Covid-19


Tuesday, 24 November: University launches Covid mass testing programme ahead of holiday travel 
Tuesday, 10 November: New proposed testing programme for students (via University website) 
Tuesday, 3 November: Important message from the University regarding new restrictions - includes information on teaching
Tuesday, 3 November: Message from 
Michelle Donelan MP, Minister of State for Universities, to all students (via University website)
Sunday, 1 November: Message from Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to all students (via University website)
Tuesday, 13 October: Update about Covid-19 tests on campus
Friday, 23 October: New click and collect service from the Union shop available

The Officer team will be giving regular live updates on our Instagram page to share information with students as things progress. This will give all students a chance to join in by asking questions and sharing their own experiences and concerns about the situation.

Keep an eye on this page for info and FAQs about the current situation - ranging from the government's advice to important University links and your general questions regarding finance, academic, wellbeing and more.

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


Getting tested for Covid-19

(updated November 2020)

Mass testing programme 

The University is launching an asymptomatic mass testing programme just ahead of the holidays, starting Monday 30 November until 11 December. 

There’s a simple booking form to arrange your test, and results will be available within 30-45 minutes of the test being taken.

Find out more via the University's Student Hub.

Some FAQs on the mass testing programme:

Where do I get tested? 
The testing site will be on campus, in the Sports Centre. There will be some parking in the Sports Centre car park, which will be free for one hour. The test takes about 20 minutes.

Who is it for?
It will be available to all University of Sussex students, including PhD students and essential workers on campus (full-time and part-time)

Do I need to book in advance? 
Yes - just fill out the booking form.

How does it work? 
Arrive at your arranged time slot wearing a mask. You will be given a test kit & card & asked to register. 

How long does it take? 
The test should take no longer than 20 minutes.
Your result will be emailed or text to you within 30-45 minutes of the test being taken.
Neither the Uni or the SU will have access to any of your registration data.

It’s recommended to have two tests, three days apart, to be very sure of an accurate negative test before you travel home.

Do I need to bring ID? 
Yes. Please take your student ID card with you. 

When am I allowed to travel home? 
Once you receive your test result as confirmed negative, we encourage you to travel as soon as possible, to limit contracting the virus in the meantime. 
You’ll be allowed to travel home within the ‘student travel window,’ 3 -9 December. 

What happens if the test is positive?
If you test positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days in your current accommodation. See more about self-isolating on the University's Student Hub.

I’ve already had Covid-19 / had a positive test - what shall I do?
If you’ve tested positive for Covid-19 within the ten days before your booked appointment, you should not undertake the lateral flow test as you’ll still have antibodies in your blood that could give you a false positive reading. 

I am planning to stay longer on campus - what shall I do? 
The University recommends leaving your second test until the latest possible date (11 December) and to take precautions (social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands regularly etc) between the test result & your departure date. 

How do I cancel my test?
If you need to cancel your booking, please send a request with the following details: Name, Email address, Date & Time of booking, to [email protected].

I have more questions - who do I ask? 
See the University's FAQs.
You can also email [email protected]
 

General testing

If you're concerned that you might have Coronavirus, you can usually 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.

Find out more about when and how to get tested.


Face coverings/masks

(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. 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:


Finance

(updated November 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 looking at its hardship fund, and what is available there (including how long it will last and how it can be distributed fairly).
  • The University has put 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.

Where can I get advice on my student loans?

The Student Loans Company has all the latest information on loans and repayment. 


Housing and rent 

(updated November 2020)

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

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 November 2020)

Info and answers about assessments and more.

Many students in Education and Social Work are concerned about the timing of their exam board this year. In previous years students have been to the exam board in June with an option to resit in September (before hoping to enter practice later that month). This year, many have been told to expect to only be able to attend the exam board in September and are concerned about what may happen if they miss this one chance. Will there be an interim exam board in June or July?

The University says that the School has requested to hold a later exam board, in July, and this has been approved. The School will be writing to students to let them know about this shortly, including more detail.

General academic concerns

If you have any questions relating to your course, the best place to ask first is your teacher/course convenor/supervisor.

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 independent support from the Students’ Union, email us at [email protected] or book an appointment directly on our website.


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 have a look on our site to see if your school is part of the programme and contact the relevant advocatefor your school to schedule a call if you would like to speak to someone and have your concerns raised.

If there is no advocate 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 November 2020)

For International students both currently abroad and living in Brighton.

What if I want to go home at this time?

The University says: 

"If an international student chooses to return home, ultimately it is for them to decide whether they do so. However, students planning to travel should adhere to the Government’s advice while in the UK to ensure they are travelling safely. Students should not travel if they have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or are part of a household group which is self-isolating".

International students should be mindful that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office currently advises against all but essential international travel. If students do travel home they should also consider whether they need to self-isolate when they return, and are advised to check any restrictions in the country they are travelling to, and whether they will also need to undertake a period of self-isolation in that country.

International students travelling from countries not on the exemption (travel corridor) list will need to self-isolate in their accommodation for 14 days.

Support specifically for International students

You can contact International Student Support: [email protected] - they provide support specifically for International students at Sussex.

International Students Police registration

The National Union of Students (NUS) has received assurances from the Home Office that no student will face penalty action for failing to attend a pre-booked online police registration appointment or being unable to book an appointment due to disruptions caused by this second Covid-19 national lockdown.

Students who are returning to their home countries prior to registering or reporting changes with the Overseas Visitors Records Office (OVRO) should not face any difficulties at UK ports upon re-entry to the UK.

The OVRO will remain open during the lockdown period and have an online booking service for appointments. They have said that the first available appointments will be from April 2021. This late appointment availability will not have any non-compliancy issues for students and they will not be subject to any penalty action as a result.

More information here - https://www.met.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/ov/registering-overseas-visitor/


Students on campus

Specifically for students still living on campus at Sussex.

(updated November 2020)

What can I do on campus?

  • Have a look at our virtual events programme - designed to keep you entertained & as social as you want to be during Covid

Food and deliveries

Is the on-campus GP open?

Yes, the GP on campus is still open. See here for 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.

For students who 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?

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 November 2020)

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

A lot of students are saying they can no longer call the Student Life Centre and instead have to fill out a form. Is this accurate for all students? Is it a temporary measure (if so, when will the normal system resume)? Why has this happened?

The Student Life Centre (SLC) is still operating a phone line for incoming calls, which is open 10am - 3pm every week day.

There is an online form to complete, which allows the SLC to triage enquiries and understand the level of urgency and risk. The University says that students are contacted regardless of the urgency within a 'very short time frame and the triage form allows the right member of staff to be equipped with the information they need when they contact the student'. 

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 and events

(updated November 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


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