Last updated: 22 May 2020

Student FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, for University of Worcester students.

Advice for all students

What is the University doing about coronavirus?

The University is acting on advice from sources including Public Health England, the NHS, the World Health Organisation and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. We continue to take proactive steps to contact our students and staff to ensure that everyone has access to the latest advice.

The University’s leadership team is meeting regularly and is ready to act quickly as the situation changes. This group is taking official advice from Public Health England to ensure any change in guidance is implemented here at Worcester as soon as possible. This includes speaking to colleagues in the Health Service and with a range of partners.

We have increased the frequency of cleaning of key areas, with a particular focus on high touch points such as door handles, railings, lift panels and in bathrooms. We are displaying posters around the campus and on our plasma screens, reminding any remaining staff, students and visitors about the importance of good, personal hygiene – particularly in relation to thorough and frequent handwashing and are ensuring that soap is readily available.

We moved teaching online on 20 March and the majority of our buildings, including The Hive, are currently closed and most of our students are studying from home.

What precautionary measures can I take?

Public Health England recommends using good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene.  You can reduce the risk of spreading coronaviruses by taking the same steps as you would to prevent infection from the flu and the common cold.

Make soap and water your first choice for fighting germs.

Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds is one of the most effective ways to get rid of germs in most situations. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community. We are ensuring that liquid soap is readily available at all of our campuses.

The NHS has guidance on the best way to wash your hands.

If you are in a situation where soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitiser can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. The University has a supply of sanitiser, which is being provided in specific situations where staff and students do not have easy access to soap and water. Prioritising soap and water when available also helps conserve hand sanitiser for healthcare providers, who are caring for patients. 

 Other steps that you can take include: 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and immediately dispose of the used tissue.

I am self-isolating. Who do I need to tell?

If you are self-isolating, it is important that you notify us using the ‘report an absence’ form on the SOLE website. You’ll find the link at the top of the Student Notices page when you sign in.

Please do not be worried about being absent from your studies for this short period. Your health is the first priority. Your School and the University’s student support teams will help to make sure this does not affect your studies.

The NHS have produced useful guidance on self-isolating.

I am self-isolating and I’m worried about missing assignments and assessments.

If you are unable to complete any assessment, including examinations or practice-based assignments, because you are unwell or are self-isolating, you should complete the 'mitigating circumstances' form on your SOLE page in the usual way.

If you think you may have contracted Covid-19 and are self-isolating, it is very important that you follow the Public Health England advice and do not visit your GP or hospital in order to provide evidence. Please let us know where you are by notifying us through your SOLE page. These are unusual circumstances and the University will consider every claim carefully and sympathetically.

Are international field trips still going ahead?

We have cancelled all international field trips at this time. 

What arrangements are in place for online teaching?

We have moved to fully online teaching from Friday 20 March. 

  • We will deliver teaching via the University’s virtual learning environment (VLE), Blackboard, as far as possible.
  • We will also support you digitally where possible, for example, in dissertation or thesis supervision. We already do some of this work in this way.
  • You can access all learning and teaching activities, including self-directed activities and discussion boards, via the VLE just as you can now.

Online teaching will as far as possible follow the published timetable, so make sure that you look at the VLE at those times

I need to access University facilities, like the library. Am I able to?

The majority of our buildings are currently closed and most of our students are studying from home. This includes the Hive Library.

The following buildings will remain open:

St John’s Campus

  • Elgar Building: the main reception will be staffed from 9am until 5pm daily. The canteen is closed.
  • Peirson Building: Firstpoint has moved to online support only. They can be contacted at firstpoint@worc.ac.uk. The building will remain open, allowing access to computers for students who do not have access to their own device.
  • The Students’ Union shop

Vehicle access to the St. John’s campus will be through the Severn Gate

City Campus

  • Charles Hastings building, with access to a computer lab and main reception only. The main reception will be staffed from 9am until 5pm daily.

Accommodation

While the majority of students have already returned home and will remain at home for the remainder of this academic year, we have kept the student residences open to support those students who are unable to return home.

All other buildings and sites are now closed.

I’m an international student and I am concerned about the possibility of travel bans.

The current advice from Public Health England is that it is safe to remain in the UK. However, we understand that some students, especially those from overseas, may be anxious and you may be considering returning home. You should contact internationalexperience@worc.ac.uk to discuss visa requirements and so that we can support you appropriately to continue your studies.

I have a specific question about my course. Who should I ask?

If you have a specific question about your course, you should contact your Course Leader or Personal Academic Tutor in the first instance.

If you aren’t sure where to direct your question, you can also contact your School:

I am collecting data for my Master’s dissertation but this may be more difficult or not possible because of the current restrictions. What shall I do?

We have sent guidance to all postgraduate Master’s students whose data collection may be affected by the current situation. This guidance is detailed and explains clearly what you need to do depending on how your data collection is impacted.

If you have not received this guidance, please contact your supervisor or Head of Department.

If you need to apply for an extension to your dissertation deadline, or for a longer delay in submission, because of mitigating circumstances, please follow the usual procedures for this:

I am collecting data for my level 6 dissertation/independent study/project but this may be more difficult or not possible because of the current restrictions. What shall I do?

We have sent guidance to all level 6 students whose data collection may be affected by the current situation. This guidance is detailed and explains clearly what you need to do depending on how your data collection is impacted.

If you have not received this guidance, please contact your supervisor/tutor or Head of Department.

If you need to apply for an extension to your dissertation/study/project deadline, or for a longer delay in submission, because of mitigating circumstances, please follow the usual procedures for this:

I am collecting data for my doctoral thesis (PhD, MPhil, DBA, EdD) but this may be more difficult or not possible because of the current restrictions. What shall I do?

We have sent guidance to all doctoral students whose data collection may be affected by the current situation. This guidance is detailed and explains clearly what you need to do depending on how your data collection is impacted.

You should have received detailed guidance on this matter. If you have not, or if it would be helpful to discuss any potential longer term impact on your research, please contact your Director of Studies or the Research School. 

I’m studying a clinical healthcare course. Am I considered a ‘key worker’?

Yes, if you are studying a clinical healthcare course, such as Nursing, Paramedicine, Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy, you are able to self-identify as a key worker. As your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, this means that if you have children, they will be prioritised for education provision.

I have a parking permit, but I’m not coming on to campus. Can I get a refund?

All student car parking permits which run beyond 20 March will be refunded.

This is a substantial administrative task and will take a little while to process, but you do not need to take any action as we will automatically process this for you.

I'm struggling with my finances. Is the University able to help?

The University has made a fund available to help students who are struggling with finances due to the sudden impact of the Covid-19. The fund awards short term non-repayable grants to help ease financial pressure caused by the impact of the virus.

To get more information and to apply, students should visit this coronavirus relief fund webpage.

Advice on assessment

What is happening with assessments?

There are alternative arrangements for assessments. Most assessments can be submitted electronically through Blackboard and Turnitin, and this will continue as usual. We are reviewing those assessments which cannot be submitted electronically and your Course Leader will be discussing these with you in the coming weeks.

Examinations are going ahead as planned in the two assessment weeks beginning 3 May. You should continue to do your best to prepare for these exams.

What is happening with assessment and dissertation deadlines?

Some assessments, particularly those which require a practical element, have had to be amended: we are unable to continue with assessments which require face to face group work, or face to face teaching. We are also unable to continue with in person lab work. We have been carefully working through every single planned assessment, to ensure that it can be appropriately amended to ensure that it assesses whether you meet the learning outcomes of your course.

In order to reflect this, we are doing two things.

  1. We are proposing that we run the assessments scheduled over the next six or so weeks, ending on 15 May 2020, as planned. Submission will be online: this is something that we do for the majority of our assessments already. 
  1. However, we will offer every student the opportunity to defer their assessment until early July 2020, week beginning 6 July. 

You will be able to choose to complete the assessments as planned in April/May, or, if you wish, to defer your first attempt until July 2020. Once you have made this choice, you cannot change your mind.

The only exception, of course, is if you opt to complete your assessments in April/May and then become unwell or are unable to submit for other reasons. In these circumstances, you would complete a mitigating circumstances form.

Dissertations

Dissertations, independent study or independent projects for level 6 students would work slightly differently. For these, you have three options:

  • Submit on time on 30 April 2020.
  • Ask to defer submission until 6 July 2020
  • Ask for a two week extension under the usual procedures, which would mean submission on 13 May 2020.

Nursing and Midwifery

Students in the Three Counties School of Nursing and Midwifery will have slightly different arrangements, to reflect the specific nature of your courses. You should have received an email from your Head of School.

What are the deadlines for submitting assessments?

Your submission deadlines are available on your SOLE page. If you deferred any assessments, these are the dates that will be shown. It is your responsibility to check your SOLE page and to familiarise yourself with all relevant dates.

You should also be aware that the examination week in July is week commencing 6 July 2020, and for any students who fail examinations deferred to July, the reassessment examination week in August will be the week commencing 10 August 2020.

Please note that for some courses in Education, Allied Health and Community, and Nursing and Midwifery dates may differ and you will receive information from course tutors.

How do I know the dates and times for my exams?

The examination timetable was published on 15 April 2020 via SOLE.

The timetable now includes details of the additional time that you have been allowed in order to download your question paper and upload your answer document. The additional time given to all students is to recognise that you may not be used to doing examinations in this way, and to take account of time needed to download the paper and to upload your script, and therefore you may not need all of the additional time.

I chose to do most of my assignments and all my exams in May, but what if I become ill and cannot do the exams or submit assignments?

You should submit a claim for mitigating circumstances in the usual way. The same applies in July.

The claim form is available online for completion via your SOLE page under the assessments tab. You should make your claim no later than seven days after the original submission deadline date but can submit a claim in advance. These are unusual circumstances and the University will consider every claim carefully and sympathetically.

When will I receive feedback on my assignments?

Following discussion, including with the Students’ Union, we have agreed this is what will happen, depending on whether you submit in April/May or July:

  • All students who submit assessments or complete examinations by the original April/May deadlines and schedules will receive their provisional grade in the usual way, via SOLE
  • All students, whether you submit assessments in April/May or in July, will receive feedback on Thursday 30 July. We have decided to delay feedback to students who submit coursework in May. This is to avoid giving any unfair advantage to students who are submitting in July
  • The exception to this will be if you submit in April/May and do not pass. In these cases, to help you prepare effectively for your reassessment, we will provide feedback after the Subject Examination Boards take place (by Friday 12 June 2020). Additionally, if every student in the cohort has submitted in May, then feedback will be released to students in the normal way.
When you will receive your grades and feedback, depending on when you submit your assessment
Submission Month  Provisional Grade providedFeedback provided Feedback provided if reassessment required 
 April/May  20 days after submission  30 July by 12 June
 July  30 July  30 July  30 July

 

Will I receive feedback if I fail an exam?

If you fail a written exam, then you can contact your tutor for feedback and advice. You should do this as soon as you know that you have failed the exam, as it is more likely that you will be able to arrange to discuss with your tutor at that point. Later, your tutor may be on annual leave.

If you cannot contact your tutor and need advice, you can also contact your School:

If I fail my Independent Study/Dissertation/Project in May or July, when will I have to resubmit it?

If you fail your Independent Study, Dissertation or Project, the Exam Board will make a decision based on the grade achieved for the dissertation.

If you achieve a marginal fail grade (E) you will normally be asked to resubmit at the next opportunity. This means a marginal fail in May will be required to resubmit in July, and a marginal fail in July will be asked to resubmit in August.

If, however the fail grade indicates there is more substantive work to be done in getting it to a pass standard, you will be asked to resubmit in January 2021. This is the same, regardless of whether you submitted in May or in July.

I failed one or more modules in Semester 1 and have reassessments or re-sit exams. When do I take these, can I delay them until August?

No, all reassessments and re-sit examination from failed assessments in semester 1 or from failed assessments in semester 2, must be completed in July – you cannot delay or defer these to August.

I know I will have some reassessments to do over the summer, can I choose whether to do these in July or August?

No, if you failed assessments in May, then you will be reassessed as normal in July.

It is only students who opted to defer assessments to July and then fail who will be required to be reassessed in August.

Why is the University continuing to conduct examinations?

We have given considerable thought as to how we can ensure that we can maintain the academic standard of your education during the challenging and unprecedented situation that we are currently experiencing. A qualification from the University of Worcester is rightly highly regarded. At graduation ceremonies, we remind you that you have earned your degree by your own hard work.

Our responsibility to you is that we ensure that your achievements are reliably assessed and your qualifications are awarded securely. We design academic courses very carefully, including the way in which we assess that you have met the learning outcomes for your course. Examinations are part of that very carefully thought through assessment process. By offering you the opportunity to defer any or all of your assessments to July, we believe that with your continued hard work, we are giving you the best possible chance of succeeding in all of your assignments.

How does the University work out my degree classification? (UPDATED - 18 MAY)

We already have in place a flexible way of working out a student’s degree classification, which looks at two different ways of calculating a combination of a student’s best grades from their second and third years and then takes the best result for the student from these two calculations as the basis for the degree classification awarded.

A student’s first year grades are not included at all in the degree classification at the University of Worcester. This already ensures that if a student underperforms in their first year, it has no impact at all on their degree classification; if a student underperforms in their second year, they can retrieve their performance in their third year and if a student underperforms in their third year, they can discount some of their weakest third year grades and include their best second year grades.

The Students’ Union have produced a simple guide to try and explain how degree classifications work.

Why hasn’t the University implemented a ‘no detriment’ policy? (NEW - 18 MAY)

We know that a number of UK universities have implemented what is described as a “no detriment” policy, which seeks to protect particularly final year students from any potentially adverse effects to their academic studies as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some universities do this, for example, because they award students grades based entirely on their final year of study, or include grades from all years or a fixed percentage of the final two years in the way that they calculate a student’s degree classification.

We understand that many universities which adopt a “no detriment” policy will indicate that this approach has been used on a student’s degree transcript. This will indicate that the degree was awarded under these unusual circumstances. With our approach (described in the ‘How will the University calculate my degree classification classification?’ question) students receive the considerable benefit of the measures but there is no need to amend a student’s degree transcript in any way.

How has the University modified assessments in light of the pandemic? (NEW - 18 MAY)

The University has offered what we believe to be one of the most generous assessment deferral schemes of any UK university to counteract any potentially adverse effects for students as a result of the current situation. Every undergraduate and postgraduate taught student has been given the opportunity to elect to defer some or all of their assessments due in April/May to July. This allows a student to entirely personalise their submission deadlines according to their individual circumstances. This approach has been offered in respect of 60,000 assessments at the University.

Also, any student who believes that they have been suffered any circumstances which they believe has impacted on their assessment performance can also claim mitigating circumstances through our usual policy. If their claim is accepted, it allows a student to resit an assessment as if for the first time with an uncapped mark.  The University has already said that it will apply this policy sympathetically in the current circumstances.

How are the University and Students’ Union working together to support students? (NEW - 18 MAY)

Good, ongoing dialogue and communication between the University and the Students' Union have been maintained whilst developing the fair treatment policy outlined in the questions above to ensure that it properly supports our students, and maintains the value of a University of Worcester degree. 

The University and Students Union are pleased that they have been able to work together on this approach. The Students' Union has been concerned that direct comparison to other Universities' policies hasn't always been helpful or appropriate and that may have led to some confusion and unnecessary anxiety among some students.  We genuinely hope that this page answers any outstanding questions that you may have around fairness and 'no detriment' and alleviates any anxiety at this difficult time. 

Please remember that the University and Students' Union have a range of services available to help and support you: https://www.worcsu.com/helpandadvice/

Advice for students in University accommodation

I have left my accommodation, can I get a refund?

We will waive the payment due for accommodation provided by the University from 20 March for all University of Worcester students who have already left their University/University managed accommodation by 3 April and do not return this academic year.

For more details on this see the email to students about accommodation and car parking charges (sent Wed 1 April).

I have left my accommodation before the 20 March, can I get a refund from before this date?

We are only offering accommodation fee waivers in relation to the current COVID 19 crisis and this impacted the normal operation of the University from the 20 March 2020.

My belongings are still in my room, when can I come and collect them? (UPDATED - 22 MAY)

Updated guidance published by the Government in May means that it is now permissible for students to retrieve belongings that they have left in their student accommodation, providing they continue to avoid public transport wherever possible and follow the latest travel and social distancing guidance.

If you have moved out of your room on campus, leaving behind belongings, the Accommodation team will contact you soon. They will arrange a suitable time slot for you to retrieve your belongings, and advise you on the procedures you should follow to make your collection in a safe and managed way.  If you do not hear from the team, or have any questions, please contact accommodation@worc.ac.uk

There is currently restricted access to campus, and it is important that you don’t travel to collect your belongings without first liaising with the Accommodation team to arrange a suitable time.

Can I get a refund for my parking permit?

We will be processing refunds for any unused element of a parking permit, e.g if you have an annual permit, we are assuming that you have been unable to use it from the 20 March and will refund you the proportion of the permit that is valid past this date.

Please bear with us while we process these payments.  

I am currently living in University accommodation, I now want to go home, can I receive an accommodation waiver?

Current advice from Government for students is that you are advised to remain in your accommodation. If you feel that you have no choice but to move out and feel that subsequent related travel would be deemed  'essential' then please inform accommodation via accommodation@worc.ac.uk and return your keys to security when you leave.

Will I get a refund if I have already paid my accommodation fees?

If you have already pre-paid an element of your accommodation fees and are now no longer living there, we will refund any payments relating to dates after 20 March 2020.  

If I stay, what facilities are available on campus?

We are currently keeping open an area of Peirson and the 24hr PC room at City for study and the shop remains open at St John's (9-5 only).

Security cover is in place and staff are available for emergency maintenance requests. Post can be collected but deliveries from Royal Mail are reduced at this time.

Cleaning is taking place in stairwells / public areas only to comply with government guidelines.  

What should I do if I am on campus and need to self-isolate?

Please inform accommodation via accommodation@worc.ac.uk and use the NHS 111 website for advice and guidance. 

I have emptied my room but still have my key - what should I do?

Please return keys in a secure envelope to:

Accommodation  
University of Worcester
Henwick Grove
Worcester
WR2 6AJ

Please confirm your name, room and student number on a slip inside the envelope.  

I live in privately rented accommodation, can I receive a refund?

The rental agreement is normally between you and your landlord, therefore the University is unable to assist directly in rental negotiations. We do advise that if you wish to leave your accommodation you discuss this with your landlord and explain your circumstances. Citizens Advice may be able to provide advice on your rights.

The Students’ Union and our Money Advice service will also be able to signpost you to sources of advice.

I have other accommodation related questions

If you have any other accommodation related questions please email accommodation@worc.ac.uk  

Advice for students on health placements

There is a case of coronavirus or suspected coronavirus on my work placement, should I attend?

Clinical placements have very effective processes in place to manage patients with coronavirus. Please follow the guidance and policies in your work placement. Students who may be required to deliver clinical care to affected patients should have the necessary skills and knowledge, including infection prevention and control measures needed to work in such environments.  

What should I do if I think I have contracted coronavirus, or been in close contact with someone with coronavirus?

The most effective measure you can take to protect yourself is wash your hands as per Public Health England advice https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/

Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus should follow the advice from Public Health England: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

Please ensure that you email the Work Base learning Support Office (WBSLO) wblso@worc.ac.uk   as well as your course leader. It is important that you stipulate the reason for your absence as having symptoms of Coronavirus.

Is it likely that the University will cancel our placements in the event of a more widespread outbreak within the UK?

There are currently no plans to cancel or suspend work placements. We are however monitoring the situation and regularly liaising with all partners who offer work placements. 

I cannot attend my work placement as the school/ nursery/early years setting that my children attend is closed, what should I do?

Please notify your placement as soon as possible. Please email the work-based learning support office wblso@worc.ac.uk  as well as your Personal Academic Tutor. It is important that you stipulate the reason for your absence. 

I have been informed that my work placement area has closed due to coronavirus but I have not yet completed my hours and standards/competencies am I going to fail the placement?

No, this alone will not result in a failed placement. The University of Worcester will endeavour to find an alternative placement if at all possible. Where this is not possible, your course leader will speak with you regarding arrangements for making up hours and meeting your standards/ competencies at a later date.

As the University has made the decision to stop face-to-face teaching, do I still need to attend my work placement?

The University will continue to deliver lessons remotely using a variety of methods. You will continue to undertake placement learning as part of your course requirements. 

I am due to go on an international work placement, can I still go?

If you are currently awaiting a decision as to whether your international placement will go ahead you will be informed following a decision of the Vice Chancellor. All new requests for international placements have been put on pause for the foreseeable future.

Will the academic staff still visit me on my work placement?

Where these arrangements are currently in place, academic staff will continue to support and visit you in practice areas. It is possible that at the request of a placement provider these arrangements may change. In all cases the university will communicate any changes to you. 

Do I need special protective equipment from the University or will my work placement provide this?

Any special protective equipment personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided by your work placement. 

If I have a diagnosis of Coronavirus, when can I return to my work placement?

The advice from Public Health England must be followed.https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

Please ensure that you email WBSLO wblso@worc.ac.uk  as well as your course leader to inform them you will be returning to your placement. You should also contact the practice facilitator of your planned return. You must also ensure that you check your Course Blackboard site to familiarise yourself on any relevant updates

I am a student currently on an UK international study placement exchange. I have been advised and/or wish to cut short my placement as a result of COVID-19. What should I do?

The University recognises that many students will have been advised or may wish to return home in the current circumstances. If you choose to cut short your UK international placement due to the coronavirus you will be supported by your course team. 

How will Coronavirus related placement absence be categorised on my training record?

If you have reported that you are sick, this will be recorded as sickness absence

If you are self-isolating but are well, this will be recorded as authorised absence

If you are well but have to stay at home for childcare/caring responsibilities, this will be recorded as authorised absence. 

What is the advice if I am a health care student and pregnant?

We understand that you may have some anxieties if you have a placement in a healthcare setting and you are pregnant. The most recent update (26 March 2020) from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) emphasise that pregnant women of any gestation should be offered the choice of whether to work in direct patient-facing roles during the coronavirus pandemic. The RCOG website has more detailed information on coronavirus and pregnancy

The RCOG state that if you are less than 28 weeks pregnant, with no underlying health conditions, you should practice social distancing, but can choose to continue to work in a patient-facing role. If you choose to continue to work, it is strongly recommended that the necessary precautions are taken. As a vulnerable group to COVID-19 you should participate in your own risk assessment with your placement provider and the university.

If you are more than 28 weeks pregnant or have an underlying health condition – such as heart or lung disease – the RCOG strongly recommend that you avoid direct patient contact.

The University of Worcester will support the choice you make, and you should discuss your individual circumstances with your course leader and work placement who will be able to advise you.

Further information about the coronavirus, and our response, can be found on our main coronavirus information page.

Submit a question

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered here, you can submit a question through our online form. If you are a student and you have a specific question about your course, you should contact your Course Leader or Personal Academic Tutor in the first instance.