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A student guide to support and services

Posted Thursday 23 April 2020

A student guide to support and services

This guidance has been developed in response to the current Coronavirus situation. The guide will provide information and advice on how you can access services and support at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and this guidance will be reviewed and any changes to it communicated at regular points.

We know that this is an uncertain and anxious time and you will almost certainly have further questions about the detail of the changes. While we may not be able to answer them straight away, we will continue to give you regular updates via My Kingston as more information becomes available.

You can also read more about our plans for September.

On this page:

 

   

Coronavirus

 In this section:

Latest advice from the government

You can read the latest advice from the UK government about Covid-19 here

How can I protect myself?

The WHO's recommendations to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses include good hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practice:

  • Frequently clean your hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

  • When coughing and sneezing, either use a tissue or flexed elbow to cover your mouth and nose. Throw any tissue away immediately and wash your hands.

  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough.

  • If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical advice early and share any previous travel history with your health care provider.

  • The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid any potential cross-contamination with uncooked foods, in line with good food safety practice.

  • The health authorities have advised there is no evidence that surgical masks prevent the spread of the virus. To protect yourself from infection, good hand hygiene is key.

Information about self-isolating

What if I need to self-isolate?

If you need to self-isolate based on government advice, there is some information to help you. We have set up a new email address for you to use to let us know if you are self-isolating. Please email us at alert@kingston.ac.uk if you are taking this precaution at the moment or end up doing so in the coming weeks.

Should your symptoms persist or become more severe, please call NHS 111 or visit the NHS website at www.nhs.uk in the first instance. You can also get in touch with the University's Student Wellbeing team by emailing health@kingston.ac.uk or calling 020 8417 2172 if you need any further advice.

What do I do if I need to self-isolate in halls?

If you live in halls and have been advised by NHS 111 to self-isolate, inform your hall manager.

Self-isolation means having:

  • an individual room to sleep in (single occupancy)

  • facilities for hand hygiene using soap, water and paper kitchen towel

  • sufficient toileting facilities that the patient can have their own, or it will be feasible for shared facilities to be adequately cleaned between use

  • sufficient cutlery, crockery and utensils to avoid sharing with other residents*

  • sufficient tissues, kitchen towel, waste disposal bags*

  • sufficient cleaning materials*

  • area in which waste or laundry can be temporarily and safely stored securely

  • support for getting groceries, prescriptions, and other personal needs

*enough supplies for 48 hours

  • If using shared facilities e.g. kitchens/bathrooms, avoid using it when other people are there and take meals back to your room to eat. Clean all surfaces with household cleaning products after use and wear gloves where practical. Try to use the bathroom last after others have finished.

  • Limit contact as much as possible.

  • Do NOT share towels, toiletries, or other household items e.g. crockery/cutlery. 

Students who are self-isolating will need to inform the appropriate hall manager(s) of the date they arrived to ensure the full 14 day period is observed. Halls managers will:

  • Call any students self-isolating twice a day to carry out welfare checks.

  • Make provision for laundry (with protocols to minimise the spread of infection).

  • Provide the students with a contact line (hall reception number) in case they need assistance e.g. purchasing medicines/toiletries, food etc.

What happens if I need to self-isolate off campus?

Please contact the University as above.

  • Where using shared facilities e.g. kitchens/bathrooms, avoid using it when other people are there and take meals back to your room to eat. Clean all surfaces with household cleaning products after use and wear gloves. Try to use the bathroom last after others have finished.

  • Although you might not be able to separate from flatmates entirely, the advice is to limit contact as much as possible.

  • Do NOT share towels, toiletries, or other household items e.g. crockery/cutlery.

  • Students sharing with someone in isolation should wash their hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after contact with the person concerned.

What if I live off-campus with someone who is self-isolating?

If you live with a spouse, family members, a friend or flatmate who has been asked to self-isolate, you should follow these guidelines:

  • Clean your hands. All persons sharing living quarters with someone who is under self-isolate should clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub frequently. 

  • Monitor yourself for symptoms. If you are sharing living quarters with someone who is under self-isolation, monitor yourself closely for the development of fever and respiratory symptoms. If you develop a fever, cough, or sore throat, contact 111, report your illness and get advice. 

  • Clean common surfaces regularly.

  • Wash laundry and dishes separately.

  • Limit contact with the affected individual and leave food and other essential items outside the door to their room.

Why is self-isolation necessary?

Self-isolation is about protecting others and slowing down the spread of COVID-19 within our community. It is the most effective way of preventing COVID-19 spreading. The UK authorities have the power to enforce self-isolation if necessary.

What should I do if I'm concerned about a student or member of staff?

If you are concerned about either your own or someone else's health, please contact NHS 24 helpline by dialling 111 to speak to a health adviser. This helpline is free and available to everyone currently in the United Kingdom.

For more general health and wellbeing support, students should either email health@kingston.ac.uk or call 020 8417 2172 for advice.

 

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Support for you

 

In this section:

Getting in touch with us through the StudentHUB

If you would like advice or information - on topics ranging from accommodation, money and finance, or health and wellbeing - you can submit an enquiry through our StudentHUB.

Health and wellbeing support

It is important that we look after ourselves and our fellow students during this uncertain time. Our Student Health and Wellbeing team is here to support you, and has created a guide to health and wellbeing related support and services with information on how you can look after yourself during the coronavirus outbreak.

You can also read the latest government mental health advice.

Money and finance advice

For support and advice on money and financial issues, please submit all enquiries through the StudentHUB or email studentfunding@kingston.ac.uk. We will respond as quickly as we can, but please bear with us as we're experiencing a high volume of enquiries. Any questions around Student Funds, please contact us through the StudentHUB.

Faith

Louise Walton, the University Faith Adviser, will continue to be available to students via email on weekdays from 9am to 5pm on faith@kingston.ac.uk or via the StudentHUB.

KU Cares

If you are a UK/Home student, under 25 and are of the following: a former relevant Care Leaver; formally estranged from both parents (for a minimum of 12 months, evidenced); are a Young Adult Carer (i.e if you have caring responsibilities for a relative with long term chronic physical or mental health condition), then please contact our KU Cares team: kucares@kingston.ac.uk who will be able to provide practical advice and support.

Careers

You can still access all of our services online via Jobs Central which is our platform for accessing internships, placements and jobs as well as:

Students can also email careers@kingston.ac.uk where the team will pick up all queries.

Getting in touch with your faculty

Our student office staff will be working remotely, so please get in touch with them via email.

Faculty of Business and Social Sciences: BSSstudentoffice@kingston.ac.uk 

Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education: all email addresses are available at the bottom of this page.

Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing: 

Kingston School of Art: ksastudentoffice@kingston.ac.uk

 

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Teaching, assessments and exams

In this section:

Alternative assessments

Due to government restrictions, campus-based assessments and formal examinations scheduled from 23 April to the end of May were cancelled, replaced with alternative forms of online assessment.

As we recognise that some of you may have struggled to maintain normal study patterns during this period, and that alternative assessments may have required you to develop slightly different ways of working, we decided to pushed back the submission deadline for alternative assessments by one week. You can contact your course leader or personal tutor if you are in any doubt about the timing of your online assessments.

Please note that different arrangements may have been made for courses that lead directly to a professional qualification. Your course leader or head of department will be able to advise in these cases.

If you are experiencing any difficulties in studying remotely, please speak to your course leader or personal tutor.

Awards and progression

Final year undergraduate students can expect to receive their award letters towards the end of July, and progression letters will be issued around the same time. Most undergraduate students will receive a communication about their progression at that time. Please note, students in the faculty of Health, Social Care and Education have a slightly different schedule.



Principle of 'no disadvantage' in your studies

The University recognises the need to protect your academic interests in the exceptional circumstances created by the global pandemic, and to ensure you are not unfairly disadvantaged.

We have been focused on finding the best options for supporting you through the assessment period, including introducing alternative assessments, pushing back the submission deadline for alternative assessments by one week, and streamlining our extenuating circumstances processes.

In line with our commitment to protecting your interests, we need to be absolutely confident, and able to demonstrate, that graduates in 2020 are awarded degrees of the same quality as those awarded in other years. We need to support you to successfully complete your courses, and ensure you have met all the course learning outcomes.

Our approach to ensuring you are not disadvantaged differs from the 'no detriment' policies developed by some other universities because there are very real differences between the structure and assessment regimes of our courses and those delivered elsewhere. The majority of our courses are delivered via 30 credit modules which run across the academic year. This means students have not completed enough credit in this academic year for the University to calculate accurate average grades. Moreover, because our degree algorithm is heavily weighted in favour of Level 6, we cannot use grades achieved at Level 5 as accurate indicators of potential achievement in your final year.

The University has followed guidance from the Quality Assurance Agency in developing a tailored Kingston approach which takes account of our particular circumstances.

Please note that the guidance provided below may not apply if you are studying on a course that leads to a professional accreditation. In these circumstances you will be contacted by your course leader.

Please read the following guidance carefully:

  • At exam boards, marks will be benchmarked. This means that the marks achieved by your cohort in a specific module will be compared to those achieved by other cohorts in previous years, and/or against other modules in your course.  This will ensure that whole groups of students have not been disadvantaged by the current crisis.
  • Exam boards will have the authority to scale marks. Scaling will be undertaken over the marks of all students on a module, and will be applied to the marks of any element of assessment taken during the current crisis.
  • When you receive your marks after the exam boards, you will be able to reflect on whether the outcomes fall within the range of marks that you would have expected given your track record. You may want to use the degree award calculator on OSIS.
  • If you are unsure, you should consult with your personal tutor or course leader who will be able to advise.
  • If you consider the mark is lower than you would reasonably have expected, and you are confident you could achieve a higher mark at retake, you will have five university working days, starting from the day after you receive your marks, to submit a retrospective claim for mitigating circumstances. It will be important for you to check your marks as soon as they are released.
  • You will be able to use the existing online mitigating circumstances function on OSIS to apply for retrospective mitigation. No evidence will be required to support your request and therefore all claims will be approved.
  • It is especially important you understand the consequences of applying for mitigation in these circumstances. Your assessment in the retake period will be uncapped. The first mark will be cancelled and replaced with the second. You will not be able to choose the higher mark of the two. Failure to submit in the retake period will result in a mark of zero.
  • This process will be applied to any element of assessment taken since 17 March 2020 (the date campus-based teaching was suspended).
  • If you have already applied for mitigating circumstances, you can still submit your work and follow the process set out above.
  • This approach has been designed to ensure that you have the opportunity to pass all the essential learning outcomes for your course and to support you as you progress through your programme of study to a successful career.


Using Canvas

Once your lecturers have given details of your alternative assessments, you should submit them as normal via Canvas. Canvas is Kingston University's virtual learning environment. Please check this guide on how to use the different features of Canvas to support your learning.

If anything has happened that prevents you completing, submitting or undertaking assessments, please follow this guidance.

Online library services

There is a range of online resources and support to help you study away from the campus, including online books and journals. You can search all library resources using iCat. Please make sure you are fully signed in using your usual KU username and password (check the top right hand corner of the screen) to ensure access to the full text of e-books and e-journals.

Library help and enquiries

Please use the Library Chat box on iCat to get in touch. You can also use this to arrange 1-1 online consultations via Skype.

IT services and support

To find out about the secure online services available to support your online learning visit My Kingston. If you need IT support, you can speak to someone between 8am and 6:30pm on weekdays via livechat.kingston.ac.uk or by phoning 020 8417 3355. For 24 hour support, please use portal.kingston.ac.uk or chatbot.kingston.ac.uk.

Academic Success Centres (ASC) and Academic Support and Enhancement (CASE)

All Academic Success Centre support has moved to an online service. To find out what support is available to you and your Faculty or School, please read the information below.

  • Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education can email Kevin Hannigan, Academic Skills Lecturer, for help and advice. For more information on the availability and scope of this service, and what to include when you contact, see the entry for Health, Social Care and Education on the main ASC page.

  • Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing can access the SEC Academic Success Centre (SASC) on Canvas, where there is an online submission area.

  • Kingston Business School can access the Business Academic Skills service (BLASC) on Canvas, where there is an online submission area.

  • Kingston School of Art can email Laura Stott, Faculty Academic Skills Advisor, for help and advice; or can access support on Canvas.

  • School of Arts, Culture and Communication and School of Law, Social and Behavioural Sciences will now need to send a copy of their assignment to CASE@kingston.ac.uk to have guidance and feedback provided.

Updating your details

To ensure that you don't miss any important communications, please make sure that your address, telephone number and email address are up to date on the Online Student Information System (OSIS) .

Graduation

Given ongoing uncertainty about the duration of the coronavirus crisis, and government restrictions on gatherings, we have now taken the decision to postpone summer graduation ceremonies which were due to take place in July. We are aware that you will be disappointed that ceremonies will not run this summer, however we are currently looking at how we might organise replacement ceremonies once the crisis has passed. We share your disappointment but are confident you will understand that we must prioritise your safety and that of your families, your friends and our staff.

 

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Accommodation

In this section:

Halls - information for those remaining in halls or moving out

In accordance to the latest advice from the government, students may now leave halls and return to their family home. Should you wish to, and are able to, return to your family home, you are advised to do so safely in accordance with government guidance on travel. International students are advised to follow travel advice for their home nation..

Extending your licence

Rest assured we will continue to support all students who remain in halls. Should you need to extend your licence beyond the current end date (the majority will end on 20 June) we will allow you to extend for any length of time up to 31 August 2020.

We have also agreed to continue the 50 per cent discount of hall fees for the period from 1 July to 31 August 2020, and this will apply to students with existing licences up to 31 August 2020 and for those that apply for extensions.
Please speak to the Accommodation team if you would like to stay in halls beyond the end of your licence.

Support for those remaining in Halls

If you're currently based in halls, you can join our dedicated Facebook group set up to support those who have remained in halls accommodation following the closure of our campuses. Please also ensure your details are updated in OSIS.

For maintenance issues, contact your Halls manager - you'll find the relevant number here.

Self-isolating in halls

If you live in halls and are self-isolating based on government advice, please inform your hall manage and email us at alert@kingston.ac.uk. Please follow the advice about self-isolating.

Arranging food and other essential items and services (e.g. Laundry, medicine etc.) if you are self-isolating

As far as possible, please either use delivery services or engage the help of friends who will deliver essential items but not require face-to-face contact. If you wish to talk to someone about practical issues like arranging food deliveries, please call the hall manager(s) at your halls of residence for help organising this safely. 

Helping the NHS and key workers

We are being asked by government to consider the various ways we can support the national effort to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. One of the most significant ways that universities can assist is to offer empty accommodation to key workers, such as NHS staff. To enable us to house different groups within our halls and offer whole flats to key workers, we may need to ask students to move rooms. We will of course work with any impacted students to support you through a smooth and safe room move.

If you are leaving halls

Please visit reception to inform your hall staff that you will be leaving, and follow the process for signing out of halls. Please take all your belongings with you and return your set of keys. Your licence will be terminated on the date you sign to confirm you have left the hall. You will not be asked to pay for the remainder of your licence, and you will receive a refund if you have prepaid your licence

Halls - information for those who have moved out

Anyone who left their halls accommodation on or before Friday 27 March and either returned their keys or signed out in the usual way will not be charged for the remainder of their licence and the instalment on 7 May will not be collected. Credits will be issued to adjust any amounts already paid. 

This refund is solely for students who vacated their hall on or before 27 March. Remember that government advice is to remain in your current abode to prevent the spread of coronavirus, therefore those students who are in halls are advised to remain and not make unnecessary journeys.

Storage of possessions if you have moved out of Halls

The government has recently published updated guidance advising students who wish to travel back to recover their belongings from student accommodation that they may do so, as long as they follow the precautions laid out in staying safe outside your home.

If you left your student accommodation and now wish to collect your things from one of our University halls of residence, you may now do so following the guidance below:

  • Please call your hall management team where possible to discuss a suitable time slot.
  • Social distancing must be observed at all times when on site at the Halls.
  • The government's recommendation is for cars rather than public transport to be used for journeys of this type if possible. If someone is driving you, it's fine to share the same car as long as they live in the same household as you.

We ask you, where possible, to collect your belongings before your original contract end date.

Students in private accommodation

We recognise that many of our students rent from external or third-party providers, both purpose built student accommodation, houses in multiple occupation and headed tenancy arrangements. Kingston University is not able to make a unilateral decision on behalf of our students regarding accommodation fees charged by these providers. We will continue to engage and influence these providers to ensure that the welfare and interests of our students is stressed.

The government has advice for renters in private accommodation which prevents any evictions during the coronavirus outbreak. Please speak to your landlord if you have any questions about your rental situation.

Support for accommodation queries

For general enquiries or questions, you can email our accommodation team at: accommodation@kingston.ac.uk. Please bear with us as we are experiencing a high volume of enquiries.

Further FAQs

Please visit the Accommodation Fees FAQs page on My Kingston for further details.

 

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Money and fees

In this section:

Money advice

For support and advice on money and financial issues, please submit all enquiries through the StudentHUB or email studentfunding@kingston.ac.uk. We will respond as quickly as we can, but please bear with us as we're experiencing a high volume of enquiries. Any questions around Student Funds, please contact us through the StudentHUB.

Student Loans

The Student Loan Company has issued guidance for current students and answers common questions related to the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes:

  • plans to make summer term payments as scheduled
  • information about payments if you need to resit, retake or extend your year
  • Childcare Grants

You can read the full guidance here.

We can also confirm that students who are eligible for Kingston University bursaries will receive the payment in April as planned.

Part-time work

In a statement sent out to students on Friday 27 March, the Universities Minister advised students to be aware that if they are on a PAYE contract (e.g. part time student work), you may still get 80% of normal income. The guidance is here.

 

Fees

Now University buildings are closed, will I get a reduction in fees? Or if I have paid, will i get a refund?

No. The University has moved all of its teaching provision and support services online and you can continue to access learning materials and learning support. Staff have designed alternative assessments to replace face-to-face assessments and examinations. As a consequences you will still be able to complete the year as originally expected.

My course is practical and cannot be made available online, will I get a reduction in fees? And if I have paid, will I get a refund?

No. We understand that each course is different and programme teams have been working hard to move teaching and support services online. Staff have carefully designed online alternatives to replace your practical assessments. As a consequence you will still be able to complete the year as originally expected.

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Information for international students

 In this section: 

Visas/immigration

The Home Office and UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have updated guidance on immigration provisions for individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus (COVID-19).

You can visit its guidance page for full details including a new online visa extension form

There is also updated guidance for Sponsors.

Tier 4 visas

The Home Office has set out temporary policy concessions for Tier 4 Sponsors, Tier 4 students and short-term study students in response to the outbreak of Covid-19.

There is also updated information for Tier 4 students on Working during Studies on the Visa and Immigration pages of My Kingston.

Contacting the Home Office

The Home Office's Coronavirus Immigration Helpline remains open: 0800 678 1767 (open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm – calls are free of charge if made from within the UK) and you can also contact CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk .

You can also find information at the UK Council for International Student Affairs page.

Support for you

Barbara Georgopoulos, the University Senior Immigration Adviser, will continue to be available to students via email on weekdays between 9am–5pm or via the StudentHubPlease check the information at our Visas and Immigration page on My Kingston you may find the answer to your query there. 

Fees and finance

Now University buildings are closed, will I get a reduction in fees? Or if I have paid, will i get a refund?

No. The University has moved all of its teaching provision and support services online and you can continue to access learning materials and learning support. Staff have designed alternative assessments to replace face-to-face assessments and examinations. As a consequences you will still be able to complete the year as originally expected.

My course is practical and cannot be made available online, will I get a reduction in fees? And if I have paid, will I get a refund?

No. We understand that each course is different and programme teams have been working hard to move teaching and support services online. Staff have carefully designed online alternatives to replace your practical assessments. As a consequence you will still be able to complete the year as originally expected.

Student Loans

The Student Loan Company has issued guidance for current students and answers common questions related to the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes:

  • plans to make summer term payments as scheduled
  • information about payments if you need to resit, retake or extend your year
  • Childcare Grants

You can read the full guidance here.

We can also confirm that students who are eligible for Kingston University bursaries will receive the payment in April as planned.

Money advice

For support and advice on money and financial issues, please submit all enquiries through the StudentHUB or email studentfunding@kingston.ac.uk. We will respond as quickly as we can, but please bear with us as we're experiencing a high volume of enquiries. Any questions around Student Funds, please contact us through the StudentHUB.

International student travel

We are aware that many international students at Kingston University are impacted by travel and public health concerns given the situation. You should refer to the government's advice on travel.

 

Registering with the police

Students required to register with the police are advised to read important, updated information at Registering with the Police.

 

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Travel

In this section:

Travel guidance

The government is advising against all non-essential international travel. For travelling in the UK, there is updated guidance on travelling on public transport

Please note students and/or staff who are UK nationals, located overseas, should strongly consider returning to the UK now as instructed by the government. The University insurers may not be able to support travellers returning to the UK if they stay overseas in the event the jurisdiction going into lockdown and all flights being cancelled

Students on exchange programmes abroad

The government has advised that UK nationals should return home urgently. All UK students and staff currently studying on exchanges (Erasmus+, or other schemes involving terms or years abroad) or working temporarily overseas are strongly advised to return to the UK now when and while commercial routes are still available.

Our travel insurers will consider claims in the event that the University believes it is safer for you to stay where you are rather than return home. This cover will remain in place until the original planned date of return, subject to the policy terms and conditions. To ensure cover operates, please contact Study Abroad International Learning (SAIL) team by emailing Ja.Carbonell@kingston.ac.uk to confirm where you are and that you are safe, ensure they have current contact details, and advise them why you are not able to return home and. If you become ill you should follow the medical advice of your host institution, if you need emergency medical support please contact our insurers emergency assistance centre details below.

Global Response – Emergency Advice and Assistance

In the event of an emergency whilst travelling, call Global Response for advice and assistance. This service is operated by a team of multi-lingual coordinators at Global Response in the UK, who can be contacted 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Global Response will assist you with requirements and decide on the most appropriate course of action to help you through an emergency. Should you need to use this service whilst travelling, their contact details are:

  • Tel: +44 (0)2920 662425

  • E-mail: UMAL@global-response.co.uk

  • Member : Kingston University

  • Reference: UMAL/073

  • Contact Global Response before incurring any substantial medical expenses or being admitted as an inpatient at any hospital, clinic or nursing home. Do not arrange repatriation without the prior approval of Global Response

Please note our insurers will not consider claims for cancellation or curtailment at this time if you do not have a pre-booked return journey. They will also not consider claims at the end of your placement that are related to COVID-19.

Travel back to the UK from abroad

The government has pledged up to £75 million to pay airlines for the additional charter flights to ensure tickets are affordable. Once special flights have been arranged, these will be promoted through the government's travel advice and by the British embassy or high commission in country. British travellers who want a seat on the flight will book and pay directly through a dedicated travel management company.

British tourists stranded abroad who want to return to the UK should first check if there are commercial routes available by visiting the airline websites, FCO travel advice pages for the country they are in and local British embassy social media.

If there are no commercial options, they should visit the travel advice pages and sign up to alerts for their location and follow embassy social media and email updates. When special return flights become available, these will be advertised by the embassy and British nationals on Travel Advice Pages and Embassy social media and those who have registered for updates will be contacted via email. British nationals will be asked to register their interest through our booking agents CTM.

For more information please visit this government page.

Please note students and/or staff who are UK nationals, located overseas, should strongly consider returning to the UK now as instructed by the UK Foreign Office. Our insurers may not be able to support travellers returning to the UK if they stay overseas in the event the jurisdiction goes into lockdown and all flights are cancelled.

Travel policy

A new University travel policy has been put together, which provides guidance that should be considered when arranging University overseas trips during the COVID-19 pandemic and for the forthcoming months and can answer your questions on travelling, read more here.

 

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