You have probably seen, or heard, the Prime Minister’s announcement last night (Monday 4 January 2021). In England, we’re now in a national lockdown; find out what the new rules and guidance are here.
We know that another lockdown will leave many of you feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, confused and many more emotions. Please know that we are here for you and that we are in this together. We’ve pulled together this summary email to highlight the key points from the University communication as well as our own updates and how we’re operating including useful resources and activities to get involved with.
If you need any support, advice, representation or just a bit of fun to take your mind off things, then we’ve got you!
In-person teaching will be delayed until at least mid-February for all students except for the exemptions listed.
Timetables will be updated this week to reflect these changes.
Students who are already at the University should remain in place and not travel away.
Students already on campus should book their two tests as a matter of urgency.
Students who have not yet arrived but who are beginning in-person teaching or placements for future critical workers, or those who cannot work at home, should book tests urgently to help the University to plan for the demand for testing in the coming weeks.
In line with the national guidance, where it is feasible to do so, PGR students should work from home. If you cannot work from home for any reason, you can continue at present to access campus office and study spaces.
The Doctoral College will be reviewing their current approach to lab, field and office based research, in the light of the expected Government guidance. They are committed to maintaining, within the limits of the guidance, as much of the research activity as they can.
The Uni will shortly be sharing a survey to all students to identify those who are at the University and who may need additional support.
Exam results will now be announced on Thursday 18 February (one week later than originally planned).
Sports facilities and services are now closed with virtual activity continuing.
Other campus services, including the Library and study spaces, will remain open for those who are permitted to come to campus.
The University will keep campus services provision under review over the coming weeks and will ensure you are updated.
You can find all the University communications on their COVID hub.
Despite the difficult news, your Students’ Guild is still very much ‘open’ and ready to support you. The announcement does mean that the Officers and staff will be working remotely, but we’re committed to supporting you as we have done throughout the pandemic.
If you need to get in touch with us to get support, you can do so by emailing us or by contacting us on social media. You can also reach the Officer team through email and social media – you can find their details here. If you need to reach a specific department, please visit our Meet the Team page. You can also get in touch about coronavirus related issues through our feedback form, or by contacting email@example.com.
As we have done throughout the pandemic, we’ll continue to provide updates and resources on our coronavirus hub. We know you get a lot of important communications to your email, so we aim to summarise these on the hub, including those sent out by the Registrar.
We’ll be getting in touch with student group leaders and society committee members separately with a bit more info about what the announcement means for student activity over the coming weeks and months – keep an eye on your emails if that’s you.
Student Reps- look out for your first newsletter for Term 2 on Friday for more information and support, as ever please do contact the Voice team if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In terms of what the national lockdown means for Students’ Guild spaces on both campuses, we’re working with the University to understand whether these can remain open – we’ll update you as soon as we can on this.
Despite the lockdown, Get Connected will continue to run, including for the upcoming Get Connected X Refreshers (which we’ll be telling you a bit more about very soon!). We know it’s been a difficult year to meet people, have fun and try new things, so we’d really recommend getting involved. There’s also the Get Connected Community Facebook group, which is a brilliant way to meet other people – we’re especially keen to welcome as many students in single households as possible to help you stay connected!
We’ve got your back
As always, we’ve got your back and are constantly ensuring you’re represented in meetings, committees and decisions. Whether that’s through Guild staff, your Full-Time Officers or amazing Student Reps, we are making sure your voices are heard at all levels throughout the University.
We need you to continue talking to your Student Reps in the first instance; you can find out who your Rep is here. Reps are an essential part of making sure your views, opinions and experiences are shared with the lecturers, faculties and colleges. This is how change happens and we continue to represent your academic interests throughout the pandemic.
You can also share your experiences to your Full-Time Officers; you can find out who they are here and how to contact them here. Please remember to be patient and kind to our Reps and Officers, they are working so incredibly hard for you during this challenging time.
If there are any student issues or causes that you’d like for us to campaign on or help fight your corner, please get in touch with us! A good example of this is that Penny (VP Education) has been working with a great group of students as part of the ‘Students for Academic Mitigation’ campaign in lobbying the University for another No Detriment Policy and even taking it to National Union of Students (NUS) to become a national movement- find out more here. It’s important to remember that policies such as this take time and we need your input and support campaigning to make change happen.
We understand that there are other issues such as rent and fee rebates which we are raising with the University and we’re hoping to be able to provide updates soon.
Helpful Resources and Activities
We know how difficult of a time this is and how much of a challenge the coming weeks will be, but there is a range of support to help you with issues you’re facing. Our Advice Service may be able to support you with any issues you’re having, including with finances, academic matters and accommodation. The University’s Wellbeing Services are also open to support you with your health and wellbeing. We know that many of you will have exams and assessments due this week and if you are finding this difficult with the impact of COVID and lockdown, you may want to consider mitigation to defer exams or request extensions for essays. For more information and how to apply, have a look at the University website.
If you’re struggling financially because your hours have been cut or for any other reason, then you can apply for financial support with the Success for All Fund. The fund can be used to pay for IT equipment to support your studies, pay for bills or a number of other things to ensure that you can succeed at University. Societies can also apply for the new Get Connected Grant Fund to help them put on activity for their members, whether that’s to support their wellbeing or to provide some entertainment during the national lockdown.
External support is available through charities like Mind, who can provide mental health support should you need it. Samaritans are also on hand if you ever need someone to talk to, as well as Exeter Nightline who are currently running at a reduced service. We can’t stress enough how important it is to get the support you need, even if that’s just having a chat with someone.
It’s also really important to regularly check the University’s coronavirus hub to stay up to date with the latest information about testing, returning to campus and more. As always, we will continue to summarise key information sent out by the University on our own coronavirus hub.
Stay safe and stay in touch,
Your Students’ Guild
Sunday, Penny, Ruby, Liv and the rest of the Guild team