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What does the government’s announcement of the four-step exit from lockdown restrictions on 22 February mean for students at St George’s?

There is no immediate change to the University's current working arrangements. Our teaching and research continue as is at present, with any on-site activities conducted in Covid secure ways. The ‘Stay at Home’ order is in place until at least 29 March, meaning that we should only be outside our homes when necessary.

The senior leadership team is giving careful thought to the phases ahead.

The government roadmap can be found here.

Further government guidance can be found below for information.

What is the updated guidance on wearing face coverings on-site?
  • Horton Halls will be closed to external visitors.
  • Mixing between flats will be prohibited; residents will not be able to visit other flats or host other residents in their flats.
  • The large common room near the reception will be closed (no entry or exit).
  • You must wear a mask/facial covering while in Horton Halls (corridors, bike store, laundry room, reception, lifts, and stairwells).
  • During this Lockdown, you should not meet other people socially, other than those you live with or are part of your support bubble. It is permissible, if you are alone, to exercise with one other person from a different household in an outdoor public space. More information on current measures in place, along with further information on what is permissible while exercising, can be found here
  • The government has introduced a new £800 fine for those attending house parties, including in halls of residence, which will double for each repeat offence to a maximum level of £6,400. These fines will apply to those who attend illegal gatherings of more than 15 people from outside their household. For those students in halls of residence, please note your household is only those who live in your specific flat.

To minimise the risk of transmission within halls of residence we ask that all students regularly clean the shared areas within their accommodation such as kitchens and bathrooms. You should also ensure that common areas are regularly ventilated, that you frequently wash your hands using soap and water and clean shared surfaces, and that you limit sharing surfaces or objects where feasible. If you require support, please email Student Services on coronavirusconcern@sgul.ac.uk.

What is a face covering vs face mask?
Face Coverings  

In the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, a face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. You can buy reusable or single-use face coverings. You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face. Face coverings intended for use by the general public are not PPE or medical devices. As such they do not carry a CE mark and should not be sold or donated as PPE or medical devices.  

Type II Surgical (medical) face masks

These are mainly designed to be worn in medical settings to limit the spread of infection. They are resistant to droplets of fluids and splashes. These masks are manufactured to a recognised standard. They must meet the design and safety requirements of the Medical Device Regulations (MDD/MDR) and be CE marked before they can be sold in the UK.  

Face masks as personal protective equipment (PPE)  

For some specific activities on site, face masks are required as personal protective equipment and need to meet the regulations covering PPE products. They will need a notified body to verify the relevant requirements are met. They are not medical devices. Where PPE is required, the type of face mask will be delineated in the SOP/ local rules /risk assessment associated with the activity.   

Is there any updated guidance for students living in Halls?
  •  Horton Halls will be closed to external visitors.
  • Mixing between flats will be prohibited; residents will not be able to visit other flats or host other residents in their flats.
  • The large common room near the reception will be closed (no entry or exit).
  • You must wear a mask/facial covering while in Horton Halls (corridors, bike store, laundry room, reception, lifts, and stairwells).
  • During this Lockdown, you should not meet other people socially, other than those you live with or are part of your support bubble. It is permissible, if you are alone, to exercise with one other person from a different household in an outdoor public space. More information on current measures in place, along with further information on what is permissible while exercising, can be found here
  • The government has introduced a new £800 fine for those attending house parties, including in halls of residence, which will double for each repeat offence to a maximum level of £6,400. These fines will apply to those who attend illegal gatherings of more than 15 people from outside their household. For those students in halls of residence, please note your household is only those who live in your specific flat.

To minimise the risk of transmission within halls of residence we ask that all students regularly clean the shared areas within their accommodation such as kitchens and bathrooms. You should also ensure that common areas are regularly ventilated, that you frequently wash your hands using soap and water and clean shared surfaces, and that you limit sharing surfaces or objects where feasible. If you require support, please email Student Services on coronavirusconcern@sgul.ac.uk.

What are the University's plans to return to site?

The overarching aim of the Return to Site project is to recommission services on site in a safe and secure way where it is sensible and necessary to do so and ensuring the health and safety of the St George’s community. 

We anticipate that a return to site for staff and students will be rolled out in four phases, with an anticipated conclusion in July 2021. This may change depending on further government guidance. Some phases, affecting different groups of staff and students, may run concurrently. 

First phase - Complete

The first phase has been in progress since the beginning of June and has seen the successful restoration of laboratory-based scientific research on site.

Second phase - Complete

The second phase, which went into operation on 13 July 2020, was the return of some basic services such as the computer room, study spaces, basic Library Services and printing services alongside the Physio Labs, Radiography Suite, Paramedic Simulation Suite and OSCE cubicles. Preparations were also undertaken to establish socially-distanced teaching facilities.

Third phase - Ongoing

The third phase has included the commencement of 2020/21 academic year courses from their normal start date. This phase went into operation from 11 August 2020. Teaching will be delivered online where possible, but this phase will include the resumption of essential onsite, hands-on teaching. This phase will also see the restoration onsite of the Student Life Centre and the welfare room. Some changes to the operation of services during this phase may occur in response to changes in government guidance.

Fourth phase 

The site will be open for all staff and students, in line with future Government guidance. Some operations may continue to be delivered remotely, depending on business requirements at the time. 

Further details on the project objectives and phases.

What steps has the University taken to minimise risks to students?

The top priority throughout this process is the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff.

In line with government requirements the University has undertaken a detailed institutional risk assessment so that staff and students can review the steps which have been taken to ensure this as much as possible. Risk assessments are being undertaken for each phase.

The document will be subject to change following amendments to Government guidance and changes that may arise onsite. 

Further measures which have been taken to manage risks include:

  • Undertaking local risk assessments and mitigations

  • Programming timetables to help the management of social distancing

  • Establishing socially-distanced teaching facilities
  • Cleansing facilities and providing additional resources for individual hand cleaning/ clear hand cleansing signage

  • Displaying signage for social distancing and one-way routes on site

  • The provision of necessary PPE and covers by the University, if required.

What overarching principles do students need to abide by when returning to site?

In addition to actions the University is taking, students are required to comply with the principles guiding our return to site, which will evolve to reflect the latest Government guidance. This of course will change with time but at present, the following points apply:

  • Any work that can be done at home, should be done at home. 

  • University work/study places are being made safe by following COVID-19 Secure guidelines

  • Government advice is that extremely vulnerable and vulnerable staff/students no longer need to shield. If vulnerable individuals need to return to site, an individual risk assessment evaluating fitness to return should be completed and discussed with their course admin team. All individuals undertaking clinical placements will be required to complete an individual risk assessment sent to them by course admin teams. Further advice may be obtained from course admin teams and HR. It remains the Institution’s responsibility for the health and safety of all staff and students and this responsibility cannot be delegated to individual staff /student members to decide when/how/if they return to campus. Willingness to return to campus does not automatically mean they should.

  • Individuals must self-isolate if they have even mild symptoms of Covid-19, or are a household contact of someone who has been symptomatic. Anyone with symptoms should obtain a test through the government Test and Trace systemTests can be booked online, or ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to the internet.
  • Staff and students should minimise use of public transport as far as possible; if it is necessary to use public transport, face coverings are mandatory and staff should try to arrange work so that travel can be at off-peak times.

  • Travel into St George’s must be for work/placement/teaching that cannot be done at home. 

  • Face coverings must be worn if entering the Hospital, public areas, and retail facilities on site. You must wear face coverings in all common parts/spaces of the University. This includes the main Foyers, The Street, Library, Common Rooms, the Halls of Residence (but not individual flats). 

  • Once inside your workplace, be that a laboratory, office or teaching space, where the area meets Covid-secure guidelines and 2m distancing can be maintained you are not required to wear a face covering. However, if 2m distancing cannot be maintained, face coverings must be worn in accordance with the Government 1m+ rule.

  • Line managers, course leads and project supervisors will facilitate staff and students to organise their work to enable social distancing but individuals must also take personal responsibility. Where it is not possible to organise work to maintain social distancing then careful consideration must be given as to whether or not this activity should proceed. If it must then additional precautions must be identified to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

  • Staff and students must wash their hands with soap and water or hand gel frequently and whenever leaving the laboratory/place of work/teaching space.

  • Staff and students are advised to bring their own food and drink to work if required as access to kitchen facilities will be limited.

Please review the complete principles here

What should I do to prepare for returning to site?

Students returning to site are reminded that they should undertake coronavirus testing or self-isolate for 10 days before returning, as set out in the National Lockdown requirements.

You should take two tests three days apart if possible. The first test should be taken as soon as possible following your return to the St George’s site, then another three days later. Between the tests you can access teaching and study spaces if:

  • Your first test was negative

  • You maintain strict social distancing, wear a mask or face covering and follow good infection control practices

  • You limit your social contact to your household bubble only, in line with the national lockdown restrictions

 

We understand that some clinical placement providers are offering testing and others are not. Any student on a clinical placement is welcome to have testing at our centre if needed.

If you choose not to undertake testing on your return, you must self-isolate for 10 days before returning to the University site.

 

Students who have had a partial or full vaccination should still have a test before they return to site for the first time.

 

Further details on the testing available at George’s can be found here.

All students need to read and familiarise themselves with the following documents, which are now available on the Return to Site webpages and student FAQs:

A handy pocket guide on social distancing and returning to site can be found here (PDF). A large-font version is also available here (PDF).

What is the guidance for students who need to shield?

The Government has recently advised that students who are classified as clinically extremely vulnerable should not attend educational settings for the duration of the current national lockdown. This guidance can be found here.

If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this and you may have been advised to shield in the past. If, as a result of the new guidance, you will be unable to attend teaching or research on site, and your course team are not already aware of this, you must let your course team know as soon as possible so they can consider options with you and offer advice on the support available to you. Research degree students should contact the Graduate School administration team. 

For students with other illnesses or disabilities who may be clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) we continue to recommend that you complete a personal risk assessment. If you have not yet undertaken a personal risk assessment for this academic year, or if your circumstances have changed, please contact your course team to arrange this.  

St George’s is committed to supporting our students and will explore all reasonable adjustments to support you to thrive on your course. 

Is the Library open?

Library opening hours are:

  • Monday - Friday, 8am-11pm (staffed hours 8am-4pm, security only 4pm-11pm)
  • Saturday - Sunday, 9am-9pm (security only).

Capacity for silent study and PC use is limited and no group space or discussion rooms are available for group or personal study.

When you attend the library you will need to keep to the left to enable the flow of users. Social distancing is required in all spaces within the library and computer rooms, to facilitate this some desks will be closed and clearly marked and should not be used. Social distancing guidance can be found here.

When in the Library, a face mask (or if exempt a visor) must be worn throughout each visit. 

Limited help is available from the Library Helpdesk at the front end and the library and computer rooms can only be used for silent, individual activities.

Regular patrols will take place to ensure that users are adhering to guidelines.

The Library is also open to University and NHS staff who are currently working on site.

Please note services and access may change over time and this guidance will be reviewed and updated as needed.

What are the guidelines for using the library and computer rooms?

When you attend the library you will need to keep to the left to enable the flow of users. Social distancing is required in all spaces within the library and computer rooms, to facilitate this some desks will be closed and clearly marked and should not be used.  Social distancing guidance can be found here.

Whilst the library will be regularly and thoroughly cleaned, all users are encouraged to wipe desk space and PCs before use. Cleaning stations will be available in the library providing spray and wipes. Printers should also be wiped down by users before use, cleaning stations are available in the computer room.

You should regularly wash your hands or use hand sanitiser from dispensers in the library. Eating in the library or computer rooms is not allowed, however drinks with lids are permitted.

Regular patrols will take place to ensure that users are adhering to guidelines.

If you identify yourself as vulnerable or have concerns about returning to site please do not attend the library at this time. We are still offering a huge range of electronic resources and we can help with your questions via email using library@sgul.ac.uk.
Are resources still available online?

Yes, we are still offering a huge range of electronic resources and don’t forget that we can help with your questions – just email library@sgul.ac.uk.

Full details of all our resources are on our web pages at: www.library.sgul.ac.uk

What if the library is full when I arrive?

Capacity is currently limited.

If you arrive and there are no spaces or PCs available you should not linger on site. You will need to leave and come back another time.  

Can I come and collect items from my locker?

Yes, students are permitted to visit the site to collect their belongings from their lockers. However, students must ensure that they are able to visit site in accordance with government advice. Students should minimise use of public transport as far as possible; if it is necessary to use public transport, try to arrange the visit to site so that travel can be at off-peak times.  

Travel into St George’s must be for collection of belongings only (unless you have to attend a teaching session/assessment/placement or are using the library). Students should go directly to their locker to collect their belongings and not linger on site. Social distancing guidance must be adhered to at all times whilst on site.

Students should review the social distancing guidance and additional guidance on the returning to site webpages before coming on site.

Self-isolating

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What should I do if I fall ill or if I'm diagnosed with Coronavirus?

If you or a member of your household have coronavirus symptoms, or a positive test result, it is crucial you notify the University. Find out more on our Report a case page.

I’m a student required to self-isolate. What should I do?

You should follow the guidance on the NHS website and from Public Health England.

Students who are required to stay in isolation should contact Student Services at coronavirusconcern@sgul.ac.uk to notify them of your absence as soon as possible, including dates and times you have been on-site. 

If you live in Horton Halls

Please...

    1. stay in your room in halls with the door closed, only using the kitchen when necessary
    2. avoid using the kitchen at the same time as other residents and clean the area thoroughly once you have prepared your meal
    3. take your meals back to your room to eat
    4. use your own cutlery and use a dishwasher to clean and dry your used crockery and cutlery.

Students staying in halls can also find further guidance here.

If you live in another hall of residence

  • Students should follow the guidance given by their hall of residence (for example, if you are living at Furzedown Student Village, or any other private accommodation provider).

If you live in shared accommodation (ie a house share with other students)

Please...

    1. stay in your room in halls with the door closed, only using the kitchen when necessary
    2. avoid using the kitchen at the same time as other residents and clean the area thoroughly once you have prepared your meal
    3. take your meals back to your room to eat
    4. use your own cutlery and use a dishwasher to clean and dry your used crockery and cutlery.

Live at home

  1. Students who are required to stay at home should contact coronavirusconcern@sgul.ac.uk as soon as possible, including dates and times you have been on-site.
  2. If you live at home, please follow the guidance on the NHS website and from Public Health England.
I am a student, if I do fall ill or need to self-isolate, what should I do about my...
  1. lectures and tutorials?
  2. deadlines?
  3. assessments?
  4. placements?

If you are ill, your well-being is the over-riding priority and you should not be concerned about the impact on any learning or assessments. 

In that event, please email Student Services on coronavirusconcern@sgul.ac.uk. The Registry will contact your course team and you will be contacted regarding how you can best engage with your studies. 

Students wishing to submit claims for mitigating circumstances during the current period, including those in relation to Covid-19 should do so in the usual way, details can be found on our Exams webpages.

Due to the current situation we are removing the requirement to provide medical evidence to support claims made for any assessment on or after 17 March until further notice or the end of the academic year, whichever is soonest.

What happens if my lecturers or tutors become ill, will teaching still take place?

Course teams are considering contingencies for the delivery of teaching and assessment. 

We ask students to check their emails and Canvas for updates from their relevant programme team.

Studying, campus, facilities and fees

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What technology and/or devices do I need in order to undertake my exams?

To undertake exams that are designated as online and remote in this academic year, you are expected to have access to: 

  1. a laptop or PC (Windows or Mac),
  2. consistent internet connection, and
  3. a quiet space to undertake your assessment. 

If you think you will have difficulties meeting any of these three expectations and require assistance from the University, please see the FAQ below on support available for students who may struggle to undertake their assessment remotely.

I may struggle to undertake their assessment remotely, what support is available for me?

To undertake exams that are designated as online and remote in this academic year, you are expected to have access to: 

  1. a laptop or PC (Windows or Mac),
  2. consistent internet connection, and
  3. a quiet space to undertake your assessment.

In order to maintain an inclusive and equitable approach, we aim to enable students who think they will have difficulties meeting any of the three expectations set out above (laptop or PC, consistent internet connection, and a quiet, undisturbed space to undertake your assessment) to apply to take their exam on-campus using a networked computer or laptop with WIFI connectivity. 

You can do this by contacting examonsite@sgul.ac.uk, ideally four weeks before your exam. If your plans change and you no longer require the support, you can contact us via the same email address to notify the University. 

We will endeavour to assist you in resolving problems wherever possible. For example, this could be through the loan of a laptop to enable you to have a suitable device to undertake your assessment. If alternative arrangements cannot be found, we may be able to provide you with the opportunity to come onsite to undertake your assessment, however, this will be subject to availability and the applicable government advice at the time. 

For us to be able to plan ahead, we would like to hear from you as soon as possible (before 30 November 2020) if you think you will have difficulties meeting any of the three expectations set out and require assistance from the University. Please contact us by emailing examonsite@sgul.ac.uk. This will allow us to understand the scale of support likely to be required and plan accordingly. This is a non-commitment contact and is intended to allow us to plan. 

The flowchart below outlines how the university will help to resolve issues and/or determine if a student can come onsite for an exam.

 

coronavirus exams flowchart v2

Will I require additional technology or app to undertake my exams?

You will be required to undertake your exam via Lockdown Browser. LockDown Browser is a custom browser (similar to the Google Chrome, Edge, Safari, and others) that locks down the testing environment within the platform being used to sit the exam e.g. Canvas or another exam platform. During an online exam conducted via Lockdown Browser, you will be unable to copy, print, access other applications or visit other websites. 

We have previously delivered a number of exams onsite using LockDown Browser and we believe that this will strengthen the integrity of the exam process, particularly helping students to focus on the exam without being distracted. 

Over the coming weeks, we will provide details of how to install LockDown Browser on your device, including guidance information and a generic practice environment so that you can experience what it is like to undertake an exam with LockDown Browser. 

In the meantime, please contact the Learning Technology Services team if you have any questions around the technology for online exams by emailing LTS@sgul.ac.uk 

What does the University advise regarding the new NHS Covid-19 app?

The NHS Covid-19 App was launched on 24 September 2020 and we encourage you to download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Further information about the app can be found at https://covid19.nhs.uk.  

To assist with Test and Trace, NHS QR code posters are now displayed around campus, allowing staff and students to check in to areas using the new NHS Covid-19 App. QR codes will be an important way for NHS Test and Trace to contact multiple people if coronavirus outbreaks are identified in specific areas.  

Universities have been encouraged to display posters in communal areas where people are likely to congregate for more than 15 minutes and in close proximity. At St George’s, posters can be found in the following locations:  

  • Student Life Centre 
  • Social Learning Space outside the Library 
  • Dissecting Room Corridor 
  • Boardrooms 6, 7, and 8 
  • 6th Floor Hunter Wing foyer 
  • Multifaith & Quiet Contemplation Room 
  • Students’ Union Bar & Shop  

When someone enters an area and scans the QR poster, the area information will be logged on the user’s phone. This information will stay on a user’s phone for 21 days and if during that time a coronavirus outbreak is identified at a location, the area ID in question will be sent to all devices. The device will check if users have been at that location and if the app finds a match, users may get an alert with advice on what to do based on the level of risk. 

Should I use the app when on clinical placement?

If you have the NHS Covid-19 app and are attending any clinical placement, you are in effect a healthcare worker. This means you should switch off the contact tracing function when you are on placement, remembering to switch it back on when you leave to travel home. It is assumed that NHS staff and clinical students on placement with providers will be adhering to PPE and infection control guidance. If you have questions or concerns about how NHS providers are implementing these at any site, please discuss these with the placement lead in the first instance, who will be better placed than the St George's academic or administrative team to advise you.

What technologies do I need to engage with online teaching and learning?

To engage with online teaching and learning, you will need a combination of the following: internet connection; web-enabled device (PC/laptop/tablet/phone); audio playback (most devices have this built in); headphones or headset. 

To ensure that you are prepared for this and that you have the available resource and support, we have created a dedicated support area for students on where you can learn more and view instructions on how to access these technologies, please visit here for details.

Students are encouraged to use their laptop, tablet or smartphone to access teaching and learning activities online. A large proportion of students already have access to St George’s Tablets via a loan option. 

All St George’s students have the ability to use Office 365 as part of our institutional license, and to access St George’s software via AppsAnywhere. In addition, we offer Office for Mac via office365, but only the following applications are available for Mac: Teams, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, OneNote. Web-based Office applications are available on Mac. 

If you need to obtain a new laptop, we will recommend the following laptop specifications: 

Minimum specification: 

We recommend students are equipped with a device with the following minimum specification:

  • Intel i3
  • 2.2Ghz, 4Gb RAM
  • 256GB SSD

1080p screen

Recommended specification: 

We recommend the following specification if you are planning on upgrading your device:

  • Intel i5
  • 2.2Ghz, 8Gb RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • 1080p screen

If you have not done so already, please download the Canvas app for students for tablet and smartphone from the Apple App Store or Google Play store.  

Do continue to look out for specific messages from your lecturing staff and/or course directors about specific activities that are being delivered remotely. If you have any specific technology-related support requirement, please contact LTS@sgul.ac.uk (please include a link to the page where you are encountering a difficulty as well as the name and year of your course).

What online learning resources are available to students?

Over the past few weeks, we have seen a significant increase in the number of requests coming through for us to make new resources available to students. These requests have been coming via three main channels: students, staff, and external companies. Below is a summary of resources available to all students and those that are in development. 

Supported resource(s)

There is a range of resources that are available to all students at St George’s including ‘free’ resources that have been opened up by academic publishers at this time to support student learning, please visit here for full details. 

Some of these resources which you may find useful at this time are highlighted below: 

  • BMJ Learning which features hundreds of accredited, peer-reviewed learning modules in text, video and audio formats (includes resources for nursing and Allied Health). 
  • AccessMedicine which includes access to 130+ e-books organised by basic sciences, clinical medicine, and healthcare systems. The AccessMedicine resource also includes access to cases, videos, and Q&As. 
  • JoVE Science Education, a library of video demonstrations covering a wide range of subjects in science and medicine (includes resources for nursing and Allied Health). 
  • LWW Health Library which includes access to key texts, videos, cases and questions (includes resources for nursing and Allied Health). 
  • For allied health professions (AHP) workshop, please visit here for a one-page resource for the allied health professions (AHP) workforce that curates key published guidance and updates in relation to COVID-19. 

In addition to these learning resources a large number of eBooks are now available, across the range of medicine, nursing and allied health, and they can be found using Hunter (the Library catalogue) at library.sgul.ac.uk

In development

We are working with FutureLearn to allow time-limited free access to our MOOC courses for all UK-based students. In return, our students would gain free access to all other FutureLearn courses from other institutions on the platform. We will provide further details once we are in a position to do so. Nonetheless, St George’s students can view our range of FutureLearn courses here , many of which are currently available for enrolment, or anyway part of your curriculum.  

If you have any questions relating to learning resources, please contact the Library team by emailing Library@sgul.ac.uk.

If your question is about learning technologies, please contact the Learning Technology Services Team by emailing LTS@sgul.ac.uk

I need more support on how to access teaching and learning online, who should I contact?

Access to online content will continue in the usual way via Canvas and Panopto. If you have not done so already, please download the Canvas app for students for tablet and smartphone from the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

On a computer use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox visit Canvas (you can use other browsers as well but we highly recommend Chrome or Firefox). Log in with your usual Student ID (email) and password.

Within Canvas, we have created a dedicated support area for students on where you can learn more and view instructions on how to access these technologies, please visit here for details. 

If you have any specific technology-related support requirement, please contact LTS@sgul.ac.uk (please include a link to the page where you are encountering a difficulty as well as the name and year of your course).

I’m a Research Degree student with either a transfer or final viva scheduled. Can this go ahead?

Yes – it can.  We have had success with Microsoft Teams and Zoom for both transfer and final vivas, MS Teams being the preferred choice and this is supported by St George's. 

  1. Transfer vivas – you should follow the same procedure as described on Canvas and in handbooks with regard to preparation for the viva, writing your 30 page report and submitting it to the approved examiners.  You or your supervisor should set up the online meeting space and carry out the viva as you would in a physical space.  The examiners will then follow the same procedure as normal in getting their report and recommendation back to you and to the Graduate School.
  1. Final vivas – Ideally, we would like Independent Chairs to be present in the same room as students but recognize that this may no longer be possible and therefore this is now a recommendation rather than a regulation. The meeting should preferably be ‘owned’ by the student and the examiners and Independent Chair invited to participate at a mutually convenient date and time.  It should be expected that the examiners be allowed time in advance, to discuss the thesis in a preliminary meeting and arrangements for this should also be made by the supervisor.  Decisions on the outcome of the viva will be conveyed to the Graduate School in the usual way. Alex Grayling or Derilyn Frusher can be contacted if you have any issues or queries at any time during the process.  
I am a student affiliated with the Joint Faculty. Which guidance should I follow – St George’s, University of London advice or Kingston University’s?

Staff and students should follow the guidance for whichever site they are either based at or attending during the day, e.g. if you feel unwell on-site or need to notify other staff of contact with someone diagnosed with Covid-19 while on the St George’s site, this guidance should be followed.

What is the situation with Student Finance?

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

In the government guidance, it was confirmed that students’ loan entitlements for the current term will not be reassessed for students who are still incurring accommodation costs away from home. This means that students in receipt of the ‘living away from home’ loan rate will retain the maintenance loans paid at the start of term, which will be repaid in the usual way. Students who are no longer incurring accommodation costs away from home, or who no longer wish to receive the higher rate of loan, should continue to request reassessment.

Do I have to pay full tuition fees while teaching and assessment is online?

We are providing remote teaching and support for students to enable them to meet the required learning outcomes for their programmes. Our teaching provision and student support services continue online and students can continue to access learning materials and undertake assessments. We will also ensure that students can meet the requirements for practical and practice-based components of their degrees, providing some essential sessions on site in the academic year 2020-21. Given the support for active and ongoing learning and progression we are providing, students should not expect a reduction in tuition fees.  

Students who have difficulty continuing with their learning, perhaps because of illness, caring responsibilities or lack of access to IT should contact: covidconcern@sgul.ac.uk

If students are not satisfied with the alternative provision and support they are getting and wish to raise an issue with the University, they should discuss this with their course team in the first instance.

Any student who is having difficulty with payment of their tuition fees is encouraged to contact the Student Services team as soon as possible via email to discuss their individual situation: studentfinance@sgul.ac.uk.

I am experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the current circumstances. Is the university able to help with financial support?

Students who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the current disruption are encouraged to contact our Student Services team for advice and support by emailing alf@sgul.ac.uk

I’m an international student having difficulty paying my fees due to a disruption in access to make financial transfers. Can I have an extension to my fee deadline?

Our student finance team will consider all requests for a payment extension sympathetically, and on a case-by-case basis. Any student having difficulty paying their tuition fees is encouraged to contact the Student Services team as soon as possible via email to discuss their individual situation: studentfinance@sgul.ac.uk

I am a Postgraduate Research Degree Student, what should I do?

We recognise the unique position of our Research Degree students in relation to this advice and will continue to be in touch with you directly with specific guidance.

Postgraduate research students are now invited back into labs if they feel comfortable to do so. Students should coordinate with their supervisors to ensure the appropriate Health and Safety precautions are in place before returning.

For any specific queries please contact the Graduate School: researchdegrees@sgul.ac.uk

As a Postgraduate Research Student, can I take time out of my studies to help with coronavirus testing or clinical work?

We understand that many of you have the desire to help out in the current crisis and we are keen to encourage this.  If students are undertaking either medical or scientific work to help, then they should apply for Interruptions of studies to their degree. This interruption will NOT count to the maximum 2 years that is permitted under our normal regulations.  

Please contact Derilyn Frusher for the current form.

My laboratory studies or recruitment campaign/s have been interrupted, what should I do?

Postgraduate research students are now invited back into labs if they feel comfortable to do so. Students should coordinate with their supervisors to ensure the appropriate Health and Safety precautions are in place before returning.

We appreciate that being outside the laboratory is a serious disruption to your projects and, for those of you who need to recruit patients for your studies, it is likely that these campaigns are now on hold. There are, however, things that can be done to progress your understanding of your field.  Writing literature reviews, which will form the basis of your introduction, materials and methods sections of your work and even planning the results chapters of your thesis all require time, more than usually imagined, and these can all be undertaken, at least in part, whilst the laboratories are shut down or whilst you are unable to recruit patients.  We appreciate that even these areas will eventually be exhausted and we recommend having regular meetings with supervisors by Teams meetings to keep them updated and to inform them of any issues that have arisen.  It is perhaps even more imperative at this time that you schedule more regular meetings with your supervisory team than you normally would.

Are new ethical approval applications being accepted for student projects? 

At the current time, and as far as we are aware, there is no restriction on ethics applications being submitted for approval but again we recommend that students keep in contact with supervisors in the event of the situation changing.

Student projects (undergraduate, master) that do not involve the NHS will continue to be accepted.

Student projects (undergraduate, master) that involve the NHS, and which require NHS REC and/or HRA approval, are not currently being accepted

Any students with approved studies are reminded to check with the relevant NHS/HSC organisations locally about whether or not their projects may continue. 

In the autumn the HRA will publish their proposed new guidelines for student research for consultation in use. Students, research supervisors and HEIs will be invited to share their opinions and help shape their framework.

You can find more information on their current position on their website.

 

Visas and immigration

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What is the advice on international travel?

Please check both the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the advice of your own government before making any arrangements to travel. 

Will I need to take a Covid test before travelling to England?

Yes.  From 15 February 2021, everyone must:

  • provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure
  • book and pay for a travel test package.  This costs £210 and includes 2 COVID-19 tests - to be taken on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of your quarantine
  • complete a passenger locator form with details of where you will home quarantine when you arrive and the travel test package booking reference number

You must self-isolate (or quarantine) when you enter the UK from any foreign country except Ireland.  

Will I need to self-isolate on arriving in England?

Yes.  You must self-isolate (or quarantine) when you enter the UK from any foreign country except Ireland.

You must either quarantine in the place you’re staying or in a managed quarantine hotel for 10 days. What you need to do depends on where you travel in the 10 days before you arrive in England:

If you are arriving in England, and you are not travelling from a country on the banned travel list, you may be able to pay for a COVID-19 test under the Test to Release scheme to find out if you can reduce your self-isolation period (see below). 

Test to Release Scheme – shorten your period of self-isolation

The government’s Test to Release scheme allows some passengers the option to shorten the mandatory self-isolation period to 5 days. Under the scheme, students who need to self-isolate may have the option to pay for a private COVID-19 test with a private test provider to see if they can end their self-isolation early. 

  • You cannot take a test until you have been in England for 5 full days.
  • If the result is negative, you can stop self-isolating as soon as you receive the results.
  • The Test to Release scheme is not available to anyone who has been in or through any country on the ‘red list’

You should book your test before you travel to England. This is so you can enter details of the test when you opt into the scheme on the passenger locator form. 

How to take part in the scheme

To take part in the scheme you need to:

If you decide to take part in the scheme after you have arrived in England, you will need to complete another passenger locator form.

You will have to pay the private test provider for your test. You will need to book an individual test for each person opting into Test to Release, including children.

The test provider will either send a test to your address or you can attend a testing site. You may leave your house to post your test or to travel directly to and from the testing site. You should follow safer travel guidance and avoid public transport if possible.

I already have a Student visa (previously 'Tier 4'), can I apply for my new Student visa in the UK?

There are various requirements you must meet if you have a current UK visa and want to apply from within the UK. For example, you must meet the requirements on academic progression and time cap on study. These requirements are complex so it is important that you contact the International Student Advising Team at student.immigration@sgul.ac.uk to check your eligibility.

If you are not eligible, you must return to your home country and apply for a new Student visa from there.

Can I study remotely if I hold a Student visa?

Student visa holders (previously ‘Tier 4’) are not normally permitted to undertake their studies via distance learning methods. However, due to the current exceptional circumstances, the Home Office have issued temporary concessions for the 2020-2021 academic year, confirming that student sponsors can continue to sponsor students who are continuing their studies through distance learning, whether they are in the UK or another country.  This includes continuing to sponsor students for examinations and assessments.  This is on the understanding that students move to face-to-face learning when circumstances allow and in line with programme requirements. For students on clinical programmes, you will be expected to be going out on placements as and when required. 

Your course team will confirm which teaching will be delivered online and when you need to be on-site for essential face-to-face teaching. Please contact your year lead/ course team if you anticipate difficulties joining the course on time or engaging with your studies because of issues relating to Covid-19. 

The International Advising Team will continue to monitor your engagement with online learning. The general rule is that if a session takes place, you should engage with it.  

My visa is expiring/has expired. What should I do?

The UKVI have published their extended COVID-19 concessions for visa holders in the UK. The latest advice is that all foreign nationals whose UK visas expire any time between 24 January 2020 until the 31 July 2020, who cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation and did not plan to remain in the UK, are required to complete an online form to extend their leave until 31 July 2020 with the Coronavirus Immigration Team.

You should not use this form if you are planning to extend your Tier 4 visa to remain in the UK and should instead apply as normal. If you are outside of the UK and your visa has expired, then these concessions do not apply to you. You will need to make a new Tier 4 Visa application to be able to return to the UK. Please contact the International Advising Team if you would like to discuss your individual circumstance.

Are Visa Application Centres open around the world?

Since 1 June 2020, many visa application centres outside the UK have re-opened, depending on local restrictions. You can check which centres have actually opened again using Find a visa application centre. Alternatively, for applications in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East visit uk.tlscontact.com. For all other countries, visit VFS Global.  

It is still possible to apply online, and to gather all relevant evidence so you can obtain your entry clearance (visa) as quickly as possible when your local application centre does re-open.

You will need to provide biometrics as part of your application. Unlike applications in the UK, we understand that there are no plans to remove this requirement for entry clearance applications, even if you have previously been granted UK immigration permission. In many cases, you will also have to be tested for TB, so you need be realistic about how much time you will need in order to make your application, especially if you cannot yet travel to your nearest TB clinic or visa application centre, or if they are still closed. Priority and super priority services have been restored in some centres. 

Are there any Student visa implications if I take a formal break from my studies?

We recognise that the current situation may make it difficult to continue your studies and some students may decide to take a temporary break in their studies. This is called an interruption of studies (IOS) and needs to be approved at an appropriate level by your course team.

Taking a formal break from your studies usually means that your student visa (previously ‘Tier 4’) is cancelled and you are required to return to your home country however there may be exceptions if you need to be absent from your studies due to reasons related to Covid-19.  You should contact the International Student Advising team at student.immigration@sgul.ac.uk to discuss your individual situation.  

What is happening with Police Registration during Covid-19?

All UK police forces, including the Overseas Visitors Registration Office (OVRO) in London, have suspended police registration and issued guidance for applicants. The OVRO's online appointment booking system will also continue to remain deactivated until their new online registration portal is launched in April 2021. Please continue to check the OVRO website for updates.

OVRO have advised that they will endeavour to offer priority booking slots to those students who have had their pre-booked appointment cancelled. This will initially be communicated via email directly to the students.

The advice for everyone is that you will not be penalised for not attending or making an appointment. This includes people who have left the UK without registering, and who will need to re-enter in the future. 

I am outside of the UK and my visa is expiring/has expired, what should I do?

Many visa application centres outside the UK have re-opened so you should be able to submit an online visa application to extend your current visa.  Possible delays in processing applications might mean that you are late to come to the UK to continue your course. You should contact your course team if you anticipate arriving late. 

More information about making a student visa application from outside the UK can be found on our EU and International Student Support pages.  Please contact the International Advising Team on student.immigration@sgul.ac.uk if you have any questions.  

I am in the UK and my visa is expiring/has expired, what should I do?

You are expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or apply to regularise your stay in the UK.

If you have a student visa which is due to expire shortly and you are continuing with your studies, please contact the International Advising Team at student.immigration@sgul.ac.uk to discuss your eligibility to make an application from within the UK.  More information about making a student visa application from within the UK can be found on our EU and International Student Support pages. 

If you have finished your studies, and your intention was to leave the UK but you have not been able to do so and you have a visa or leave that expires between 1 March 2021 and 31 March 2021 you may request additional time to stay, known as ‘exceptional assurance’.  See the GOV.UK Covid guidance for advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents for more information on how to make a request.  If you are outside of the UK and your visa has expired, then these concessions do not apply to you. 

Can I continue to work in the UK if I have a student visa?

If you have work permission, make sure that you do not breach its requirements. Even if you are no longer able to attend classes or undertake research in person, if you are in term time, and you are studying online, you are still restricted to working 20 hours a week unless you currently work or volunteer for the NHS in a list profession.  More information on this concession can be found at Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

You may work full time during vacations. Vacation dates (published on the university website) have not changed just because you are not attending classes and lectures in person. Employers should not employ you full time unless you are on vacation, or have completed your course or are undertaking a work placement as an assessed part of your course.

What should I do if I have worries related to Covid-19 (Coronavirus)?  

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What help is available?

We are committed to supporting all of our students regardless of circumstances. We know that the current situation with Covid-19 is a particularly worrying time for some of you and may impact on your health and wellbeing. Staff at St George’s are still working and wish to support students even if this is done remotely.

  • The Student Life Centre is still available remotely for practical needs (studentlifecentre@sgul.ac.uk  or 020 8266 6344)
  • The Counselling Service are offering remote appointments. To arrange an appointment, please email counselling@sgul.ac.uk
  • Support from the Students’ Union is also being offered remotely by Lon Teija (Welfare Advisor). Check updates at https://www.sgsu.org.uk/covid/ for ways to get in touch and to find out more about Students’ Union support.
  • If you have been seeing Occupational Health for any reason, they will also continue to offer appointments by phone.
  • You can contact your personal tutor. Please note that many of our personal tutors are also clinicians who may be pulled into support the NHS at this time of intense pressure on their services. Each programme team should be in touch with advice on the situation within your course. They will support you if a temporary tutor needs to be assigned. 
  • As well as your usual social media accounts, you can use University online tools for online chats (e.g. Togetherall and Student Minds)

In addition to University services and tools, there is also a lot of advice available through various media about how best to look after your health and wellbeing during the pandemic. The resources listed below offer good quality advice.

I’ve experienced bullying or abuse related to Covid-19 (Coronavirus). Who can I talk to?

If students feel they have experienced any form of harassment due to coronavirus, we would encourage them to report it in line with the St George’s Dignity at work and study policy and the institution’s stance on Bullying and Harassment

If you have been subject to any bullying or harassment outside of the University, you may also contact the police to report a hate crime. 

What support is available if I am feeling anxious about family or friends who may be affected by the virus?

If students would like to talk confidentially to someone, St George’s, University of London has a counselling service that can be contacted by email or on 020 8725 3625. 

Students can seek advice from a Personal Tutor, Student Union Vice-President (Education and Welfare) or Student Union Welfare Advisor. 

Students can also access Togetherall, an online support service through which you can access emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Togetherall is a safe and anonymous online space where can students can seek support.

Go to https://togetherall.com/en-gb/and use your university email address to join. The email address is only used to confirm that you have free access and students can then pick an anonymous username which then becomes your identity on Togetherall.

Will the Counselling Service continue to offer appointments?

The Counselling Service staff will be continuing to offer sessions remotely from September to December 2020. The booking chart will not be available and there will be no Open Sessions for the moment. 

For students who already have a named counsellor

Some counsellors are working remotely from the 16 March and will get in touch if you have a session booked. Please contact your named counsellor if you are unsure or have not heard from them. You will need to download Skype for Business onto your computer/laptop or it is possible to have a phone session. All students and staff are entitled to Skype for Business as part of Office 365.

Please contact the counsellor you have been seeing by their individual email address. The counsellors are:

If you have not been to counselling at the SGUL Counselling Service previously

We still want to hear from you. Please send an email to counselling@sgul.ac.uk and we will be in contact as soon as we can to take a referral from you. Please note we are not a crisis service but will check this email at least once a day. 

This is a difficult time and may be unsettling and distressing. Please continue to look after your mental health as well as your physical health. Please see the link to ‘MIND’ below which offers some useful suggestions: Coronavirus and your wellbeing

Communications and updates

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Where can I expect to receive updates on coronavirus from the University?
  • We will be keeping in touch with you as the position evolves with any urgent messages and regular updates.
  • For course or cohort specific information, please check regularly on your CANVAS page in the first instance.

  • This FAQs page will continue to be updated regularly.

 

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