All students | USW Update | Thursday 17 September

Final preparations ahead of the start of term | Professor Martin Steggall (Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Student Experience 

We are very much looking forward to welcoming you back for the Autumn term of the 2020/21 academic year, however you are studying with us, and whether you are a returning student or joining us for the first time. We know that things will be a little different as we all continue to contend with living, learning and working during a pandemic.  

Here are some essential things that you will need to know ahead of the start of term.  

Site Guide 
There is a Site User Guide for Students which takes you through how our campuses, buildings and facilities will be operating. If you are returning to campus, please take some time to read it before the start of your studies for this year.  

SafeZone  
Download and use the SafeZone app on your smart phone if you are able to, logging in when you come onto campus. We are also looking at how we can support the new NHS Covid-19 app and more details will follow in the coming weeks. 

Self-isolating, symptoms and testing positive 
To enable us all to continue going about our lives, we each have a responsibility to follow the social distancing and safety guidelines. If you are displaying symptoms, or have had a positive test, please self-isolate in your accommodation and do not come onto campus. You can find out more about what you need to do, and who you need to inform at the University on UniLife here.  

Welsh Government guidelines 
If you are moving to Wales, it is important that you understand the latest guidelines, as these will differ from other UK nations and countries. The Welsh Government website provides information on current regulations and restrictions in Wales. The latest emails sent from USW Coronavirus Advice outline the latest position on the need to wear face coverings indoors and the local restrictions in place in Rhondda Cynon Taf. 

Looking out for others 
Whether you are living in University-owned halls of residence, private accommodation or local housing, everyone has a responsibility to continue to be considerate members of their local community. We want you to enjoy your time with us at USW, however, now more than ever, we all have a joint responsibility to continue to think of others. The need to adhere to strict social distancing and follow the latest guidelines on meeting others is really important - every member of the community, not just the student community, has a responsibility to do this. The Student Charter also explains what our students can expect from our University and what, in turn, the University expects from our students.  

Enjoying freshers’ week responsibly  
It may be the first time you've lived away from home and had to take care of yourself. You'll probably be making a new group of friends, who may stay with you for the rest of your life. We just ask that you enjoy the week responsibly, follow social distancing and socialising rules and look after each other. If you are in the Rhondda Cynon Taf county borough, remember that you can’t meet with anyone else indoors apart from those that you live with you in your student flat or house.  

Supporting you to access online learning 
Our approach to blended learning this term means that you will require access to digital technology to enable you to access elements of your timetable. We’ve increased the number of laptops we have available to loan to students on a short-term basis and we are negotiating a discount with a reputable supplier if you’re looking to purchase a new laptop. Students who experience financial hardship may also apply for support towards buying digital equipment and assistance with internet connectivity through the USW Student Support Fund. Further information will be on UniLife when available.

We hope this helps to set out some of the things that you need to know ahead of the start of the academic year. Your course teams will no doubt have already been in touch with you and your timetable will be published from next Monday (21 September). I hope that you enjoy your time with us this term and keep safe.  

Please note, off-campus students who are studying with a partner college should check guidance and communication from their college, about local attendance, assessment and teaching arrangements.