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Coronavirus: FAQs [Updated 30/3]

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We will update this page regularly, please continue to check for updated information.

Please read the questions and answers below, if your question isn't covered here, then please get in touch by emailing Internal Communications.

What is the university doing to plan for this?

We are closely monitoring the situation and information published by the government and providing updates to student and staff on our Coronavirus information page, and by email as appropriate.

The university has an Emergency Response Group which is ready to respond if/when this becomes necessary. If invoked, the Group will follow the university's Emergency Response Plan. A working group chaired by the Chief Operating Officer is also meeting regularly to plan and prepare for a range of potential scenarios relating to COVID-19 to ensure that we are best able to support students and staff.

I'm pregnant and on placement, what should I do? [Added 20/3] 

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have issued a statement to say that there is no further evidence to support pregnant women as being at high risk, but social distancing is still recommended. The government advice is that pregnant women are in the group classed as vulnerable and also suggests social distancing. has issued similar advice.

For this reason, we are advising pregnant students not to go into placement and to inform their programme leader that they are self-isolating.

Further details about social distancing and at risk groups is here.

Should I still be on my health, education or social work placement when most students have been moved to online teaching? [Updated 27/3]

We are aware that there is understandable concern about attending placements in light of the spread of COVID-19. We are actively monitoring the situation with our education, NHS and other partners and we are also in close contact with our university colleagues across London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

In light of the ongoing disruption caused by the spread of the coronavirus and the mass closure of settings, the university has suspended placements for all ITE until further notice. We are also awaiting guidance from the DfE. However we recognise that in light of the unprecedented situation we are in, trainees may want to volunteer to support the care of keyworker children. This is not an expectation and is an agreement between the setting and the trainee outside of your programme of study. More information can be found on the Department of Education's website, and if you have any concerns relating to your course, please contact your programme lead.

Currently the advice is that students should remain on other health or social work placement unless the placement provider advises otherwise. Students who fall into the government's category of a vulnerable group should employ social distancing and are advised not to attend placement. You can find more information about that, and about caring for vulnerable individuals here with specific guidance for households with vulnerable family members here.

Nursing and midwifery students in the final six months of study

Students in the final six months of your studies can choose to complete your programme in clinical placement. If you choose not to complete your programme in clinical placement you may be able to complete your programme under "normal" NMC standards, however a placement cannot be guaranteed for you potentially for some time.

Please head to your course Moodle pages for the full details.

We need to let HEE know the intentions of each of our completing student nurses and midwives, so we  have prepared a short survey which will be distributed soon via Moodle. Please respond to the survey promptly as it is imperative that we can provide HEE with data for their emergency workforce planning.

As you will also be aware there is the possibility that the NMC will introduce  a specific temporary register for nursing students in the final six months of their programme, so the survey will also ask nursing students if you would opt to join the register. 

09/19 and 01/2020 nursing and midwifery students

We continue to work closely with placement providers and given the exceptional circumstances and fast moving situation with COVID-19 we have taken the decision to [exceptionally] extend your Easter break by two weeks;  you will now be on leave starting Monday 23 March. There is no need to contact your placement provider. The expectation is that you will return as planned w/c 20 April, and the week will be used for online teaching/tutorials.

Given the pace of change, we ask that you remain in touch during this period, regularly accessing Moodle and checking university emails as there may be further announcements forthcoming. If you have any concerns or queries in the first instance contact your programme leader.

We're continuing to monitor the implications for placement students closely and we will contact students directly and update this FAQ as quickly as possible if official advice changes.

How are the university's  research activities affected by Coronavirus? [Added 26/3]

Greenwich Research and Enterprise have provided an update for staff advising that our research facilities should be scaled back to the minimum sustainable level or shut down completely where that is feasible.

PhD students have been asked to work closely with their supervisors to identify essential research activity and to work with supervisors to curtail this safely.  

A message to PGR students from Prof Jane Harrington, Vice-Chancellor was emailed to students on 24 March, details of this communication are on our Coronavirus update page, see: 25 March: Greenwich Research andEnterprise: Supporting PGR students. 

Is the Village Shop at Avery Hill still open? [Added 24/3]

The Village Shop is not open as usual, but is instead offering an order and collect service. All the details are on the GSU website. 

Will I be able to take my exams remotely? [Updated 26/3] 

The Vice-Chancellor has issued advice on assessments and exams and set out how the university is working to identify alternative ways to complete these activities.

Students should make every effort to engage with planned assessments in the normal/published timeframes and, where appropriate, use the late submission link.

The extenuating circumstances procedure remains available to inform your faculty of circumstances relating to the impact of the disruptions arising from the current spread of Covid-19 and this update sets out the principles ​which apply.

We will share more information during the week beginning Monday 30 March, when the exam timetable is published.​

Do I need to/when should I self-isolate? [Updated 19/3]

You should follow the new advice issued by government on if/when to self-isolate. The most up-to-date information is published on the gov.uk website, which is updated daily. We are continuing to monitor this advice and update our Coronavirus information page. 

There is also new guidance for what to do and how long you and/or the people you live with should self-isolate for.

If you self-isolate, you should inform the university of this so we can help support you.  Please advise us in the same way you would normally report absence through sickness indicating that you are self-isolating.

Students you will need to complete an complete an authorised absence form and submit this to your faculty Retention and Success Officer.

I am self-isolating/ have no childcare following school closure / have limited access to IT equipment / have returned home overseas and have an assessment, what should I do? [Updated 24/3)

Students should make every effort to engage with planned assessments in the normal/published timeframes and, where appropriate, use the late submission link. 

However, with the current changing circumstances, we have updated the way you can make use of the extenuating circumstances procedure. Read the full details here.  

What does self-isolation mean? [Updated 19/3]

Self-isolation basically means that a person should remain in their home to reduce the risk of infection being spread. This is now also sometimes being called simply 'stay at home' and it is now recommended that whole households stay at home, rather that just the person with possible symptoms.  

Public Health England have produced advice and information on how to safely self-isolate or for a household to stay at home to reduce the risk of infection being spread.

I have heard there is another student (or students) in my hall who has tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19). Is this true? [Added 16/3]

The university has not received any notifications of any confirmed cases of Coronavirus in any of our halls of residence. The university is closely monitoring the situation and will provide updates to students and staff on our Coronavirus information page and by email as appropriate. If a student tests positive in the halls, the university will contact anyone who needs to be notified and will provide advice and assistance. Please do not speculate about who may or may not have tested positive as rumours tend to spread and may cause unnecessary distress to others.

I am returning home. Is there anything I need to do? [Added 16/3]

You must notify Accommodation Services immediately of your plans, ideally by completing a short form available on the Accommodation Portal.  Accommodation Services will contact you regarding your departure. If you are not planning to return to the hall, you must return your keys and ensure that your room is cleared and left clean and tidy.

If I move out of halls, will I be released from my accommodation licence agreement and will my hall fees be refunded for the remainder of my contract? [Updated 24/3]

If you have moved out, or will be moving out soon, you will not be charged fees for the weeks you are not resident, from 1st April onwards. You must inform us, ideally no later than Thursday 26 March whether you are:

  • remaining in halls
  • have already moved out
  • have left halls but are intending to return if allowed to do so in future
  • intending to leave as soon as travel is permitted

You can do this by filling out the form on the accommodation portal. If you have already completed this form, please update it if your circumstances have changed.

Please note: if you do not complete the form, you will not be eligible for any refund of hall fees so it is essential you complete it now. We will be in contact with you during the coming weeks.  

If I do not have time to pack all my things, will someone send them to me? [Added 16/3]

You must make your own arrangements to clear your belongings when you vacate university accommodation. If you are unable to do so, you must make arrangements with a friend/family member or private moving/delivery company to pack up your belongings and send them to you. It is important that you liaise with Accommodation Services if this happens as special arrangements will need to be made within the hall to facilitate this.

Do I need to return home or can I remain in halls? Will I have to pay my full fees? [Updated 24/3]

You do not need to return home. You can remain in your accommodation until the end of your contract period.

Some services in halls may be reduced so students will receive a discount from April onwards if applicable. You must inform us, ideally no later than Thursday 26 March whether you are:

  • remaining in halls
  • have already moved out
  • have left halls but are intending to return if allowed to do so in future
  • intending to leave as soon as travel is permitted

You can do this by filling out the form on the accommodation portal. If you have already completed this form, please update it if your circumstances have changed.

Please note: if you do not complete the form, you will not be eligible for any refund of hall fees so it is essential you complete it now. We will be in contact with you during the coming weeks.  

What happens if I am unable to return home at the end of my licence period due to travel restrictions? [Added 16/3]

If you are unable to return home due to travel restrictions, the university will ensure you have somewhere suitable to live.

Will the halls be normally operated and staffed?  [Updated 26/3]

The university's accommodation team is now working remotely, with security, cleaning and maintenance operating in the halls.

Cleaning inside of the flats has however been suspended in most halls. A discount may be applied for those remaining in these halls and information will follow later once we know the extent of the suspension. Please ensure you take steps to maintain good hygiene, empty bins regularly, wipe down surfaces, etc.

If you have a query or need assistance, please check first on the accommodation portal before contacting us, as there may already be an answer to your question or a form that you can complete. Otherwise, please contact staff at your halls and we will respond as quickly as possible.

I live in halls and am concerned about what support is available if I'm on my own, become ill, etc. [Updated 24/3]

We realise that some students will not have wished to, or been able to, return home and we want to reassure you that we will be taking steps to look after your wellbeing. If you are remaining in halls and are the only person left in your flat then please let us know. We do not want you to feel isolated and want to explore all available options for keeping you in touch with others.

Please contact Accommodation Services and we will work with other support services to ensure that things are in place to look after you.

I have a room booked for the summer. Can I cancel?  [Added 16/3]

Yes, provided you let Accommodation Services know as soon as possible and no later than 31 May 2020. This deadline can only be extended in exceptional circumstances.

I am planning to travel soon, should I go? [Updated 19/3]

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued a COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice. This means that they advise British nationals against all but essential international travel. 

We understand that some students from overseas may be anxious and considering returning home. If you are, please check the latest government advice and refer to the current FCO travel advice. The FCO has a travel advice page for Coronavirus (COVID-19) as well as foreign travel advice for each country, and this applies to anyone considering traveling to that country, regardless of nationality.

Teaching is continuing online, so if you choose to travel abroad you must inform us by completing an authorised absence form and submitting this to your faculty Retention and Success Officer. This is especially important if you are on a Tier 4 Visa. Authorised Absences will not affect your visa but if you do not inform us then that could have a negative effect.

If you have an upcoming assessment you should consider carefully if travel is necessary. If you miss an assessment you will need to complete an Extenuating Circumstances claim and reference your Authorised Absence as the evidence for your circumstances.

You should maintain contact with your faculty Retention and Success Officer to ensure they know when you plan to return.

I have just returned from overseas what should I do? [Updated 19/3]

The government guidance on this has changed as it's now suggested that anyone who may have come into contact with the virus should self-isolate, not just those returning from certain areas overseas. The updated self-isolation guidance for all households with possible coronavirus infection should be followed instead.

What if I am abroad and I cannot return to the UK? [Added 11/3]

You must inform the university, as you would for any other absence and provide regular updates.

Students: Students you will need to complete an complete an authorised absence form and submit this to your faculty Retention and Success Officer.

Staff: Where you are well enough to do so, you should work remotely (i.e. from the location where you are) if this is possible. Where this is not be possible, you should discuss this further with your line-manager. You may be asked to undertake alternative duties which are suitable for remote working.

Where you are prevented from returning to the UK, you will receive your salary as normal.

What support is available to me?

Students: If you have any concerns or would like to access support, the university's support services are available for you to use. The details of the Student Wellbeing Service and the Students' Union Advice Service can be found on our website.

Staff:please speak to your line manager and/or our colleagues in HR in the first instance.

I have experienced/witnessed inappropriate, bullying, or harrassing behaviour due to Coronavirus, what should I do? [Added 11/3]

We are proud to be an international university and it is really important that as a community we are kind, respectful and support each other.

The university will not tolerate bullying or harassment.

Students: Inappropriate behaviour will be treated seriously, in line with the Student Disciplinary Procedure, please inform your faculty Director of Student Experience.

Staff: You should report it following the university's Bullying and Harassment Policy and Procedure.

Is the soap provided in the university toilets antibacterial?

Antibacterial soap is no more effective than any other type of soap. It's important is to wash hands thoroughly, following the general principles of good hygiene available on the NHS website.

Can I have my own bin to put my dirty tissues in and should our bins have lids on them to stop any infection spreading?

Please use the existing bins provided and follow the general principles of good hygiene available on the NHS website.

People don't read the websites, why aren't there more posters telling us what to do?

There are posters in all toilets outlining Public Health England advice, including who to contact and what to do if you have any concerns.

Why aren't there posters in the toilets to show us how to wash our hands?

There are posters in our toilets and in halls of residence which have been updated to reflect information about coronavirus.  If you believe a poster is missing, please contact the FM Help Desk or Accommodation Services to report this.  

COVID-19 has been declared a notifiable disease. Does that mean it needs to be reported on the online incident reporting system?

No – A 'notifiable disease' is one that is on the list of diseases notifiable to the public health authorities by a medical practitioner. In contrast, a 'reportable disease' is an incidence of a work-related/occupationally acquired disease as defined under the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrence Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).  It is the latter that should be recorded on the online incident reporting system.

Will the university provide face masks?

This isn't in line with Public Health England's advice which is based on the current risk level, which you can find on their webpage.  Research has not shown that masks are necessarily effective in preventing the spread of contamination.  

However, we know that some people may choose to wear face masks to protect themselves and others from possible infection. It is important that we recognise their decision and we encourage our community to be as supportive of each other as possible.

I am really worried about the spread of coronavirus, will the university undertake screening of students?

This isn't in line with Public Health England's advice which is based on the current risk level, which you can find on their webpage. We are continuing to monitor this advice and update our Coronavirus information page. 

Screening must be undertaken by a suitably qualified healthcare professional under clinical conditions.

If you have a concern you should, in the first instance contact 111, where you will be directed to the most appropriate healthcare professional and advised on how to get tested if required.

Should cleaners at the university wear protective clothing?

Our cleaners already follow good hygiene and infection control practices. 

Someone I know has been advised to self-isolate, should I do the same?

You should follow Public Health England advice and if concerned call NHS 111.