Is the University closing its campuses?

Patrick Hoyle, Guild President:

The University has taken the decision to move to online teaching from 23 March – all teaching for the week commencing 16 March has been suspended. We have asked students to go home, where possible. Essential operational staff are still on campus, for example staff that provide catering for Accommodation and Estate Patrol. Students’ Guild and University events have been postponed or cancelled to protect the wellbeing of our community.

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What mitigation is in place?

Penny Dinh, VP Education:

Supported by the Full-Time Officer team, the University has made the decision that assessment deadlines due before the end of term have been extended.

The University announced on Wednesday 25 March their plans for summer examinations for taught students. I am pleased to have been a major part in ensuring these options are as fair as possible for students. I recommend that you make sure you have fully read and understood the email the University sent, which explains in further detail all the information listed below.

Key information:

  • The University have decided that all examinations will be replaced by open book remote examinations or coursework assessments. It will be up to individual departments and colleges to decide exactly what format each module will use.
  • For open book examinations, students will be given a 24 hour period in which to do the assessment, to ensure students in different time zones are not disadvantaged.
  • Details of the assessments will be communicated to you in an email from the DVC education by the end of the day on Friday 3rd April.
  • A simpler and accelerated mitigation policy will be developed and sent out by 3 April.
  • Any student concerned about the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on their ability to perform may ask to defer all of their remaining assessments for this academic year until either the next assessment window (later this summer) or to next academic year. No evidence will be required to support either request.
  • Students can apply for a deferral for one or more assessments where short-lived circumstances impact on their ability to complete some assessments but not others. No evidence will be required.
  • Students can apply for mitigation or deferral should they experience technical issues or IT failure during an examination.
  • A safety net policy has been introduced, meaning so long as you would qualify to progress/graduate based on your marks obtained this year (including those in the summer assessment period), then we will ensure that your final academic year average is the same as, or higher than, the average you have attained up to Sunday 15th March. The University will release further details about this soon. Please note that some programmes that are subject to professional regulations may not be eligible for this policy.

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How can I look after my own wellbeing during self-distancing?

Katie Heard, VP Welfare & Diversity:

By following government advice, we’ll all be spending significantly more time at home, often on our own. During these difficult times, it’s so important that you look after your mental wellbeing, not just your physical wellbeing. I’ve put together some advice for self-distancing, which I hope will be useful in helping you make what is a big adjustment for us all.

In terms of continuing your studies from home, I’m sure many of you are concerned about not going to your regular study spots or the library. Studying at home will be an adjustment, and I’d recommend doing the following to help:

  • Get your study space right – try not to study in bed or somewhere you’ll easily be distracted. This might be difficult for some, but making a clear divide for your work/life balance is really important.

  • Get into a routine – routines aren’t the most glamorous of things, but they genuinely do help working from home.

  • Stay in contact – even though we’re not going to be with people, make use of the technology we have available and stay in regular contact with people! We’re all going through this together, so let’s support each other.

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What should you do if you’re showing symptoms

Sunday Blake, VP Postgraduate:

It’s important that you follow government and NHS guidelines if you’re showing any symptoms for coronavirus – this is to look after both yourself and those around you. Take a look at the NHS guidelines to make sure you know what to do.

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What will happen with graduation ceremonies?

Liv Harvey, VP Activities:

The University have taken the difficult decision to postpone graduation ceremonies to protect the health, wellbeing and safety of students and their guests. The University will still be able to make awards for finalists who are expecting to complete their studies this summer. Further updates will be provided on the rearrangement of ceremonies, a process which we understand will be student led.

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What should I do if I am a victim of or see racist and hateful behaviour?

Katie Heard, VP Welfare & Diversity:

As a community we must come together during this extremely difficult time. Racist and hateful behaviour is absolutely not acceptable, and we need to work together to ensure anyone in our community does not fall victim to this.

If you are a victim or you see anything, please report it to the University by using their? speak out pages.

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Can I stay at University accommodation?

Katie Heard, VP Welfare & Diversity:

Yes – you are allowed to stay in your University accommodation. All accommodation is staying open, as well as some key University services. To let the University know you are staying in your accommodation:

1. Login to iExeter (via the desktop or app) and click on the ‘Access SID’ button or alternatively login to SID Online
2. Click on ‘ask a question’ then click the ‘Log enquiry’ button
3. In enquiry category select ‘Accommodation - Coronavirus’
4. Answer the questions
5. Click the ‘Send’ button

We recommend you look at the University's accommodation advice for further information if you are planning on staying in your accommodation.

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What is the University’s no detriment policy? How can I get further information on it if I’m confused?

Penny Dinh, VP Education:

The University has announced a no detriment policy, in which a benchmark based on academic achievement to date will be calculated. A student’s grade cannot be lower than this benchmark following assessments this year – it can only be improved. If a student’s grade is lower following assessments, their benchmark will be their grade.

If you have questions about the no detriment policy, please get in touch with coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk, or take a look at the University's coronavirus FAQ's.

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What's happening with my exams? 

Penny Dinh, VP Education: 

You can see when your exams are happening and the type of exams adopted by specific modules here: exeter.ac.uk/students/exams/. You can find more information on the University's FAQ page

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My accommodation is rented through a private landlord – what can I do and what support is available?

Katie Heard, VP Welfare and Diversity:

We are continuing to represent students and are working with private landlords to ensure students have options to allow them to exit their contract, extend their contract or take rent holidays. We have released an open letter to private accommodation providers outlining this, which we encourage you to read and share.

We understand that accommodation is one of the main concerns for students, and we’re committed to doing all we can to help students reach the best outcome possible. We encourage you to get in touch with your landlord to see what arrangements may be possible.

For further information on accommodation, visit our accommodation FAQ's.

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I don’t feel it’s fair that I’m expected to pay the same tuition fees for blended learning – can I get compensation or reimbursement?  

The Students’ Guild and the Full-Time Officer team are supporting the NUS Safety Net campaign, which is lobbying for hardship funding for students, support for those leaving education, opportunity to retake a year at no extra cost and fee reimbursement or a debt write off on a national level to Government. This is a cause we’ll continue to support, and we’ll update you when we can.  

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I’m worried about my society if there are fewer new students next year – how will we finance our activities?  

The Society Hardship Fund, led by Liv, VP Activities, is in place to support societies in financial difficulty. We would encourage you to stay in touch with us to understand how your society is being affected by coronavirus by completing our feedback form or getting in touch with the Activities Team on activities@exeterguild.com. We will also do our best to provide solutions to ensure that as many of our student-led activities can continue next academic year.  

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I don’t feel safe to return to campus until a vaccine is developed – can I do online learning for the whole of first term?  

This is a consideration that is being made by the University as part of Project Enhance. It is completely understandable for students to have these concerns, and solutions are being discussed to ensure students have the ability to do online learning throughout term one.  

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I don’t have a laptop or the money to buy one – how can I access a laptop so I can adjust to blended learning?  

You can apply for Emergency IT Loan Scheme for specific support for IT-related queries, or the main Emergency Assistance Fund. The Hardship and Retention Fund is in place for students facing longer term financial difficulties. We recognise that this is a very real issue for many students, and we would ask that you continue to update us on how you are being affected by completing our feedback form.  

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