Student and Staff Wellbeing

Covid-19 Update - 23 April

Covid-19 Update Message to students - 23 April 2020

Lucy Backhurst, Academic Registrar, shares the latest updates with students.

Dear Students,

I am writing with this week’s update for taught programme students. It includes information on: 

  • support for your learning during the Summer term
  • your assessment timetable for Semester 2
  • the information we will send you next week about the Provisional Baseline Average and mitigating measures(PECs, Covid-19 Forms and deferrals)
  • module choice arrangements for student continuing into 2020/21
  • new guidance from the Home Office on student visas and a letter to international students from Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan MP
  • our response to course fee queries 
  • how to access help from us if you’re unwell with Coronavirus.

Support for your learning

We are working hard to ensure you receive the support and resources you need to continue with your studies and achieve the learning outcomes for your programme.  The methods and approaches we use to deliver remote teaching materials will necessarily vary from one module to another. 

Further information about resources available to support your remote learning can be found on the Academic Skill Kit webpages.  If you are concerned that you are not receiving and/or are not able to access the learning resources you need to continue your studies, please contact your School directly.

Assessment Timetable for Semester 2

The timetable for the Semester 2 Assessment Period was released on 21 April. You can access your personal online timetable via the following link and by using your normal network login: https://examtimetables.ncl.ac.uk/The timetable will display your name and list each assessment for which you are registered. It will also indicate the type of assessment as follows:

·         24-hour take-home exams: the specific date and time (UK time GMT+1hr) when the exam paper will be released is displayed. Please note there are a small number of exams that are longer than 24 hours and these will be indicated clearly in the timetable, where appropriate.

·         Alternative assessments: no date, time or duration is displayed. Further details about the nature and timing of the assessment will be communicated to you by your School no later than 27th April.

Only formal assessments taking place during the main assessment period (18th May – 5th June 2020) are included in the timetable and enquiries about any other assessments should be directed to your School. If any of your modules are not listed then please contact the Examinations & Awards team immediately using the ‘Need Some Help?’ button or by emailing exams@ncl.ac.ukPlease note that assessments for MBBS students and UG Dentistry students are not included and will be/have been communicated to you separately.

We’re not expecting that changes will be made to the timetable, but we’d encourage you to login and check your assessments periodically. 

If you receive support for a disability and have any concerns about the scheduling of your assessments, please contact your Disability Advisor or contact the Student Health & Wellbeing Team.

Supporting students during their assessment

On our Academic Skills Kit we have published specific resources to support you in preparing for online assessments during the Summer Term, and we will continue to add to these resources so please keep checking this site.

As you know the implementation of the Safety Net and the calculation of your provisional baseline average guarantees that you cannot be disadvantaged by your performance in your semester 2 of 2019-20 assessment.  You will receive your provisional baseline average next week.

In my update next week, I will give you more information about the range of mechanisms we are putting in place should you need to inform us of any additional specific circumstances that have affected your studies that you feel will not be accounted for by the baseline average guarantee. 

We will explain how and when you should use the PEC from to notify your school of additional personal circumstances and will provide further information about the Covid-19 Impact Form that is to be introduced to allow you to inform us of any issues affecting a whole cohort.  We will also advise you how to notify us if you wish to defer your assessment.

If you have already submitted a PEC form for Board of Examiner consideration on the basis of Covid-19 impact only, you will be asked to resubmit a form. We are asking you to do this because we believe that, generally speaking, it is only once you have received the additional information next week that you will be in a position to understand the most appropriate way to inform us of how Covid-19 has impacted upon you.  The option to resubmit a PEC will be available if you decide that it is the most appropriate route to follow for your situation, having considered the range of mechanisms that are available.

Module Choice for 2020/21

On 25 March, the Student Data team wrote to you asking you to choose your 2020/21 modules after the Easter Vacation in order for us to create your timetable for the new academic year. We said at the time that we would let you know if the situation changed. Since then, the situation has changed significantly and, while our ideal is business as usual, it is clear that we need to adapt our plans, and our timetable, accordingly.  As a result, we are pausing the module choice process for students this year in order that we can plan for the likelihood of social distancing, potential future periods of lockdown and the possibility that we may again need to move to remote delivery at short notice.  We are working through these issues now, and will send a further update as soon as we are in a position to restart the module choice process.

New Guidance from the Home Office

In response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has updated its guidance for visa holders affected by the current situation. The full guidance can be found on the GOV.uk website  but we have summarised the information which we believe is most relevant to students holding Tier 4 and Short Term Study visas. 

The summarised information, which covers the following areas, can be found on the Travel and Visa section of the Covid-19 webpages:

·         Academic progression

·         Police Registration

·         Academic Technology Scheme (ATAS)

·         Short Term Study

·         Current visa and citizenship applications.

A Covid-19 fact sheet prepared by UKVI for visa holders and short-term residents in the UK is also available on the Covid-19 webpages.

Universities Minister’s Letter to International Students

Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan MP, has written to international students at higher education providers in England. The letter sets out key messages from the Minister to international students at this challenging time, and provides an overview of the latest guidance and links to a set of resources for students.  We very much support the sentiment in the letter, and hope it makes our international students feel welcome and appreciated in the current challenging environment.

Course Fee Queries

We have prepared a detailed FAQ on course fee queries which has been added to Tuition Fees section of the Covid-19 FAQs. Our response is guided by statements recently issued by the Universities Minister and Universities UK both of which state that students should not expect a fee refund from their university where there is wide-ranging support for active and ongoing learning and progression. 

Reporting Cases of Covid-19

Finally, we have received a number of questions from students asking whether they need to tell us if they are unwell with diagnosed or suspected Covid-19. We don’t need this information from you, but we do want to support you. If you are or become unwell, please let us know by completing this form so that we can ensure you have as much support as you need from us. 

You can also access support via the NUSU-led Covid-19 Community Facebook page.

More information

As always, we are updating our Frequently Asked Questions as things change, so please keep visiting the site.

 

With best wishes,

Lucy Backhurst

Academic Registrar