Coronavirus FAQS

As the University for Sustainability and Social Justice, the continued health, welfare and safety of our students, staff and global community is our number one priority as the world tackles the challenges brought about by coronavirus (Covid-19).

The frequently asked questions below are designed to provide answers to the most common questions our current and future students and staff may have. The University is currently responding to the Government’s latest guidance.  Only certain on-site services are open until further notice, with other departments working remotely. We are continuing to follow the latest Government advice.

Please visit the NHS website for full information about coronavirus, including answers to common questions.

Page last updated: 26 June 2020

Looking to the future

What is happening with Graduation 2020?

We firmly believe graduation is one of life’s great moments, a real celebration. As such, it is our intention to give our 2020 graduating students the full experience, shaking the hand of the Chancellor, Alan Titchmarsh, together with your fellow graduates, in Winchester Cathedral. Unfortunately, the restrictions on mass gatherings and social distancing requirements due the Covid-19 pandemic mean our Graduation Ceremonies cannot take place this October.

However, we are pleased to say that we have secured the week beginning 24 May 2021, to hold graduation ceremonies in Winchester Cathedral. Further details of the time and date of each ceremony will follow. This will of course be dependent on government public health advice and guidance at the time. We will keep you informed as early as possible of any changes. For any questions on graduation, please email graduation@winchester.ac.uk 

 

Welcoming you to Winchester in September - What is happening for the start of the 2020/21 academic year?

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our beautiful campus this September. Our top priority is that you have a thoroughly enjoyable and safe time here. 

These are extraordinary and uncertain times. The global pandemic has changed so much about our way of life. We know many of you will have questions about what the start of your university life at Winchester is going to be like.

 We have three key messages for you:

  1. Our campus will be open in September and we are planning to welcome new and returning students onto campus and into student accommodation from September
  2. We are putting in place a range of appropriate social distancing measures to ensure our students and staff are safe – what we are calling our “Covid Safe Campus” (further details will be coming soon)
  3. We will be delivering a combination of small group, on-campus sessions with large group teaching taking place online.

Please read our full update on welcoming you to Winchester in autumn 2020 here. 

Supporting you and our community

What is the University currently doing about coronavirus?

The University continues to act on the latest advice from Government. Our Senior Management Team are meeting regularly and we are communicating with our students and staff. All students and staff should be checking the intranet regularly for the latest information, updates and support.

Measures we have taken to follow the latest Government advice include:

  • only opening critical on-site services
  • offering other support remotely
  • moving all face-to-face teaching and assessments for the rest of the 2019/20 academic year online
  • postponing or cancelling all public events hosted at the University in line with Government guidelines 
  • stopping all face-to-face student extra curricular activities including sports practices, society meetings and Student Union events for the rest of the 2019/20 academic year

 

 

 

Is the University currently open?

The University is operating but the campus is on lockdown.  Only critical on-site services, including Security and the Food Hall (card transactions and takeaway only) are open on campus. All teaching and assessment for the rest of the 2019/20 academic year happened online. Support departments including Student Services and Chaplaincy are supporting students via a variety of virtual tools as applicable.

 

 

Do I need to continue paying my rent for University accommodation?

We are putting in place a £3.4 million fund to support those students living in University accommodation. This means no rent will be charged from 27 March onwards for those who have returned home and are no longer in their University accommodation. The fund is also covering a 50% discount for those who have had to stay in University accommodation for this period and for the remainder of their contract. Students who are impacted by this will be written to directly by the Housing Team with full details. We are also working with national bodies to call on private providers to do what they can to support those students who have private accommodation contracts outside the immediate control of the University.

We have offered some on campus accommodation to the NHS and are currently housing key workers.

Can I remain in my University-managed accommodation?

The current Government position is that if students are still in their University accommodation, they should stay there. However, if you are moving permanently back to your fammily home, this is permitted. If you are living in any of our accommodation, please do not worry, we will continue to accomodate you and provide catering and online Student Services support. 

All students living in University accommodation should follow the Government advice in staying in their accommodation unless engaged in one of the permitted activities.

If you are remaining in your accommodation, in order to support you during this difficult time, we are reducing your rent by 50% from 27 March onwards for the remainder of your contract. The Housing Team will be in touch with you directly with more information on this. 

 

Has the University implemented a no detriment policy?

In order to support our students during the unprecedented challenges of coronavirus, we have implemented a no detriment policy.

Read our set of FAQs, created alongside Winchester Student Union, to provide clarity and information regarding the no detriment policy and its impacts.

Is the University of Winchester supporting the NHS during this time?

We are proud to be supporting the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic by providing campus accommodation to frontline staff who are unable to stay in their own homes and car parking spaces to those working at our neighbouring Royal Hampshire County Hospital.

We have also donated acetate sheets to the Hospital which are being used to make single-use face guards for HHFT staff.

Read more about our current support for the NHS here.

Information and guidance about coronavirus

Where can I find the latest guidance about coronavirus?

Staff and students are asked to continue to regularly check the intranet for updates from the University Senior Management Team.The latest NHS advice for everyone on coronavirus can be found here. Everyone should be staying at home as much as possible to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Impact on students and staff including education and self-isolation

I'm a student or staff member and I'm concerned I may have coronavirus. What do I need to do?

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste), you should self-isolate and use the online NHS 111 coronavirus service.

Students or staff who are self-isolating because they or anyone in their household has symptoms (however mild) of coronavirus should also email stayingathome@winchester.ac.uk . Staff should also inform their line manager.

What should I do if I believe I am particularly vulnerable?

If you are contacted by the NHS to inform you that you may be at high risk from coronavirus, please ensure you follow all advice on not leaving your house.

If you are a member of staff and are able to continue to work from home, please do so if you are well enough to do so. If you are not well enough, please contact stayingathome@winchester.ac.uk 

 

I'm a current student. What is happened with teaching, examinations and assessments for the end of the 2019/20 academic year?

Teaching was happening online and all exams were converted into assessments that can be conducted virtually. An assessment extension of two weeks has been issued to students for any assignments due after 18 March 2020 and due in before the end of the normal May assessment period. 

Exams did not be happen in the normal May assessment period.

In recognition of the current exceptional circumstances facing our students as a result of Covid-19, the Senior Management Team put in place a ‘No detriment policy’ for students at all levels of undergraduate and taught postgraduate study through the 2019/20 academic year. 

Please see the top section of this page for more information on our plans for the 2020/21 academic year.

I am a student and I have been ill with coronavirus symptoms or have had caring responsibilities linked to coronavirus. Do I need evidence to submit with an extenuating circumstances application?

No. We have amended our Extenuating Circumstances policy and form in light of the current coronavirus situation,  extending the list of valid extenuating circumstances and changing the requirements around evidence required. 

When will I get my award or progression to the next year decision?

The timing of the Boards to confirm award and progression decisions have been changed to reflect the blanket submission extensions agreed as part of the University’s response to the Covid-19 situation. Boards will meet more frequently so that we can confirm the decisions as soon as possible.

Please see this list of Summer Results Dates for 2020 for the dates on which we expect to publish decisions, and the programmes and cohorts that will have their decisions published on that date. Please note, a programme may publish decisions for different levels/year groups on different days. If you have had additional extensions agreed following an extenuating circumstances application or second attempts your decision may be confirmed later than the rest of your cohort. Decisions will normally be published after 1pm on the agreed date. As usual you will receive an email to your unimail address when your decision is available on MyRecord. Please contact your programme administrator if you have any questions.

 

I am a staff member and I am self-isolating: what happens about my pay?

This will be treated as working from home or, if this is not feasible, as special discretionary leave and therefore you will be paid as normal.  It is expected that if you are in a job role where it is feasible for you to work from home you do so. For more information for staff, please see our policy on working arrangements under the constraints caused by Covid-19, available via the intranet or your email. 

I am a casual member of staff and I am self-isolating: what happens about my pay?

The University will honour payments for any hours you have already been asked to work which fall during the period of self-isolation.

I’m a staff member. I have been diagnosed with coronavirus: will this affect my pay?

This will count as sickness under the Sickness Absence Procedure Policy and normal sickness entitlement will therefore apply.

As a staff member, I have a suspected or diagnosed case of coronavirus but cannot get a GP fit note to confirm that I have been signed off sick.

A GP Fit note is normally required on the eighth day of sickness absence. If it is not available under current circumstances, we will process the absence and sickness entitlement as normal without it.

I am not able to work due to childcare/caring responsibilities linked to coronavirus,for example my child's school closure is impacting my abilities to work or I am caring for someone with coronavirus.

Please discuss this with your line manager and see our Policy on working arrangements under the constraints caused by COVID-19 for the latest information.

How are finance functions such as payroll, payments or research accounts affected?

Services are continuing as usual, despite staff working remotely. We are keeping the situation under review, and any changes to current arrangements will be communicated as appropriate.

What should I do if I feel subject to racial or xenophobic harassment due to coronavirus?

The University will never tolerate any instances of racial harassment or xenophobia. Please report any incidents of racial harassment or xenophobia to our Security team on 01962 827666 who are able to give you 24/7 support.

Advice on travel and international student affairs

Can I travel during this time?

I'm a student who has been living in my university accommodation all this time. Can I return to my family home?

According to the Government, in general, leaving your home - the place you live - to stay at another home is not allowed.

However, ff you are moving permanently to live back at your family home, this is permitted.

I am an international student and have concerns about my visa. What should I do?

If you're in the UK and your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020, your visa will be extended to 31 July 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus.

You must request an extension by updating your records with the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) if your visa is expiring and you cannot leave the UK at present but are not planning to stay in the UK in the long term.

If you have already had your visa extended to 31 May 2020 you visa will be extended automatically to 31 July 2020.

Advice for applicants and offer-holders

Those applying for an undergraduate course

My offer/offer letter advised that if I accepted the offer, it would change to unconditional. If I accept the offer, will it be unconditional?

The Office for Students (OfS) have introduced several measures since the World Health Organisation declared a pandemic in March in order to help secure the long-term viability of the higher education sector. As part of these measures, no University or higher education provider can continue to use unconditional offers in circumstances where applicants have not yet formally completed their entry qualifications.

This means that unfortunately, we are no longer able to make your offer unconditional until the results from the qualifications you are currently studying are available in the summer.

We appreciate that this sector-wide change may feel unsettling at an already difficult time. However, if you accept our offer, we will do everything we can to accept you onto the course, subject to you meeting any specific course or professional or statutory body requirements. We are very happy to help and if you have any questions, please contact admissions@winchester.ac.uk.

I accepted an unconditional offer before 11 March. Do I still have a confirmed place?

Yes, your place is confirmed and we look forward to welcoming you to the University in September 2020, or September 2021 if you applied for deferred entry.

We will be in touch with further information about registration and enrolment in the summer, so if you have changed your email address or applied using a school or college address, please remember to update your details on UCAS as soon as you no longer have access to the old email address. That way, you can relax knowing that you will receive all our important updates as soon as they are sent out.

I am concerned about my application because of school closures and cancelled exams. What can you tell me?

We are monitoring the situation closely and doing as much as we can by liaising with the relevant organisations (including schools and examination boards). In light of cancellations to GCSE and A-Level exams, we are reviewing what this means for our admissions processes, working on a best way forward for applicants and offer holders. If you are an offer holder and believe that other extenuating circumstances (not relating to coronavirus) apply to you then, as normal, please get in touch with the Admissions Team.

I am applying for a course that requires an interview. Will I still be able to interview?

Our Admissions Team are running interviews virtually, so you will still be able to interview for your course if needed. 

Those applying for a postgraduate course

I cannot complete my undergraduate course and/or provide my final transcript because my education has been disrupted (e.g. due to self-isolation) or my university has closed. What do I do?

If you are successful with your application and offered a place on a course by the academic department, you will normally be set a condition of achieving your qualification with a minimum score and providing a final transcript by a specified date (if you have not already completed your current degree). The deadline may vary by department, but, for entry in September 2020, will normally be in the UK summer period. If you will be unable to get your final transcript by the date the academic department specifies or the completion of your current course will be delayed, please contact the academic department via the contact details on the course page, and the University will provide further guidance on how to proceed.

 

I cannot book an English language test because test centres are currently closed. What do I do?

If you are successful with your application and offered a place on a course by the academic department, you will be set a condition of achieving the required English language score by a specified date (if you have not already met this requirement). The deadline may vary by department, but, for entry in September 2020, will normally be in the UK summer period, so there is still time. The situation will be monitored and, if it becomes likely that language test centres will not be re-opened in time, the University will provide further guidance on how to proceed.