Coronavirus Information

All covid information for students

More information

University Coronavirus Information Line

Our Coronavirus Information line can help with enquiries from students, parents and guardians. This team cannot provide you with a coronavirus test appointment - please instead read the information on coronavirus testing for students or members of University staff.

Email: infoline@port.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0)23 9284 5588

The phone line is open: Monday - Thursday 8.30am - 5.00pm, Friday 8.30am - 4.00pm and Saturday and Sunday 10.00am - 4.00pm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Current students

Our coronavirus guidance for current students includes advice on self-isolation and changes to University life, as well as focused information for international and study abroad students, and postgraduate research students.

Guidance on self-isolation

The NHS has provided stay at home and self-isolation advice in line with government guidance.

If you're self-isolating at either University or at home you need to inform us by completing this authorised absence form. You must also report this information to your Personal Tutor. They will ask you some questions to make sure the University properly understands your situation, so that we can provide you with support and signpost you to relevant services.

If you’re self-isolating in private accommodation - including halls of residence not owned by the University - please speak to your landlord, housemates and family to see if alternative accommodation arrangements can be made. 

If you’re self-isolating in one of the University halls of residence - please contact our Coronavirus Information line on +44 (0)23 9284 5588 (9am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday) or by email infoline@port.ac.uk. Out of hours messages will be responded to as soon as possible. For urgent out of hours coronavirus queries and welfare support in University-owned halls please call Security on +44 (0)23 9284 3418.

If you think you may have symptoms of coronavirus, then you shouldn’t be visiting general practitioners, walk-in centres or A&E. Instead you should book yourself a test, and follow Government guidelines around self-isolating

However it is important that you registered with a GP for other health issues that may arise at your time at University.

University life

To keep the campus as safe as possible, two types of testing are available for our students to book yourselves onto:

If you have symptoms of the coronavirus you must book yourself a test through the Government booking system.

If you do not have symptoms of the coronavirus you can voluntarily get yourself tested through the University's proactive screening programme for students and staff.

The University Library re-opened on Monday 27 July, with new safety measures in place to protect students and staff when in the building. Opening hours will initially be 9.30am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday and these will be reviewed closer to the start of teaching. Due to reduced capacity in the building we will be prioritising space for students.

There are some changes to how the library works in line with the University’s safety measures to protect students and staff:

  • All visitors are expected to wear a face covering when in the library. A small supply of masks will be available for visitors who may not have one when they arrive.
  • When in the library please follow the signage and any other guidance to maintain social distancing. There are hand sanitisers at the entrance and across the building - please use them.
  • All students and staff must have their University Card to access the library. Anyone without a card will not be allowed to enter. This is being done so that we can manage the number of people in the library at any one time and maintain social distancing. This also means the library is not open to the public at this time.
  • The reception desk and the IT Helpdesk will be open with other services remaining online e.g. Academic Liaison Team.
  • We’re encouraging library users to not browse books in the library. Instead, please browse online and come and collect the books that you need. If you are in the library and pick up a book that you then do not need please place it on one of the book trolleys provided, and not back on the shelf. All these books will then be quarantined before being returned to the shelves.
  • To allow for social distancing there will be a reduced number of study areas and open access PCs available. The study rooms will remain closed.
  • Additional cleaning has been implemented for the library and cleaning materials will be available for visitors to clean areas that they use as well.

Library chat service

Library staff are available via online chat and email to help with finding, accessing and referencing information and will be more than happy to help you. Go to the Library website and click on the blue and white chat (speech bubble) button on the right-hand side.

Physical books with no electronic version

If you require a physical book that we don’t have an electronic copy of, please email library@port.ac.uk and we will try to acquire an electronic copy if possible. If an electronic copy isn’t available, we’ll put you in touch with your Faculty Librarian and Assistant Faculty Librarian who will try to help you find the information you need from an alternative source.

A number of support services continue to be available at this time.

Academic support:

  • Academic Skills Unit (ASK) – for 1-to-1 and small group tutorials and guidance on any aspect of coursework via Google Hangouts/Meet, WebEx, Zoom as well as phone and email tutorials, book an appointment by emailing academicskills@port.ac.uk
  • Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre – for phone, email or video support including specialist study skills and assistive technology tutors, book an appointment by emailing asdac@port.ac.uk 
  • Student Finance Centre – for money advice and guidance, and the administration of hardship funds, email studentfinance@port.ac.uk
  • Students' Union Advice Centre – contact them on +44(0)23 92 843478 or by emailing advice@upsu.net

Wellbeing support:

  • The Student Wellbeing Service – for support via video, email and phone please email wellbeing-admin@port.ac.uk to make arrangements
  • The WhatsUp App provides daily tools to promote positive mental health and connections – download it to your Android and Apple devices
  • Chaplaincy support – for a listening ear, please email chaplains@port.ac.uk or call +44 (0)23 9284 3030
  • Residential Life support in halls of residence – contact them on +44(0)23 9284 3418 or by emailing reslife@port.ac.uk
  • Students can also seek support from the NHS and Solent Mind run service called Positive Minds
  • The Speak UP form – an anonymous tool to record any incident or situation where students have experienced or witnessed discrimination, hate crime, bullying, violence or sexual violence

In response to the rapidly changing Coronavirus situation, we made some reasonable changes to our assessment practices and our Examination and Assessment Regulations. See our exams and assessments infographic (PDF) for a quick guide to our no detriment policies.

These changes take into account the impact the coronavirus outbreak may have had on your ability to study and finish assessments during the final weeks of the 2019/20 academic year. 

If you have any queries relating to these changes, please contact your Personal Tutor for further advice and support.

In light of coronavirus and current Government advice, we took the difficult decision to postpone graduation ceremonies due to take place in July 2020. The ceremonies will now take place from 24-28 May 2021. 

Students will still be awarded their qualification this year. Your certificate will be posted directly to you.

Please find further information on our graduation page.

Student Finance England have confirmed that student loans will not be affected. The University will be informed if this changes and you can check for updates on the Student Loans Company website or by logging into your Student Finance England account.

There will be no change to your course fee payments. While face-to-face teaching has been suspended, teaching is being delivered online with the full engagement of staff.

The Student Finance Team can be contacted by email on studentfinance@port.ac.uk.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice.

If you need to change or cancel your travel plans, follow these steps:

  1. contact your airline, travel company, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers
  2. get in touch with your insurance provider
  3. continue to follow the NHS coronavirus guidance

The FCO was already advising against all but essential travel or all travel to some areas or countries due to risks that do not relate to COVID-19. This advice remains in place. Check FCO travel advice pages for the latest information.

Current international or study abroad students

When you arrive in the UK, you may be subject to the UK government's self-isolation rules. Under these rules you must:

  • provide details of your journey and your contact details when you travel to the UK
  • not leave the place you're staying for your first 14 days in the UK (except in very limited situations)

You may be fined if you fail to provide details of where you plan to stay and/or if you do not self-isolate.

You must think about the extra days when planning your travel to the UK. During this time you won't be able to attend the University, see other people or leave your accommodation except for very limited reasons.

Even if you take a test and receive negative results you still must self-isolate for 14 days.

We don't know how long these measures will be in place and they may be subject to change at short notice. You can find further details in the government's guide to entering the UK.

If you have any questions please contact the International Student Advice team at international.student.adviser@port.ac.uk.

We understand that it may not be possible for you to rejoin us on campus at the beginning of term because of existing health conditions or because you are not comfortable travelling yet, so you will be able to continue your degree online and join us on campus when you are ready. 

Continuing to work in the UK

There are no changes to your work (employment) permissions. You'll continue to be restricted during term time, as you will be expected to be working on your studies. Term times remain the same at this time.

You can work more than the hours stated on your Tier 4 visas in the following periods:

Undergraduates
  • Winter Vacation: Monday 14 December 2020 – Friday 1 January 2021
  • Easter Break: Monday 5 April 2021 – Friday 16 April 2021
  • Summer Vacation: Monday 22 June – Sunday 4 October
Postgraduate Taught (Master's)
  • Winter Vacation: Monday 14 December 2020 – Friday 1 January 2021
  • Easter Break: Monday 5 April 2021 – Friday 16 April 2021
Postgraduate Research

University engagement monitoring as required under Tier 4 and the Student Route

We’ll measure your engagement levels to match the blend of face-to-face and online learning you’ll experience this academic year. 

This can easily be done by: 

  • swiping your Student Card at card readers placed outside, or in, teaching rooms for face-to-face sessions
  • logging in and accessing modules and learning materials on Moodle for virtual learning

Attendance and engagement is a condition of a Tier 4 or Student Route visa.

Suspending or withdrawing from course

If you're not continuing with your current course the normal processes apply. Contact your MyPort Hub and complete the appropriate paperwork.

The University is then required to inform the Home Office and withdraw sponsorship for your Tier 4 visa. The University will send you a confirmation email when this has been done and advise you on how long you have to leave the UK.

Accessing health care

The Immigration Health Surcharge paid as part of a Tier 4 or Student Route visa application gives you access to the UK health care system in the same way as a British Citizen. If you have a visa for less than 6 months, you won't have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge and will need to ensure you have medical insurance to cover any non-emergency care.

If you need hospital treatment in the UK, the NHS have published useful information about what to expect.  

Visa expiration

If you are planning to leave the UK

If you intend to leave the UK but are not able to do so and your visa expires between 1 September and 31 October 2020, you must request additional time to stay, also known as ‘exceptional assurance’.

You need to contact the Coronavirus Immigration team (CIT) and complete this Exceptional Assurance Request Form

If UKVI accept your request for ‘exceptional assurance’ they will send you the expiry date and confirmation that you will remain in the UK on the same terms and conditions as your previous visa, although it has not been extended, and that "you will not be regarded as an overstayer or suffer any detriment in any future applications". They will also tell you that you are expected to make plans to leave the UK before your ‘exceptional assurance’ expires, although you can apply again under the scheme if you are still unable to leave the UK.

Exceptional assurance is not a visa but the guidance says that it offers, "Short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after your leave has expired", which suggests that you will not be regarded as an overstayer. Unless UKVI states that it will not treat you as an overstayer, you should declare this period in any future visa applications as a period of overstay and explain why. 

If you do require longer and/or are unable to leave the UK by the assurance date given, you must reapply nearer this date by resubmitting the online form with supporting information.

You will need to return to your home country as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.

If you intend to stay in the UK to continue your studies

If your visa expired after 31 August, and you need to remain in the UK for an 'urgent reason' you should apply before your current immigration permission expires. Please note that UKVI have not confirmed what an urgent reason is and wanting to stay in the UK to study may not be deemed an ‘urgent reason’.

The Tier 4 requirement to have a gap of no more than 28 days between the end of your visa and the course start date on your CAS does not apply to you if your course start date is before 31 December 2020.

If you want to start a new course before you finish your previous course, for example, if you want to start a course before you have completed your current course or transfer into the University from another institution you would need to return home to make a visa application.

This information may be updated at short notice, further useful information can be found on the Coronavirus section of the UKCISA website.

If your visa expires as normal and you need to extend your visa to cover your current course you must apply before your current visa expires. If you have any further questions about your visa please contact the International Student Advice Team at international.student.adviser@port.ac.uk

Students at International College Portsmouth (ICP)

International College Portsmouth will provide guidance, which will be emailed to you. The University will continue to sponsor you on your Tier 4 leave as long as you're fully engaging on your course remotely. 

Police Registration

If you have a Police Registration Certificate and you have left the UK, please email nationalities@hampshire.pnn.police.uk to inform them. Please include your Police Registration Certificate Number in your email.

If you need to change your address, passport or visa details please create an account or log in to Hampshire Constabulary and input your details. When Police stations re-open for this purpose you will then be able to book an appointment to have your Police Registration Certificate updated. Please check their website for updates.

Postgraduate research students

You can submit work and relevant forms for annual reviews, major reviews and theses electronically. You'll receive email prompts in advance of your deadlines.

Theses should be submitted to researchdegrees@port.ac.uk, unless an alternative email address is provided. When submitting a thesis, please copy in your first supervisor.

Where a PhD by publication can't be submitted electronically, an appropriate methodology for submission must be agreed by the Faculty Research Degrees Coordinator (FRDC). Your supervisor or Departmental Research Degrees Coordinator (DRDC) should also be able to advise.

Annual reviews, major reviews and vivas will be conducted online if all parties are happy to do so. If one or more of those present is not happy to do so, the date will need to be deferred. Where the outcome of a meeting is to undertake more work, candidates will be advised appropriately on when this can be commenced.

Where a student is experiencing difficulties in meeting deadlines to complete post-viva thesis corrections, the First Supervisor (or if necessary the FRDC) is able to approve extenuating circumstances and set a revised deadline.

Please see the Graduate School Moodle page for further details on reviews, vivas and interim examinations.

If you think your research timeline will be seriously affected by COVID-19, you'll be able to apply for an extension or interruption in the normal way. Any COVID-19 related issues will be taken into account when assessing delays and changes to thesis research through the annual review process.

All placements and field work involving face-to-face contact are suspended, and you should meet with your supervisor to discuss this.

If you're on an overseas placement The University will work on repatriating you, unless it's safer for you to remain where you are.

If you expect to come in close contact with human participants then you must suspend your research. Where possible, online research methods should be used instead. Where this is impossible, talk to your supervisor and consider:

  • alternative means to collect data
  • how to delay face-to-face aspects of the research
  • re-submission to the ethics committee so they can consider the safety aspects of face-to-face research

If your research relies on facilities you can't access, talk to your supervisor to find out if alternative activities can be carried out until you get access to the equipment or facilities. There's some helpful guidance from the department of United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) for researchers in general as well as DTP and other research council-funded students.

Updated guidance has been provided on extension arrangements for fees and bursaries for university, research council and other funding sources. Please see the Graduate School Moodle page for further details on registration, fees and funding.

Postgraduate research students can now apply for financial help through the University Support Fund until the end of the 2020 academic year for exceptional and clearly justified hardships arising from the coronavirus situation.

If it becomes impossible to actively pursue your research, you'll need to discuss this with your supervisor(s).

Interruptions may be granted beyond the normal 1 year limit (2 years for PT) by the FRDC in exceptional cases. The extended interruption should not be in excess of that which is proportional to the nature of the interruption and time required.

You should talk to your supervisor and funder to consider any financial implications. Please see the Graduate School Moodle page for further details.

Talk to your supervisor about an interruption of studies to consider any financial implications. More information about the PGR bursary interviews and supervision meetings is on the Graduate School Moodle page.

Graduate School Events

All Graduate School and related events have moved online.

Graduate School Development Programme (GSDP) Sessions

GSDP sessions will be delivered online. If you're booked on a session or on the waiting list you'll be contacted with instructions for accessing the session. You also have access to a suite of GSDP online modules.

GSDP online modules will accrue the same hours as the face-to-face equivalents and you can record this in SkillsForge using a Certificate of Completion.

Up to date information about the current situation, working away from home and online training opportunities (such as LinkedIn Learning) is available on Moodle

GProf Sessions

If you've completed the GProf Orientation Session in 2019/20, you can use some online resources to complete the course. Alternatively, you may wish to wait until we return to experience the benefit of working with peers in the practical sessions (extra sessions will be available).

See more guidance on the GProf coronavirus arrangements. If you haven't completed GProf Orientation, you should register for the new course in October 2020.

Research Supervision Events (RSE)

Most Graduate School workshops for supervisors have good resources online, including videos of previous sessions, links, and for mandatory/required sessions we have full online training packages.

Please see the Graduate School research supervision events page for more information.

Further guidance

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