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University of Bath

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

Information on the University's plans in response to the UK Government's announcement on Monday 22 February. Updated 1 April 2021.

Student-facing services and facilities

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

The Government guidance makes it clear that libraries and study spaces can remain open. Students can book a study space through our online booking system.

We are currently reviewing Covid-secure measures and risk assessments in these spaces to ensure they are in line with current guidelines. It is worth noting that we have retained 2 metre 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 will continue to offer online appointments until 12 April and thereafter we will be offering 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, we will continue to operate our take-away and click-and-collect service for catering from the Lime Tree and 4 West café.

In addition, the ‘Hut by the lake‘ reopened on 8 March for take away food and drink to make the most of the warmer weather.

The Government roadmap confirmed that outdoor catering with table service could resume on Monday 12 April so we have reopened spaces for outdoor food and drink, with extended opening times. On campus you can order food and drink online for table service at the following locations:

  • Sports Cafe terrace
  • Lime Tree garden (from midday)
  • Lime Tree covered area (from midday)

We are also planning to open indoor hospitality with table service from 17 May if prevailing guidelines allow.

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. We are also exploring what additional activities we may be able to put on during the Easter break and at the end of the assessment period in late May and June 2021.

Between 8 and 28 March

In this time period, the only real change to the rules in terms of social interaction is that you can meet one other person from another household, outdoors, for recreation as well as exercise. Students should be aware that they can use our outdoor spaces on campus with their households or with one other person from another household for recreation and exercise. If individuals from two households meet outdoors, they should ensure social distancing is still in place between them.

From 29 March onwards

From 29 March, the ‘rule of six’ returns for meeting outdoors; this means that up to six people or two households can meet outdoors, including in private gardens. Social distancing between different household groups still applies.

Also from 29 March, outdoor sports facilities can reopen, so we have opened our STV tennis courts, astros, running track and playing fields. Formally organised outdoor sports for adults and under 18s are also able to restart at this stage.

From 12 April onwards

From this stage indoor sports can 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.

From 17 May onwards

In this third step in the roadmap, we should be able to open up indoor, organised sports.

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.

From now until 12 April

Where colleagues are not required on campus to undertake their work, staff should continue to work from home where they can. If colleagues have wellbeing reasons for wishing 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.

Clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) staff, including staff recently contacted following the government’s review of this group, are advised not to attend the workplace whilst they are advised to shield. We understand from the Prime Minister’s statement to parliament yesterday that this will be until at least 31 March.

In addition, 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.

Between 12 April and 31 July

From this point onwards, we hope to welcome some more colleagues back to campus. We will still be closely following the Covid measures we have in place, including room capacity limits and social distancing.

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.

If more students can return to campus, our teaching staff are likely to need to spend some more time on campus doing in person learning or revision support, though this will mean different things for different departments From 12 April, student-facing services are planning to have an increased presence on campus.

In June, 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 should be 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, 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 23 February: The rebate period has now been extended to 12 April for students who cannot resume in-person learning from 8 March due to Government restrictions

We fully appreciate that the latest Government announcement has different implications for the resumption of in-person learning for students on different courses and in different year groups. We want to approach this complex issue in as fair and consistent a manner as possible.

Therefore, we will be contacting those students in University or nomination agreement accommodation who cannot resume in-person learning due to Government restrictions and offering them a further rent rebate extension until 12 April 2021. Those students who can now resume in-person learning activity for their course will be charged for accommodation from 8 March 2021, however we will be contacting these students in case there are exceptional circumstances which mean they cannot return including restrictions on international travel.

In recognition of the exceptional circumstances faced at the start of 2021, and with the overall approval of our governing body, the Council, the University has already announced a full rent rebate covering the period of 4 January 2021 until 8 March 2021 to those students in University-managed and Nomination Accommodation who have not been able to use it because of Government restrictions during this period of national lockdown. Therefore, if you are not studying on a programme that currently allows you to return for in-person teaching and you are not using your room, you will not have to pay for your University accommodation for this period.

You will see this refund as a credit in your University account, so you will have a reduced amount to pay for your final period of accommodation over the spring and summer. We will do this automatically so you do not need to take further action.

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?

All students are expected to take two tests on their return to Bath, three days apart, and are encouraged to also take a test before they travel where community testing facilities are available.

Students are then expected to continue with twice weekly testing while they are at University. This is even more important if students are accessing University buildings for study, research, learning or extra-curricular activities once these are allowed. 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.

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 which 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

If you are in University-managed accommodation, please book a slot to return so we can support you effectively.

International travel

What are the rules in place regarding international travel?

Travel to another country from the UK

After 8 March, if you travel to another country from the UK you will need to carry a new form stating that your trip is permitted under national lockdown rules.

Police will be conducting spot checks at ports and airports and have the power to ask travellers to produce a completed form. It will be an offence to fail to produce a completed form and individuals could face a £200 fine.

If you require 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. 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. Please be aware that results are not shared with the University and we are not able to follow up on missing or late collections or results. 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.

You can find more information on GOV.UK.

Travel to Bath from another country

The Government has announced that unless students are in the group who are able to travel back to university because they require specialist equipment and facilities, students should stay where they are at this stage, before a decision is made on further return. The Government will announce this decision by the end of the UK’s Easter holidays in April.

If you return to Bath from another country, then you must follow the Government’s guidance for all people travelling to the UK. Before setting out you are advised to:

  • Check any additional entry requirements and restrictions that have been introduced due to Covid-19.
  • All people travelling to the UK must complete a Passenger Locator Form prior to departure. You may not be allowed to board your flight unless you can demonstrate that you have met this requirement.
  • All international arrivals to England, including UK nationals, are required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure.
  • If you are travelling from a country that is on the UK’s Red List then you will need to follow the published arrivals and quarantine guidelines. 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 quarantine costs, but if students are experiencing financial hardship, we would urge them to apply to the hardship fund.
  • If you have travelled from a destination that is not on the red list then there is a separate set of guidelines that you will need to follow. Under these arrangements, you are allowed to self-quarantine in accommodation of your choice provided you declare this on your passenger locator form. You can e-mail: quarantine@bath.ac.uk to book ten days of University accommodation if you are unable to self-isolate anywhere else.
  • All people arriving in the UK are also required, by law, to take PCR test on day two and day eight of their first ten days in the UK. These tests must be booked before departure from your destination.
  • The UK Government is allowing people travelling from countries not on the red list (and who have not been in a red list country for the last ten days) the option to take an accredited coronavirus (Covid-19) test from a private testing provider after five full days (from arrival in the UK) of self-isolation. If a negative result is received then students may end self-isolation from receipt of that result. More information on the Test to Release scheme is available. You can opt-in to this scheme by completing a Passenger Locator Form on arrival in the UK. If you wish to take up this option please contact quarantine@bath.ac.uk and they will advise you on how a suitable test may be organised.
  • People opting to Test to Release are still legally required to take a PCR test on day eight. If any tests (the mandatory day 2 or day 8 tests, or the elective Test to Release test) come back positive then you and any people who you have been in close contact with in the two days prior to taking that test, will be required to self-isolate for 10 days.
  • Failure to comply with any of the government guidelines may result in a heavy fine so we strongly recommend that you take time to read and understand the published guidance relevant to your travel.

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.

Travelling over the Easter break

What are the rules in place regarding travel over the Easter break?

The UK Government has just published guidance on travel for students over the Easter break.

The guidance during ‘stay at home’ restrictions is that once you have returned to your term-time accommodation you must remain living there unless an exemption to the national restrictions on leaving home and gatherings applies, and you must only travel home where you have a legally permitted reason to do so.

On 8 March the UK Government published an update for travel at Easter.

“Students will be able to return home for their Easter break, if they choose to do so. However, in order to minimise transmission, we strongly advise that students remain in their term time accommodation where possible.

“Where students do travel home for their Easter break, they should get tested before they travel. Students are also encouraged to test before they travel back to university, where community testing facilities are available. If they test positive, they will be legally required to self-isolate for ten days and should not travel.”

Book your free Covid tests and find out more on our FAQs on testing.

The new guidance also outlines the advice regarding overseas travel for international students.

“International students are also allowed to return home once for their Easter break, which includes a journey involving overseas travel. However, in order to minimise transmission, and because travel restrictions could change whilst students are overseas, making it harder for students to get back into England, we would strongly advise students not to travel, and to remain in their term time accommodation.”

Before you travel outside the UK, you must complete a travel declaration form demonstrating that you have a legal reason to travel.

You are advised to consult Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advice for your destination or transit route before you travel and consider the requirements on re-entry to England before travelling.

If you require 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. 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. Please be aware that results are not shared with the University and we are not able to follow up on missing or late collections or results. 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.

Teaching

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

In addition to our MPharm course, which requires Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) assessment, we are now able to resume practical elements of in-person teaching and learning for some undergraduate and postgraduate taught students who are studying practical or practice-based subjects and require specialist equipment and facilities from 8 March.

Students on the following courses are therefore invited back to Bath for 8 March, in line with Government guidelines, and are asked to take two Covid-19 lateral flow tests on their return:

Faculty of Engineering & Design

  • Architecture: Years 1, 4 and 6
  • All Engineering courses: Years 1 and 2
  • Final year competition teams from Mechanical Engineering and Electronic & Electrical Engineering
  • All engineering students who are doing lab-related research dissertations

Faculty of Science

  • Biology & Biochemistry: Years 1 and 2 and PGT students
  • Chemistry: All finalists and Year 3 MChem
  • Natural Sciences: Year 3, 4 and 5
  • Pharmacy & Pharmacology: all years and PGT students
  • Physics: Finalists

School of Management

  • MBA courses

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

  • MA Interpreting & Translating (EU)
  • MA Interpreting & Translating (Chinese)
  • MA Translation with Business Interpreting (Chinese)
  • Social work: we may be able to offer social work students on placements in Bath some in-person sessions
  • Please note: We will not be able to restart practical elements of courses in the Department of Health (e.g. Sport & Exercise Science and Health & Exercise Science) until indoor sports and gyms are open after Easter. We will update students on these courses directly.

Currently, we are unable to invite any other students to return for in-person learning in line with Government restrictions. However, the UK Government has stated that they will review, by the end of the Easter holidays, the options for timing of the return of students not included in the practical and practice-based courses above. The Government has also said that we will be given a week’s notice ahead of any further return. We appreciate this is not much notice, particularly for our international students, but will be doing everything in our power to update you as soon as we hear from Government.

There are other limited exemptions which enable students to return for exceptional circumstances, as outlined in our previous Q&A.

Of course, online teaching will continue for all our students which is designed to ensure they meet learning outcomes. In addition, our student facing services are providing support both virtually and in person, including wellbeing support. We look forward to warmly welcoming back all our students as soon as Government rules allow.

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 8W and 10W also remain open for you to book, and 10W includes 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?

You can find a full breakdown for the 2019/20 academic year on our web pages.

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 this 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.

Despite these challenges, we have still invested in the student experience, including increasing funding for the SU and for student activities such as the East Village as well as leasing additional space in the city and Oldfield Park for study and recreation. We have also supported students through decisions such as the rent rebates for students unable to use their University accommodation because of Government rules. In addition, we have worked quickly to make student services available online as well as in person, investing in new initiatives like our 24/7 ‘Be Well, Talk Now’ service available by phone or live chat to our students, wherever they are based.

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 which 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.

Students can find further financial information from 2019/2020 in our annual report and accounts.

Can I get a rebate of my tuition fees?

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

The education of our students, in a safe environment, remains our greatest priority. Both in planning for and throughout the course of the 2020/21 Academic Year to date, our aim has been to deliver high quality, accessible education, employing a blended delivery approach designed to support those who are able to benefit from some study in person as well as those who have had to study entirely remotely. We have been working very hard throughout to ensure that the impacts of Covid-19 do not 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 which may occur through the course of the academic year and other changes to the operating environment for Universities which may be caused by the pandemic.

The tuition fee you will pay for your course is determined by your fee status not your mode of study. During any period in which Government regulations stipulate that educational delivery is to be 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.

Our approach has been and will continue to be informed by the guidance issued and legislation enacted by Government which may of course 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 this might place 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 wherever possible and whenever Covid-rules and legislation allows.

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 which 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 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.