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The health and wellbeing of our students and staff is the top priority for the Students’ Union

Coronavirus stay home

We know many students are worried about the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation and what this means for them and their studies at the University of Southampton, as well as for families and friends.

SUSU is working closely with the University to ensure the wellbeing of students and staff during this time. The University have a regularly updated information and guidance webpage available here

SUSU and the University are now operating remotely. Following Government advice about social distancing, all of our buildings are closed until further notice to enable our staff to work from home. Many of services are available online such as the Advice Centre, Reception and our Activities team. A full list of our facilities opening times can be found here

We would like to remind everyone to continue taking extra precautions with personal hygiene. This includes following Public Health England advice to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, use tissues for coughs and sneezes, and avoiding touching your face. If you are concerned about your health or the health of a housemate, go online to 111.nhs.uk, or call 111. Do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital.

Last updated: 17:00, 05 May 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled some FAQs for our members about the current situation including general FAQs, SUSU Advice Centre support, impact on studies, halls of residence, staying safe and advice for clubs & societies

You can also join our online Facebook community to get news and updates and engage with other students

General FAQ

Is SUSU still open?

The physical SUSU buildings are currently closed, but many of our services are available online.

The Advice Centre and SUSU Lettings will be open via online service only. Our Reception is still available for enquiries by email or phone, and the Activities team are providing support to our Clubs and Societies

A full list of our opening times can be found here

What is the University doing?

We are working closely with University to ensure the wellbeing of students and staff. The University have setup a dedicated webpage here and are providing daily email updates to all staff and students. The majority of University buildings are now closed, with more details available on their website

The Summer term started on 20 April with a transition week to online teaching. Teaching itself will start on Monday 27 April and last for five weeks to make up for the week missed by bringing forward the Easter Vacation. All teaching will end by Friday 29 May.

The Assessment Period will then run from 1 – 19 June; term will officially end on Friday 19 June. All programmes being offered during this current academic year will have forms of assessment that can be undertaken off-campus and indeed outside the UK. There will be no assessment tasks for the remainder of this academic year that will require you to be on campus.

The University decided to bring the end of Spring term forwards to 13 March at the start of the outbreak

What about my event booking at SUSU?

Due to staff working from home, and following Government advice, we are currently not accepting any booking requests for events. All scheduled SUSU events during the Easter vacation period and Summer term have been cancelled

I am a member of SUSU support staff, will I still have shifts to work?

We may need to make changes to our planned staffing requirements, which could involve cancelling or rearranging future shifts. In this case, we aim to provide you with as much notice as possible. We understand that this may have an impact on a number of staff and would not take this decision lightly. In case of hardship, please discuss with your Line Manager in the first instance who may be able to consider alternative options, otherwise you may contact the People Team.

Will Summer events, such as Grad Ball, still take place?

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we have made the decision to cancel all of our upcoming large-scale events taking place in the Summer term.

This includes AU Ball, WSA Ball, Academic Awards, Society & Volunteering Awards and Grad Ball. We are sorry for any disappointment caused but this is the most suitable course of action at this time.

Those of you who have already bought tickets for WSA Ball and Grad Ball will be refunded automatically (you don’t need to worry about contacting us) in due course.

We are monitoring the situation for any opportunity to provide some form of celebration activity for students graduating this year and are keen to deliver something for our students if practically posssible

What if I am unable to travel home currently and have no accommodation available in Southampton?

The University of Southampton Residences team are working to establish temporary accommodation arrangements for students who are unable to travel home due to travel restrictions and quarantine arrangements during Easter and Summer vacation

If you are concerned you will not be able to travel home, and do not have accommodation for Easter or Summer vacations, please contact the team on accommodation@soton.ac.uk

Are the Elections still happening?

Unfortunately, because of the current situation, we have decided to postpone the Summer elections. All roles that would have been elected in the Summer term will now be elected in the Autumn

After discussion with the candidates, the Academic Elections continued but online only. You can find information on all the candidates here and the full results here

Will I be able to return to University Halls of Residence at the start of the summer term?

The Halls of Residence remain open as usual. Should the situation change, affected students will be contacted individually.

My visa to remain in the UK expires soon but I am unable to return home. What do I do?

Your visa will be extended to 31 May 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

You must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) to update your records if your visa is expiring.

Are SUSU staff still available to contact?

Yes, our staff team are now working remotely but otherwise largely operating as normal. Please see our contact page for key contact information

We are also pleased to announce that we are allowing our full-time staff to spend up to 20% of their normal working hours per week volunteering with the NHS during the current situation

We encourage all students to join in and volunteer with the NHS. You can sign up and learn more here

Will Union Films show films in the Summer term?

At present there are no plans for Union Films to have regular screenings next term. The overall cinema release schedule has been impacted with many films delayed or rescheduled.

We will continue to monitor the situation with the Union Films volunteers to see if anything is possible

How can I meet up with other students?

Our sabbatical team have created an online Facebook community for students to chat and share tips during this period

Please follow Government advice and do not meet people face to face

I am in the UK on a visa but working/volunteering for the NHS. What will happen to my visa?

The Government has announced special provisions for doctors, nurses and paramedics and their family members, including student doctors and nurses

If you are a doctor, nurse or paramedic working for the NHS

Your visa will be automatically extended by one year if it is due to expire before 1 October 2020. Family members with a visa due to expire before 1 October 2020 will also have their visa extended.

The extension is free and you will not have to pay the immigration health surcharge. You do not need to apply. The Home Office will contact NHS employers to identify staff eligible for this extension.

The Home Office will tell you and your employer if you have received an automatic extension.

Changes to the current restrictions on the number of hours you can work or volunteer

There is no longer a limit on the number of hours you can work or volunteer each week if you work for the NHS as a doctor, nurse or paramedic if you are a:

  • tier 4 student
  • tier 2 worker and your NHS job is a second job
  • visiting academic researcher
  • holder of a short-term visa and are permitted to volunteer

SUSU Advice Centre support

The SUSU Advice Centre is operating remotely but our team is still available to provide help and support as normal. Please contact them at advice@susu.org

Our Student Advisors have created FAQs to answer questions received from students about a range of issues

Can I leave my housing contract early?

Whether you can be released from your housing contract early will depend on the contract

The Advice Centre has created a new guide to assist with this question which you can view here

SUSU is working with the University, Solent University and Student Union and SASSH, including other landlords who have reached out to us, private rented housing and PBSA (Purpose Built Student Accommodation) to adopt a "no penalty early release policy" to allow students to leave their accommodation early

How do I avoid academic integrity issues when studying online?

We have released a new guide with information on best practice to avoid academic integrity issues due to studying online for Term 3

You can view the guide here

How do I apply for Special Considerations remotely?

We have released a new guide detailing how to apply for Special Considerations

You can view the guide here

How can I access support from the Advice Centre remotely?

We have released a new guide detailing how to use the Advice Centre remotely

You can view the guide here

What other help and support is available to access remotely?

Our Advisors have created a new guide to provide their top tips about remote help and support options

You can view the guide here


Impact on Studies

The University has released information on their response through their Coronavirus advice page. Additionally they have released FAQs for general student queries and further FAQs for specific queries received from students about exams and assessment

You can also contact the SUSU Advice Centre for further support with your studies

Is teaching still happening?

Spring term finished early on Friday 13 March, so face-to-face teaching is currently not taking place. The Summer term started as planned on 20 April with a one week online transition period, and online teaching started on 27 April

All teaching and academic support for the remainder of this academic year will be delivered online. There will be no teaching activity for the remainder of this academic year that will require you to be on campus.

All programmes being offered during this current academic year will have forms of assessment that can be undertaken off-campus and indeed outside the UK. There will be no assessment tasks for the remainder of this academic year that will require you to be on campus

Have deadlines changed for Spring term assessments?

Students should ensure that they meet the deadlines for submission of assessed work for the Spring term as normal. All submissions should be made online via either Blackboard or e-Assignment. If you have any questions about this, please email ssc@soton.ac.uk

How can I study remotely?

iSolutions have provided advice and guidance for students about working remotely (away from campus) on their 'Away from campus' webpage

Students should prepare themselves to have access to a device/broadband in or near their home environment as the University plans to commence teaching online at the start of the summer term.

What’s happening with distance learning?

As you may be aware, the University has decided to move towards mandatory lecture recordings as distance learning commences. Whilst this is a hugely positive step, we do realise that the current format may not be accessible for everybody.

If you have any concerns about this change, or other comments on the University's plans, please email Jo Lisney, VP Education & Democracy, at vpeddem@soton.ac.uk

Is the library still open?

Hartley Library will will close on Friday 20 March at 18:00 until further notice. Any borrowed items from libraries will automatically be renewed until further notice. After 20 March all of the University libraries will be closed until further notice

You can view the current opening hours here

Will student loans be affected?

If you are concerned about your student loan or finances during this time then please contact the Financial Information and Assistance Team in Student Services

You can also contact the SUSU Advice Centre if you have queries about financial support

What is happening with Summer 2020 graduation?

As of 13 March 2020, all Summer 2020 graduation ceremonies have been postponed by the University until further notice.

This decision was made so that the University has a longer academic year in which to ensure the successful completion of our students’ education.

How can I keep in touch with other students for support?

Our sabbatical team has setup an online Faceboook community for all University of Southampton students to support each other

You can join the community here

Will my next maintenance loan installment still be paid?

The maintenance loan is still scheduled to be paid in April, as outlined in your award letter, even if you are distance studying from home. Regular updates are being provided to the Universty by Student Finance England (SFE).

SFE have provided FAQs to universities and other HE institutions which you can view here for further information

The final instalment of the University of Southampton Bursary (available to those with a confirmed household income of below £25,000), is still scheduled to be paid on or around 18 May 2020 as expected.

Are exams and assessments happening in the Summer term?

The University has issued guidance on this to all students. Like many other universities it is adopting a no detriment policy. This means that your academic year average will be no lower than the average that you had achieved by 22 March 2020. as long as you achieve at least 40% (the standard pass mark) in all future assessment

For clarity this means that completing the remainder of your assessment tasks can only have a positive impact on your year average mark. The University, and SUSU, will not let the unprecedented and very difficult circumstances bring down the average that students had achieved at the end of last term. You therefore will still need to do your assignments as normal as these will still contribute to your overall grade, and your learning experience.

All continuing (i.e. non-final year) Undergraduate or Masters students who take all of their required assessments in Semester 2 will be allowed to progress to their next year of study or to continue with their Masters dissertation/project work. If students are not able to take all of the required assessments, the University Special Considerations process will apply.

Undergraduate final year students should complete your dissertation/project. Some of these – for example, group projects – will need to be amended in light of the current situation, and your Department or School will be in contact with you about that. If you are not able to complete your dissertation/project, the University Special Considerations process will apply.

Masters students, where possible, you will not be asked to take module-level exams. Instead, the University will ask you to complete one assessment (or two smaller ones for Combined Honours students) that will be designed to allow you to reflect on and consolidate your learning across the semester (and in some cases across the year). This will be a compulsory formative assessment task, and will be made available to you online, with online submission of your work. If you are not able to take it, the University Special Considerations process will apply.

Remember, the SUSU Advice Centre is still available if you have any concerns about your studies, or you can bring these up with your Academic Reps

The arrangements outlined above do not apply to PGR students, PGCE students, nor students in the Schools of Heath Sciences and Medicine, where graduating students may soon be called on to support the fight against Covid-19. In all these cases, Schools will be in touch directly with students to explain arrangements for assessment.

When will I know about my assessment needs?

Students will now have received their Assessment Plan from their Faculty. This plan outlines what students will need to do in order to complete this academic year.

If you have any questions about the Assessment Plan, please contact the member of staff who sent you information on your new assessment.

Can I get a refund on tuition fees?

The question of tuition fees is a very complex issue which is still being worked on and there isn’t likely to be an update on this very soon.

It is worth noting that online courses are not always not cheaper. The Open University has some reduced costs because they have a very different demographic of students (parents, mature students, other commitments) who don’t always have the same access to student finance as on campus students do. They also don’t have the brand weight of Russell group universities, who have larger costs.

Further, for many students, the money would go directly back to the Student Loans Company. Your tuition fees are still being used to ensure that the University can run a full service for you, but at the moment everybody is having to adjust. Additionally, the University are working quickly to move everything online (not an easy task for such a big organisation!) so this will mean that you can access all services online. As well as teaching this will also include careers advice, library services (they still send out books and equipment) and wellbeing and mental health support services.

At SUSU we are working to provide a clubs and societies offer online so you can stay connected. We have created a SUSU Online Community which includes videos from clubs and societies, livestreamed workouts with Sport & Wellbeing and lots more

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, we recommend that you apply to the University Student Support Fund. The University has put additional resource into supporting students financially as quickly as possible.

Will August re-sits still be taking place?

Discussions are still taking place about re-sits as part of the wider conversation about assessment

It is highly likely that any supplementary assessment will be delivered virtually. Please do not worry, and await further communication from the University

How do I apply for Special Considerations due to being affected by COVID-19?

Complete the Covid-19 Special Considerations Request Form and submit the form by email to your Student Office. You should describe your circumstances and how they have impacted you.

For requests relating to assessment due for submission after Thursday 12 March 2020 you do not need to submit supporting evidence with your completed form.


Halls of Residence

If you live in University provided Halls of Residence then the University has released information about what will happen next term

You can also watch our video about this for further information

Do I have to leave halls?

The University Halls of Residence are still open and students are welcome to stay until the end of your contract

If you are living in private halls please check with the provider

Will I have to pay my third installment of halls fees for term 3?

While there is still a contractual commitment the University has decided that, provided you have vacated your room in University of Southampton accommodation by Sunday 29th March, they will not collect the third term accommodation fees due on the 29th March. If you have pre-paid your hall fees then the third term fees will be refunded in due course.

To be able to qualify you should have vacated your room and removed all your possessions by Sunday 29th March OR have vacated your room and consent to the University packing and storing any possessions left in your room if necessary for collection in the future.

How do I confirm I will not be staying in halls for term 3?

You will also need to complete the online form to notify the University of your halls residency status by Friday 3 April

Once you have completed the form the University will cancel the halls fee payment scheduled for 20 April 2020. You do not need to contact the University to request this separately.

If you do not complete the form by 3 April 2020 and remain in halls then fees will be collected as usual and you will receive an email confirming this.

What happens if I am unable to leave halls immediately but will not be staying for term 3?

If you are currently still in halls and planning to leave once travel restrictions have been lifted, the University will refund your fees from the date you clear your room and return your key.

What will happen to belongings in the kitchen?

All non food items left in kitchens will be packed by cupboard as far as possible. Any items left out e.g. on counter tops will be packed together for later sorting. All food items, open or closed, will be disposed of. Please note that the University will make all reasonable endeavours to ensure that suitable food items are donated to local community groups/food banks.

Can I collect my belongings immediately?

You must NOT travel to the University to collect your belongings at this time. You should follow the current Government advice on limiting travel and social distancing until advised otherwise.

Will I be charged for storage of my belongings?

No there will be no charge for storing your belongings until the end of your contract term. The University will continue to comply with Government advice on travel restrictions and as the situation changes they will contact you accordingly.

I am an international student can my belongings be shipped home as I won’t be returning to the UK?

The University cannot do this at this time, as it does not have the resources to safely do so. When the situation changes, the accommodation team will be in touch about the options available if you are unable to return to the UK.

How long will my belongings be stored?

As long as is necessary. Once travel restrictions have been lifted the University will be in touch about arrangements for you to collect your belongings, and any timelines for this.

How do I return my halls key?

At this time please retain your key/fob. The University will issue further guidance about returning it later.


Staying Safe & Healthy

For further information about staying safe during this time, please see the NHS advice

How can I reduce the risk of infection?

We recommend following NHS advice which includes:

  • Frequently clean your hands with soap and water or by using alcohol-based hand sanitiser if washing facilities are unavailable
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a mask or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and a cough
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider
  • Please ensure that you are registered with a local NHS general practitioner (GP).

What do I do if I am not registered with a local GP?

Do not worry if you aren't registered with a local GP. If you think you may have symptoms of coronavirus, then you should not be visiting GPs, walk in centres or A&E. Instead you should self isolate, check NHS guidance and contact NHS 111 where necessary.

Current NHS guidance iif you think you might have coronavirus, or you have been in close contact with someone who has, then you should:

  • stay at home and avoid close contact with other people
  • do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
  • use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next

The 111 coronavirus service will tell you if you need to continue to stay at home (self-isolate) or if you need medical help.

Should I wear a face mask?

Face masks for the general public are not recommended by the Government to protect from infection, as there is no evidence of benefit from their use outside healthcare environments.

However, the choice to wear a face mask is a personal one and some students may wish to do so. Nobody should be treated any differently to others due to wearing a face mask.

What do I do if I’m worried about my mental health around the coronavirus?

You might be worried about coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) and how it could affect your life. This may include being asked to stay at home or avoid other people, which might feel difficult, stressful or lonely.

Understandably, you may find that social distancing can be boring or frustrating. You may find your mood and feelings are affected and you may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping and you might miss being outside with other people.

Mind and the BBC have both put together some advice you can try that could help your wellbeing. Our Vice President Welfare, Laura Barr, has also put together a list of online resources that you can use if you are unable to access services in person.

It’s OK to be sad, stressed, confused or scared in the case of a health emergency (whatever scale that is). Please make sure that you get your information from credible sources, such as the Government website, and reach out to support services if you want help or advice.

If you are concerned about your health or the health of a housemate or relative, visit 111.nhs.uk, or call 111. Do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital. Remember that the Student Life team are also still available to support student wellbeing

What should I do if I witness discriminatory behaviour?

If you witness inappropriate behaviour on campus then please contact University Security or use the SUSU Report & Support Tool

All students and staff must be treated with dignity, care and respect. SUSU and the University will not tolerate any discriminatory, racist or exclusionary behaviour.

We must all find a balance to minimise risk and the spread of infection by following the Government’s advice and also treat each other respectfully. In particular please be supportive of our international students and staff who might be feeling vulnerable, isolated and a long way from their family and friends back home.

How can I exercise now that Sport & Wellbeing facilities are closed?

The Sport and Wellbeing team will be offering classes every weekday from Monday 23 March via Facebook live. Stay safe, stay active, stay healthy

You can find out more here


Clubs & Societies

Our Activities team is available to assist with any concerns that any of our clubs and societies may have. You can contact them by email

What is happening with BUCS fixtures?

BUCS activity has been suspended until 01 April. You can find the full statement here

If you have booked transport, accommodation or similar please contact providers to cancel and try and arrange a refund if possible. Remember to cancel even if you haven't yet paid.

If you have any questions please contact Olivia Reed, Sarah Challis or the SUSU Activities team

Will SUSU insurance cover us if we have to cancel events/trips/tours/fixtures?

Unfortunately our insurers have confirmed that the current situation is not covered by our insurance policies should an activity be cancelled - most policies do not provide coverage for communicable diseases. As COVID-19 is now a current threat it is not possible to take our new insurance to cover it as policies typically cover unforeseeable risks

If you were intending to travel abroad then we always recommend you take out travel insurance as SUSU does not provide cover for this. If you have to cancel activities then you should contact your insurance provider, but also check to see if the airplane/hotel/tour operator will provide a refund.

What about block bookings due to the change in term dates?

Block bookings have sadly been cancelled due to the start of the vacation period and reduced services offered by SUSU

Are Sport & Wellbeing block bookings still occuring?

No, all 'block bookings' within Sport & Wellbeing premises are now cancelled. Sport & Wellbeing facilities will be closed from 22 March onwards

Sport & Wellbeing have released a general update on their facilities which can be found here

Should clubs and societies continue running weekly events?

No, all affiliated club & society activity should be postponed with immediate effect. This includes postponement/cancellation of all tours, trips, competitions, training, meetings, social gatherings and use of club/society owned equipment. All minibus bookings through the Students' Union have now been cancelled.

The Students' Union does not condone any activity that contradicts the above and asks that Committees and members please follow this guidance to ensure the safety and wellbeing of members.

We recommend following Government advice which (as of 16 March 2020) states to avoid "non-essential" travel, and that people should avoid gatherings and crowded places. SUSU staff will be in contact with all committees to provide support and guidance.

We acknowledge that the above change may have an immediate financial impact for some clubs and societies. If you have any concerns relating to this, please contact activities@susu.org

Is "I LOVE TOUR" to Croatia still taking place?

ILOVETOUR have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation across Europe. Croatian authorities have implemented a compulsory 14-day period for self-isolation for all foreign nationals arriving from the UK, and advised against gatherings of over 1,000 people.

ILOVETOUR have therefore made the decision to cancel all tours to Porec, Croatia.

Students who have paid their balances in full by the deadlines are eligible for a full refund from ILOVETOUR.

Is Varsity 2020 still on?

No, due to the University of Portsmouth being unable to participate, Varsity 2020 has sadly been cancelled. We will be processing refunds over the next week; please allow 3-5 working days for payment to be credited to your account

Will club and society Easter trips/tours happen as normal?

No, all affiliated club & society activity should be postponed with immediate effect. This includes postponement/cancellation of all tours, trips, competitions, training, meetings, social gatherings and use of club/society owned equipment. All minibus bookings through the Students' Union have now been cancelled.

The Students' Union does not condone any activity that contradicts the above and asks that Committees and members please follow this guidance to ensure the safety and wellbeing of members.

We recommend following Government advice which (as of 16 March 2020) states to avoid "non-essential" travel, and that people should avoid gatherings and crowded places. SUSU staff will be in contact with all committees to provide support and guidance.

We acknowledge that the above change may have an immediate financial impact for some clubs and societies. If you have any concerns relating to this, please contact activities@susu.org

How do we run an AGM?

We will be extending the deadline for club and society Annual General Meetings (AGM) in light of the government guidance, so please do not be concerned if your plans have changed in relation to this. If any club or society is looking to facilitate an AGM online during this period, please contact activities@susu.org in order for us to offer support with this process.

We do not recommend any in-person AGM takes place currently due to Government guidance on social distancing

If AGMs are postponed, please ensure the existing Committee remain as a point of contact for members and the Union.

Why is the sale of new memberships suspended?

Due to the impact of the current Government restrictions, SUSU staff are working from home and clubs & societies have been told to cease any activities

We therefore do not believe it is appropriate to offer memberships for sale that students may not be able to utilise and could then seek refunds for, which would increase workload and affect the finances of clubs & societies

We have had enquiries about how this may impact AGMs. We do not believe this should have any impact as students voting in club & society AGMs should already be members. We do not support people joining simply to vote in the AGM, so this decision should have minimal impact on AGMs

If you have any concerns relating to this, please contact activities@susu.org

Is Grant Round 3 still happening?

We acknowledge that the recent changes and cancellation of activity may have an immediate financial impact for some clubs and societies. Due to this, we will be suspending Grant Round 3 at this time in order to reflect on the best use of resources.

If you have any concerns relating to this, please contact activities@susu.org

My club/society is now in financial difficulty, what is SUSU doing to help?

Our Activities team have been in contact with all clubs and societies committees to assess the situation and provide support. Our current advice is to check your insurance arrangements and terms of conditions for any bookings as refunds should generally be available

A Support Fund for clubs & societies was open to applications during the Easter vacation. If you did not apply and still need financial assistance for your club or society please contact the Activities team

If you have any concerns relating to this, please contact activities@susu.org