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Roadmap out of lockdown: Q&A for students and staff

Information on Covid tests and international travel, working arrangements and facilities on campus for students and staff. Updated 17 May 2021.

Student-facing services and facilities

What does the UK Government’s roadmap mean for other student-facing services and facilities?

Our libraries and study spaces remain open. Students can book a study space through our online booking system.

We have Covid-secure measures in place, and risk assessments in these spaces to ensure they are in line with current guidelines. We have retained social distancing as well as requiring face coverings and ensuring we have ventilation measures in place.

Student Services continue to have members of the wellbeing support team available in the Roper Centre in 4 West on campus. Our free, online ‘Be Well, Talk Now’ service is available to students 24/7, wherever they are in the world. There is both a phone line and a live chat service available, as well as support being provided in a number of languages.

Other student-facing services continue to offer online appointments alongside in-person appointments. These include the Careers Service, Skills Centre, Student Immigration Service, IT Helpdesk and Shop, Student Finance Office and the SU.

The shop and catering on campus

What does the roadmap mean for the shop and catering on campus?

In line with Government guidance, since 12 April we are offering outdoor food and drinks with table service at the covered area outside lime tree and in the lime tree garden, with extended opening times. Our takeaway and click-and-collect services from the lime tree, Sports Café and 4 West café also continue, and the ‘Hut by the lake‘ is open for takeaway food and drink.

The Claverton Rooms is also open for staff only, in groups of up to six, to order hot drinks and cakes for table service.

The Fresh shop on campus remains open and we will continue to update our webpages on the latest facilities available.

Sports and extracurricular activities

What does the roadmap mean for sports and extracurricular activities?

The UK Government’s roadmap gives us a clear pathway to open up more extracurricular activities as restrictions ease over the spring and summer. Of course, this is subject to Government review, but we are planning alongside The SU to put on as much as we safely can, in line with each ‘step’ in the roadmap.

Since 29 March our outdoor sports facilities have reopened, including our STV tennis courts, astros, running track and playing fields. Formally organised outdoor sports for adults and under 18s were also able to restart.

Since 12 April indoor sports were able to reopen for individual or household use, so we have reopened facilities at our Sports Training Village. This includes the gym and fitness centre, indoor courts for tennis, badminton, squash, basketball, netball and volleyball. You can now book online.

Since 17 May we have been able to reopen indoor, organised sports. We are initially running approximately 35 group fitness classes a week in our studios, all still socially-distanced.

We are also working with The SU to see what will be possible with clubs and societies as indoor entertainment is due to reopen at this stage. In addition, groups of 30 people will be able to meet outdoors, and outdoor entertainment should be allowed as well as indoor hospitality with table service.

As you will be aware, the UK Government is hoping, subject to review, to lift all limits on social contact by 21 June at the earliest.

Working arrangements

What does the roadmap mean for working arrangements?

We continue to aim to support all colleagues in as supportive a manner as possible during this transitionary period.

Where colleagues are not required on campus to undertake their work, staff should continue to work from home where they can. If colleagues wish to return to work, we will do everything possible to accommodate them, with their line manager or Head of Department ensuring relevant risk assessments are up to date. We will still be closely following the Covid measures we have in place, including room capacity limits and social distancing.

The advice on shielding for clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) staff has ended.

The Government has published Covid guidance for pregnant employees, which we encourage relevant colleagues and line managers to carefully read. If clinically exceptionally vulnerable colleagues who are pregnant, or who are 28 weeks or further through gestation, are unable to work from home then please contact your HR Advisor to discuss.

Research staff and students should continue to have access to laboratories, space and equipment they need. Operational and technical staff will continue to be needed on campus to fulfil their vital roles.

In July, we hope to open our pilot hotdesking and hybrid meeting spaces.

For professional services colleagues who do not need to provide in-person support or services to students or staff, we expect home working to continue until at least the end of July 2021. However, if individuals need to come on to campus, including for wellbeing reasons, they are able to do so.

Between now and then, we will be working with Heads of Departments to determine the best longer term, sustainable working models for each department.

Covid-secure buildings and campus

What Covid measures are there in University buildings and on campus?

All activity on campus and in University buildings must be carried out in line with risk assessments and within the stringent Covid-secure measures we have in place.

Unlike some other organisations, most of our spaces are still designed with 2m distancing in place. Some of our buildings and rooms are mechanically ventilated, but where windows and internal doors can open please ensure this is done to promote good ventilation.

Please make sure you have read the latest advice on wearing face coverings, which must be followed at all times, along with social distancing and good hand hygiene.

Students in University accommodation

What are the implications of the roadmap for students in University accommodation?

Updated 29 April: the rent rebate period for students who cannot resume in-person learning due to Government restrictions has now been extended to the end of their accommodation contract. A two week contract extension has been offered to those who wished to stay at no charge.

We previously offered everyone in University-managed accommodation a rent rebate up to 12 April, if they were not able to resume in-person teaching and were unable to use their accommodation due to Government restrictions. We have now extended this rebate for those students to the end of the contract period. Every student has been emailed with the details of how they could take up this offer.

For students who wish to stay, we have also offered to extend their contract for a further two weeks at no charge.

Together with the SU, we have launched 'Summer at Bath', a programme of social and personal development activities running from 29 May until 30 June, safely and in line with the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

We are extending the accommodation contracts and arranging additional activities because we want to provide plenty of opportunities for students to re-engage with each other and make the most of our campus and the beautiful city of Bath as restrictions ease over coming weeks.

The University is not able directly to affect the rent in the private sector, but we will be liaising with The SU to see what support it can lend to its work raising this issue with landlords in Bath and the local area.

For students suffering financially as a result of the pandemic, a special fund has been set up by the University of Bath, and this has already been generously supported – this is the Hardship Fund. The Student Money Advice team are able to provide financial support and advice. If you are facing financial hardship, we would urge you to contact our Student Money Advice Service on studentmoneyadvice@bath.ac.uk or 01225 383838.

Covid tests

When do I need to take a Covid test after returning to Bath?

You should take a test before travelling back to Bath, either through your local community testing facilities or by ordering a home test online via the Universal Rapid Testing Offer.

On arrival at university, you should then take three tests (3-4 days apart) at our Lateral Flow Testing service sites on campus or in the city.

You should then test twice a week, either at our testing service or using home test kits.

Staff working on campus or in University buildings are strongly encouraged to take up twice weekly testing.

Find out more in our FAQs on testing and book your Covid tests today.

If you prefer to test for coronavirus at home, free packs of testing kits will be available to collect on campus from Monday 17 May.

Travelling back to Bath (within the UK)

How do I travel back to Bath safely from within the UK?

Students returning to Bath are asked to follow the Government’s safer travel guidance.

Students travelling from areas that are undergoing surge testing should follow the local public health guidance and should ensure they are tested before they travel.

Students using a private vehicle should:

  • avoid car sharing with anyone outside their household or support bubble
  • rigorously follow the safer travel guidance for passengers to reduce the risk of transmission to others where this is not possible

If using public transport:

You should help reduce the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) by:

  • wearing a face covering unless exempt
  • keeping your distance from people from other households when you travel
  • washing or sanitising your hands regularly
  • avoiding the busiest routes, as well as busy times like the rush hour
  • downloading the NHS Covid-19 app before you travel and checking in where you see official NHS Covid-19 QR code posters.

International travel

What are the rules in place regarding international travel?

Travel to another country from the UK

If you do travel abroad, then you must follow the Government’s guidance for travelling abroad during the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK Government has rated countries as red, amber or green for COVID-19. These are subject to change so please sign up for travel advice email alerts for your destination. Each rating has different requirements that you must observe.

If your destination country requires a PCR test before you travel we are offering them at the University. You can book your test here. We offer this service on a “best endeavours” basis. The service itself is provided by a third party provider. We cannot guarantee that results will be turned around quickly enough for travel. Results are not shared with the University and we are not able to follow up on missing or late collections or results. Students making use of this service will be responsible for identifying correct travel windows and for checking that the test offered is accepted at their destination. Some destinations have requirements that our provider does not meet, for example the specific testing lab registration required for Hong Kong. If you have any concerns around using these tests then you may wish to consider taking a test through a private provider. Unfortunately, if you do decide to take this option the University is unable to refund or reimburse any associated costs.

Travel to Bath from another country

The UK Government has rated countries as red, amber or green for COVID-19. These are subject to change so please sign up for travel advice email alerts for your destination. Each rating has different requirements that you must observe.

The UK Government has also published specific guidance for new and returning students travelling from overseas, please see page 23 of the latest operational guidance.

All arrangements must be booked in advance of travel. Failure to do so may result in a substantial fine and additional costs.

The University is not able to pay for any quarantine costs, but if students are experiencing financial hardship, we would urge them to apply to the Hardship Fund. You can e-mail: quarantine@bath.ac.uk to book ten days of University accommodation if you are unable to self-isolate anywhere else.

If you are required to take PCR tests on arrival in the UK, these tests must be booked before departure from your destination. This means there is no route to use University funded tests for this purpose. As with all impacts from the pandemic, if this means you will suffer financially you can apply to the Hardship Fund for support.

If after your arrival in the UK you decide to return to Bath, you should:

  • follow the Government’s safer travel guidance.
  • book your Covid tests on campus before accessing University facilities (e.g. the Library) and you should limit contact with others until you receive a negative test result. If you choose not to get a test, you should self-isolate for 10 days, unless you have had a positive PCR test result in the previous 90 days. You can read our FAQs on testing on our webpages.
  • if you are in University-managed accommodation, please book a slot to return so we can support you effectively.

Teaching

What does the UK government’s roadmap mean for teaching?

Following the latest review, the UK government confirmed that from 17 May there are no longer any restrictions on the in-person teaching of students on all courses. If you haven't already returned to Bath but are now planning to do so, you should take two Covid-19 lateral flow tests on your return.

If you're a master's student, you may have already re-started some in-person activity if you’re on a practical or practice-based course. If this hasn’t been possible, you may receive further information from your department if provision can now change. Please contact your supervisor if you have any questions about the support or facilities on offer.

Research

What does the UK Government’s roadmap mean for research?

The latest Government guidance means that research laboratories can be kept open. Researchers and research students who require access to specialist facilities for their work can do so.

If research students can work from home, they are encouraged to continue to do this, but we will be as flexible as possible for those students who need to access facilities, including for wellbeing reasons. You can check with your department to ask if have space remaining in their doctoral offices. The postgraduate study spaces in 10 West remain open for you to book, including a number of small rooms that are available for confirmation/final vivas and other Teams/Zoom meetings.

As a reminder, the University has recently agreed that unused departmental equipment can be made available for doctoral students to borrow, to make it easier to work from home. Doctoral students should speak to their department for further information.

Information on tuition fees

What does your tuition fee pay for?

Read a full breakdown for the 2019/20 academic year.

What financial impact has the pandemic had on the University?

This has been an extremely challenging year financially and the University is projecting a financial deficit by the end of the year. The University incurred significant costs in relation to the pandemic, including millions of pounds on measures such as investing in technologies to undertake effective online learning and assessment, and to adapt campus to be Covid-secure. In addition, we have incurred significant indirect costs as our academic staff have spent more of their time redesigning courses in line with the new Bath Blend of online and in-person learning over the course of the year.

We have also invested in student experience funding for the SU and student activities, as well as leasing additional space in the city and Oldfield Park. We have also supported rent rebates for students unable to use their University accommodation because of Government rules.

As a charity, any surplus we make in ‘normal’ years is invested back into the University for improvements to our campus facilities and services for students. This is in addition to the major capital investments we have borrowed to undertake, which benefit our students and we are obliged to repay. This year we are projecting a deficit for the first time in around 20 years due to lost income and increased costs.

Further financial information from 2019/2020 is in our annual report and accounts.

Can I get a rebate of my tuition fees?

The Covid-19 pandemic has seriously affected people across the world, as well as the way in which we study and work here in the UK. We recognise that this has direct impact on students, and those close to them.

The education of our students, in a safe environment, remains our greatest priority. Throughout the 2020/21 academic year our aim has been to deliver high-quality accessible education, in a blended delivery to support those who are able to benefit from some study in person as well as those who have to study entirely remotely. We've worked very hard to ensure the impacts of Covid-19 don't prevent students from attaining the standards needed to be awarded degrees of high standing.

The delivery of your programme has been designed to be flexible in the face of possible changes in law and official government guidance, including measures on social distancing and other restrictions that may occur and other changes to the operating environment for Universities caused by the pandemic.

The tuition fee you will pay for your course is determined by your fee status not your mode of study. When Government regulations stipulate that educational delivery is online only, we are committed to delivering an equivalent education for you through remote learning as part of the Bath Blend. Our plans enable all learning outcomes to be met regardless of study mode.

Our approach is in line with previous Government guidance, which stated that students ordinarily should not expect any fee refund if they are receiving adequate online learning and support. We will continue to be informed by the guidance issued and legislation enacted by Government, which may continue to evolve.

We will continue to endeavour to ensure our students are made aware of the implications of any further changes in government guidance and any constraints on how teaching and assessment is delivered or on students’ ability to access University facilities, on the University’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) pages. We are committed to ensuring that all our facilities, including the Library and self-study spaces, student services including wellbeing support, research and extra-curricular activities and essential services like catering, remain open whenever possible.

We continue to work closely with UUK to ask Government to support students and the Higher Education sector through these really challenging circumstances.

Further information and support available

If you feel that there remain outstanding issues that have not been addressed you have the opportunity, of course, to use the Student Complaints Procedure.

For students suffering financially as a result of the pandemic, a special Hardship Fundhas been set up by the University. The Student Money Advice team can provide financial support and advice. If you're facing financial hardship, please contact studentmoneyadvice@bath.ac.uk or call 01225 383838.