Student Advice


Last updated:  20 October 2020 

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

Fire break restrictions

Welsh Government has announced that there will be fire break restrictions introduced from 6pm on Friday 23 October until Monday 9 November. They have highlighted that there are five main changes:  

  • people must stay at home, except for very limited purposes 

  • people must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with 

  • certain businesses and venues, including bars, restaurants and most shops must close 

  • secondary schools will provide learning online only for the week after half-term, other than for children in years seven and eight. Primary schools and childcare settings will remain open. 

  • face coverings continue to be mandatory in the indoor public spaces that remain open (subject to certain exemptions and exceptions), including on public transport and in taxis 

You can find more information on the Welsh Government website.


The Welsh Government has advised that universities are able to continue offering blended learning during the period of the fire break restrictions. This means that we will remain at Operational Level Two for our teaching and learning. 

There will be no change to our blended learning approach, and we will continue to deliver the timetable for term one in its current format. If you have any on-campus provision in your timetable during these two weeks, then you should continue to attend them as originally planned. You are allowed to travel for this purpose. If you have any concerns or queries, please speak to your course teams in the first instance. 


As there is no change to our educational delivery, we are asking you to remain in your term-time address. Welsh Government have been clear that students should not travel to their home or an alternative address for these two weeks. You are also not able to travel to an alternative address in the days leading up to Friday 23 October, as local restrictions remain in place which do not allow travel outside of the county borough where you live in South Wales. This is to help reduce any potential spread of the virus. 

You can find a full list of FAQs, including details about when you are able to leave your term-time address, such as to access medical services or to access education, on the Welsh Government website 


There will need to be changes to the delivery of some of our facilities during the period of the lockdown, from Friday 23 October until Monday 9 November, which means that most of these will be provided at Operational Level Three. 

  • Our on-campus catering facilities will be take-away only 

  • The Sports Centre on our Treforest Campus will need to close temporarily 

  • We are waiting for clarification from Welsh Government about whether our libraries and study spaces can remain open 

Our welfare and support services remain available and you can find more information about these on UniLife


The Welsh Government lists the following as the limited reasons that you can leave your home / accommodation between 6pm on Friday 23 October and Monday 9 November: 

  • the need to obtain supplies and services for you or your household, for example food, medicine, and essential household maintenance. We encourage everyone to make this as infrequently as possible 

  • to exercise, alone or with members of your household. We encourage this to be done locally. 

  • to access childcare and education 

  • to access medical services or other public services 

  • to deposit and withdraw money from a bank or similar establishment 

  • to provide care for or to help a vulnerable person; this includes getting food or medicines for them 

  • to help the NHS by donating blood 

  • for work purposes, or voluntary or charitable purposes, but only where it is not reasonably practicable to do this from home 

  • to visit a cemetery, burial ground or garden of remembrance to pay your respects 

  • to attend a wedding, civil partnership or funeral if you are invited 

  • to attend court or meet other legal obligations 

  • to escape a risk of illness or injury, such as for victims or people at risk of domestic abuse 

  • to access services provided to victims of crime or domestic abuse or those at imminent risk of becoming victims  

Whenever you leave home, you should try to minimise time spent outside of the home, and ensure you stay at least two metres away from anyone you don’t live with.  

You can find more information on the Welsh Government website.


Your health and wellbeing

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 

You should:  

If you receive a positive test, please email health@southwales.ac.uk and a USW nurse adviser 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



Your health and wellbeing is our main priority. All students (new and returning) must read through the Individual Risk Assessment information and must inform the University if they identify as Extremely Vulnerable, Vulnerable or have a risk assessment score of four or above. You must inform the University by completing this form

If you need to self-isolate as you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or have been in contact with someone who has, then please inform your course leader if you are unable to attend any planned on-campus activity. 

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

Your health and wellbeing is our main priority. All students (new and returning) must read through the Individual Risk Assessment information and must inform the University if they identify as Extremely Vulnerable, Vulnerable or have a risk assessment score of four or above. You must inform the University by completing this form

This will help the University to ensure appropriate measures are put in place to manage the risk before you attend campus. If you need to start your studies for the new term virtually, then the University will put provisions in place to enable this.  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 where possible. 


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, where 2m social distancing is securely in place, and where PPE hasn’t been deemed mandatory for a specific task. 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. Students will of course not need to wear face coverings when they are in their own accommodation within University-owned halls of residence on our Treforest campus. Students will still need to wear them outside of their accommodation in shared facilities such as the laundry facilities. Where PPE is required, because of a specific task or because sufficient social distancing cannot be achieved, then clinical standard personal protective equipment will be issued after a relevant risk assessment of tasks has been carried out. 


Your Studies

As an educational establishment, the University is continuing to operate during local restrictions, in line with Welsh Government guidance. Travel into and out of the areas where local restrictions apply is allowed for people to attend work, where it cannot be done at home, and to attend University, if it cannot be done online.   

You can find an up-to-date list of where local restrictions currently apply on the Welsh Government website.  

Below is a quick reminder of the local restrictions: 

  • You cannot enter or leave any borough with local restrictions without a reasonable excuse. Travelling to or from university or work is allowed. 

  • You should not visit or meet anyone who is not part of your household (i.e. you do not live with them) indoors. This includes in places such as pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants. 

  • As in the rest of Wales, it is mandatory to wear a face covering in indoor places, including our buildings, all shops and on public transport. 

  • As in the rest of Wales, all licensed premises must stop serving alcohol at 10pm.   

It’s also really important that you continue to respect the two metre social distancing guidelines. Please also respect the restriction on meeting outside your direct household, we know there is temptation to hold parties and to meet with a wider circle of friends, but it’s really important that you don’t do this in order to protect yourselves, your friends, and the wider community.  


The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering our courses, research opportunities and other services as safely as possible. The ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic means that we are having to make changes to the way in which we deliver our courses and services for the academic year 2020/2021.  

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 where it is safe to do so, some teaching and learning being delivered in person and using social distancing and/or mitigating measures as deemed appropriate in line with government guidance. 

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. 



All students (new and returning) must read through the Individual Risk Assessment information and must inform the University if they identify as Extremely Vulnerable, Vulnerable or have a risk assessment score of four or above. You must inform the University by completing this form. If you are unable to attend campus for any other reason, then you must also complete the same form.

If you need to start your studies for the new term virtually, then the University will put provisions in place to enable this.  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 where possible.

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.



With a phased return to on-campus delivery for September, is it unlikely that the normal pattern of field trips will be possible during the academic year. No international field trips will take place until at least January 2021. However some UK field work may be possible if the safety of students and staff can be maintained, and if it complies with current Government guidance. Each field trip will be considered individually by the course teams to evaluate whether they will be possible later during the academic year, 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

There may be reasons you are unable to return to the UK for the first term, for example because of government restrictions on travel or because of your health circumstances.

All students (new and returning) must read through the Individual Risk Assessment information and must inform the University if they identify as Extremely Vulnerable, Vulnerable or have a risk assessment score of four or above. You must inform the University by completing this form. If you are unable to attend campus for any other reason, then you must also complete the same form.

If you are an international student on a Tier 4 visa, then you must also inform the Tier 4 Administration Team in Academic Registry, whether you intend to return to the UK or not, by completing this form

If you need to start your studies for the new term virtually, then the University will put provisions in place to enable this.  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 where possible. However, please note that whilst we will endeavour to make alternative arrangements, by not attending the sessions you may miss specific learning experiences. This may mean that you are not able to complete your course within the length of your visa and may need to extend it in the future. If you have any queries in relation to your visa please contact our Immigration and International Student Advice team

If you are currently based in the UK, or will be by the start of term, the expectation is that you will engage with any on-campus delivery of your course. 

There may be reasons you are unable to return to campus for the first term, for example because of government restrictions on travel or because of your health circumstances.

All students (new and returning) must read through the Individual Risk Assessment information and must inform the University if they identify as Extremely Vulnerable, Vulnerable or have a risk assessment score of four or above. You must inform the University by completing this form. If you are unable to attend campus for any other reason, then you must also complete the same form.

If you are an international student on a Tier 4 visa, then you must also inform the Tier 4 Administration Team in Academic Registry whether you intend to return to campus or not, by completing this form

If you need to start your studies for the new term virtually, then the University will put provisions in place to enable this. 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 where possible, if you are unable to come to campus to attend these. However, please note that whilst we will endeavour to make alternative arrangements, by not attending the session you may miss specific learning experiences. This may mean that you are not able to complete your course within the length of your visa and may need to extend it in the future. If you have any queries in relation to your visa please contact our Immigration and International Student Advice team.  

The UK Government has introduced a 14-day self-isolation period for individuals arriving in the UK from certain countries. Details of countries exempt from self-isolation are detailed here.

These measures will be reviewed every three weeks and we do not know how long they will be in place. We are therefore advising all new and returning international students who believe they may need to self-isolate to plan to fly back to the UK two weeks prior to the start of term.

It is important to say that the UK Government’s approach to self-isolation is different from that of some other countries. Currently, on arrival, Government advice indicates that you will be asked to complete a form providing your contact details and travel information before being asked to self-isolate in your planned accommodation for 14 days. This means you will be able to travel to your accommodation and self-isolate either in University halls or in your own private accommodation, depending on which you have booked for the coming year. The Government have confirmed that they will carry out some spot checks to ensure self-isolation is being carried out and penalties will be in place for those who do not comply.

Throughout the self-isolation period, we will be here to support you. For those of you booked to live in University halls, we will support you with accessing supplies. You will also have check-in chats and the Halls Life Student Experience team and Immigration and International Student Advice (IISA) and Student Support will be on hand for further support.

If you are required to self-isolate upon arrival, we will advise you to travel to the UK two weeks before the start of term. We will contact you over the summer with information about self-isolation and how to book a self-isolation assistance package with Accommodation.

IISA are constantly reviewing the self-isolation requirements. If you have any questions about self-isolation, please contact IISA at international.advice@southwales.ac.uk

Further information is also available 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 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.

Please be assured you will not be required to scan your finger to confirm your attendance and engagement. 

Your engagement will be monitored through your online engagement with your course and assessment submission.    




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

We have no more than six students in each of our flats, which are classed as one household. When local restrictions are in place, students are unable to meet with anyone outside of this household. If someone within that flat becomes unwell and tests positive, everyone within that household needs to self-isolate.  

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, and students must maintain two-metre social distancing at all times with anyone who doesn’t live with them.  




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, as well as a self-isolation shopping basket, which can be purchased through the online store. You can find out more information on UniLife.  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 hallsmaintenance@southwales.ac.uk 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 hallsmaintenance@southwales.ac.uk 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 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. 


We have been busy behind the scenes to safely reopen our libraries so that you can access study spaces and other library services again.

Our libraries will look and feel different, but we are here virtually and in-person to support you and your academic needs.

Take a look at these FAQs. If you can't find the answer to your question please contact us. 

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 



Students’ Union

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

20 October 2020
Fire break restrictions

30 September 2020 
Information added about local restrictions and accommodation information updated 

22 September 2020 
PPE and face covering guidance and library services update

16 September 2020 
Information updated about self-isolating, experiencing symptoms and testing positive for Covid-19 

7 September 2020  
Facilities and support services available on-campus during the first academic term.  

17 August 2020 
Information and links added to the individual risk assessment form

27 July 2020 
Updates to advice about accommodation, returning library books  

3 July 2020  
Results dates information added  

29 June 2020 
Information about field trips for the next academic year 

9 June 2020 
Updated information about finger scanning for international students on a Tier 4 visa 

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.