Covid-19


Friday, 11 September: Officer statement on reopening campus.

We have compiled some FAQs for you about the current situation, ranging from general questions to finance, academic and wellbeing.

Buy masksGetting testedFinanceHousing and rentAcademicBAME studentsInternational studentsStudents on campusMental health and wellbeingCommunity, social and eventsAccess & Returning to University


Face coverings/masks - where, what, how?

(updated September 2020)

In the UK it’s now required by law to wear a face covering/mask when you visit shops, supermarkets and banks – including those on campus. You’re also required by law to wear one when you travel to or from campus on public transport (on the bus, train, and taxis).

The University is asking everyone to wear a face covering/mask in communal indoor spaces where two-metre social distancing is not possible, including seminar rooms; other teaching spaces, including computer clusters; foyers; corridors; toilets; lifts and the Library. 

Some people do not have to wear face coveringssee government exemptions, including printable exemption cards. You may choose to display this exemption in some way (eg on your phone or as a badge or on a lanyard), or alternatively just to explain when asked. This is your personal preference.

Here at Sussex, students wearing a Sunflower lanyard to indicate a hidden disability may choose to attach an exemption card to that.

The University will also be providing yellow lanyards to anyone wanting to use that to show an exemption. If you’d like one, they will be available at various points across the University.

Advice is based on changing UK government guidance.

See the government's website for more guidance, and how to make your own face covering.

Buy your reusable masks

If you’re looking to buy (reusable) masks from local sellers, here are some links for you:


Getting tested for Covid-19

(updated 22 September 2020)

If you're concerned that you might have Coronavirus, you can book a self-referral test online. The test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud. This is then sent off for testing and you receive your result via text or email.

There is now a walk-in test site in Brighton (see Brighton & Hove News). Find out more about when and how to get tested.


Finance

(updated April 2020)

We will try to answer your finance-related questions here. Where we can't provide definite answers, we will signpost you in the right direction.

Will there be any financial support for students facing job losses and those still having to pay rent, despite having moved off-campus?

  • The University is currently looking at its hardship fund, and what is available there (including how long it will last and how it can be distributed fairly).
  • Government is looking at more flexible payments in terms of rent during this period - we will update as soon as we know anything has been confirmed.
  • The University is also putting out guidance for students specifically around managing money at this time and the Student Life Centre has money advisors that you can contact to get support from.

Will maintenance loan payments be affected? (There is due to be a payment in April)

The Student Loans Company has announced that summer term loan payments will be sent as normal, whether or not campuses (and indeed universities) are open. There’s no support for those making repayments, but the SLC helpfully notes that earnings fall below the £26,000 threshold, graduates will stop making repayments.


Housing and rent 

(updated April 2020)

We will try to answer your questions relating to both University and private housing.

University accommodation - Is there any potential for flexible rent payments for the rest of term?

The University is not going to collect the last instalment of rent in April (for those students who have left campus). If you live in campus accommodation, you should have received an email from the University about this.

Students remaining on campus will still be required to pay their rent.

Private accommodation

If you are tied into a private contract, you must speak to your landlord if you cannot currently afford the rent. There is still a legal contractual obligation to pay your rent - unless the government announces special measures otherwise. You can also seek help through the University hardship fund. The University also offers short term emergency loans for students.


Academic

(updated April 2020)

Info and answers about assessments and more.

How will assessments be readjusted considering the extra stress and lack of face-to-face support offered this term?

Currently the University is looking at changes that need to be made to exceptional circumstances, and are talking to Heads of Schools and exam boards about adjustments. We will keep you updated, and in the meanwhile you can still get support from the Student Life Centre in managing stress.

How are labs and practical assessments going to take place

The University has stated that no student can be assessed on modes of assessment that would require them to be on campus, and about how your assessment mode will be changed, students are advised to contact their module convenors / teachers directly.

How is marking going to take place? (Several students, e.g. with dissertations, saying they still have physical hand-ins).

Physical hand-ins will no longer happen, be in touch with your School about how hand-ins for your specific assignments will be conducted.

The Canvas format for conferences and group conversations is meant to be for a maximum of 10 people, will this work when it comes to distance learning?

Canvas should allow 100 people on their formats, but if you run into problems with this, teachers and the university will look into other forms of conducting online teaching. First week of online teaching might be a bumpy start, but the staff are working hard to make sure you will get the teaching in the best form as possible in this situation.

The University now has Zoom for students to use too: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/staff/newsandevents/?id=51680

For students of one year MA courses, there has been essentially no teaching, will they be able to finish their courses by September?

At the moment, The University is adjusting to new ways of teaching and learning. They are looking at all the possible ways to make sure teaching is delivered, students can have contact with their teachers and get their assignments done in time. Some teachers have already agreed to upload teaching materials from strike weeks to their students.

The exceptional circumstances procedure is being looked at at the moment, and Exam Boards will be taking the unfortunate circumstances into consideration.

If you have any questions relating to your course, the best place to ask first is your teacher / course convenor / supervisor, since modules / departments / schools have been given freedom on how they deliver teaching. We will update when we have more information

If you are unable to undertake practical parts of your course such as field trips and placements due to the current situation, and would like to make a complaint, go to http://www.sussex.ac.uk/ogs/complaintsappeals/students. If you would like advice and independet support from the Students’ Union, email us at [email protected]


BAME students

(updated September 2020)

BAME students will be disproportionately affected by the changes that Covid-19 has created. It is vital that BAME students have a safe and trustworthy way in which to share thoughts and concerns with us and the University. Our Race Equity Advocates, along with our Community Organisers, will provide peer to peer support for students.

Who are the Race Equity Advocates and how can I contact them?

Race Equity Advocates are here to give anonymous feedback on the BAME student experience to the senior management for their school. They are also here to raise specific concerns and issues surrounding the Covid-19 crisis.

Please contact the advocate for your school to schedule a call if you would like to speak to someone and have your concerns raised:

We'll be adding more advocates to this list as the academic year starts. In the meantime, if there is not an ambassador for your school or you would prefer to write about your experiences as a BAME student please use this survey or email Meena.

If you have specific Covid-19 concerns please submit them using this form.

Is there a BAME society that I can join?

Sussex has a BAME Students' Society. Join them on Instagram @BAMESussex or on Facebook @SussexBAMESociety.

There are also a number of cultural, faith and community based societies that are offering support networks during this difficult time. For more faith specific information, have a look at our faith page.

Are there other resources for BAME students that I can access?

You can find support and helpful resources tailored for the BAME community in the padlet that we have put together for you.
Feel free to add your own resources!

The Black and Minority Ethnic Community Partnership (BMECP) are based in Brighton and are offering to help the BAME community with both practical (i.e shopping) and emotional support, you can contact them on 0300 303 1171 or via email at [email protected] or [email protected]

Who are the Community Organisers and how can I get in touch with them?

Community Organisers are a diverse group of students who reach out and listen to members of their community and motivate them to build their collective power, tackle the issues affecting them and create positive change. Before the pandemic, organisers held 121s and group meetings in person. They are now doing that online.

You may want to speak to another student about what it's like to be a student at Sussex, what makes you angry and what you value. Whether you are still on campus, back home or elsewhere - we'd love to connect with you and make your voice heard by the Students' Union and the University.

Contact details:
- On our website
- Via email [email protected]
- On Instagram @sussex_campaigns
- On Twitter @SussexCampaigns


International students

(updated April 2020)

For International students both currently abroad and still living in Brighton.

Will the University be supporting international students who may need to extend their visas in order to complete their studies?

  • From the UKCISA website:
    • The Home Office updated its immigration guidance for people affected by Coronavirus on 24 March 2020.
    • It now covers everyone regardless of nationality or country of residence. See the full guidance for details of all measures, some of which we also include in Questions we can answer.
    • In particular, it provides the following special arrangements
    • Free extension if your immigration permission expires between 24 January and 31 May2020
    • If your immigration permission expired, or will expire, between 24 January and 31 May 2020 the Home Office will extend it for you up to 31 May 2020 without you having to make an immigration application or pay a fee. However, you must contact its Coronvirus Immigration Help Centre.
    • You can do this by email and we recommend that you email, rather than call, so that you have a record of the contact and save time waiting to speak to someone.

You must provide the information set out in the guidance:

  • your full name including any middle names
  • your date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
  • your nationality
  • your previous visa reference number
  • why you can’t go back to your home country, for example if the border has closed

The Home Office will let you know when your request is received and when your visa has been extended.


Students on campus

Specifically for students still living on campus at Sussex.

(updated September 2020)

What can I do on campus?

Have a look at different ways you can engage with our activities, grouped by how comfortable you feel with being social in times of Covid-19.

(updated April 2020)

Is the on-campus GP open?

GP on campus is open, but will go on to telephone service only from Friday 20th March, keep and eye on updates.

Is it likely that university/campus housing will close?

Nobody will be made to leave their accommodation on campus. Staying on campus is now the safest thing to do as travel is not recommended.

Is there any guidance available regarding how to practice good hygiene while living in halls?

  • The NHS guidance on how to self-isolate if you live in a houseshare is as follows:
    • Stay in your room with the door closed, only using communal kitchens, bathrooms and living areas when necessary.
    • Avoid using a shared kitchen while others are using it.
    • Take your meals back to your room to eat.
    • Wash your cutlery and crockery by hand using detergent and warm water and dry them thoroughly, using a separate tea towel.
    • Experts suggest using a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. But, if this is not possible and don’t have an en suite, you will have to do a lot more deep cleaning.

Several students have left campus in a hurry, will they be able to retrieve the items they have left behind at a later date?

Housing has sent a survey to students asking if they have left belongings behind. Be in contact with them ([email protected] / 01273 678220) to arrange your belongings.

How can I stay in touch with others still living on campus?

Join the campus WhatsApp group to stay connected with those students physically nearby.

What Support Services can I still access through the University?

The Student Life Centre, Student Support Unit and International Student Support are providing online services if you need support.

To contact them, email:

What's happening with buses to campus?

There is a reduced bus services to campus: To reflect demand during the UK lockdown, Brighton & Hove buses are operating reduced timetables across all services.

More information is available on the Brighton & Hove buses website.

Why is there a temporary mortuary on campus?

From the University (added Tuesday 21 April):

"The University of Sussex and Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) have acted quickly to respond to requests from health and government authorities to assist during the coronavirus crisis.

The University last week set up a task force to co-ordinate such requests, working quickly to provide the NHS, central government departments and local councils with the resources, equipment and services that they need.

Now, BSMS and the University are assisting Brighton & Hove City Council by preparing our existing anatomy facilities and new specifically-designed units to be used as temporary body storage during the coronavirus crisis, should they be needed.  

At such a difficult time we want to support our partners and the local community.  The team at BSMS are used to caring for the deceased and are confident that they can offer the same dignity, care and compassion that is provided by the City Mortuary.

Authorities in Sussex have identified a small number of sites across the county for the facilities and the University was considered the most suitable in the Brighton & Hove area.

The temporary arrangement will make use of existing specialist facilities within BSMS, with additional units being installed at the edge of the campus in car park 5, near the University’s Sports Centre, to be used if required.

Out of respect for everyone involved, the facility will be completely screened from the outside. The Council will provide 24-hour security."


Your health and wellbeing

(updated September 2020)

For everything relating to your wellbeing and mental health, please see our dedicated Wellbeing section.

Is the University providing any support or advice for students working in healthcare?

The University is following Government and NHS advice. World Health Organization has also published guidance on healthcare workers looking after their own wellbeing. 

I'm a student who is also a parent. Where can I find additional mental health support?

It's challenging trying to look after yourself under the current circumstances when you are also caring for your children. They may be finding the whole situation strange and worrying too. Please see our Wellbeing section for information about organisations supporting the mental health needs of parents and children.


Community, social and events

(updated April 2020)

Here we will share everything we can think of to help you feel more connected and less lonely during this time.

Theatre, art, exercise, cookery lessons, armchair travel & more

Supportive groups on social media

Sussex SU community support page (we run online events including cook-alongs, yoga, Language Cafe and pub quizzes!)

Sussex Community organisers - peer support from Sussex students

Sussex Community solidarity page - a more general support network for the Sussex community

BRAND NEW Virtual Buddy Up - make new Sussex Uni friends and look out for each other during lockdown and social distancing

Brighton local food and deliveries


Access & Returning to University

(updated September 2020)

On Friday 18 and Monday 21 September 2020, we held two open discussions on access and returning to University.

This was for students to raise concerns and questions about how they would access online and ‘blended’ learning, social aspects of University life, financial concerns, moving around campus - and anything else you wanted to bring up.

There was a link to a padlet wall where students could contribute their concerns anonymously.

A few people came to the discussions, and others fed into them through friends, through Access Sussex, or through the padlet wall.

We listed some of your concerns and our answers. And where we don’t yet have answers, we explain how we plan to find those answers for you.


Buy masksGeneralFinanceHousing and rentAcademicBAME studentsInternational studentsStudents on campusMental health and wellbeingCommunity, social and eventsAccess & Returning to University