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Coronavirus information for the Brunel community

Brunel University London campus is now closed. We will maintain on campus security and a minimal number of staff to support students in residences. Costcutter is open for supplies, all other buildings and facilities are closed. Education and support services continue to operate remotely.

Please click here for details of how to access services during campus closure.

Information updated: Friday 3 April

Important changes to this guidance issued today:  

 Important changes to this guidance issued this week:   

General coronavirus advice

What is coronavirus and what effect could it have on me? 

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses common across the world in animals and humans; certain types cause illnesses in people.

COVID-19 is the name of the disease seen in people infected with a new strain of coronavirus not previously seen in humans. The virus that causes this disease is “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)”.

Based on current evidence, the main symptoms of COVID-19 are a cough, a high temperature and, in severe cases, shortness of breath, however for the majority of people, the symptoms are mild.

As it is a new virus, the lack of immunity in the population (and the absence as yet of an effective vaccine) means that COVID-19 has the potential to spread extensively. Among those who become infected, some will exhibit no symptoms. Data suggests that the great majority will have a mild-to-moderate, but self-limiting illness and will not require any medical treatment.

It is, however, also clear that a minority of people who get COVID-19 will develop complications, most often pneumonia, severe enough to require hospital care. The data suggests that the risk of severe disease and death increases amongst elderly people and in people with underlying health risk conditions.

Illness is less common and usually less severe in younger adults. So far, there has been no obvious sign that pregnant women are more likely to be seriously affected.

When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government has introduced three new measures.

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes

  2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces

  3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Everyone must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

The measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

What is the likelihood of coronavirus spreading at Brunel? 

The UK Government is expecting and planning for significant spread of the virus in the population. When we have a case or cases at Brunel, our main concern will be for the welfare of those affected, to ensure they receive appropriate support and treatment and to provide accommodation for isolation if necessary. We will ensure patient confidentiality, but will also ensure you are given the appropriate information and advice to manage the risks. If we or Public Health England believe you have been in contact with a known case, you will be informed, and offered appropriate support.

How can I protect myself and others? 

The Government has introduced stringent new measures to prevent spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives. 

1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes

2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces

3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Everyone must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings. These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

People are being told to stay at home and only leave the house for one of four reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible

  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household

  • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

These four reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household. These measures must be followed by everyone. If you work in a critical sector outlined in this Government guidance, or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school.

Last week, the Government ordered certain businesses - including pubs, cinemas and theatres - to close. The Government is now extending this requirement to a further set of businesses and other venues, including:

  • All non-essential retail stores - this will include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets.

  • Libraries, community centres, and youth centres.
  • Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities.
  • Communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms.
  • Places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families.
  • Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers).

To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the Government is also stopping all public gatherings of more than two people. There are only two exceptions to this rule:

  • Where the gathering is of a group of people who live together - this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home.

  • Where the gathering is essential for work purposes - but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.

The most effective way to avoid getting or spreading coronavirus is to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, and to encourage others to do the same. The NHS advises washing your hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice, about 20 seconds in all.

The NHS also advises people to do the following:

  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

The NHS 111 online coronavirus service, 111.nhs.uk/covid-19, can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

What should I do if I have an underlying health condition? 

The Government is advising that those who are at increased risk of severe illness should be particularly stringent. This group includes people who are:

There are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this category, next week the NHS in England will directly contact you with advice the more stringent measures you should take in order to keep yourself and others safe. People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:

  • people who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication
  • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment
  • people with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
  • people with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)

If you are a student with particular concerns about a serious existing health condition, you should contact our Coronavirus Helpdesk. If you are a member of staff with particular concerns about a serious existing health condition, tell your Line Manager.

Both students and staff may want to consult a doctor, however because NHS services are under pressure people are being told to call NHS24 (111) in the first instance. Please don't contact or visit the Medical Centre on campus. The online coronavirus service, 111.nhs.uk/covid-19, can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Use the online NHS 111 service if:

  • ​you think you might have coronavirus
  • you've been in close contact with someone with coronavirus

What can I do if I'm feeling anxious about coronavirus? 

It is perfectly understandable that you might be anxious or worried about coronavirus and the impact it could have on your life, particularly because this might include being asked to stay at home or to avoid other people.

Mind has created a guide here focusing on staying mentally healthy in light of the current situation and we would encourage any students or staff who feel concerned to read the information carefully.

Students who feel they need further support should contact the Student Services team on 01895 267045 or visit the Student Centre on campus. If you are displaying symptoms of illness, we can offer appointments by telephone or Skype.

Staff who feel they need further support should tell their Line Manager or access our 24-hour Employee Assistance Programme here, which includes a package of health and wellbeing support and advice.

Please don’t suffer in silence – we know this is a difficult time for many people, but all of our support services are open and available to our whole Brunel community.

How well prepared is Brunel to respond to COVID-19? 

The University is well prepared. We are working closely with the NHS and closely monitoring the latest advice to ensure a best-practice response to limit the risk of the spread of coronavirus.

Brunel's senior leadership team meets daily to ensure that we have appropriate plans in place. Staff and students receive updates on a daily basis; via email, on the staff and student intranets and in the form of printed information at receptions across campus and at the Student Centre.

We have also held webinars for College staff in order to share information and answer specific questions as they are asked. Recordings of these webinars are being made available via the staff intranet and the questions and answers used to update these pages.

We have also placed posters around campus encouraging the community to follow good hygiene advice and installed hand sanitizers at points across campus.

We have set up our Coronavirus Helpdesk for all enquiries from students, parents and staff. You can contact the Helpdesk on c-virus@brunel.ac.uk

What should I do if I develop cold or flu-like symptoms? 

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a recent onset of:

  • A new continuous cough and/or
  • A high temperature

For most people, however, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

The Government has introduced stringent new measures to prevent spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives. 

1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes

2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces

3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Everyone must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings. These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness, however mild, stay at home for seven days from when your symptoms started. If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for seven days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.

For anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for seven days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period. It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.

If you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible.

If you have coronavirus symptoms:

  • do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
  • you do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
  • testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home

Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser. If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after seven days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

Both students and staff may want to consult a doctor, however because NHS services are under pressure people are being told to call NHS24 (111) in the first instance. Please don't contact or visit the Medical Centre on campus. The online coronavirus service, 111.nhs.uk/covid-19, can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Follow the Government guidance on staying at home here. The official NHS pages are an excellent source of reliable, up to date information and guidance on symptoms and the measures you can take to protect yourself and others.

Do I need to wear a face mask? 

Public health advice is that face masks have little positive effects in stopping you becoming infected. The best protection is to follow good hygiene practices: wash your hands regularly and use tissues when coughing or sneezing.

Please be aware, however, that some of our students and staff may wear masks, not to protect themselves but as a socially responsible measure to prevent the spread of seasonal infections like the common cold.

We ask that all students and staff respect this practice, and refrain from behaviours or remarks which may stigmatise people who wear masks.

What should I do if I feel as though I have been bullied or harassed due to coronavirus? 

Sadly, some of our Asian students have reported that they feel discriminated against on campus since the outbreak was announced. This is unacceptable and won't be tolerated. If you have experienced this or seen it happen on campus, please report it to the Student Centre or through our Report and Support service here.

What should I tell my family about the coronavirus situation at Brunel and worldwide? 

Please ask them to read the information on these pages so they are familiar with the steps the University is taking to limit the risk of coronavirus infection at Brunel.

Please keep in touch with them regularly to let them know you are OK. This will be a considerable help to our Student Services team who otherwise will receive phone calls and emails from worried parents and families. 

What can I do to support the nationwide coronavirus response? 

Brunel is working in a number of ways to support the coronavirus response locally, which includes supporting the NHS.

If you are fit, well and able to support the NHS, you can find out more information about becoming a volunteer responder here.

I am a worried parent of a student at Brunel. What should I do? 

Stay in close touch with them if you can. Encourage them to familiarise themselves with the information and advice available on these pages and ask them to check their university email accounts regularly for any updates.

Also encourage them to wash their hands regularly! It’s the best defence against infection with coronavirus.

We have been writing directly to all students for several weeks with updates and advice, and we will continue to do that to ensure they have the information and support they need. 

If you have concerns about a particular student you can speak to our Student Services team by phoning 01895 267045, but please do try to make contact yourself with the student first.

I have overseas visitors staying with me, would they be charged for treatment if they were diagnosed with COVID-19?

The NHS will not charge overseas visitors for the diagnosis or treatment of Coronavirus. You can find out more information here.

Will my Student Loan payments be made as usual? 

The Government has confirmed that the Student Loans Company is planning to make Term 3 tuition fee payments as scheduled and that students will continue to receive maintenance payments on the scheduled dates, whether or not campuses are closed or learning has moved online.

Campus services and events

Has the University closed? 

Brunel University London campus has closed, but some services remain open and education and support services continue to be delivered remotely.

We will maintain on campus security and a minimal number of staff to support students in residences as it is the only home for many of our students. Costcutter is open for supplies, along with the Pharmacy and Medical Centre. All other buildings and facilities are closed. 

We stopped face-to-face teaching from Monday 16 March and have replaced with online learning resources and support. The College Deans are working with Heads of Departments to ensure that all up-to-date materials are accessible online. Students will be contacted by their departments with any further arrangements, and we would ask for your patience while these are put in place.

What services are available during the Easter holiday? 

The University is closed for the Easter holiday from 8 to 14 April (inclusive). Revised opening hours are in place for the following services:

Easter opening hours
   Wed 8  Thurs 9  Fri 10  Sat 11  Sun 12  Mon 13 Tues 14
Catering  Closed  Closed  Closed  Closed  Closed  Closed  Closed
Costcutter  10am-6pm  10am-6pm  10am-6pm  12pm-6pm  10am-4pm  10am-6pm 10am-6pm
 Residences BLF  Closed   Closed   Closed   Closed   Closed   Closed  Closed
Residences IMFG 9am-5pm 9am-5pm 9am-5pm 9am-5pm 9am-5pm 9am-5pm 9am-5pm
Grounds** Closed Closed Closed Closed Closed Closed Closed
Security Open 24/7 Open 24/7 Open 24/7 Open 24/7 Open 24/7 Open 24/7 Open 24/7
Site services 8am-5pm 8am-5pm Closed 8am-5pm 8am-5pm Closed 8am-5pm

*Catering outlets closed but food will be delived to those self-isolating every day
**Skeleton staff will visit and complete essential grounds work and maintenance as needed

Is the main reception open?

The Eastern Gateway reception is now closed, however the switchboard will remain fully operational between 9am and 5pm.

Is the Library open?

The Library is now closed in line with government guidance, but staff are working at home to support students and adding more online resources daily. Get support from the LibSmart academic librarian team here and from the scholarly communications team here. We would also ask that all students follow the government's stay at home advice.

What is happening to research activity at Brunel?

The campus is now closed, therefore research activity (conducted by staff and doctoral researchers) should not continue on campus; where possible research should be undertaken from home. In a limited number of cases, experiments and research facilities will need to be wound down. This must be completed by the end of Wednesday 25 March, and the following arrangements apply to wind down in laboratory and workshop work:

  • For any requests for access, a risk assessment for each piece of work on campus should be completed giving details on how COVID-19 risks will be managed, including lone working etc. This must be approved by the Dean, DCO or Vice Dean, Research  (For BCAST, the Director of Operations or nominee) or a nominated deputy in their absence (nominated by the Head of Department), who will keep a log in a central register.

  • Individuals coming onto campus need to inform Security Services, as well as report to any local contacts, as required.

  • Face-to-face research interviews have been suspended and should be replaced by alternative means. CRECS have a document and email to circulate among staff, doctoral researchers and students explaining the circumstances for dissertations. We suggest the supervisors should be the first port of call for individual doctoral researchers and students.

  • Fieldwork should also be suspended, but overseas work currently in progress will be dealt with on an individual basis. However, we will be following current government guidelines and the safety of staff and student is a priority.

  • Any other ongoing work involving face-to-face interaction with participants will be halted and contingencies put in place to protect doctoral researchers and students’ wellbeing and ultimately awards. We will determine who is responsible for individual doctoral researchers and students currently undertaking fieldwork overseas – this is the supervisor in the first instance but the decision to bring students back to the UK and/or arrangements for future study and awards will be taken at a higher level.

  • Research involving taking biological samples from participants must stop; potential issues associated with awards and research deadlines are being monitored.  

Can I still access services from the Professional Development Centre?

The Professional Development Centre is now closed. Appointments for careers and placements are being conducted virtually. The team is still able to offer the same number of appointments remotely. Appointments can be booked here. 

All careers events planned for the coming weeks have been postponed. We are exploring options for virtual events and will provide updates when we have more information. 

Is the Brunel Language Centre open?

In line with government guidance we have stopped all face-to-face teaching on campus until further notice. However, we are still offering fully interactive online tuition for our pre-sessional English courses, at which students will have intensive English training before the start of your academic studies at Brunel. The online course content is exactly the same as our face-to-face course, and includes one-to-one tutorials, assessment and an online social programme. Find out more here.

UKVI have confirmed that Tier 4 students who have returned home won't lose their student status on the condition that they continue their studies where study opportunities are possible, so we would encourage all current students of the Language Centre to continue their studies online.

For students who have started their course and have travelled home, please email languagecentre@brunel.ac.uk  with the following information:

  • Date of travel (flight details)
  • Date you expect to be able to join our online course
  • Country and city you are travelling to
  • Evidence of returning home (e.g. passport stamps, boarding passes)

Can I collect my post on campus? 

The Distribution Centre is now closed until further notice. This will be reviewed following the Easter holiday depending on government guidelines and we will update accordingly. 

There are no facilities to collect post during the closure. Couriers are aware that the distribution centre is closed and no deliveries will be made to campus during this period.  

I'm an international student - can I go home?

The Government has now advised that its definition of essential travel does not include students returning home and asks that students currently living away from home should remain where they are until these travel restrictions are lifted.

The University campus is now closed, however we will maintain on campus security and a minimal number of staff to support students in residences. Costcutter is open for supplies, all other buildings and facilities are closed. Education and support services continue to operate remotely.

We have stopped face-to-face teaching and there won't be any on-campus exams this spring. Please bear with us while your department makes alternative arrangements and places learning resources and support online.

I am staying at home following government guidance. Can I leave my car on campus?

We have made the decision to suspend all restrictions on parking on campus for the foreseeable future.

Are any services still open on campus?

Please be aware that Brunel University London campus is now closed. We will maintain on campus security and a minimal number of staff to support students in residences. The Medical Centre and nearby pharmacy are still open - please call the Medical Centre on 01895 266904 to arrange telephone consultations. Do not go to the Medical Centre unless advised to do so by them.

Costcutter is open for supplies, all other buildings and facilities are closed. Education and support services continue to operate remotely.

Will Friday prayers be held on campus as normal?

In line with government guidance, we will unfortunately not be able to hold Friday prayers until further notice.

Is the University holding Applicant and Open Days as normal? 

Applicant Days, Open Days and Selection Days will be replaced with virtual open days and Skype interviews. Click here to register for updates. The university will contact applicants and liaise with academics directly.

Will University events go ahead as planned?

No events will be held on campus for the foreseeable future, however we are planning a range of virtual events for all our stakeholders including our students and staff.

Will Graduation go ahead as planned?

We have had to postpone Summer Graduation this year in line with government guidance. We realise that this will be very disappointing news for many students, and staff, however we will be aiming to hold a Graduation ceremony later in the year and will begin working on those arrangements soon.

We will make arrangements for those of you finishing your studies at Brunel to receive your degree certificate and graduate from the University this summer. We also hope to make arrangements for a virtual celebration in the summer and we will be arranging a full ceremony in due course, which we very much hope that you will attend.

Students who have hired gowns or pre-ordered photography with our supplier Ede and Ravenscroft will be able to transfer their order to the new ceremony date (once it is confirmed). However, if they are unable to attend they can cancel and receive a refund in accordance with the company's terms and conditions. Login to their website for more information or contact details.

Once you have been awarded you will be able to request your certificate through eVision. By visiting the “My Courses” / “View Award” section of eVision you can request to have your certificate posted to the address you provide. Even if you choose to receive your certificate in this way you will still eligible to attend your graduation.

Once your award has conferred, an electronic version of your Certificate can be viewed and shared from within Brunel University London’s VerifyAward service, which may prove valuable while awaiting your certificate via the postal service. 

Will this year's Research Festival still take place?

In line with government guidance we have decided to postpone our inaugural Research Festival and intend to launch it in April 2021 instead. We realise this will be disappointing news to  the many staff who have been involved in organising the event and who have proposed ideas.

We still intend to celebrate our staff via the Research Impact Awards, so please consider nominating an activity for one of the eight impact categories, by Friday 27 March. 

Are events organised by the Students’ Union still going ahead? 

Following the government's guidance The Union of Brunel Students have decided to close The Venue nightclub, Loco’s Bar and their reception office from Tuesday 17 March until further notice. All previously advertised events, including Varsity 2020 and the Team Brunel Ball, will be cancelled.

The Union will be in contact with those who have paid for tickets, but if you have any queries please email Union.Reception@brunel.ac.uk. The Union will continue to run their campaigns online such as Green Week (16-20 March) and Women’s Month (March). Follow @brunelstudents on Twitter and Instagram.

Will I still be expected to pay rent?

Brunel will not be charging rent for the third period for campus rooms that are no longer occupied.  All residents have received more information about this directly.

Will my deposit for the third period be returned?

Brunel will not be charging rent for the third period for campus rooms that are no longer occupied. All residents have now received more information about this. For those students who are no longer on campus, your £350 deposit is included in your total rent amount for the third term. This will be credited back to your eVision account.

Am I able to leave my belongings in my room or should I come and collect them?

We will keep your belongings safe and secure, and you should not collect them while government guidelines are still in place.

However, there may be a need to re-use your rooms before you are able to return so we may need to pack up your belongings and store them securely until such a time as you are able to collect them. You will not be charged if the University needs to move and store your belongings

Can a friend pack and collect my belongings on my behalf?

No. Whilst travel restrictions and government guidleines are in place, we can't issue keys to anyone.

How should I return my keys?

If you are living on campus and due to leave, please post your keys through the letterbox at Bishop Hall / Concourse Hall. If you have already left but still have your keys, please post them by recorded delivery to Concourse Hall Reception, Isambard Complex, Station Road, Uxbridge, UB8 3FG.

How can I stay active while staying/working at home?

Staying fit and healthy is as important as ever and there are a number of ways to keep yourself active.

Thanks to Brunel Sport and our campus gym, all students and staff are able to access a free 60-day trial with Les Mills On Demand. You can challenge yourself to over 800 workouts including strength, cardio, high-intensity, dance, flexibility, and more. Click on this link to access the free trial. On the webpage click on 'Start Your Free Trial' and complete your details (including payment details). You will not be charged for the 60-day trial however it is your responsibility to cancel at the end of the free period or you will be auto-subscribed to the service.

We are also sharing lots of other free content, including home workouts, which you can find by searching for @Brunel_Sport on Instagram and Facebook or by downloading the Brunel Sport app. Some online (live) gym classes are still going too and details on how to take part in the classes will also be published weekly on our socials and on the Brunel Sport app so keep your eyes out for the updates.

Teaching and assessment updates

Is my teaching still going ahead?

We have stopped all face-to-face teaching from Monday 16 March and are replacing with online learning resources and support. The College Deans are working with Heads of Departments to ensure that up-to-date materials are accessible online. 

Students are being contacted by their departments with particular arrangements, and we would ask for your patience while these are put in place.

Will one-to-one meetings continue to be held on campus as normal?

The University campus is now closed and so one-to-one meetings between staff and students can no longer be held. Meetings should be held by telephone or Skype.

Will I be able to complete my placement?

We would ask all placement students to follow the guidance from your employer, which should follow government guidance, and to let your department know if your placement has been disrupted in any way. If you have to stay at home and are able to work from home please discuss with your placement tutor.

This is a unique and constantly changing situation so please try not to worry about your placement hours and the impact this will have on your course. We will ensure arrangements are put in place to mitigate the impact of any disruption, but please bear with us while that happens.

Will exams go ahead as normal?

We have changed arrangements for spring examinations, in line with government guidance. There will be no on-campus exams this spring, and instead assessments will include online assessments, delays to examinations or alternative forms of assessment where necessary.

We recognise that the forthcoming examination period might be affected by both staff and students and their loved ones being ill. For that reason we have taken the decision to focus the assessment opportunities where they matter most: for those completing their studies (final year and Integrated Master’s) and those progressing into the final year.

Details of all the examinations are in the exam timetable that was released on Friday 27 March. With some exceptions (mainly related to accreditation requirements), Foundation and first-year undergraduate students will take no end of year examinations, with progression decisions based on assessments already completed. MSc/MA Master’s students, with some exceptions, will defer their exams until the August exam period, and start (or continue) with their dissertations. 

We have worked closely with professional accrediting bodies in deciding the alternative exam format and so you can be assured that the changes we have made will not impact on you achieving a professionally recognised award. 

All the forthcoming April/May examinations will be conducted remotely, and as a consequence the exam formats have been modified to make them suitable for open-book, time-limited assessments. You will by now have received your examination timetable, and so you are aware of when any exams you have will take place; for some of you located overseas the time difference may mean you have to sit the exam early or late in the day. For fairness, all students doing a particular exam will start their assessment at the same time. 

For open-book, time-limited assessments, your exam questions will be released on WISEflow at the specified time, and this is also where you will upload and submit your answers. We are currently working on specific guidance for you, which will support you in successfully completing your remote examinations. This will also have details of who to contact should you experience any problems. We will share this information with you after Easter.   

In some cases students will need access to a PC/laptop to complete their ‘at home’ timed assessment. Those students should try to make their own arrangements if they do not have access to a PC/laptop. Departments will be contacting students directly to offer support, and to understand any additional requirements you might have. 

Thank you for your continued patience as these arrangements are made.

I'm worried I won't be able to sit my exams - will I be able to claim extenuating circumstances?

We know that this is a difficult and worrying time for you all and we are grateful for your patience as we work through how to do things differently to support you to continue with your education. 

If you cannot sit the exams

Some of you will have difficult family circumstances; technology may be a challenge; or you may not feel prepared to sit the exams or complete other forms of final, summative assessments. We do not want you to take assessments that you are not ready for. This is why we have taken the decision to modify the Extenuating Circumstances process so that you can feel secure that should you be unable to take some, or all, of the April/May exams then you will not be penalised. There will be another opportunity in August.

There is no need to submit extenuating circumstances or provide evidence – we know that students who are not able to engage in the April/May assessment period will have valid reasons for not doing so, and the Board of Examiners will automatically give you another assessment opportunity.

If you sit the exams and fail 

The situation in the UK has got dramatically worse over the past week, and we are not in the same place as when the modified Extenuating Circumstances process was announced on 17 March. Therefore, we have taken the decision that students sitting their exams in April/May and fail one or more of these assessments, will be able to have an uncapped second attempt in August. We will also be suspending the maximum reassessment credits, which should give you further reassurance that you will have real opportunities to demonstrate what you are capable of.

How will Exam Panels and Boards make sure that students are not disadvantaged by the COVID-19 situation?  

Many of you are now letting us know that you are anxious and wondering what happens if you don’t do well in your exams.

We want to reassure you that our Senate Regulations are designed to mitigate any disadvantage as we have two levels of scrutiny of exam performance designed to detect any issues with assessment:

  • The Panel of Examiners scrutinises the marks achieved by the whole cohort, so that any over-arching issues with the assessment can be detected. Under normal circumstances this will include things such as disturbances during the exams, or errors in the exam question. The Panel will make recommendations to the Board of Examiners about what action should be taken; for example, if an exam question error makes it impossible to solve a problem, then that particular question may be discounted from the exam mark.  
  • The Board of Examiners looks at the performance of each individual student, including in the previous year(s). This is where we pick up anyone who has not done as well as expected based on their previous results. In normal times this is usually linked to extenuating circumstances, and the Board has discretion to, for example, set aside the result for that particular assessment so that it does not contribute to the module grade or award calculation.

These are not normal times. We know that you, just as all staff, are impacted by COVID-19, and the Board of Examiners will recognise that the situation we find ourselves in means that everyone is adjusting to current circumstances. Decisions made by the Board will reflect this.

August Examination Period

At this point in time it is difficult to predict what the situation will be in August. However, we hope we will be back to normal and able to deliver on-campus examinations. If this is not possible, or if there are students not able to travel to campus, we will of course make arrangements to deliver the exams remotely. We will be extending the August examination period to allow for the additional examinations opportunities for those that are unable to take the assessments in April/May; for Master’s students; and for anyone undertaking a second attempt.

The format of these exams will be confirmed in due course, but to ensure parity of experience for students who deferred their exams from April/May these will be conducted as open-book, time-limited assessment.   

Will I be able to resit my exams in August if I don't like my grade?

No, students won't be able to resit exams in August just because they aren't happy with their grades. However, the Board of Examiners looks at the performance of every student, and looks at previous years too. This is where we pick up anyone who has not done as well as expected based on their previous results.

In normal times this is often linked to extenuating circumstances, and the Board has discretion to, for example, set aside the result for that particular assessment so that it does not contribute to the module grade or award calculation.

I don't have any exams in spring - how am I affected?

If you are a Foundation or first year student who has no exams scheduled in April/May, you will receive information from your departments after Easter (if not before) about what you will be doing in Term 3.

If you are a Master's student on an MA or MSc programme who has no exams scheduled in April/May, you should be starting (or continuing with) your dissertation. Your exams will be arranged for August.

Will I be entitled to a refund because of the disruption caused by coronavirus?

These are extraordinary times and both our academic and support staff are working tirelessly to ensure that our students get the education and support they expect. While this involves some changes to the delivery mechanism for both services and learning, the effort and cost of delivering these is more rather than less.

All of our student services remain open and available to students (see our list of essential services and how to contact them) and staff are ready to help and advise you on all issues including student support, academic skills and careers advice. The majority of learning resources are available online.

Our academics are working extremely hard to move their teaching materials and tutorials online very quickly and are currently working to redesign our summer assessments to ensure that you can progress or graduate, depending on your level. Staff are available to you for academic support, using the contact arrangements shared on Blackboard. 

We appreciate that the situation may cause you difficulty in meeting deadlines or producing some types of work and we are making adjustments to accommodate students’ various challenges, such as changing our policy for extenuating circumstances on missed assessments.

We are making every effort to ensure that there is no detriment to the value or quality of your Brunel education, despite the changes. We hope therefore you will understand that we will not be refunding tuition fees, but instead focusing on investing in a rapid and effective response to what is a global crisis.

Support for postgraduate students

I’m a Doctoral Researcher, how do I submit my Thesis?

Now that the campus is closed, hard copies must be submitted by post (not in person). There will be appropriate cover and safety measures in place to receive these submissions. Electronic/soft copies can be submitted by email, drop box, USB or other online methods. Your college will contact you by email with specific guidance.

For post six-month resubmissions, one electronic version of the revised thesis along with a summary document should be emailed to your Doctoral Research office.

For post 12-month revisions, two hard copies and one electronic copy must be submitted. Now the campus is closed, hard copies must be submitted by post (not in person). There will be appropriate cover and safety measures in place to receive these submissions. Your college will contact you by email with specific guidance.

I'm a Doctoral Researcher, how do I complete my viva voce?

Until the end of July 2020 no case-by-case approval is required for an examiner or participants to proceed with the viva remotely. Over the coming weeks, we will review this deadline to see whether it needs to be extended.

For vivas that are scheduled to take place over the coming months and where the PhD candidate is an overseas student, the PhD candidate (and their families, where relevant) can choose to go home (if they are able to). The PhD candidate can then participate remotely in the viva if they have gone home due to the pandemic and are not able or willing to return. No specific approval is required for this up until the end of July 2020.

In normal times, in the exceptional circumstances that a viva is conducted with the PhD candidate based overseas, it is advised that the candidate should attend a local Higher Education Institution, British Council Office or other verifiable education establishment for the purposes of the viva voce examination. We recognise that this is unlikely at the moment but may become so in some parts of the world in the coming months. We would ask therefore that in these circumstances each viva should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The following guidance applies to PhD viva voices conducted remotely (e.g. via Skype):

  • An ID check should be undertaken of all participants in the remote viva, e.g. a work/student ID badge, passport or driving licence.

  • If documents are likely to be shown between parties, then these should be shared beforehand if possible and otherwise shared via Skype (or alternative pre-agreed file sharing mechanism) during the viva.

  • The remote meeting should be set up so all participants can see all other participants, and all participants should find a quiet, undisturbed location with a good quality internet connection.

  • The Chair should give positive prompts, using the names of participants appropriately, to maintain a smooth, disciplined discussion. Viva voce examinations conducted by remotely demand a much higher level of discipline and structure than those where everyone is present in the same room.

  • The Chair should make careful notes of any disturbances or interruptions to reception and record them in their report.

  • At the end of the viva, the Chair must ask the PhD candidate to confirm that they are content with the process (not the outcome), and note the response. If the PhD candidate is not content, if it is possible to rectify the issues at the time, e.g. clarifying a portion of discussion where the audio was disrupted, then this should be attempted. If the technical issues are more extensive, then the Chair will be responsible for determining whether the viva voce examination will need to be resat.

  • The supervisor should be available to speak to the PhD candidate directly after the viva.

  • The viva voce examination should be recorded in case it needs to be reviewed at a later date.

How will progression reviews and supervisor meetings for Doctoral Researchers take place?

All progression reviews will be conducted virtually and your college will contact you directly with details of how this will work. We have confirmed that this will be acceptable for compliance with Tier 4 Visa monitoring requirements.

Engagement/supervisor meetings should be conducted via Skype or similar and recorded in eVision. We have confirmed that this will be acceptable for compliance with Tier 4 Visa monitoring requirements. Your college will contact you directly with details.

What arrangements are in place to support Doctoral Researchers? 

The last couple of weeks have been far from normal as our lives have become increasingly impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. We have had to adapt to new ways of studying and working, and our capacity to adapt to new demands and changing circumstances has been tested. Please read our letter to all Doctoral Researchers, which outlines some specific information regarding: Working arrangements & support; Extensions to deadlines & funding; Progress reviews, completion & examination; and Graduation. 

Stay at home and travel advice for students

When and how should I follow government advice to stay at home?

The Government has now advised that its definition of essential travel does not include students returning home and asks that students currently living away from home should remain where they are until these travel restrictions are lifted.

It has also introduced stringent new measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives. 

1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes

2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces

3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Everyone must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings. These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

People are being told to stay at home and only leave the house for one of four reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible

  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household

  • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

These four reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household. These measures must be followed by everyone. If you work in a critical sector outlined in this Government guidance, or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school.

To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the Government is also stopping all public gatherings of more than two people. There are only two exceptions to this rule:

  • Where the gathering is of a group of people who live together - this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home.

  • Where the gathering is essential for work purposes - but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.

The most effective way to avoid getting or spreading coronavirus is to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, and to encourage others to do the same. The NHS advises washing your hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice, about 20 seconds in all.

The NHS also advises people to do the following:

  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Both students and staff may want to consult a doctor, however because NHS services are under pressure people are being told to call NHS24 (111) in the first instance. Please don't contact or visit the Medical Centre on campus. The NHS 111 online coronavirus service, 111.nhs.uk/covid-19, can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do. The NHS has also published stay at home advice.

Students should update their status about symptoms and staying at home on eVision via their My Profile page.

How do I look after my wellbeing and stay motivated while staying at home?

We know having to self-isolate will come with challenges, especially if you live alone. It may be difficult, but by following guidance on social distancing, or staying at home, you are helping to protect yourself, your family, the NHS and your community. Public Health England has prepared some useful advice on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during this time. Everyone reacts differently to events and the way we think, feel and behave will change over time. It's important that you take care of your mind as well as your body and get further support if you need it. 

It can be easy to slip into a negative way of thinking so below are some tips from TrueStudent blog on how to look after yourself and on getting through this new ‘normal’. They may not all work for you all of the time, so mix and match!

Break the days into ‘manageable chunks’

Blocks of an hour or two, then decide on activities for each block. Don’t look too far ahead, and focus on each day. It makes the time seem less overwhelming and might even feel like it goes more quickly. If it helps, draw out a timetable and fill it in with activities for each block of time, and each day.

Get into a routine

Don’t spend all day in bed, just because you can - unless you are actually unwell. Get up when it’s daylight and go to bed at a reasonable time. Eat regular meals and snacks. Tune into lectures or webinars online, if they are available to you. Don’t let the days blend into one, as it will feel endless and confusing. 

You’ve got work to finish

Now is the time! Research your essays, revise or plan your projects - look up the ‘extra/ bonus info’ you wouldn’t normally have time to and make your work even better. Really grasp the opportunity to get ‘stuck in’, and do something you’re really proud of. If you’ve always wanted to write a blog, or an article, or even a book, make a start. Use the ‘headspace’ and quiet solitude to let your mind wander and be creative.

Get creative!

If writing is not your thing, then be creative in other ways - plan some holidays and trips for when you are ‘free’ again or make birthday cards for people you care about- you might not normally have time, but it will mean a lot to them!

Exercise (gently)

In your space, use the floor for yoga/ Pilates, or do star jumps and squats. Don’t overdo it, but maybe have breaks from your other activities, and do a few stretches, or if you feel up to it, go crazy to a Zumba video on YouTube. Open the windows and make sure you get some fresh air every day. If you can go outside that’s even better, but be guided by up to date medical advice.

Be sociable (online!)

You may not be able to see people in person, but don’t isolate yourself from your loved ones, and try to stay upbeat where you can, to help each other through. If you’re really struggling and feeling down, of course, it is important to ensure a person you trust is aware. 

Talk to them regularly to help you through. Don’t forget all those people out there who love you, even if they can’t hug you today. Give each other virtual hugs via technology. If you need more help, contact our Student Welfare team on Studentsupport@brunel.ac.uk or by Skype on +44 (0) 1895 267045.

Relax when you can

If you love films or TV then you have a brilliant opportunity to binge-watch the series you have been meaning to see for ages or relax in front of all the 80s films of John Cusack or Molly Ringwald - they’re well worth a look- and the very definition of ‘feel-good movies’, which might be just what you need! If you’re a big fan of a particular actor or director, treat yourself, and catch up on their back catalogue. Make yourself a cosy nest in your room, and settle in to watch some quality entertainment.

Organise your life

And finally - have a really good sort out of your clothes, decide what you want to keep, what would make for a good swap with friends – in a while - and what might be ready for donation to a charity shop or clothes recycling point. It will feel productive to do, and you’ll be doing something nice for others as a bonus.

I am an exchange student visiting Brunel - what should I do?

The Government has now advised that its definition of essential travel does not include students returning home and asks that students currently living away from home should remain where they are until these travel restrictions are lifted. 

Our campus is now closed. We have stopped face-to-face teaching and there won't be any on-campus exams this spring. Departments are making alternative arrangements and placing learning resources and support online. However the residences are still open and available for students that are still living on campus. 

If you have specific questions regarding your programme of study, please contact your Academic Exchange Coordinator.

I am planning to travel overseas – what should I do?

The Government has now advised that its definition of essential travel does not include students returning home and asks that students currently living away from home should remain where they are until these travel restrictions are lifted. 

We have made the decision to cancel or postpone international student field trips until further notice. Students and staff will be notified directly about the changes.

I’m a Brunel student on an exchange overseas - what should I do?

We would encourage all students studying overseas to try to come home. We are aware that most of our partner institutions are offering distance learning options; if your host university is offering this option and you want to:

Return to the UK:

  • Please ensure that you inform the partner institution of your departure.
  • Ensure that you are able to access any online coursework/ assessments, as these will still count towards your degree.
  • Please inform the Academic Partnerships Office of your return date. 

Remain in country:

  • Please ensure that you inform your department and the Academic Partnerships Office.
  • We strongly advise you to follow the local government’s advice and take the necessary precautions.
  • Please also try to stay in regular contact with friends/family, to let them know that you are safe and well.

If you are having difficulties in returning to the UK, please contact the Academic Partnerships Office via exchanges@brunel.ac.uk

I’ve travelled abroad, but unable to return to campus because of travel restrictions

We know that this is a difficult and worrying time for you all and we are grateful for your patience as we work through how to do things differently to support you to continue with your education.Departments have put teaching material and resources online so that students can access learning remotely. Please contact your department for more information.

You will not need to submit any Extenuating Circumstances for missed assessments (including coursework assignments and alternatives to exams). We know that many of you may be directly or indirectly affected by the coronavirus, and if you don’t complete and submit your assessments then we are making the assumption that you have valid reasons for not doing so. You will not be asked to provide any evidence. A full explanation can be seen here.

In the event of a prolonged absence of several weeks or months as a result of a travel ban, how will this affect the University's sponsorship of my Tier 4 visa?

Brunel will continue to sponsor the Tier 4 visas of our international students while on-campus teaching/assessment has been suspended. This includes students who have left the UK. Please note that this will be on the provision that students continue to engage with the online delivery of their courses. 

If you would like further immigration advice, please contact our immigration team.

I’m planning to study abroad next semester – will my placement be impacted?

We currently anticipate that 2020-2021 Study Abroad placements will not be affected by the current situation. However, it is possible that there may be disruption in some locations around the world. The University will continue to monitor the situation closely and communicate with all students scheduled to study or work abroad next year.

My Tier 4 Visa requires me to attend all lectures and classes to maintain sponsorship. How will my engagement be monitored without face-to-face teaching?

We will continue to sponser the Tier 4 Visas of our international students while face-to-face teaching is suspended. Students will be expected to engage with all online learning opportunities, complete assessments as required and participate in one-to-one sessions with tutors (either in person or via Skype). If this is not possible for any reason you must contact your academic department as soon as possible.

International students are permitted to return to their home countries while face-to-face teaching is suspended, but should follow government travel advice if necessary. The University is still required to inform UKVI of any students who fail to engage with their course of study.

I have an appointment with the Police Registration Services - what should I do?

Tier 4 students who need to register with the Police Registration Services as part of their visa conditions are being informed that the service is currently suspended because of the coronavirus.

If you have booked an appointment through the online appointment booking facility, you should not attend your appointment. This email  has further information.

If you are travelling back to your home country before registering, you should ensure you have the email ready to show to border control on re-entry to the UK.  

What happens if my UK visa expires while I am in the UK and I am not able to leave and return to my home country due to self-isolation or travel restrictions?

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) published guidance on their website. Visas will be extended to 31 May 2020, although you will need to contact UKVI as instructed at the website. 

I'm a Tier 4 student remaining in the UK - am I allowed to work full-time now that on-campus teaching has been suspended?

Brunel's Tier 4 Rights to Work policy remains in place as we still expect all of our students to engage with the online delivery of their course. There are no current changes to the term dates outlined in this. During term-time, Tier 4 students will be restricted to working the maximum number of hours their visa allows.

Please contact the Immigration team if you require any further information. 

 Information for students living on campus

I'm living on campus, will I be asked to leave?

No.The Government has now advised that its definition of essential travel does not include students returning home and asks that students currently living away from home should remain where they are until these travel restrictions are lifted.

The campus remains home for many students who have nowhere else to go, and you will be able to stay. For those wishing to or having to stay on campus, further information is being sent to you directly.

Can I still use the communal areas in my accommodation?

We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone and that you may wish to be in contact with fellow students, but please follow these social distancing guidelines issued by the government.

Please do not meet in groups in kitchens or elsewhere on campus, including open air areas. Please restrict your movements as much as possible. We have been contacted directly by a concerned NHS worker who has witnessed groups socialising and playing sports on campus. Please respect the need for all of us to adhere to government guidance at this time to protect ourselves and others. 

We appreciate your co-operation at this very difficult time.

Can I meet up with my friends on campus? 

No. We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone and that you may wish to be in contact with fellow students, but please follow these social distancing guidelines issued by the government.

Please do not meet in groups in kitchens or elsewhere on campus, including open air areas. Please restrict your movements as much as possible. We have been contacted directly by a concerned NHS worker who has witnessed groups socialising and playing sports on campus. Please respect the need for all of us to adhere to government guidance at this time to protect ourselves and others.

We appreciate your co-operation at this very difficult time.

What should I do if I need to self-isolate on campus?

Notifications of self-isolation may come to the University’s attention in the following ways:

  • Self-reporting from a student 
  • Reports from friends/family/flatmates

Students should report their symptoms on eVision in the task on the My Profile page, while reports from third parties will be entered by the COVID-19 Information Team.

Once the details of the case have been received by the COVID-19 Information Team, the University will contact the student by telephone to understand if there are any concerns around getting enough food and drink and to provide additional cleaning materials. Cleaning staff will be made aware of the isolation and will stop entering the flat, in line with government guidelines.

The team will advise the isolated student and send support information. Flatmates will be informed that the student is in self-isolation and be advised further. The residences team will continue to monitor the situation and if they have any concerns about any students they will informthe security team. If a student needs further support, the student services team will respond accordingly.

How can I do my laundry?

Students from all halls can buy a laundry card from the Concourse reception foyer and top it up online.

My parents want to send me parcels, how can I collect them?

Where possible, we advise that you make use of the Amazon lockers outside the Distribution Centre by the Joseph Lowe building to limit person-to-person to contact.

Our Distribution Centre is open so you can collect your post from 10am-2pm Monday to Friday this week. It will close at 2pm on Friday 3 April until further notice. 

I am registered with the Medical Centre - how can I get medical treatment?

Please follow NHS guidance if you think you have symptoms of Coronavirus. For all other medical requirements, please call the Medical Centre on 01895 266904 to arrange telephone consultations. Do not go to the Medical Centre unless advised to do so by them.

I need to get my prescription - how can I do that?

You can go to the pharmacy on campus, next to the medical centre, which is open. There may be some disruption to their opening hours at the moment – please call them on 01895 257187 before going along.

What cleaning will be provided in my residences?

Shared showers and WCs in Saltash, Clifton and Chepstow Halls will be cleaned. We will try to remove rubbish from the buildings, but if you are able to do that yourself that would be very helpful. For the next few weeks, we will not separate general waste and recycling streams so you can use either the black or green wheelie bins. Cleaning products will be provided for students who are self-isolating only to clean their own kitchens. These will be left outside of your flat.

How do I report a maintenance problem in my room/flat?

Please use the Planon app as you would normally, but only report urgent maintenance issues, as we will be unable to respond to non-urgent issues.

Can I move to a different room on campus?

To keep our students safe and in line with government guidelines, we are not able to complete any room moves or issue any new contracts at this time.

I've left campus but my belongings are in my room. What should I do?

You can leave your items in your room until you can safely travel back to campus to collect them or you can organise for someone to collect them. Your belongings will be safe and secure while they are in your room and your room is locked.

We will update this information if it looks like items cannot be collected before the end of the tenancy date.

Can I stay on campus over the summer?

The University will make provisions for students currently living on campus and who have nowhere else to go. We will contact these students about their needs in the third term.

Unfortunately we won't currently be able to offer accommodation over the summer to students who have left campus. Please check the portal for updates.

Stay at home and travel advice for staff

When and how should I follow government advice to stay at home?

The Government has introduced stringent new measures to prevent spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives. 

1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes

2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces

3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Everyone must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings. These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

People are being told to stay at home and only leave the house for one of four reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible

  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household

  • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

These four reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household. These measures must be followed by everyone. If you work in a critical sector outlined in this Government guidance, or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school.

To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the Government is also stopping all public gatherings of more than two people. There are only two exceptions to this rule:

  • Where the gathering is of a group of people who live together - this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home.

  • Where the gathering is essential for work purposes - but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.

The most effective way to avoid getting or spreading coronavirus is to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, and to encourage others to do the same. The NHS advises washing your hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice, about 20 seconds in all.

The NHS also advises people to do the following:

  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
Both students and staff may want to consult a doctor, however because NHS services are under pressure people are being told to call NHS24 (111) in the first instance. Please don't contact or visit the Medical Centre on campus. The NHS 111 online coronavirus service, 111.nhs.uk/covid-19, can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do. The NHS has also published stay at home advice.

Will I need to provide the University with a Medical Certificate if I am staying at home?

If you are staying at home, you will not be required to provide a Medical Certificate as you will be unable to obtain this from your GP. However, you must keep in touch with your Line Manager and follow the standard absence reporting procedures and they will update CHIME accordingly.

I am planning to travel overseas – what should I do?

Please follow the latest government travel advice before making any personal trips.

We have made the decision to stop all international business travel immediately in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Staff are being encouraged to use Skype and other virtual methods of holding meetings. Any members of staff who believe their travel is essential should first discuss this with their Line Manager as this would need to be approved by Executive Board. Risk assessments for any international travel should be completed as normal. More information is available at https://intra.brunel.ac.uk/s/planning/Pages/TravelInsurance.aspx 

Our travel booking supplier, Clarity, has provided an update on existing flight bookings. During this uncertain time for air travel you will find that most airlines have altered their policies with regards to changes and refunds. Please be reminded that terms & conditions may differ by airline. More information is available on the staff intranet

What if I am abroad and I cannot return to the UK?

You must contact your Line Manager to inform them of the situation, and thereafter keep them up-to-date. The University would require that if you are well enough to do so, you undertake work from the location you are in.  We appreciate that this may not always be possible and you should discuss this further with your Line Manager. You may be asked to undertake alternative duties, which are suitable for remote working.

For as long as you are prevented from returning to the UK you will receive your salary as normal. 

My Visa is due to expire but I an ubable to return to my home country. What should I do? 

The UK Government has announced that visas will be extended to 31 May 2020 for anybody who is unable to return to their home country due to travel restrictions or self-isolation. This applies if your visa expires between 24 January and 31 May 2020 . A dedicated COVID-19 immigration team has been set up within UKVI. Please contact this team via CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk to let them know why you cannot return to your home country (eg if borders have been closed) and your visa will be extended. Detailed information for UK visa applicants and temporary residents is available here.

I am a Chinese national who cannot return home but my visa is due to expire – what should I do?

Brunel will continue to sponsor the visas of our international students and staff while on-campus teaching/assessment has been suspended. If you are in this situation you must contact the HR Operations Team to advise them as a matter of importance.

Guidelines and assistance for staff

Should I work from home?

Yes, all colleagues should now be working from home.

We will maintain on campus security and a minimal number of staff to support students in residences.
Please do not come to campus unless you are on a rota to provide essential services. Check with your line manager if you’re unsure.

My child's school has closed - am I still expected to work from home?

The government has asked that all schools close except in some special circumstances, which means that many staff with children will be juggling their youngsters' needs with working from home. 

We know this isn't an easy situation and so we are asking all staff in this position to just do the best they can. Please let your Line Manager know if you are affected and come to an arrangement if you are able, to manage your time as effectively as possible. Managers should consider where teams can be flexible and understand when members of staff might not be online or able to work effectively.

If you can't work from home due to the nature of your role, the University will grant paid leave.

What do I need to do if I'm a key worker?

The Government has announced that all workers except those in essential services should stay at home, and work from home unless unable. Those who are considered key workers are able to work as normal and their children should be able to attend school or nursery if available.

The Department for Education has confirmed that the term key workers can be extended to some sepcialist education professionals, including in Higher Education.

Staff who fall into this category will be given letters by their head of department, which will indentify them as key workers and which they should carry to and from work. Members of staff should contact their line manager for more information.

A family member is staying at home following government guidance - should I work from home?

The Government has introduced stringent new measures to prevent spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives. 

1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes

2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces

3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Everyone must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings. These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

People are being told to stay at home and only leave the house for one of four reasons:

● Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible

● One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household

● Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.

● Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

These four reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household. Here is the latest stay at home advice.

If I'm working from home because of symptoms of coronavirus, how do I record my absence in CHIME?

Members of staff who are unwell due to COVID-19 should contact your Line Manager as usual who will then record the Sickness Absence in CHIME on your behalf. Relevant training notes can be found here for a Line Manager and for an Employee

Are staff still allowed to book annual leave?

All members of staff should still be able to ask for annual leave in the normal way, of their Line Manager through CHIME. Those members of staff who are in a vulnerable group and working from home should also ask for annual leave in the normal way. Those who are in a vulnerable group and need to be at home, but aren't in a role that allows them to work from home should take special annual leave. Read the University's Special Leave Policy.

Will we be expected to work over the Easter break?

The Easter closure will be maintained, however those members of staff who are providing an essential service on campus will still be working during this time - we are extremely grateful for all the work they are doing to ensure our students' health and wellbeing at this difficult time.

I'm a Line Manager. How should I ensure my team are supported working from home?

It's good practice for line managers to ensure they keep in touch regularly with their staff who are working from home. Using our Office 365 tools and platforms can be a really good way of keeping that team contact going, but regular email and phone contact should become routine where possible. It would also be useful for line managers to keep a record of when members of staff are working.

I'm working from home - how do I access Brunel's services?

There are a number of different tools and platforms that can help members of staff access their files and work as part of a team from home. These include our Office365 applications, some of which you may already be familiar with, as well as tools you may use every day and can also access from off-campus. 

We've put together a guide here for staff on how to use the services available to us, as well as some guidance around keeping in touch with your team. If you get stuck, there is more specific information about these packages on the Connect portal here.

How do I set up my home workspace safely?

A large proportion of Brunel University Staff are now temporarily working from home. Guidance has been prepared to help you ensure your home set up is suitable, including a shortened self-assessment version of the Display Screen Equipment checklist. Please complete the form and upload it to your CHIME record. 

Should you require further assistance or guidance please contact your line manager in the first instance. They should be able to guide you through the process and provide you with information relevant to your area. If you find that you need further specific advice then please contact the Health and Safety team  healthandsafey@brunel.ac.uk.

How can I contact other departments within the University?

An updated list of essential services for staff and how to contact them remotely is available here.

I'm working from home - how do I look after my wellbeing and stay motivated?

We know having to self-isolate will come with challenges, especially if you live alone. It may be difficult, but by following guidance on social distancing, or staying at home, you are helping to protect yourself, your family, the NHS and your community. Public Health England has prepared some useful advice on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during this time. Everyone reacts differently to events and the way we think, feel and behave will change over time. It's important that you take care of your mind as well as your body and get further support if you need it. 

Moving to working from home will have its challenges here are some tips for the Brunel community on how to look after yourself, your colleagues and on getting through this new ‘normal’. Have a look at these eight top tips, they may not all work for you all the time – try to mix and match. 

  1. Routine and getting dressed

It sounds like a really simple one, but getting up at the same time and getting dressed is great for motivation, separating the workday from evenings and weekends. 

  1. Make a work space

Have a think about what kind of space might be most productive – do you work well in the quiet or with ambient noise around? We don’t know how long we may be working from home for so try and sit at a desk (or table) with a supportive chair. If you can, have a separate keyboard, mouse and monitor to avoid fatigue. That way, when you sit on the sofa – it’s a break from work rather than always being in the same spot.

  1. Set mini goals

Whether it’s finally typing up those pesky minutes, reviewing a policy or updating that web page – set yourself mini goals for the day and the week and tick them off! Also – plan ahead with your manager so you know what your work stream looks like, this may help manage your time.

  1. Talk to each other

This one is key. We don’t just mean in the work sense either. Check in regularly with your friends and family, play online games together or have a group chat.

Work wise, agree with your team and/or line manager that you will check in regularly (and use video calling) to bring a sense of normality to your work life. Microsoft Teams is great for video calling, group chat and meetings – so get scheduling.

  1. Keep moving (exercise)

Obviously this one depends on your health, and government advice, but staying as active as possible is good for the mind and the body. There are loads of free workouts to follow online, video classes on YouTube or if the restrictions allow, go for a walk/run (maintaining at least 2 metres distance from others).

  1. There are other sites other than BBC news

Don’t always subject yourself to the rolling news coverage. There are loads of interesting sites out there and watching constant negative coverage can impact your mood. You could set up alerts to breaking news or watch the 6pm news to stay up to date. This one is a personal choice – but you will feel better if you diversify the websites and tv channels you watch.

  1. Apps, reading and being creative

There are loads of apps out there that can help us manage our mood and emotional wellbeing. Have a look in your app store for apps like Headspace! Reading is a fantastic way to pass the time too and can really help you drift off to sleep – so try and find a good book. If reading isn’t for you – get creative and paint, draw and create. 

  1. Playing games (with your colleagues too)

Yes, games are a great way to lighten your mood, reduce stress and promote social interaction. There are loads of free online games to play – maybe once a week have a tournament with your team to see who is the Pictionary champion over Skype or something similar. Ask your manager what may work – but we are encouraging some social time in the work week too.

All in all, try and keep things varied, find what works for you and let us know if you need help. There is nothing wrong with finding this period difficult, but we are here for you and will do whatever we can to help.

We’re all working remotely – what can I do to keep my team going?

It’s not easy to change your working habits in such a short space of time, and one thing you may miss more than anything is day-to-day contact with your colleagues and that team spirit we take for granted.

Teams is a platform that is available to all of us through Office 365 – it’s a really good way of sharing work, ideas or simply conversation. Find out more about how to use it here.

There's no better time to start using Yammer either. There's a university-wide channel, and a new homeworking hub, where staff are sharing resources and ideas about staying healthy and happy while at home. Just sign in to your Office365 portal and select the app. Mor information about all platforms is available here

The Brunel community is already putting in practice some creative ways of using Teams and Yammer to keep colleagues communicating – have a look at the following for some inspiration:

  • Host a weekly film or book club – there’s a box set out there for us all
  • Set a time for a virtual catch-up over a cup of coffee
  • Step back from the screen and take part in a team workout or yoga session
  • Share your morning playlist – everyone needs five songs to get through a Monday

I don't have access to a laptop in order to work from home. What should I do?

If you aren't able to use a personal laptop or computer at home, please let your Line Manager know. Information services are currently working with departments across the University to meet the demand and more will be available to staff soon - please bear with us while arrangements are made and talk to your Line Manager about any work that can be carried out in the meantime.

Where can I find support for delivering teaching and assessment remotely?

There has been no face-to-face teaching on campus from Monday 16 March and we are asking staff to use available tools and technologies to help deliver their teaching and assessment remotely. The College Deans are working with Heads of Departments to ensure that up-to-date materials are accessible online. 

Please familiarise yourself with these digital tools and access further information here. Further support and advice is available from the Digital Education Team at ltt@brunel.ac.uk.

I am a Supervisor for Doctoral Researchers, how can I support them?  

Please see the information for Supervisors available on the staff intranet.

Will I still be expected to attend meetings on campus?

The University campus is now closed in line with government guidelines. Staff should contact colleagues via telephone, Skype or Teams. See above for using tools to work from home.

Can I carry over additional hours/days of annual leave?

Whilst going away on holiday isn’t possible for now, it is important for our wellbeing that we still take leave and have a break from work. In most cases staff should still be able to take their leave over the course of the leave year and are encouraged to do so wherever possible.

We are grateful for all the work staff are doing to support our students and their colleagues during this difficult time and recognise that some staff have postponed annual leave to assist with the response or due to sickness or self-isolation. We have therefore agreed that colleagues may carry over an additional five days’ annual leave, above the normal five day carry-over limit, into the next leave year.   

You may have also seen that the Government has eased restrictions on the carry-over of statutory leave, which is aimed at key workers where it is not reasonably practicable for them to take some, or all, of their annual leave due to the impact of coronavirus. In exceptional cases, where this genuinely isn’t possible due to the operational impact of the virus and subject to approval by your Head of Department and HR, it may be possible to carry over additional leave into the 2020/21 and, if necessary, 2021/22 leave years. 

Please discuss and agree any cancelled leave and/or additional carry over hours/days with your line manager. The line manager should contact the HR Operations team advising of the additional number of hours/days that need be added to CHIME and the reason why. Your CHIME record will be updated accordingly.

Can I make maintenance requests in the normal way?

The Estates team is currently prioritising emergency requests from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, because of limited staffing. These requests should be reported to Security on 01895 255786 or extension 66943, and they will be passed on to the Estates On-Call Manager. The On-Call Manager will deploy available trades or contractors as necessary. They include:

  • Electrical fire or smouldering socket/light fitting
  • Leaking pipework within a room or flat
  • Overflowing or blocked toilet
  • Loss of electrical supply to sockets within a room or flat
  • Loss of potable water to a room or flat that is occupied
  • Loss of hot water to an occupied flat or room
  • Loss of heating to an occupied building……may require the provision of a temporary oil filled electric heater
  • Damage that compromises the security of a room or flat (forced or damaged door or lock)
  • Faulty lift
  • All blocked drains (external and internal)
  • Access control issues

Any other work order request not listed above should be submitted online in the normal manner via the Planon system, which is being infrequently monitored during normal working hours – these work orders will remain on hold until the University returns to normal.

Out of hours support will be provided by Estates through the usual process of reporting your issues to Security (on 01895 255786 or extension 66943), who will in turn convey the issue to the Estates On-Call Manager. The On-Call Manager will deploy available trades or contractors as necessary.

  • We are becoming aware that a number of our wholesalers and parts providers are either closing their business or only providing reduced services. This could, in time, affect our ability to react or repair issues that arise.

  • We are taking further advice from our Health and Safety Department regarding the appropriate PPE to be worn in situations where an Estates tradesperson is required to enter a room where a self-isolating student is in residence. Depending on their feedback and to ensure the wellbeing of our staff, Estates may have to add further caveats to its current working strategy. Further advice will follow.

What should I tell new members of staff who are due to start at Brunel?

If a start date has already been agreed with a new member of staff then you should go ahead and prepare for their start as normal. Please contact the new staff member to get them set up on the Brunel systems and contact them in advance with any work or content that they will need to get started. 

Please also ensure you have their contact details and equipment needs should they have to work from home.

Information for prospective students

Are you still accepting applications?

Brunel is continuing to accept applications as usual, regardless of the location of the applicant. Our next main intakes will be as follows, so we will monitor the situation closely and provide applicants with further updates as necessary:

  • Undergraduate courses – September
  • Postgraduate courses (Distance or Online Learning courses only) – May
  • Postgraduate courses (all others) – September
  • Research courses - April

Are you still processing applications?

The Admissions team are working hard to ensure all applications are being processed as normal. The team are able to work remotely, so there should be minimal impact on the progress of your application

I'm due to attend a selection day on campus. Has it been cancelled?

We are closely monitoring the situation and following the relevant guidance. All of our on-campus selection days and events have been cancelled until the end of April. If you had already booked onto one of these dates, you will be contacted by our Admissions team to confirm the cancellation. Once alternative arrangements have been confirmed with the academic departments, we will contact you to confirm the details. Please bear with us while we make these alternative arrangements.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to sit my exams or my school/university is closed due to COVID-19. What should I do?

Brunel is aware that there will be a significant impact on many of our applicants’ exam preparation and completion. We are monitoring this, but as the situation is changing so quickly we are not yet able to confirm a specific process. However please be reassured that we will do everything possible to ensure your application to study at Brunel is not disadvantaged by the Coronavirus outbreak. 

I am unable to book or take an English Language test as the test centres are closed in my country. What should I do?

Brunel accepts a whole range of English Language qualifications for entry to our programmes. We are monitoring the situation for affected locations.

You can access updates from the main English Language test providers on their websites, including IELTS and TOEFL, so we recommend you keep checking their information. ETS TOEFL are currently working on a secure test that may be taken from home in selected locations, so please check their website for information from the end of March.

I am unable to get my transcripts or results due to COVID-19. What should I do?

You should try to contact your school, university or exam board to get your results or transcript posted to you. If the organisation is currently closed, there is plenty of time to get a copy to Brunel for many of our courses, so please just contact them when they reopen. If you are unable to get a copy within a month of your course start date, then please contact our Admissions team and we will look at your situation and advise as necessary.

I have paid my tuition fee deposit. Will I get a refund if I am unable to travel to Brunel due to COVID-19?

If you are unable to travel to the UK for your course due to travel restriction related to Coronavirus, then a full refund of your tuition fee deposit will be issued.

Has Brunel changed any of its term dates or schedule for September 2020 entry due to COVID-19?

Currently, no changes have been made to our term dates or registration dates for the new academic year. We are closely monitoring the situation and will try to be as flexible as possible if any student’s arrival is delayed due to Coronavirus. Our usual registration runs for two weeks from the start date of the course, but this will be reviewed as the situation evolves.

What will happen if I am unable to meet the conditions of my offer due to COVID-19?

The University will try to be as flexible as possible for applicants affected by Coronavirus, including those who have been forced to undertake their learning online or from home. In the first instance, please contact our Admissions team with details of your situation, including a statement from your school, college or university if relevant, and we will advise you accordingly.

Are you still issuing Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) to students who need a visa to study in the UK?

Brunel University London has temporarily closed and teaching and assessment is being delivered online. For this reason, we have decided to temporarily stop issuing any Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) to students overseas.

Although we are keen for our international students to come and study with us, we regrettably cannot issue CAS' while the University is closed. Furthermore, Visa Application Centres are closed in many countries where it is not possible to make a Tier 4 visa application, and travel restrictions are in place elsewhere. However, we are monitoring the situation closely and when it becomes clear that Brunel can offer on-campus teaching for upcoming courses, we will start issuing CAS' again. We will be in contact with you about this in due course.

if you have a place on a Pre-sessional English course starting in May 2020, we will not be able to issue you with a CAS but the course will still run online. We will be in frequent contact with students to confirm if and when on-campus teaching can resume and we can issue a CAS to support a Tier 4 application. Any students who do not hear from us should contact BLC-Admissions@brunel.ac.uk for further information.

Please be aware that this will also affect applications for Short Term Study Visas and we strongly recommend that you do not apply for a Short Term Study Visa to study with us at the moment.

For any other information relating to visas and immigration, we ask that you look at our webpage, which can be found here.

If you need a Tier 4 visa to study on one of our research degree courses, please be aware that your department knows we are not currently able to issue a CAS to students overseas and we are working with them to ensure our students are able to start their course as soon as possible. If it is not possible to come to the UK for the start of your course, the best option  may be for you to defer to our next research degree start date, which is in October 2020. This would be the best option as you would be starting with another group of research students meaning we will be able to help you have the best start to your time at Brunel. But some departments may allow research students to begin their courses remotely in April 2020.  

If you would like to defer your start date you should get permission from your research supervisor, research director and research programmes office in writing and forward this permission to admissions@brunel.ac.uk. If you need any more information on this, including who these persons are, please contact your Research Programmes Office using one of the email addresses below:

We will consider these requests on a case-by-case basis as we will want to make sure that your department can support you to start the course successfully and that you will be able to get your visa and travel to the UK.

For any other information relating to visas and immigration, we ask that you look at our webpage, which can be found here