Important information about the Coronavirus from Your SU
This page provides some practical advice about how to minimise your chances of being affected by The Coronavirus. It also aims to provide answers to some of the key questions you are likely to have about the University and students' union. If you have other queries, don't hesitate to contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will do all that we can to assist. You can also click here for the very latest updates from Sunderland University which provides the latest information and advice, including who to contact if you are unable to attend University.
Latest news and updates
We will use this top section to bring you the very latest news and updates on teaching & learning, accommodation, cancellation of events, and closure of buildings on campus. We will also use it to bring useful links for the latest advice on how to minimise your chances of being affected.
06/05/2020: The University has clarified its existing position on this. For Honours degree and Foundation degree students, assessment boards will consider two degree classifications for you:
i) one using the average mark for the first semester of study only (your final Semester 1 marks, or the equivalent in time if a module runs September-June). This creates a ‘baseline’ and sets aside the period affected by the pandemic.
ii) one calculated using your full final year as usual.
You will receive the higher of the two classifications.
This means that you cannot receive a lower classification than your baseline classification from the first half of the academic year, prior to the disruption. This approach guarantees you a safety net from the effects of the disruption, but still allows you to be rewarded for an improved performance in the second part of the year. You should read the University’s emergency regulations for full detail of how this will work.
01/05/2020: At the moment the University is stating that they expect student's still living in their accomodation to pay rent and citing the government’s guidance, which is that: ‘Tenants should abide by the terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability’.
They have said this is their final decision although we continue to apply pressure, how successful this will be we can not say.
They have stressed their need to consider financial implications and long term sustainability. Given government response to higher education in regards to Covid-19, in which "There’s no new money" but rather "payments will be brought forward" which would have already been forthcoming at later point (https://wonkhe.com/blogs/the-governments-covid-19-support-package-for-universities/) this may be a contributing factor.
We have stressed the financial pressures on students to the Vice Chancellor who has responded that they are putting in place support that is "targeted on those in financial distress with an evidenced, direct and pressing need" which would be accessed via the university's student financial guidance team.
26/4/2020: To date, we have had 115 students join the petition to lobby the University to support students who have had to remain in Uni accommodation. You can still sign it here.
17/4/2020: We have launched a petition (find it here) to lobby the University to support students who have had to remain in Uni accommodation (and The Forge) by offering a refund on term 3 rent or at least a discount. Helder will be sharing over the weekend but next week if you do speak to any students still in Halls please do encourage them to sign it - comments would also be helpful to help us illustrate the lived experience of those students and the hardship they are facing.
Additionally, we continue to encourage students in private accommodation to write to Julie Elliott MP and we're also pulling together a handy mythbuster guide to student finance which illustrates why landlords should be looking to support their student tenants at this time - we hope to get this live next week.
16/4/2020: Representation Conference 2020 - this was due to take place in June so we've made the decision to postpone it until later in the year. More details will follow.
15/4/2020: Our new CEO started today, Colina Wright alongside Sarah Redman who started as our Wellbeing Senior Officer (Maternity Cover).
7/4/2020: Your SU have worked with the University to bring to you some FAQ relating to the safety net policy. FAQ can be found here.
6/4/2020: The SU continues to work on the accommodations issues surrounding our students, we are now calling for YOUR support by contacting your local MP with our helpful template to raise your concerns of these issues being faced. Find out more via our accommodation campaign section.
3/4/2020: Your SU successfully persuaded the University to implement a safety net policy to protect student grades and allow them to progress safely to the next academic year. This policy ensures that no student is disadvantaged by the pandemic. FAQ can be found here. The Presidents have released a full statement, available here.
2/4/2020: We are delighted to share that the University have listened in the concerns we raised about students in Halls, with coin operated laundry facilities. We can tonight confirm that the Service Provider will be on site tomorrow to remove this function and the machines will convert into a 'free vend' until further notice.
01/4/2020: President: Wellbeing, Helder Costa, launched his Accommodation Campaign which is asking landlords of student housing and management companies of Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSAs) to release students from their contracts if they have left their accommodation due to the pandemic and to waive term 3 fees.
31/3/2020: The SU also successfully lobbied The Forge to allow students who left their accommodation early to terminate their contracts and have their term 3 fees waived. Students who are currently still at The F3orge are now able to surrender their tenancy and leave without penalty.
30/3/2020: The SU's Activities and Opportunities team launched a brand new digital events package, with weekly SU Brews and Quizzes, to bring students together and have fun while staying at home.
27/3/2020: The University, after listening to the Students' Union, agreed to waive term 3 costs for students who had left their accommodation due to the pandemic. In addition, students who wish to leave their accommodation and return home can do so without paying term 3 fees.
26/3/2020: The Students' Union successfully lobbied the University to both increase hardship funding available for students to access and also ensure all students (including part time and international students) can access the funds. The SU also highlighted to the University that they should make the forms digital to help students to apply quickly.
25/3/2020: President: Activities, Bryan Pepple, successfully persuaded the University to introduce payment plans for international students who are struggling to pay their fees or have had to return home.
23/3/2020: Democracy went digital with the first ever online Union Council meeting.
18/3/2020: The Students' Union became fully digital with all staff and services working from home to help and support students.
How can I minimise the chances of being affected by the virus (COVID-19) or infecting others?