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Return to site

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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?

Ahead of the phased return to site, 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 phase are we at now and who does it effect?

The University is currently in Phase 3 of its return to site. During this phase, teaching will be delivered online where possible, but this phase will include the resumption of essential onsite, hands-on teaching. Specific details of the on-campus sessions for individual cohorts will be provided by course teams. Changes may occur as government guidance changes. Students will be advised by email if changes do occur and how they might affect teaching and learning activities.

Students with pre-existing illnesses or disabilities, or who have been shielding

If you suffer from a serious illness which may increase your level of risk, or were required to shield due to Covid-19, we recommend that you complete a personal risk assessment. 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. 

Placements 

You will be required to undertake a personal risk assessment for Covid-19 before you can attend any placement (or undertake certain other activities as advised by your course team). Where a health concern arises every effort will be made to identify alternative placement arrangements, but your health and safety will be the first priority, and where alternative arrangements may not be possible, there may be implications for your studies. If you are clinically vulnerable or have been shielding we strongly encourage you to contact your course team now to undertake a personal risk assessment. 

Attendance at site

For the majority of our courses we will be delivering an element of face to face, hands-on teaching on campus in line with social distancing guidelines which you are required to attend. If, due to a health reason you will be unable to attend teaching on site you must let us know before the start of the academic year so we can consider alternative arrangements to ensure you can progress through the course. Mitigating Circumstances can be submitted for unforeseen illnesses, however being unable to attend the site due to shielding or being at heightened risk of Covid-19 from a pre-existing illness or disability will not be accepted as grounds for Mitigating Circumstances. Please discuss this with your course team and complete a personal risk assessment so that all reasonable adjustment can be made.

Previous phases

The first phase is now completed and has seen the successful restoration of laboratory-based scientific research on site.

The second phase came into effect on Monday 13 July. This saw 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.

Is the Library open?

Library opening hours are:

  • Monday - Friday, 8am-11pm (staffed hours 8am-6pm, security only 6pm-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.

Face coverings must be worn in the library. 

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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How will the new ‘rule of six’ impact living in halls? — New
This communication was sent by the Accommodation Team about the implementation of the new law limiting the number of people who can attend social gatherings, known as the ‘rule of six’, and how it will affect living in Horton Halls.
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.

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 self-isolate on arriving to the UK?

When you arrive in the UK, you will be required to ‘self-isolate’ (quarantine) in the accommodation where you will be staying for the first 14 days, unless you’re arriving from an exempt country. Please do check the list of exempt countries prior to your travel to the UK. You will also need to self-isolate if you visited or made a transit stop in a country that is not on the list in the 14 days before you arrive in England. 

Before you travel to the UK from anywhere outside the Common Travel Area, you should provide your journey, contact details and the address where you will self-isolate. You will be able to complete the public health passenger locator form 48 hours before you arrive. You will be required to present these details upon arrival at the UK border control.

Full details about self-isolation are in government guidance on how to self-isolate on arrival in the UK. In summary, you will not be allowed to leave the place where you are staying in the UK for your first 14 days, except in very limited situations. This means that if you intend to come to the UK for study, you must consider these extra days of not being able to attend classes, see other people or leave your accommodation except for very limited reasons.

There is no end date yet for these measures. We advise you to double check the latest Government guidance a few days prior to travelling to the UK.

I already have a Tier 4 visa; can I apply for my new Tier 4 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 Tier 4 visa from there.

Can I study remotely if I am a Tier 4 student?

Tier 4 students are not normally permitted to undertake their studies via distance learning methods. However, due to the current exceptional circumstances, the Home Office will not consider it a breach of visa conditions for existing Tier 4 students to undertake their studies remotely in the UK or from overseas. This is on the understanding that Tier 4 students move to face-to-face learning as soon as possible 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 programme team should be in touch with you soon (if they have not already done so) to 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/ programme 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, 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 not been restored yet.

What are the Tier 4 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 programme team.

Taking a formal break from your studies usually means that your student visa is cancelled. We would then help you apply for a new student visa when you plan to return to your studies. For more information about visa implications, please refer to the ‘Taking a break from your studies’ section on our international student support pages. 

You should contact the International Student Advising team at student.immigration@sgul.ac.uk to discuss.  

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. Please continue to check the OVRO website for updates.

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. 

My visa is due to expire and I am outside of the UK, what should I do?

If you are hoping to enter the UK to continue study, you should consider that you cannot apply for immigration permission until travel starts again and application centres re-open around the world. Delays in processing applications might mean that you are late to come to the UK to continue your course. You should contact your programme team if you anticipate arriving late. 

Since 1 June, 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. The International Advising Team will issue your CAS and check your financial documents. 

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 not been restored yet.

Please contact the International Advising Team to discuss your eligibility to make an application from within the UK.  

I am in the UK and my visa is due to expire, what should I do?

Please contact the International Advising Team to discuss your eligibility to make an application from within the UK. 

Sopra Steria, which runs the immigration application centres (UKVCAS service points) have been re-opening in phases since 1 June.

If you have submitted your application online, you may be invited to make an appointment to attend a centre to provide biometrics. Alternatively, if the Home Office decides that it can reuse fingerprints you gave in another immigration application, you will receive an email explaining that you do not need to attend a centre and can instead provide a facial photograph and your documents digitally. You will be able to book an appointment to attend a centre if you cannot provide your photograph or documents online, or if the Home Office cannot reuse your fingerprints.

As long as you made your application before your current immigration permission expires, and you follow any instructions from the Home Office or Sopra Steria, you will remain lawfully in the UK, even if your immigration permission comes to an end while you are waiting for a decision, no matter how long that takes.

You will not be regarded as an overstayer or be subject to enforcement action if you are unable to attend a biometric appointment or if there are delays in processing your application.

Can I continue to work in the UK?

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.

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.

From 30 March, employers can check your right to work using scanned, rather than original, documents. It is not currently possible to apply for a National Insurance number, but you may start work before you do this and apply for one when the service resumes. For confirmation for this, see Apply for a National Insurance number.

There are special provisions for specified medical and allied health professionals, including students working or volunteering for the NHS or an independent healthcare provider in one of these professions who may work longer than their usual permitted term-time hours. 

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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