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Coronavirus: Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: 11am, 1 April 2020

The University is reflecting the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Frequently asked questions:

Campus and Halls

Is campus still open?

In line with the UK Government’s latest advice about coronavirus and in common with many other universities, the University suspended all physical face to face teaching (including laboratories, seminars and tutorials) and closed all non-essential sites.

Our libraries, Manchester Museum, Jodrell Bank and Whitworth Art Gallery, as well as most of our teaching and research buildings, are closed for physical access. Certain essential services and facilities and halls of residence will remain open.

Read the full statement here.

I live in University halls of residence, what do I need to do?

The Government’s advice is that students remaining at university in England should now stay where you are and not attempt to travel. If you are living in student halls, or private rented accommodation, you should remain there and stay indoors while current restrictions are in force. Please ensure you have completed the ResLife Census which you will have received via email – this will enable us to ensure we are able to support you.

If you have left Halls and left belongings in your room, please await further contact from us with details of when you will be able to collect your belongings.

If you still have keys there is no longer any need to post them back as our admin offices have closed – please await further contact from us.

For those who have left hall we will not charge rent beyond March 21.

Studying, teaching and assessments

What will happen with assessments and exams?

We will be taking a ‘no disadvantage’ approach for all assessments that replace on-campus exams this summer. This is just one of the supportive arrangements that we have introduced since suspension of on-campus teaching. All these arrangements are aimed at helping you progress with your studies without worrying that achievements that you have already made will be negatively affected by the difficult conditions under which you are working.

Alongside your wellbeing, our priority is for you to earn a qualification that is of high quality and valued by employers and, for certain programmes, in line with the standards and requirements of external accrediting bodies.  For our externally regulated programmes, we continue to engage with accreditors regarding the finer details of their expectations and to inform them of the changes we are making.  Your programme team will have been keeping you informed of amendments to teaching and assessment for your programme of study and will continue to do so on an ongoing basis if further changes are made. 

  • First year and internal Foundation Year students will progress automatically to your next year of study – though we will provide learning and assessment opportunities after Easter. There will however be formative assessment opportunities (which means the marks won’t count, but you will get helpful feedback). We strongly encourage you to take part, because this will help your confidence and support you in preparing for next year. If your marks show you might not normally have progressed, you will have one-to-one advice to talk through your options.
  • In the Faculty of Science and Engineering, the no-disadvantage policy will apply to any summer assessments which replace scheduled exams. In most cases you will not require further summer assessments, because you have already accumulated enough marks to progress or successfully complete your award.
  • In the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, the no-disadvantage policy will apply to those programmes where decisions have been taken to replace scheduled on-campus summer exams with alternative assessments. This and all other changes to assessments may be subject to the approval of programme specific regulators and so your programme team will keep you informed if this is the case.
  • In the Faculty of Humanities, the no-disadvantage policy will apply to any summer assessments which replace scheduled exams, but will also cover all assessments submitted during Semester 2, including all coursework, dissertations and projects.
  • All students taking UCIL units should complete Semester 2 coursework assessments. No summer examinations will take place. The no disadvantage policy will then be applied by schools as agreed within the Faculty.

I’m not feeling well, what should I do with regards to my study?

Should I submit a request for mitigating circumstances to cover the impact of coronavirus?

No, you don’t need to do this, as steps will be taken for all students across all programmes to minimise the academic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

You only need to submit a claim for Mitigating Circumstances if your illness or personal circumstances relating to COVID-19 is impacting on your ability to engage with the online learning resources resulting in you being unable to submit your assessment.

There are issues with my health which are preventing me from engaging with online learning -what should I do?

If you have been ill for seven days or less you can self-certificate using the self-certification procedure. If you have been ill for longer than seven days or you think you are not going to be better in time to complete your assessment, you should submit a claim for Mitigating Circumstances. 

If you are too ill to engage with your studies online, you must contact your School office.  In your email please make sure to include your name, your university number and the programme you are studying on.  This will help us to keep an accurate record about who is affected and to give you further guidance.

I’ve been ill for longer than seven days and this has impacted my ability to study and may impact my assessments – what should I do?

You will need to submit a claim for mitigating circumstances to your School.  You will not be required to submit any supporting evidence of your illness with your claim.

I’ve been ill for longer than seven days and I have not been able to study – what should I do?

If your period of illness will impact on you being able to complete your assessments or means that you will need to request an extension then you will need to submit a claim for mitigating circumstances to your School.  You will not be required to submit any supporting evidence of your illness with your claim.

I submitted my assignment/dissertation/did my presentation in the last few weeks can I make a claim?

You will need to make a claim if you were ill at the time you completed the assignment or when you were making the presentation.  If this is the case you need to submit a claim for mitigating circumstances.

You should not base your claim on simply having to now make the presentation on line nor that a member of the group was self-isolating or that others were returning home due to the virus – claims on this basis would not be upheld.

What evidence will I need to submit with my Mitigating Circumstances or Self Certification claim?

If you are self-certifying you will not need to submit any evidence.

For claims for Mitigating Circumstances relating to illness where you would normally be required to provide a doctor’s certificate, the University has agreed to remove the requirement to provide this evidence for the academic session 2019/20.

I’m self-isolating for 14 days should I submit Mitigating Circumstances or Self Certify?

Providing you are well and working online you do not need to submit either.  You only need to submit a claim for mitigating circumstances if you have been ill during your isolation and unable to work and this will impact on your ability to be able to submit any of your assessments.

I’m worried about self-isolating, social distancing, and being able to access my on online learning. What should I do?

We will do all we can to support you and your learning during this time.  As far as possible all of your learning will be on-line and accessible, and relevant notes and materials will be uploaded into Blackboard.  Staff will reply as promptly as possible to any specific requests you make, through email or Blackboard, for academic support. 

Will my Graduation ceremony still take place?

We are keeping the arrangements for the July 2020 graduation ceremonies under careful review.  We currently advise those travelling from outside the UK to check the travel advice in their home country before making any travel plans.

We regret that we cannot be held liable for any loss or damage, including but not limited to travel and accommodation costs, which may arise from a graduation ceremony that is cancelled or rearranged due to coronavirus. 

Support and wellbeing

This is impacting on my mental health and wellbeing. What support is available?

Our support services are available to offer advice and guidance remotely, as they would on a face to face basis. You can find the full list of contacts on the student support website, which also includes lots of other resources to help support your wellbeing.

As a student receiving financial support, will this continue uninterrupted?

All students in receipt of financial support e.g. the Manchester Bursary, will continue to receive their instalments as planned. We are committed to maintaining support for all of our students.

I have an existing condition, for which I am registered with DASS which has become worse and I am studying online/am too ill to study online?

Please notify your School who will put in place support and/or offer advice.

I am a student on work placement, should I still be working?

Government guidance is very clear that all work should be done from home unless it is absolutely essential. As such, we expect that students on work placement should now be working from home, unless identified as essential work in healthcare services.

Travel and visas

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has published advice for students planning to travel in the UK or oversees, and the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has published their advice for international students.

I am on placement – what should I do?

If you are an undergraduate on a study or work placement overseas you should have received a number of communications from the International Programmes Office.  Please see here for copies of the communications and other useful information.  If you are a Masters student or PhD student on placement overseas, please contact your School office or Supervisor.

I am planning a trip abroad and have a non-UK passport, what should I do?

If you are planning to travel to other countries please be aware that if you have a non-UK passport, some countries are adding visa restrictions in efforts to contain the virus.  Please ensure your visa is valid before making any bookings.

I am worried about my visa status. What should I do?

The UK Home Office publishes regular updates. The latest advice is that all foreign nationals whose UK visas expire any time from 24 January 2020 and who cannot leave the country because of travel bans or self-isolation, should contact the Home Office if they wish to extend their stay in the UK. Their visas will be extended to 31 May 2020.

Details on what to do to obtain this visa extension are within the link above.

I’m an international student what should I do if I miss a police registration appointment due to Covid 19 restrictions?

Police registration appointments have now been suspended until further notice. If you have booked an appointment or have an appointment due in the next month, you just need to keep the evidence of your appointment which shows that you done what you can to meet the conditions of your visa. When appointments resume, you will need to rebook your appointment through and attend your appointment with the police to fulfil your visa conditions.

I’m an international student, will studying/researching online affect my Tier 4 visa?

No, if you are studying/researching online or are too ill to study/research but have notified us, we will continue to maintain sponsorship of your visa.

As an international student, migrant or visitor can I access COVID-19 medical treatment?

No charges apply to international students or overseas visitors for testing for COVID-19, even if the result is negative, or to any treatment provided for COVID-19 if the result is positive or up to the point that it is negatively diagnosed. The same is true of most other infectious diseases.

I’m an international student trying to return home. Can I get an extension?

Yes. If you are not able to access your online learning as you are trying to return to your home overseas you can submit a mitigating circumstances request to seek an extension due to the disruption you are facing.

I would like to travel abroad, what should I do?

Please visit the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) for the most up-to-date travel advice.

Fees and Refunds

Will the University be refunding me part of my tuition fees?

The decision to suspend face-to-face teaching with effect from 16 March was taken in light of Government advice to protect the health and wellbeing of staff and students, and was beyond our reasonable control. Although physical face-to face-teaching has been suspended, the University continues to support all our learners to achieve their desired learning outcomes including, academically, by mitigating the impact of the current situation through making suitable alternative provision in the areas of teaching, learning and assessment. These changes have been made to protect health and wellbeing, implement government requirements and to seek to preserve the continuity of teaching, learning and assessment. In light of the steps we are taking and all of the circumstances, we will not be refunding tuition fees. All of our decisions are being made in your interest, to help you progress in your studies and earn a qualification which you can be proud of, and which will be valued by employers and accrediting bodies.

Can I withhold my tuition fee?

It is important that you continue to pay your tuition fees by the published due date. Where a tuition fee payment remains outstanding beyond the published due date, an indicator will be applied to your student record. You will be notified of this via your University email account and asked to contact Credit Control to arrange payment. Until payment or a payment plan has been agreed you will be unable to re-register or graduate.

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