Student Advice


Last updated:  9 September 2021

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

Covid-19 regulations and on-campus teaching

On Saturday 7 August, Wales moved to alert level zero. This has removed the legal restrictions on the number of people who can meet indoors, including in private homes. Face coverings will remain a legal requirement for many indoor areas.  

The Welsh Government has issued separate guidance to higher education establishments about maintaining safe learning and teaching environments, which we will continue to follow.   

You can find more information about the current national regulations on the Welsh Government website, including frequently asked questions about alert level zero.


We are planning to deliver significantly more in-person learning on campus next term, including workshops, seminars, tutorials, labs, and practical sessions. All programmes that would usually be delivered on campus will have on-campus activity every week.  

We want you to be able to collaborate and innovate with other students, to discuss and challenge, and to have access to specialist resources and facilities. We want you to experience hands-on and practical learning, where you develop skills ready for the workplace, and so we are busy planning this in for the next term.  

Building on the feedback that we have had from students about their experience of blended learning we are also seeking to keep the best of what we have put in place with this approach. Students have told us that having virtual lectures has allowed them to playback at a convenient time, whilst connecting with others on the course digitally. So, we will be keeping some of this in place. 

The precise make up of delivery will vary for each course, however we will continue to offer you a high-quality experience. There will be significantly more in-person learning and teaching than we have been able to offer this academic year as a result to changes to guidance about the number of people we can safely have in our learning and teaching spaces, mixed with online delivery. Your timetable will be ready for you to view in September.  

Your safety and well-being continue to be our priority and we are committed to delivering our courses, research opportunities and other services as safely as possible. We have operated within Welsh Government and Public Health guidelines and established a wide range of safety measures at our campuses to protect our community over the last year. Face coverings will still need to be worn in indoor public areas of our campuses, and in teaching and learning spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained. Asymptomatic Covid-19 testing will continue to be available, and everyone is asked to regularly sanitise and / or wash their hands. There will also be one-way systems in some areas of our buildings.  

More people are also now receiving their first and second vaccines, which will further help to keep everyone safe. 


 

We are then asking all students to take lateral flow tests twice a week (three days apart) for the first 28 days that they are back on campus. This is to reduce the risk of outbreaks and large numbers of students needing to self-isolate. If we detect cases early because everyone is getting tested, we can stop the virus spreading. 

Covid-19 asymptomatic home testing kits are available to collect, you just need to book an appointment in the usual way via the USW Covid-19 test booking site.  

If you don’t wish to complete the tests at home, we are still running testing centres at each campus. These appointments continue to be available at Cardiff every Tuesday and Wednesday (10am to 2pm), and Newport and Treforest every Monday and Thursday (10am to 2pm). You can book an appointment via the USW Covid-19 test booking site as well.

You can book your test appointments now - please refer to your emails and Unilife for details. 


Your health and wellbeing

Please follow the latest health advice on the Welsh Government 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 

You should:  

If you receive a positive test, please complete this online form and the Covid Welfare Team will contact you. You will also be contacted by the Track Trace and Protect Team

 – please give them the information they ask for, the team will also check your wellbeing. 

If you live in student halls of residence, please inform the Accommodation Office as soon as possible. Full guidance can be found here for protecting yourself and others self-isolating

If you live in an area that is experiencing a local Covid-19 outbreak and where local restrictions have been imposed, different guidance and legislation may apply. 

If your symptoms worsen and you need to seek urgent medical help, please DO NOT visit your GP surgery or the hospital unless advised to do so. 

Telephone appointments to speak to a USW Nurse adviser are available and can be booked  via Advice Zone Online.  Please include your mobile number in the notes section of the online booking form. You should always keep your contact details up to date in case the University needs to contact you. 

If you need help with registering with a new GP surgery please go to https://health.southwales.ac.uk/register/ 

You can find out more about what you need to do on UniLife


Asymptomatic Covid-19 testing is available for students to book at our Cardiff, Newport and Pontypridd campuses.

If you start to experience any symptoms of Covid-19, you should self-isolate and book a test through NHS Wales. There are a range of testing options for you to choose from, depending on where you live. 

You can find more information about the location of testing facilities on the Welsh Government website

If you receive a positive test, please inform the University by completing this form.

 


For UK students, if you are moving to term-time accommodation, then you are encouraged to have a Covid-19 test shortly before you move. You can do this via the NHS Covid-19 test booking system -  please answer the questions normally, and select ‘no’ when asked if you have symptoms, select ‘no’ when asked if you are an essential worker (unless this is true for you) and select ‘I’ve been told to get a test by my nursery, work or place of education’ and then ‘I’m a student returning to university in Wales’ when asked ‘why are you asking for a test?’.  

For International students, information on arrivals, testing and quarantine support can be found here.

We are then asking all students to take lateral flow tests twice a week (three days apart) for the first 28 days that they are back on campus. This is to reduce the risk of outbreaks and large numbers of students needing to self-isolate. If we detect cases early because everyone is getting tested, we can stop the virus spreading. 


We are asking everyone to have their Covid-19 vaccination before they come to campus. If you have not yet received your vaccine, you can find the contact details for Welsh local health boards on the Welsh Government website, as well as more information on the NHS website. We will also be running pop-up vaccination clinics on campus at the start of term - keep an eye on your emails for more details.  


In line with Welsh Government guidance, it is mandatory for face coverings to be worn indoors at all of our sites. 

They can be removed in teaching spaces if desired, if social distancing can be maintained, and where PPE hasn't been deemed mandatory for a specific task. If social distancing cannot be maintained, students and colleagues are asked to keep their face coverings on. Please be mindful of the interests of other people and if in doubt please wear a face covering. There will of course be some exemptions for people wearing face coverings, and this may be because of a physical or mental illness, or because of a disability or impairment. 

Whether somebody has a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering will not always be obvious. Where PPE is required, because of a specific task, then clinical standard personal protective equipment will be issued after a relevant risk assessment of tasks has been carried out. 


Your Studies

We are planning to deliver significantly more in-person learning on campus next term, including workshops, seminars, tutorials, labs, and practical sessions. All programmes that would usually be delivered on campus will have on-campus activity every week.  

We want you to be able to collaborate and innovate with other students, to discuss and challenge, and to have access to specialist resources and facilities. We want you to experience hands-on and practical learning, where you develop skills ready for the workplace, and so we are busy planning this in for the next term.  

Building on the feedback that we have had from students about their experience of blended learning we are also seeking to keep the best of what we have put in place with this approach. Students have told us that having virtual lectures has allowed them to playback at a convenient time, whilst connecting with others on the course digitally. So, we will be keeping some of this in place. 

The precise make up of delivery will vary for each course, however we will continue to offer you a high-quality experience. There will be significantly more in-person learning and teaching than we have been able to offer this academic year as a result to changes to guidance about the number of people we can safely have in our learning and teaching spaces, mixed with online delivery. Your timetable will be ready for you to view in September.   

Your student experience is important to us and we have been working and continue to work to ensure your overall experience. We intend to deliver our courses in a blended format; with a proportion of the teaching and learning being delivered digitally, and some teaching and learning being delivered in person. 

The nature and balance of learning and teaching methods and activities are sufficiently flexible to adapt and enable you to succeed in your studies. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. Please note that if you are hoping to join us to study from a country outside of the UK, your options/studies may also be impacted by Government guidelines or decisions of that country. 

Any changes to your course have been considered and approved through the University Quality Assurance processes, which include student and external scrutiny. If any further changes are necessary we will inform you at the earliest possible opportunity. 



We are planning to have significantly more in-person learning on-campus, and we want to ensure that your safety and wellbeing continues to be our priority. Students will usually be expected to attend the on-campus sessions in their timetable.   

Your health and wellbeing is our main priority and all students (new and returning) must read through the Individual Risk Assessment information.

If you identify as extremely vulnerable, or have a risk assessment score of seven or more, you must inform the University by completing this form. A member of your course team will be in contact with you to discuss the necessary measures to enable you to attend in person.   

If you identify as vulnerable, or have a risk assessment score of four to six, you are encouraged to inform the University by completing this form . You will be required to attend scheduled learning activities in person and follow all recommended hygiene and social distancing measures paying particular attention to the need to:  

  • Stay 2m away from others  
  • Use of face coverings where social distancing is unreliable  
  • Ensure frequent hand and surface hygiene 


We will be delivering a full and interactive blended teaching and learning experience, with significantly more in-person learning on campus next term,  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.


Each field trip will be considered individually by the course teams to evaluate whether they will be possible, taking into consideration the wider situation with the Covid-19 pandemic at that time, as well Government guidelines, travel restrictions and social distancing protocols. 



International students

We are aware that some students may experience delays in travelling to the UK for the start of the 2021/22 academic year due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. We will do our best to provide as much support as we can to anyone experiencing delays. 

It may be possible for students who are unable to arrive on campus for the start of their course to enrol online and commence their studies virtually for the first four weeks of term, but if you are in the UK you should engage with blended delivery elements as soon as you are able. Some (but by no means all) of our September start courses can offer flexibility and virtual learning options beyond the first four weeks of term and some permit virtual study for the whole of term one for students who have not yet travelled to the UK.  Full distance learning for students who are present in the UK is not possible. 

You must remember that if you enrol online and start your course virtually, you will miss some in-person teaching and not all study materials will be available to access online. By not attending the sessions you may miss specific learning experiences. We therefore encourage all of our students to arrive on campus as soon as possible. 

No changes will be made to the generous scholarship packages that we offer to international students but there will be no further fee discounts for students who choose to commence their studies virtually.  

You must enrol online by the 4th October 2021 although you should endeavour to enrol sooner if you can, Once you have enrolled, you will be able to study virtually until the18th October 2021. After this date, on campus attendance becomes compulsory for most courses. 



The current pandemic means that travel and arrival arrangements are more complex than usual. Unless you are from a green list country, you will need to prepare to quarantine when you arrive in the UK. Please don’t worry, however, we have staff who are able to support you. For further information about quarantine and the support that the University can provide, please visit our Immigration and International Student Advice pages (LINK TO:   https://intadvice.southwales.ac.uk/welcome/) 

Before you travel, you need to check that you have the latest information and ensure that you have followed all the necessary steps for your journey. 

International arrivals to the UK are currently categorised in green, amber and red list countries. A list of countries and territories and which list they are in is available on the Welsh Government website. You need to follow the rules for the highest risk country or territory that you have been in or passed through in the previous 10 days. This can include transit stops.  

Remember England and Wales have different lists, and you need to check the list for the country you are travelling to. If you are flying to England, you will need to follow the rules for England before travelling onto Wales. 

Please remember that countries can be moved between lists if conditions change. You can sign up for an email alert here to be notified when changes to the lists are made. 

However, this ban does not apply to British and Irish Nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK. If you have a Tier 4 or Student visa or have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, then this ban does not apply to you, because you have 'residence rights'. This will also not apply to PBS dependents, but family members travelling with you on visitor visas will be affected by the ban. 

If you have a visitor visa or are planning to apply for a visitor visa at the border please contact us before you travel for immigration advice. 

For more information please visit the Immigration and International Student Advice pages. 


If you are a current student who is unable to return to the UK 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 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 a 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.


Postgraduate Research Students

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

 

Applicants

Please refer to the FAQs for applicants here.


Accommodation

If students need to self-isolate, then our accommodation team is on-hand to support them, including to access food supplies, should they need support accessing any. Outside of their flats, students must wear face coverings in all indoor public places, including in some of the shared areas such as the laundry facilities.

Students are also encouraged to follow the latest Welsh Government regulations at all times.  


If you are living in Treforest halls of residence and are self-isolating, please contact the accommodation team on 01443 482845, who are available 24 hours a day, so they can offer any support that you may need.  

There are a number of meal plans available, should you wish to use them. This includes the provision of daily hot meals through a short-term catered meal plan. There are also a number of supermarkets offering home delivery and essential food boxes, which contain a selection of essential items. 

Essential maintenance will still be provided for students who are self-isolating, please just email [email protected] and let us know that you are self-isolating and whether you or any of your flat mates have symptoms.  Our maintenance staff will call you ahead of their visit and ask you to wait in the kitchen, while they carry out the work. 

The accommodation team are providing a rubbish removal service for self-isolating flats. Please email [email protected] to request this and to ask for new bin liners/recycling bags etc. If you need to do your laundry whilst you are self-isolating, please call 01443 482845 and the accommodation team will arrange a date/time slot for you to use the laundry facilities.  

If you are staying with a private halls of residence, please let your accommodation helpdesk team know of your situation and they will advise you of the support they can offer whilst you self-isolate. Please phone them on the number you will have been provided at check in.

You can find additional information and support about self-isolating on UniLife.

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 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 StudentMoney Advice Team 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 2021/22 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. 


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 [email protected]



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 working closely with students and employers. We know that employers will also be carefully considering this advice. 

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. 


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




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. 

What to do if you are unwell or experiencing Covid-19 symptoms 
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 



Students’ Union

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