Student Advice


Last updated:  03 June 2020, 10:00 

If you are a student at USW, you can find additional advice and guidance on UniLife 

Your health and wellbeing

We understand that this may be a difficult time for some, particularly if you have family or friends in any of the worst affected regions.  

If you need to speak with anyone, please contact the Advice Zone or contact the Immigration and International Student team at USW.  

The University Chaplains are also available to offer support to all students and staff. To speak to the chaplaincy during office hours, please ring 01443 654060. To contact them outside of this time, please ring 03455 760101. Your contact details will be taken, and a chaplain will phone you back. You can also speak to a Chaplain via Skype – to request an individual Skype call or join the Chaplaincy Skype group email, please contact vaughan.rees@southwales.ac.uk.  

For more information and advice:



Please follow the latest public health advice on the gov.uk website

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of: 

  • new continuous cough and/or 
  • high temperature 
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell 
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of taste 

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness. 

  • If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. (See ending isolation for more information) 
  • If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. 
  • For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period. (See ending isolation section for more information). 

if you have coronavirus symptoms: 

  • do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital 
  • you do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home 
  • testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home 
  • if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999. 

Please email health@southwales.ac.uk and your course leader if you are self-isolating. 


Your health and wellbeing is our and your main priority. Please don’t worry if you need to self-isolate. We are adapting how we run our courses with a blended and phased return to on-campus learning. If you are unable to return to campus for any on-site activities whilst you are self-isolating, then provision will be made for you to begin your studies virtually.

If you are unwell, please inform your course leader, and email health@southwales.ac.uk.  

If you need to, you can also apply for extenuating circumstances – the Advice Zone can help you with this. 


If you are unable to attend campus for the start of the new term in September because of health or personal circumstances, then provision will be made for you to start your studies for the new term with us virtually. For courses where there are mandatory elements of practice or practical sessions, we will work with you to do all we can to make alternative arrangements and we would encourage you to keep engaging with us when you receive more information about your course before the end of July. 



Your Studies

Your health and wellbeing is our top priority as we prepare to welcome students onto our campuses in September 2020. With social distancing requirements expected to continue for some time, we are adapting how we run our courses with a blended and phased return to on-campus learning.

Many of our courses have practical components taught in specialist facilities such as labs, workshops and creative studios. We plan to run as many as we can on our campuses in small groups, in safe environments, from September.  We will also deliver as many other face-to-face activities as we can safely, where it can be done in suitably smaller groups.  We will make full use of the teaching day and week to do this.

For the first term (September to December 2020), we have decided to deliver all of our lectures virtually so as not to breach social distancing guidelines for large groups of people. This blended learning approach, which combines a blend of virtual and on-campus delivery, will ensure you receive good experiences and high-quality education. You will still interact with other students and academics, and you will receive personal support. We will introduce the full range of on-campus activities as soon as we can.

For now, please be assured that everything will be in place for your studies to continue in a safe and secure way. We are working through the detail of the plans and will be letting you know how this will affect your study in more detail before the end of July.



If you are unable to attend campus for the start of the new term in September because of health or personal circumstances, then provision will be made for you to start your studies for the new term with us virtually. For courses where there are mandatory elements of practice or practical sessions, we will work with you to do all we can to make alternative arrangements and we would encourage you to keep engaging with us when you receive more information about your course before the end of July.


 

The University will look to see how we can best support you and mitigate any unnecessary effects to your studies.   

If you need to, you can also apply for extenuating circumstances – the Advice Zone can help you with this. 



Yes the new academic year will start in September as planned. You will receive further information about enrolling over the summer months. We are looking forward to welcoming our new and returning students back to our campuses in small groups and in a safe environment.  



We will be delivering a full and interactive blended teaching and learning experience and we will be supporting you with your studies. The blended learning approach that we will be providing, which includes a blend of virtual and on-campus delivery, will ensure you continue to receive good experiences and a high-quality education.  As a result, we will not be reducing our fees.



International students

If you are unable to return to the UK for the start of the new term in September, either because of government restrictions on travel, or if you would prefer to delay your return because of health or personal circumstances, then provision will be made for you to start your studies for the new term with us virtually. For courses where there are mandatory elements of practice or practical sessions, we will work with you to do all we can to make alternative arrangements and we would encourage you to keep engaging with us when you receive more information about your course before the end of July. 



If there are quarantine controls in place for people coming into the UK when you are planning to return, then we will get in contact with you to provide you with further information about how the University will be able to assist and support you.


 

 

The University is accepting applications for halls of residence for September 2020. We are able to take a zero-deposit booking at any time. You can find out more about accommodation options and submit an application here


If you are a current student who is unable to return to the UK in September due to Government restriction on travel and/or personal reasons, you will need to contact the IISA team, for advice on your individual situation.

If you are a new student at USW, please be assured we are continuing to prepare to welcome our new students in September 2020. If you decide to study on campus, we will issue CAS for your Tier 4 visa as soon as Visa Application Centres open and travel restrictions are lifted.

If you choose to study at a distance for your course, our admissions and faculty teams will provide information on study and enrolment to you directly.

If you are currently in the UK on Tier 4, or another type of visa, and wish to start a course at the University please contact our IISA team, either by email, on the Ask an Adviser service, or call +44 (0)1443 482083, for advice and support on your individual situation and circumstances.



EU citizens, non-EU EEA, Swiss citizens and their eligible family members who are in the UK after the 31 December 2020 will need to have immigration permission. This will either need to be under the EU Settlement Scheme or under the immigration rules which will be in place from 1st January 2021.

Whether you are a new or returning student from the EU, as long as you have proof you entered the UK before 31st December 2020 (this could be flight tickets, landing cards, tenancy agreements or student status letter) then you can still apply for the EU Settlement Scheme inside or outside the UK as long as you do so before 30th June 2021.

Even if you have a documented right of permanent residence under EU law, you will still need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme, or via another immigration route, before the end of the transition period, as the right of permanent residence will no longer be recognised after the transitional period.

Remember the IISA team can assist and advise on all applications, in the UK or Overseas.  Please contact the team, either by email, on the Ask an Adviser service, or by phone on +44 (0)1443 482083, for advice and support on your individual circumstances and application.



Postgraduate Research Students

You can find a comprehensive list of FAQs for Postgraduate Research Students on the Graduate School website.

 

New students

Please refer to the FAQs for applicants and new students here.


Accommodation

Any possessions that have been left in the University accommodation in Treforest are being stored safely. Under current lockdown rules, people in Wales have to stay at home and maintain contact only within households, unless they have a reasonable excuse to travel. If you need to arrange to collect your possessions, please contact the accommodation team first by emailing accom@southwales.ac.uk to discuss when this may be possible.

If you have left possessions in privately rented accommodation, then please speak to your landlords directly. In most cases, if your tenancy has come to an end, or is about to come to an end then travelling to pick up possessions left at the rental property would be classed as a reasonable excuse to travel if this cannot be postponed until after lockdown travel restrictions are lifted.

Please note, this guidance only applies to students who live in Wales. Should you have to travel from elsewhere into Wales, or from Wales to elsewhere, you will also need to refer to the relevant travel and accommodation guidance in that country.

 


The University is accepting applications for halls of residence for September 2020. We are able to take a zero-deposit booking at any time. You can find out more about accommodation options and submit an application here

We are working through the plans to enable social distancing. We will keep everyone who applies for a place in our halls of residence up to date as these are developed. If you have any queries about this, please contact accom@southwales.ac.uk.



If you are looking to book a room with a private accommodation provider or landlord, we would encourage you to check the terms and conditions carefully. You can find out more information about the various accommodation options available here.

We are adapting how we run our courses with a blended and phased return to on-campus learning from September 2020. We will be letting you know how this will affect your study in more detail before the end of July. 



Student Finance

The Student Money Advice Team is continuing to offer guidance and support  to students through Advice Zone Online, by email, and telephone appointments.

Telephone appointments (link to: https://studentmoney.southwales.ac.uk/contact-us/) are available Monday - Friday, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. Please include your mobile number in the notes section of the online booking form.



The Government has issued advice and support for individuals affected by Covid-19. There is guidance is available on:

The Student Money Advice Team  (LINK TO: https://studentmoney.southwales.ac.uk/contact-us/) may be able to offer further information and assistance.



You can contact the Revenue department if you would like to discuss making changes to your current payment plan.


The Student Loan Company has published information for students here

Undergraduate students can apply/reapply for funding for the 2020/21 academic year.

You can find all of the latest information about the Student Loan Company on the gov.uk website and on the Welsh Government website



Support Services


All of our Support Services can be contacted via Advice Zone Online and queries will be responded to between the usual opening hours of 8.30am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. 


USW Careers is still here to support you.  We have been delivering most of our services online for many years, so everything is already up and running for you to access. 

The Careers website is the best place to start with lots of resources and signposting to all of services, such as; Careers Connect - jobs board and events system, MyCareer - career and skills development system, and GradEdge Award - online employability award.   

All appointments are running via Skype with details on how to book here.  The Ask a Question service is also running as normal.  



 

Campus Advice Zones are delivering all services online only. 

The Advice Zone can be contacted via Advice Zone Online and queries will be responded to between the usual opening hours of 8.30am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. Remember to check your student email account; you will receive an email there when your query has been answered. 



The Counselling and Mental Health Services can be contacted via Advice Zone Online and queries will be responded to between the usual opening hours of 8.30am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.  

Support is available via 30-minute wellbeing advice telephone and Skype appointments, which can be booked via Advice Zone Online. 



The Health Service can be contacted via Advice Zone Online and queries will be responded to between the usual opening hours of 8.30am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.  

Telephone appointments can be made with the Health Service through Advice Zone Online. Please include your mobile number in the notes section of the online booking form. 



The Progression Advice Team is continuing to offer guidance and support to students through Advice Zone Online, by email, telephone and Skype appointments. 

Telephone and Skype appointments are available during term time, 9:30am – 3:30pm, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. You can book an appointment using Advice Zone Online. 



There are several ways to access support from the Disability Advice Service: 

  • You can book a telephone appointment by clicking here. If you’d prefer an appointment via Skype or online chat please email disabilityadviser@southwales.ac.uk.
  • Specialist Study Skills Tutors and Mentors are offering remote sessions via Skype or telephone. If you’re unsure how to contact your assigned support worker, please email SSST@southwales.ac.uk for Study Skills or MHS@southwales.ac.uk for the Mentor team. If you access your specialist support externally, please contact your provider or a disability adviser for further advice. 
  • If you have an assigned note-taker and need support accessing any of the online teaching, please email disabilitysupport@southwales.ac.uk
  • You can access useful resources on the Disability Advice Service website including some assistive software. 



Students who are in the process of applying for Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs) and are due to have a DSA Needs Assessment can find contact details for local assessment centres on the DSA Hub website DSA Needs Assessment Centres are equipped to carry out Needs Assessments remotely. 



Whilst the libraries are currently physically closed on our campuses, USW Library Services is open online. Students, staff and researchers can access support from USW Library staff and hundreds of thousands of resources remotely. 

Over the coming days, an additional 180,000 new e-books will be made available as well as new online content to support students with their studies. Our Library staff are working with the UK academic publishing industry to keep this access available and free to everyone to use.  

USW students, staff and researchers can access the USW Library Services online via FINDit or via the library website


  

We provide a staffed 24/7 virtual chat service to help with any query students have with library services and resources 

Virtual appointments can be made with a Faculty Librarian for one-to-one support.  Students can indicate which technology they are most comfortable using, either email, Skype, or another online tool  



Subject support is available through our numerous subject guides and BoB (Box of Broadcasts) allows you to view films, TV programmes and listen to radio programmes online

Many Blackboard modules will have a Reading List online which will include links to books, e-books, e-journal articles, digitised chapters, websites and more. Module reading lists are also accessible here.  

Many other online guides are available to help you 



Please keep any library books you have borrowed until the University is open again. Your books will be automatically renewed, and you will not be liable for any fines. 


Please keep any library books you have borrowed until the University is open again. Your books will be automatically renewed, and you will not be liable for any fines. Information about how to return your books will be made available once the University campuses have re-opened. 


The University Chaplains are available to offer support to all students and staff. To speak to the chaplaincy during office hours, please ring 01443 654060. To contact them outside of this time, please ring 03455 760101. Your contact details will be taken, and a chaplain will phone you back. You can also speak to a Chaplain via Skype – to request an individual Skype call or join the Chaplaincy Skype group email, please contact vaughan.rees@southwales.ac.uk



Work-based placements

The health and safety of our students and staff is the University’s main concern and we are closely following the advice of the government and the professional body regulators for our courses, where applicable.  Course and faculty teams are monitoring the individual placements on a daily basis, and are working closely with students and employers. We know that employers will also be carefully considering this advice and will wherever possible, be looking for their staff to work remotely. 

Employers may therefore choose to end or postpone short, curriculum-based placements. These work placements are being managed by individual course leaders, with alternative arrangements being developed to recognise work-based learning credits, should these placements not be possible in the current climate. 



These are exceptional circumstances and the University does not want you to be disadvantaged by things which are beyond your control. Your course leaders and course teams are developing alternative arrangements to recognise work-based learning credits, where necessary in discussions with professional bodies, and these will be communicated to students individually based on their individual circumstance. 


These are exceptional circumstances and the University does not want you to be disadvantaged by things which are beyond your control.  Your course leaders and course teams have developed alternative arrangements to recognise work-based learning credits, where necessary in discussions with professional bodies, and these will be communicated to students individually based on their individual circumstance. Please contact your course leader to find out how this will affect you. 


We would encourage you to follow the latest public health advice, around social distancing, and self-isolation. If you are unable to attend your placement, please let your host-organisation/company and your course leader know.  

The health and safety of our students and staff is our main concern and we are closely following the advice of government.  Employers will also be carefully considering this advice and will wherever possible, be looking for their staff to work remotely. Employers may therefore choose to end or postpone short, curriculum-based placements. These work placements are being managed by individual course leaders, with alternative arrangements being developed to recognise work-based learning credits, should these placements not be possible in the current climate. 



During your sandwich placement, you are an employee of your host organisation and you should follow their advice and guidance.  

All employers will be paying careful attention of the advice of the relevant government and either requiring their staff to work remotely or ensuring that their workplace is safe. 

Following Government advice by nation 
As of May 2020, there is now some difference in advice between the UK Government for England and that of the devolved governments in WalesScotland and Northern Ireland  

 So depending on where your placement is based you will need to consider the appropriate advice. Especially around travel to and from your place of work, should this be across borders, or outside of the area where you live. 

What to do if you are unwell or experiencing Covid-19 symptoms 
We would encourage you to follow the latest public health advice, around social distancing, and self-isolation should you have an underlying health condition or a high temperature and/or persistent cough.  

If you are unable to attend your placement, please contact your line manager at your place of employment, and follow your employer’s sickness absence procedures.  

Help and support 
If you have any queries or concerns which you are unable to resolve by speaking to your employer, please speak to your course leader or USW Careers Work Placement Partner, who will try their best to help you. 

To contact the USW Careers Team, please visit: https://careers.southwales.ac.uk 



We do not yet know how long the current pandemic will last or how this will affect the recruitment plans of employers, or how their plans may change over the coming weeks. 

Employers are still advertising opportunities and using Skype and other tools to interview remotely. The Careers and Employability Service can help you with applications, and to prepare for Skype interviews and other selection activities. 



Students’ Union

For a full list of FAQs about the Students’ Union, please visit their website: www.uswsu.com  


Following the University's decision to move to remote learning, the Students' Union made the difficult decision to close all buildings and venues.  


Advice and support can be accessed from SU Officers via email:  

You can reach staff members via direct email or contact the Students' Union via email, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  You can also send them your queries via an online form



Abuse or harassment

We are aware that there have been some incidents of harassment and abuse towards Chinese people in the UK. The University takes this very seriously and we encourage any students who have concerns to get in touch with Immigration and International Student Advice (IISA) for advice and support. 

The University has a Dignity at Study policy and a Student Code of Conduct, which includes information on how we would treat such incidents.  Further advice and guidance are available from studentcasework@southwales.ac.uk  

Incidents can also be reported to South Wales Police by contacting PC Lorraine Tinsley or you can report anonymously via the Crimestoppers website



If you are unable to find a response to a question that you have in the FAQs above, then please email coronavirusadvice@southwales.ac.uk.  


Updates made to this page 

3 June 2020
Updated information to reflect the plans for the new academic year in September 

21 May 2020 
Updated to reflect changed advice on the most common symptoms of coronavirus 

15 May 2020
Link updates

14 May 2020  
Update guidance for students on sandwich placements  

21 April 2020  
Updated guidance about exams and assessments, and for students in University-owned accommodation 

15 April 2020  
Additional information about student loans for current and new students. 

6 April 2020 
Updated advice for international students on a Tier 4 visa and updated Student Loan Company website link. 

1 April 2020  
Link added to FAQs for postgraduate research students, and contact details for the Revenue department  

30 March 2020  
Updated links to government information about student loans, and a Students’ Union feedback form.

26 March 2020 
Information about returning library books.  

25 March 2020  
Updated to reflect the Government’s stay at home guidance, the latest position for students in University-owned accommodation, and new information from the Student Loan Company.  

23 March 2020 
Updated information from the Student Loan Company, and information about work-placements 

20 March 2020 
Details added about how to access student support services, as well as information about the Students’ Union and student finance. 

19 March 2020 
Guidance for students living in University accommodation, and advice about how to continue your learning online, additional information for students studying with us on a Tier 4 visa, assessments and exams, and access to the libraries and support services such as USW Careers and the Disability Advice Service..

17 March 2020 
Updated public health advice, links to government information pages, immediate suspension of all face-to-face teaching suspension, start of home working for staff where possible and remote learning to begin from Monday 23 March. 

16 March 2020 
Update about face-to-face teaching and assessments stopping at the end of this week, with online teaching starting from Monday 23 March, and clarification for students on a Tier 4 visa. 

14 March 2020 
Updated guidance for international students who wish to return home. 

13 March 2020 
Updated public health advice about self-isolation and when to contact 111, fingerprint scanning for international students, travel advice, and updated links to government information pages.