reassured that there are staff available to provide help and guidance on accessing any new systems for web-based conferencing. Technical guidance to support you through this period is available online. If you are experiencing technical difficulties, please contact the IT helpdesk at: help@strath.ac.uk or telephone 0141 548 4444. For all queries relating to teaching and learning materials and activities within Myplace, please contact your lecturer/tutor as normal.

Will the end of semester examinations take place in May?

The University has recently announced that First and Second year undergraduate students, will progress to the next year of their studies without the requirement for a final examination, except in cases where any professional accreditation of courses requires an examination. If your course has any professional accreditation examination requirements in the first and second year, your Course Leader will be in touch to confirm arrangements. All other First and Second year end of semester examinations are cancelled and Boards of Examiners have been asked to enable students to progress to the next year of study without undertaking these examinations, as long as students have performed satisfactorily in their other assessments.

All other assessments (not exam based) that are normally completed in the module will be decided by your programme leader who will be reviewing your existing assignment schedule, as well as all other assessment data across your modules and will be in touch with you over the coming days.

The University is currently reviewing arrangements for final examinations for third, fourth and fifth year/PGT students. Further information about this will be published week commencing 30 March.

We recognise that you may have challenges in completing existing assignments. Where this is the case, please advise your module and/or programme leader and be assured that a sympathetic approach will be taken with regards to the submission of your assessment. Full guidance on submitting personal circumstances is available within these FAQs (see: How should I submit a Personal Circumstance when the University has ceased face-to-face contact with students?)

Will my assessment deadlines change?

You should prepare to submit as normal, for any existing assessment deadlines. Your Department/School will be in contact with you should there be any changes.

The University recognises that students may experience personal circumstances related to Covid-19. Where possible, we would encourage you to update your Pegasus record to inform us of these circumstances. Unless personal circumstances are logged through the self-certificate facility as noted above, normal penalties for the non-submission or late submission of coursework are likely to apply, as per the University’s Policy and Procedure for the Late Submission of Coursework

Please be assured that any alternative arrangements that need to be put in place, such as the rescheduling of assessments or the extension of deadlines to allow more time for you to complete coursework, will be communicated to you as soon as possible.

How will assessment be delivered online?

Departments and schools have developed alternative assessment plans using online and non-face-to-face means to enable you to complete your studies and assessments for this session. We are currently reviewing the alternative assessment plans for Years 3,4, and 5, in line with the existing Formal Assessment Period schedule.

In amending assessments, staff will maintain academic standards and ensure alignment with the content delivered during the module.

Altered assessments for individuals may exceptionally be required, staff will discuss these directly with relevant students.

If you are unable to participate in an assessment activity due to ill health, you are encouraged to use the self-certification function in Pegasus.

If I have to go home, will there be academic penalties?

The University continues to remain committed to ensuring that that no student is academically disadvantaged through their return home from a study abroad/exchange visit.

Incoming and outgoing exchange and study abroad students should be reassured that we are in contact with your home/host institutions to put in place measures to support the continuation of your studies, this will cover both your learning and assessment. Please inform the department/school of your changing personal circumstances in this regard.

If you have returned home, however, you must notify your department, so that we can support you appropriately to continue your studies and (for Tier 4 students) for visa requirements.

If you are a Tier 4 visa holder you MUST read the section below on Visas and Immigration.

I have been required to return home by my home country, can I get a coursework extension?

You should contact your Course Leader as soon as possible. If you cannot make contact with your Course Leader, please contact your department/school. It is important that you inform the department/school of your request for an extension and that you have a response from a member of staff. If you do not receive a response contact your Faculty Office. You should aim to submit your work as soon as you are able to do so.

Tier 4 students must notify their department by email. Tier 4 students must read the information advice in the "Visas and Immigration" section.

I am currently in quarantine as part of imposed or self-isolation and do not have effective access to broadband/IT equipment etc in order to access course materials and prepare for assessments

Please do not worry about being absent. Liaise with your Department to advise them of the situation. When you are no longer required to isolate, please make contact with your Department to discuss next steps; they will take steps to help make sure this does not affect your studies

Also, let the Health Advisor within the Disability and Wellbeing Service know as they can explore additional support you may need by calling the Disability & Wellbeing Service on 0141 548 3402 or emailing studenthealthenquiries@strath.ac.uk

Absences owing to quarantine or self-isolation will not affect your visa.

My course involves a credit-bearing placement, what will happen if I cannot continue the work placement due to Covid-19?

Professional accreditation bodies are in contact with your Department/School leaders to provide national level advice on potential measures being taken in the event of disruption to study/assessment. If you have any specific queries, please contact your Department/School.

Will I be able to graduate?

In support of the Government announcement to halt the spread of the Covid-19 virus and in the interests of your, and your family and friends’, safety, health and wellbeing, the University has decided to postpone the formal graduation ceremonies until the autumn. While the ceremonial aspect has been postponed, those eligible for a degree or qualification award will still receive it this summer.

Arrangements are being put in place to ensure that formal awards are granted by the University Senate to enable you to take up offers of employment or further study. Those eligible to graduate will be given the option of graduating in absentia this summer and participating in a future ceremony in the Barony Hall; or graduating in absentia this summer and not participating in a future ceremony. Further information will be issued in due course.

Work placements off campus

The latest government advice is that those who can work remotely should do so. Please discuss with your placement providers and your Course Leader whether your placement can be undertaken remotely or whether it will have to be postponed or cancelled.

University organised fieldtrips

In line with government advice, all scheduled fieldtrips are postponed or cancelled. Following a return to business as usual, your Department will be in touch to rearrange any fieldtrips where it is possible to do.

Information about financial impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic

SAAS & Student Loans Company payments

SAAS and the Student Loans Company plan to pay student loans, grants and bursaries as normal. If you’re returning to study next academic year you should submit your SAAS or Student Finance application as usual. SAAS opens for applications for the 2020/21 year on 1 April. For more information visit the SAAS website or take a look at the government advice.

Processing of SAAS part time fee grants has, however, been suspended. SAAS plan to reinstate this service in the 2020/21 academic year.

If you’re worried about your scholarship

If you’re receiving a University/UKRI scholarship and you’re continuing to engage with your course or research remotely, then you’re fulfilling the requirements of your studies and your scholarship will continue. If you are a research student and you are unable to carry on with your research as planned please contact your scholarship administrator and your supervisor.

If you’re funded by another scholarship body, please check any information they have provided to you carefully and contact them if anything is unclear. We know that some overseas government scholarship bodies do not normally support remote or distance learning and we have sought clarification from them that they will make an exception in the current circumstances. If you are concerned and unable to contact your overseas sponsor please contact the Recruitment and International Office for support at: international@strath.ac.uk

If you are missing work

If you have been told to stay away from work, ask your employer about the Government scheme for furloughed workers.

If you are ill, or self-isolating, check with your employer to confirm their policy regarding sick pay and time off for illness. If you’re not entitled to your normal pay, you may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. You should normally claim Statutory Sick Pay through your employer.

If you have lost your job and you are a student parent, student with a disability or a part time student then may be able to claim welfare benefits whilst you study. This is a complex area and will depend on your individual circumstances so please see the Strath Union's Advice hub pages for more information or contact the Strath Union Advice Hub directly.

International students: Statutory Sick Pay is not regarded as a 'public fund' for immigration purposes so it is possible for international students who meet the eligibility requirements to make a claim. Please note most other welfare benefits are regarded as 'public funds' and students on a Tier 4 visa or any other visa with a 'no recourse to public funds' or 'no public funds' condition should not attempt to claim them. Take a look at a list of public funds.

If you’re worried about welfare benefits you normally receive

Benefits payments should be continuing as normal. The Department for Work and Pensions has issued online guidance on Coronavirus and welfare benefits

If you need to borrow money in the short term

The University can lend students up to £350 interest free from our Emergency Aid Fund. We can arrange payments to UK bank accounts.

 

 

If you’re in financial hardship – Discretionary Funds and the University of Strathclyde Covid-19 Hardship Fund

If you need help in meeting your essential living costs or meeting exceptional essential costs you can apply for assistance.

If you'd like to make an application please download a form and email it to us at financial-support@strath.ac.uk, along with electronic copies, scans or photos of as many of the supporting documents as you are able to gather. Don't worry if you're not sure which fund to apply to: send us a form and we will consider you for any funds that are appropriate to your situation. 

 

Postgraduate students

I am a postgraduate research student, what is the current advice on international travel for conferences?

On the 23 March, the UK Government announcement that all UK citizens must remain at home. Alongside this, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office updated travel guidance on 23 March to advise all British travellers to now return to the UK, where commercial flight options are still available.

I am a postgraduate research student, will my viva proceed?

Staff are currently putting in place contingency plans to support vivas through Skype or other video links. Please contact your Research Supervisor in the first instance to discuss specific queries relating to your academic progression. If you are not able to reach your Supervisor, please contact your department/school or Faculty Office.

I am an international postgraduate research student and I wish to return home while continuing my studies

The University understands that some international postgraduate research students may wish to return home and continue their studies. This should be discussed with your supervisor in the first instance, in order to ensure that the appropriate measures can be put in place to support your supervision and maintain ongoing continuous contact. 

Tier 4 students MUST read the information advice in the "Visas and Immigration" section.

PhD students attendance on campus

In line with the recent government instructions, you should stay at home except for medical reasons or to obtain basic provisions. Students are asked not to attend campus until further notice.

Please note that the University has now implemented web-based conferencing, so PhD students can use this facility to communicate in groups or with research supervisors.

I’m a PGR student, can I still meet my supervisor?

You can still meet with your Research Supervisor but this will not take place face-to-face. Please contact your supervisor to confirm with them how you will communicate with them during this time. Options include Zoom, Skype, email and phone.

I am a PGR student with field work to do. Can I still do this?

This depends on the nature of your field work. Please contact your supervisor who will advise you. Please also adhere to the social distancing and other advice available from the NHS. It is important to adhere to these guidelines.

Please also remember that most international travel is now cancelled and the UK Government has now asked for all non-essential travel to be stopped. In almost all instances, fieldwork does not account for ‘essential travel’.

I am a PGR student on a scholarship, I am worried about my funding

If there are funding conditions that are concerning you, speak to your Research Supervisor who in turn can seek advice from the University. Further advice is available from the UKRI.

In the meantime, if you are suffering financial hardship visit our Student Financial Support web pages for information about Discretionary and Financial Support funds and contact details for the Funding and Financial Support team.

I am a PGR student on a stipend and I am concerned this might not continue

The University will ensure that no PGR is financially disadvantaged by the impact of COVID-19. Stipends will continue to be paid throughout the COVID-19 situation.

I am an International PGR student, can I do my research remotely?

In the first instance, please contact your Research Supervisor for guidance. If you can not reach your Research Supervisor, please contact your department/school or Faculty Office.

I have funding from my home government. What advice do you have for me?

It is recommended that you contact your funder for specific guidance. In the meantime, if you are suffering financial hardship visit our Student Financial Support web pages for information about Discretionary and Financial Support funds and contact details for the Funding and Financial Support team.

My viva (PhD examination) is planned for the next few months. Will it still go ahead?

Staff are currently putting in place contingency plans to support vivas through Skype or other video links. Please contact your Research Supervisor in the first instance to discuss specific queries relating to your academic progression.

How can I mitigate the impact on my research?

Please work with your Research Supervisor to record any impact on your research. Any necessary adjustments such as lengthening the period of study can be managed through the annual progress review process.

I need to maintain lab work and experiments?

Please maintain contact with your Research Supervisor, who will be liaising with the University Estates Services on this matter.

My research involves human subjects, what should I do?

Please note that due to the risks presented by the COVID-19 outbreak studies involving human subjects must be curtailed. Please take a look at further guidance from the University Ethics Committee.

Visas & immigration

Students returning home

If you have a Tier 4 visa and you are planning to return home, please note the following advice:

  1. If you are currently in the process of having your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)_ corrected and have not yet received your new BRP, you are advised NOT to travel until this has been issued. If you attempt to re-enter the UK on your old BRP you may be refused entry.
  2. If you have submitted a visa extension application and have not yet received your new visa, you are advised NOT to travel until your new visa has been issued. If you leave the UK before the extension is granted, your application will be automatically cancelled by UKVI.
  3. You must continue to engage with your course through MyPlace and any other arrangements agreed with your department. 

If you have queries relating to possible limitations on travelling between the UK and your home country, please check information from your home embassy and UK Government information.

Absences due to illness or self-isolation

If you are a Tier 4 student and need to be absent due to illness or self-isolation please inform your department.

Dignity & respect

I’m worried about what other people might say about the current outbreak

We’re committed to ensuring our University environment, both online and on-campus, is a warm and welcoming place where everyone feels safe and included.

We understand that the coronavirus outbreak is causing concern amongst our community and we wish to reassure you that we are closely monitoring the situation and adhering to all government advice in relation to it. 

We want to ensure that all our students feel safe, supported and valued and that they are treated with dignity and respect. If you have experienced or are aware of any inappropriate behaviour, verbal or physical harassment against our students please notify us using Report & Support.

Mental health & wellbeing support

Where can I find information on mental health and wellbeing support?

The University recognises that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak will affect each of us in different ways and will present personal and health challenges to many. It can be normal to feel overwhelmed and anxious in this difficult situation.

The Disability & Wellbeing Service has collated a range of resources to help you support and maintain your own wellbeing during these times. Staff within the Service are also available to speak to students and offer support.