Latest updates for staff

Update - 31/03/20 at 17:43

Dear colleague

Here’s the latest information on developments and the University’s response to the Coronavirus crisis.

Accessing Aberystwyth University buildings

Although the University remains open and working, many of the buildings on campus are now effectively closed, and the only staff working on site are those designated for the delivery of essential services.  All business-critical staff have been identified and will have received a letter which they can show if approached by the police when travelling to work for essential business only.  These staff members must inform Security, via e-mail or phone, of their arrival and departure on campus.  Business-critical staff accessing closed buildings should note that these buildings are not currently being regularly serviced (e.g. cleaning, waste disposal).

Internal/external post services

Internal mail collection and delivery, and routine outgoing post services have stopped until further notice.  Currently all incoming post via Royal Mail is being delivered to the Post Room.  If you have essential items that you need to collect, and have line management permission to do so, the Post Room is open between the hours of 09.00 – 12.00 on Mondays and Thursdays.  However, in line with social distancing and infection control guidelines, such visits must be kept to an absolute minimum.   If you have any queries, please contact the Post Room team on postroom@aber.ac.uk or ring 01970 62 2052 between 09.00 – 12.00 on Mondays and Thursdays. 

myadmin.aber.ac.uk unavailable

Please note that myadmin.aber.ac.uk (the application through which staff access ECS forms, Translation requests, Design Studio jobs etc) will be unavailable this Thursday between 8.30 and 13.00.

University Court 2020 meeting

With regret, the University has decided to postpone the annual meeting of the Court, which was due to be held on Monday, 27 April 2020.  While alternative options were considered – including holding the meeting online – postponing the Court meeting was deemed the most appropriate in the current circumstances.

Every effort will now be made to identify an alternative date for a meeting later in 2020. However, should this not be possible, arrangements are already in place for next year’s meeting, which will be held on Friday, 19 March 2021.

Ongoing updates and questions

We will continue to provide e-mail updates to staff as required, and as the situation develops.  In the meantime, please remain in regular contact with your line manager and those that you line manage.

As always, we encourage you to continue to check our coronavirus information webpage for the latest information and frequently asked questions.  If you have any other questions or queries, please email coronavirus@aber.ac.uk or contact the dedicated helpline 01970 62 2483.

Continued thanks

The current situation is having an unprecedented impact on our daily life in so many ways.  I am very grateful to you for the way you have adapted to new ways of working, embraced new means of communicating, and adopted new ways to support each other at this time.  

The Chair of Council and Chancellor have both asked me to convey their thanks to staff for your ongoing support and work.  Indeed, when writing to members of the University Court to inform them of the postponement of the 2020 meeting, the Chancellor noted his heartfelt gratitude to all staff for the way we are currently responding to the outbreak.

Please do all that you can to stay safe and well.

Professor Elizabeth Treasure
Vice-Chancellor

Update - 27/03/20 at 18.35

Dear colleague

Here’s the latest information on developments and the University’s response to the Coronavirus crisis.

Working with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a very useful tool that we can use in order to continue to do our jobs while working remotely. You can use Teams to have text conversations and online audio / video meetings, as well as to collaborate on documents and share information.

We have prepared guidance to help you to use Teams:

If you have any questions about using Teams that aren’t covered in the guidance that is available, please get in touch on is@aber.ac.uk.

Accessing Aberystwyth University buildings

As you know, the current movement restrictions in place mean that we should only be traveling if absolutely necessary.  As confirmed yesterday, people who breach the restrictions could be fined.

Therefore, staff should now only be accessing Aberystwyth University campus or buildings when absolutely essential, or as part of business-critical roles.  All business critical staff have been identified and should receive a letter at home tomorrow or Monday morning. This is to use if approached by the authorities (eg Police) when travelling to work for only essential business.

Business critical staff must inform Security, via e-mail or phone, of their arrival and departure on campus.

Annual Leave

Please could we urge you to continue to take your annual leave.  Under current circumstances, we are concerned that staff are under additional pressure due to the extraordinary circumstances.  Taking some leave may just help.  It is also important to note that, as ever, if everyone keeps their leave until late in the year, it becomes very difficult to allow everyone to take the leave they request.

Softphone

If you’re now working from home, please could use our softphone facility.  This facility enables you to take calls via your office number through your computer.  It’s easy to use and is far more cost-effective that diverting calls to mobiles.

Please use the instructions for set-up - https://faqs.aber.ac.uk/773 and get in touch with IS helpdesk if you have any trouble.

Ongoing updates

We have been keen to update you daily over the past few weeks, given the pace of developments as the UK and Welsh governments respond to the coronavirus outbreak. We will continue to update you regularly so that we remain in touch and up-to-date on the latest information in the days and weeks ahead. However, these general updates are now moving away from daily updates towards communications every few days or as new information becomes available.

Please remain in regular contact with your line manager and those you manage. If you have any other questions or queries, please email coronavirus@aber.ac.uk or telephone 01970 62 2483.

Updated information and FAQs

As always, we encourage you to continue to check our coronavirus information webpage for the latest information and frequently asked questions.

Please stay safe and well.

Professor Elizabeth Treasure
Vice-Chancellor

Update - 26/3/20 at 18:31

Dear colleague

Here’s the latest information on developments and the University’s response to the Coronavirus crisis.

Online training and development

Now that the vast majority of staff are working off-campus, we’ve put together a list of key activities you should complete online as part of your normal employment and which can be undertaken from a remote location:

  • Completing your Effective Contribution Scheme (ECS) form and submitting this for your line-manager’s consideration through the online system accessible here

We’ve also put together a whole host of training and development opportunities on our website which will be updated on a weekly basis, so please ensure you log-in regularly.

These courses are specifically targeted to specific skills sets ad occupations. There is also training which is of more general interest.

We would welcome your feedback on how you have found these courses and any suggestions you might have for future areas of interest. Please e-mail hrbp@aber.ac.uk with your comments.

We understand that this new way of working will be unfamiliar to many. We encourage everyone to try new approaches, don't worry about getting things wrong, be understanding when things don’t go quite as planned and support everyone to learn and improve.

Learn Welsh

This is also a significant opportunity for colleagues to improve Welsh language skills online.

Thank you

Finally, we would like to say a big thanks for the way you have adapted so quickly to such a profound change to the way we work and live our lives.

Thank you for playing your part and doing your bit. Please do all you can to stay safe and well.

Professor Elizabeth Treasure

Vice-Chancellor

Update - 25/3/20 at 19:39

Dear colleague

As we continue to work through the implications of the coronavirus crisis, as well as the government’s response to it, we would like to draw your attention to the updates below.

Student accommodation fees

We have taken the decision that students will not be charged for their accommodation after Easter if they wish to bring their tenancy with us to an end.

This does not mean that all student accommodation will be vacated.  All residents have a tenancy agreement with the University, and it is extremely important that we honour these agreements and observe new government restrictions.  As you know, accommodation in Aberystwyth may be a student’s only residence, and some vulnerable individuals may have nowhere else to go.

We recognise, however, that many students will no longer be taking up their accommodation after Easter due to the current circumstances, and as such we cannot expect them to pay the relevant costs.

Catering on campus
As of Thursday 26th March, we’re changing the only remaining catering provision on campus:

  • Tamed Da is closed.
  • We are extending our Nosh Da service.  Nosh Da offers hot food and groceries delivery service 12-8pm every day to students and staff.  To order, download the NoshDa App from the App Store or Google Play.

Beware of Covid-19 Scams

Fears of Covid-19 are being used by criminals and hackers to prey on members of the public. University staff and students are urged to remain vigilant towards emails and telephone calls. Email scams may attempt to trick individuals into opening attachments or opening web sites that may risk your personal or University information, passwords, contacts, and bank details. These may include fake online resources about the virus, refunds, counterfeit goods, donations, and loans. Please refer to the FAQ on “How can I spot if an email I have received is genuine or not?” at https://faqs.aber.ac.uk/index.php?id=394.

Cyber Security

With many staff working from home, it is important that your computer is kept secure. Please refer to the guidance at: https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/is/regulations/security/

Frequently asked question

Many of you have been getting in touch by e-mail coronavirus@aber.ac.uk or the University helpline 01970 622483 with your questions and concerns about a broad range of matters relating to the Coronavirus and what it might mean to you. We continue to update the Frequently Asked Questions page which features sections on looking after your health, working from home, self-isolating, caring for dependents and financial concerns. 

Today the FAQs will provide tips and advice about how to maintain positive mental health whilst working from home, including keeping in touch digitally, establishing a routine and keeping active.

If you have a question or a concern, drop us a line on coronavirus@aber.ac.uk

Best wishes and stay safe.

Professor Elizabeth Treasure
Vice-Chancellor

Update - 24/03/20 at 18:20

Dear colleague

Whilst the University’s operations continue, the majority of the campus has been closed following the announcement by the UK Government on Monday 23 March of wide ranging restrictions to people’s ability to move around. The only staff working on site are those designated for the delivery essential services. All other staff should be working off site in accordance with discussions with their respective line managers.

We appreciate that these are exceptional circumstances and I would like to thank everyone for your patience and understanding, and for playing your part in trying to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus.

To underline the latest advice from government please observe the following:

  • You should stay at home and only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work
  • Stay 2 metres away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance is available here.

Teaching and learning

The University’s teaching provision and many other services continue online and I am very grateful to everyone for your hard work and dedication in making this possible.

The effective closure of the Penglais campus means that library facilities are only available online for the time being. Further information on the services available to you and your students can be found here. You will also find information that relates specifically to the availability of online study resources here: Library Services and COVID-19.

Student accommodation

Our accommodation for students remains open, along with laundry rooms, and once again I am grateful for those of you who are working to ensure that they are properly serviced during this difficult time. Those students who remain in University accommodation are asked to strictly observe the government’s advice on movement and self-isolation.

Catering

The following catering outlets remain open and provide takeaway facilities only:

  • Tamed Da is open from 8:30am to 4.00pm, offering limited hot and cold food and Starbucks drinks.
  • Nosh Da offers a hot food delivery service from 4:00pm until 9pm. To order, call 01970621719 or download the NoshDa App from the App Store or Google Play.

Please note that these services are primarily for students who remain in residences and essential staff working on campus.

Support for staff

We appreciate that this is a difficult time for everyone and would like to remind you of the support that is available to you and to our students during this difficult time.

If you are worried about Coronavirus and your mental health, speak to your line manager in the first instance. Advice is also available from Mind and via our Employee Assistance Programme.

Keeping in touch

Possibly for the first time in our professional lives, some of us find ourselves working on our own and at home for lengthy periods, looking after dependents and possibly self-isolating. As a result we would encourage everyone to try to keep in touch with colleagues both professionally and socially, and urge you to think of new ways and new reasons to do so, as we get used to these new and challenging circumstances.

The University supports Skype and Microsoft Teams for making group calls – both video and audio. To find out more about how to download the software, visit the Information Services FAQ pages https://faqs.aber.ac.uk/ and type in ‘Skype’ or ‘Teams’. The IS helpdesk is also available on 01970 622400 or is@aber.ac.uk to provide help and advice.

Student Support

All Student Support services are now operating remotely and contact details can be found on the following web pages www.aber.ac.uk/en/student-support/contact-us/. The Students’ Union also has a webpage dedicated to mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak.

VPN
Whether you are on campus or elsewhere, if you are having trouble connecting to University systems, please contact the IS helpdesk on 01970 622400 or is@aber.ac.uk.

Frequently asked questions

We continue to update the FAQs web pages. There you will find information on looking after your health, working from home, financial concerns, annual leave, visas and much more.

And, if you have a question that isn’t answered in the FAQs, please e-mail coronavirus@aber.ac.uk. The University’s coronavirus helpline is also available and can be contacted on 01970 622483

Best wishes and stay safe.

Professor Elizabeth Treasure

Vice-Chancellor

Update - 23/03/20 at 21:50

Dear all

Tonight the UK Government has set out wide ranging restrictions on our ability to move around.  These restrictions are set out on the UK Government website and come into force immediately.

We will continue to work through the full implications of this for Aberystwyth University, but the Government is very clear tonight about the implications for us as individuals.

Please adhere to these restrictions carefully and diligently.

To confirm – while limited catering takeaway facilities will remain open, all other on-site facilities will not be open from tomorrow for at least 3 weeks.  This includes our libraries.

Please look after yourselves under these unfamiliar and challenging conditions.  Please stay in touch with each other and with your departments.  Please stay safe.

Professor Elizabeth Treasure
Vice- Chancellor

Update - 23/03/20 at 17:57

Dear colleague

Playing our part

In line with government advice, whether you’re working on campus or from home, please maintain social distancing.

Many campus facilities are now running at reduced capacity due to the circumstances we face.  Any measures we have implemented are done with social distancing measures in mind.  We will continue to keep you updated with developments. 

For information:

Student Support

All Student Support services are now operating remotely and contact details can be found on the following web pages:

  1. aber.ac.uk/en/student-support/contact-us/. The Students’ Union also has awebpage dedicated to mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Fees Desks

Fee desks are also up and running. 

Students have been advised that to make a payment they can go to https://epayments.aber.ac.uk/student/.

For other fees related enquiries, please email fees@aber.ac.uk.

Library

Hugh Owen Library is open.  You need your Abercard to access via floor D (main entrance); floors E and F are currently unavailable. From today, and for the rest of this week, the library opening hours are 0830 until 2200.  We will announce Easter break opening hours separately.

While the library and IS helpdesk is open, in order to observe social distancing, we are only offering service via the email and phone.  Please contact 01970 622400 or is@aber.ac.uk.

Marking and assessment

With regard to marking student work we have put in place steps to recognise the unprecedented disruption to our normal working practices.

Wherever possible, we would ask staff to continue to assess and feedback to students within 15 working days. In line with our normal practice, where feedback needs to be delayed, please could staff make sure students are informed of a revised date by which they can expect to receive feedback.

Please also remember that assessment marks must be returned by the final deadlines set for departmental examination boards at the very latest.

VPN

Whether you are on campus or elsewhere, if you are having trouble connecting to University systems, please contact the IS helpdesk on 01970 622400 or is@aber.ac.uk.

As we have emphasised previously, you have to be on campus to set up the VPN initially – and remember that all steps need to be completed for it to work.  Please refer to the relevant remote working section of our FAQs.  This is now time critical for any staff who are now expected to work from home.

Enquiries

If you have a question that isn’t answered in the FAQs, please e-mail coronavirus@aber.ac.uk. The University’s coronavirus helpline is also available and can be contacted on 01970 622483.

Best wishes and stay safe.

Update - 22/03/20 at 19:32

Dear staff and students

Following the UK government announcement this afternoon, all staff and students who can work or complete academic requirements from home should do so from tomorrow (Monday 23rd March).  Business critical staff will remain on campus.

Working from home where possible will enable those who have to be on campus to effectively observe social distancing guidance. 

We are asking anyone who has not yet been able to discuss this with their manager/tutor to do so as soon as possible. 

Individuals with relevant underlying conditions should isolate themselves for at least 12 weeks. Please check the UK Government website for a list of relevant conditions and act on your doctor’s advice.

Campus facilities

While Aberystwyth University campus is open, we are supporting social distancing and therefore there are reduced facilities available. Please be aware of the following changes which take effect from Monday 23rd March:

Registry service desks

Registry front desks are now closed, but please be aware that Registry services are still available online and over the telephone.  Please use the following contact details:

You can also contact your academic department by email and telephone as normal.

Library facilities

The Hugh Owen Library remains open to anyone with an AberCard.  Your card is needed to get access through the main doors.  Due to the extenuating circumstances, restrictions are in place:

  • The service desk is staffed but not providing a face to face service any more. Users can contact via is@aber.ac.uk or 2400.

The following facilities are accessible on level D (entrance floor):

  • study and computer spaces
  • printer/copiers
  • Vending and hot drinks machines
  • Levels E & F cannot currently be accessed.

We continue to monitor the situation to ensure that our arrangements remain consistent with government advice.

Our dedicated coronavirus webpage is updated continuously. If your query is not covered by the FAQs please email coronavirus@aber.ac.uk where it will be passed to the relevant team to consider.

Thank you for your understanding and ongoing patience.

Update - 20/03/20 at 15:13

Dear colleague

At the end of a very testing week for us all here at Aberystwyth University, I would like to start today’s update with a note of thanks. 

We face an unprecedented set of circumstances, and I would like to thank you all for your continued support and incredible commitment to our University and its community.  The potential effects of this crisis are only beginning to emerge, yet if we move forward with togetherness, team spirit and determination, I’m confident that we can minimise its negative effects.

Ever since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, we have focussed on maintaining the services that make this institution what it is, while heeding the public health advice designed to keep us as safe as possible.

However, we also recognise that our operations during this outbreak will need to be quite different as we embark on a period of uncertainty that is likely to last well into the summer months.

Graduation ceremonies

It is with a heavy heart that I can confirm today that we have postponed this year’s graduation ceremony plans. 

While students in their final year can of course graduate, under current circumstances we cannot be sure when we will be in a position to hold a celebration of their success. 

Once we know when it is likely to be safe and responsible to hold these events we will update you with our plans.  Graduation ceremonies provide unforgettable memories for our students and their families and I am determined to ensure that no-one loses out.

Sports Centre and Old College

The University remains open and continues with its arrangements to deliver lectures, seminars and tutorials online.

Unfortunately we have had to take the decision that we can no longer keep the University’s Sports Centre and Old College open.

The Sports Centre will close at 9:00pm this evening and will remain closed until further notice.  This is a step the team there have tried so hard to avoid, implementing social distancing within activities there and even moving some classes online. However, the practical challenges now mean that the Centre itself cannot remain open until circumstances improve. For guidance on daily health and fitness tips, workouts and regular updates follow the Sports Centre on Facebook or Instagram @sportaber.

Please note that no monthly payments via salaries or direct debits will be collected by the Sports Centre until it reopens, so there is no need to cancel your membership.

Similarly, Old College will also close from the end of today, Friday 20 March.  Again, the challenges of keeping the building open have become too great.  I would like to thank all of those based there for their patience and we will update them regarding ongoing plans to move into other premises as plans to redevelop Old College progress.

Our libraries (you’ll need your Aber card to get in), study spaces and computing facilities, remain open and operate in line with government advice on social distancing, as does TaMedDa.

Working from home

You will be aware that we have asked managers to review staffing arrangements and discuss the feasibility and necessary arrangements for colleagues to work from home where practical and possible. Please discuss any changes to your own working arrangements with your line manager in the first instance.

If you have agreed with your manager that you can work from home, remember to set up remote access for your laptop, pc or tablet whist you are on campus.

Support

We appreciate that this is a difficult time for everyone and would like to remind you of the support that is available to you and to our students during this difficult time.

If you are worried about Coronavirus and your mental health, speak to your line manager in the first instance. Advice is also available from Mind and via our Employee Assistance Programme.

Students seeking support can be directed to Student Support Services; student-support@aber.ac.uk / 01970 621761.

The Students’ Union also has a webpage dedicated to mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak.

And remember, our dedicated Coronavirus web page continues to be updated. If your query is not covered by the FAQs please email coronavirus@aber.ac.uk where it will be passed to the relevant team to consider. You can also call our Coronavirus helpline on 01970 622483.

Many thanks and stay safe,


Professor Elizabeth Treasure
Vice-Chancellor

Update - 19/03/20 at 17:55

Dear colleague


Against the backdrop of the rapidly evolving Coronavirus outbreak, every effort is being made by colleagues to provide you with the latest information and advice on what these developments mean for us.


We appreciate that this is a difficult time for you and we are constantly monitoring the situation and following the latest available and up-to-date advice.


School closures/Childcare
We understand that the Welsh Government’s decision to shut schools from the end of the school day on Friday 20th March means that many of you who are parents have to reconsider your childcare arrangements. 


We’re determined to support you as you deal with these exceptional circumstances whilst preserving University operations.


In the first instance, if you need a short period of time to make alternative care arrangements and then intend to work your normal hours you can take paid time off under the terms of our Time Off for Dependants Policy.


Where there are two parents, we would encourage you to share the caring arrangements and discuss with your line manager which hours and days you can work – whether on University premises or at home. In these circumstances you would need to agree a sensible work plan with your manager.  Such a plan might allow for working at very different hours of the day to your normal working pattern.


If it is impossible for you to undertake any work – whether in your own department or elsewhere in the University – you may be asked to take some of your annual leave, especially around the Easter normal school closure period.


Working from home
We have asked managers to review staffing arrangements and discuss the feasibility and necessary arrangements for colleagues to work from home where practical and possible. Please discuss any changes to your own working arrangements with your line manager in the first instance.


If you have agreed with your manager that you can work from home, remember to set up remote access for your laptop, pc or tablet whist you are on campus.


Campus
The University remains open. Lectures are available online and plans are being put in place to deliver seminars and tutorials online after the Easter break.


Many of our students have already returned home, whilst others have decided to remain here in the University accommodation. For those who remain, all essential services will continue to be provided.


Our libraries, study spaces and computing facilities, remain open and operate in line with government advice on social distancing, as does TaMedDa. We will update you as soon as possible, should these arrangements change.


Examinations
Yesterday we informed you that all examinations on campus have been cancelled for this academic year. You will find the latest information for students on matters such as teaching arrangements and course work deadlines in the FAQ for Students page.


The latest information for colleagues is available on the FAQs for Staff page.


Support
We appreciate that this is a particularly difficult time for everyone.


If you are worried about coronavirus and your mental health, speak to your line manager in the first instance. Advice is also available from Mind and members of staff can also access help through our Employee Assistance Programme.


We have written to the students separately, and you can read copy of the message here.


If you are approached by students who feel the need for support remember you can direct them to Student Support Services; student-support@aber.ac.uk / 01970 621761. They can also visit the Student Welcome Centre during office hours.


The Students’ Union also has a webpage dedicated to mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak, which offers advice and links to specific provision, including the Big White Wall.


Our dedicated Coronavirus web page is updated continuously. If your query is not covered by the FAQs please email coronavirus@aber.ac.uk where it will be passed to the relevant team to consider. You can also call our Coronavirus helpline on 01970 622483.


We are working in extraordinary and uncertain times and recognise that the significant steps we are taking will cause disruption. Thank you to everyone working around the clock to keep our community safe.


Kindest regards


Professor Elizabeth Treasure
Vice-Chancellor

Update - 18/03/20 at 17:04

Dear colleague 

As I outlined in my message yesterday, the Coronavirus outbreak is moving quickly. We are doing our best to inform staff and students with as much information and guidance as possible, and I appreciate that this is a worrying time for us all. 

Assessments 

I promised to let you know of any developments and I can confirm today we will not be running formal examinations on campus in May. Specific details for alternative arrangements are still being finalised.  

No decision has yet been taken on the provision of alternate assessments for exams as we expect guidance from QAA early next week. We will be providing departments with further information as soon as possible.  

The mechanisms we are putting in place are all designed to ensure that our students are able to complete their course and graduate or progress on schedule, whilst maintaining our academic standards. 

In the meantime, we are asking students to continue to engage in their learning and work on all of their other assessments for semester two. 

We have extended online submission dates by 1 week for this term. All deadlines for term 3 (after Easter) remain the same. 

Special circumstances 

Students unable to complete an assessment for semester 2 for whatever reason, do not need to fill in a special circumstances form. The exceptional circumstances mean they will have an automatic resit opportunity and their mark will not be capped. 

Suspension of MEQ 

All remaining MEQs will be cancelled for the rest of this semester. 

Staffing and remote working 

Although face-to-face teaching has a been suspended, it is important to stress that the University remains open and support services for academic and professional support issues continue to operate.  Please ensure that you discuss with your manager how your work is likely to be affected, and how contact is maintained with colleagues and students in different ways if necessary.   Please do not take actions without those discussions.    

In light of today’s announcement that schools in Wales will close this Friday, 20 March, line managers should review their staffing arrangements and discuss the feasibility and necessary arrangements for colleagues to work from home where practical and possible. 

This is a further reminder of the importance of ensuring all necessary access from home for your technology need (including access to ABW for finance and HR tasks as well as ECS completions).

Whether you have a University managed laptop, or are working on a personal device, we would ask you to make sure your remote access solution covers your requirements for working from home.   

Please set up remote access whilst still on campus.  

A limited stock of laptops and tablets is being prepared to support business critical requirements. Requests for access to these will need to be supported by heads of department and will be prioritised.

We recognise that your health and wellbeing, and that of your family and any dependents is your priority, and if you are unable to fulfil your duties as a result of caring responsibilities, please advise your manager accordingly to ensure they are aware of your situation. 

In the meantime, please continue to observe frequent handwashing and keeping work areas clean. 

Further information 

Our dedicated coronavirus webpage is updated continuously. If your query is not covered by the FAQs please emailcoronavirus@aber.ac.uk where it will be passed to the relevant team to consider.  

Thanks for your understanding and ongoing patience. 

Professor Elizabeth Treasure
Vice-Chancellor

Update - 17/03/20 at 16:42

Dear colleague

Covid-19 / Coronavirus update: Tuesday 17 March 2020 

I am writing as a follow-up to last night’s message to staff.

Today we are taking additional steps to help reduce the risk of spread of coronavirus within our community and to ensure your health and safety. 

  • All face to face delivery of learning and teaching is suspended from the end of today. Staff and students should therefore not attend any classes (lectures, tutorials, laboratory classes, seminars, etc.) for the remainder of this academic year.
  • All relevant undergraduate and postgraduate taught teaching will be delivered via online platforms as announced from Monday 23 March.
  • Our academic departments will be in touch with students later this week with subject-specific information about the new teaching arrangements being put in place.
  • All current assessments should be submitted online with all deadlines extended by 1 week for this term.  All deadlines for term 3 remain the same.
  • Personal tutors will continue to be available in their advertised hours through electronic channels.
  • We have advised research students to contact their supervisors on how to continue their studies through this period.  We will give you further guidance on this within the next 24 hours.

The University has recognised procedures for adopting alternative methods of assessments to examinations in extreme circumstances. Staff in the Academic Registry are reviewing every module and will be consulting with relevant staff to identify what forms of assessment are possible. Until these decisions have been confirmed and to avoid any confusion, please reiterate to students that the University is urgently looking at these matters.

Events on campus

All events should now be postponed until the end of April including Visiting Days and Gwobrau Gwyl Dewi.

Travel

All travel on University business must be approved by the Pro Vice-Chancellor in line with our Travel Policy. There should be no non-essential travel as previously announced

Campus life

The University is not closing. Other activities, including the provision of student support, will continue. Hugh Owen library and all food outlets are currently open. The Sports Centre is currently open but will decrease numbers in classes to carry out social distancing guidance.

Aberystwyth Arts Centre

The Aberystwyth Arts Centre will close from this evening. All classes, exhibitions, events and performances will cease as of 6pm Tuesday 17 March 2020 for the foreseeable future. The decision regarding when to reopen will be kept under ongoing review.

The Box Office team are contacting all ticket holders to arrange refunds and advise of rescheduled dates, but please be patient as there are many hundreds of people to contact.  The website and social media will be updated regularly, so please keep checking for the latest information.

If you have any venue specific questions, please call 01970 62 32 32.

Student travel and return home

All undergraduate and postgraduate taught students can travel home, if they wish to do so, but must ensure they continue to engage fully with their learning through the online delivery arrangements. We’ve asked students who decide to go home early to inform their personal tutor. Please make a note of these and let your Faculty Registrar know.

We are aware that some students may remain in university accommodation and so these, along with our libraries, study spaces and computing facilities, remain open and operate in line with government advice on social distancing.

We know that a number of students will still be in Aberystwyth, including international students who are unable to travel, are self-isolating or wish to remain in UK for the duration of their visas and period of study.

We will do all we can to support them at this time, working closely with the Students’ Union.

If you are worried about coronavirus and your mental health, speak to your line manager in the first instance. Advice is also available from Mind and members of staff can also access help through our Employee Assistance Programme.

Working from home

While the University remains open, all staff should now consider how they might work from home, so that the University can maintain operations while taking every precaution to reduce the spread of infection.

If you have not yet had the chance to follow IS advice on setting up remote access, please do so as soon as possible.  This is very important as you may be required to work from home and it is therefore essential that you can access the VPN. We will provide further guidance about working from home later this week.  

This is a rapidly developing situation and so the University will continue to follow Government and Public Health Wales guidance.

As and when there are further changes to our operations and activities, we will update you as soon as possible.

Please keep checking our coronavirus web pages and monitor your University email account.

If you have a question that isn’t answered in the FAQs, please e-mail coronavirus@aber.ac.uk. The University’s coronavirus helpline is also available and can be contacted on (01970 62)2483.

Best wishes and thank you for your understanding.

Professor Elizabeth Treasure
Vice-Chancellor

Update - 16/03/20 at 21:04

Dear colleague

In response to the latest Government advice today (16/03/2020)

  • Please stay at home for 14 days if you, or anyone in your household, have a high temperature and/or a new continuous cough and speak to your line manager. Stay at home guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection can be found here.
  • If you are pregnant, or with a chronic condition or over 70 years of age– the government has advised that you avoid all unnecessary social contact. Please stay at home and discuss with your line manager over the phone what work you can undertake from home.
  • Everyone else – please go to your normal place of work tomorrow, and discuss with your line manager how you could now implement plans to work from home where possible.
  • The best defence to prevent the spread of coronavirus continues to be washing hands thoroughly and regularly.

There were also a number of other announcements this afternoon. We are currently working through these and will update staff and students as soon as possible.

Update - 16/03/20 at 13:23

Dear colleagues

Covid-19 / Coronavirus update

I write to you all, staff and students of Aberystwyth University, about Coronavirus, as we face extraordinary and developing circumstances which are very concerning for us all.  Aberystwyth is in an area which currently has low levels of infection, however we cannot be complacent as the situation here could change very rapidly.  Our overwhelming priority is the safety of our students and staff.

We are carrying out careful scenario planning which will enable us to change our ways of operating should circumstances dictate.  Staff have already been asked to ensure that they can access the University’s systems online from home for example. This is a high priority for everyone as circumstances change daily and we need to be prepared. 

As part of this work, we are now taking new actions in line with our expectation of how the situation could develop.

Impact on University activities

I want to reassure you that while we are led by Government and Public Health advice, this issue is being constantly monitored and reviewed by colleagues at the highest level within our University in line with our own risk assessments.

However, we are proactively taking steps which will ensure that we are well prepared as and when circumstances change.

As such, during this week, we will increasingly migrate live teaching to online platforms.  This means that some lectures will take place via video-link only.  We intend to increase online delivery of lectures over the course of the week with a view to ensuring that all relevant teaching is delivered online from Monday 23rd March.  We see this as an important element of our preparations for the strong possibility that restrictions on gatherings could be put in place as the outbreak progresses.  You will be informed by your department if this affects any of your lectures.

Not all teaching can be delivered in this way.  We are investigating what other steps can be put in place in these cases, and will update you as and when we implement further actions.

We are also looking at how best to incorporate possible future restrictions into our planning for examinations.  This, as with many elements, is a challenge shared by the whole higher education sector, and discussions are ongoing.

If you or your department is arranging an event with internal or external attendees, please follow risk assessment procedures in order to decide whether additional actions are needed. 

As for general face to face contact across campus, we are advised by government not to take action to limit interaction at this time. We are following this advice and are reviewing it constantly.

Work related travel

Our approach has been to ensure that our decisions are led by the expert advice coming from government and relevant agencies.  This will continue of course, but I want to emphasise that our own risk assessments are also vital elements of our decision-making.  As such departments should continue to follow government advice and regularly review risk assessments.  Specific circumstances around individual events and planned trips have already resulted in changing plans, including postponement in some cases.  The Welsh government has outlined detailed advice regarding travel for students.  The current advice is that those planning travel should also check the latest information and advice available from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and consider the implications for returning.

Our relevant teams are in contact with students and staff who are currently overseas, and in active discussions in some cases with those who wish to return. Similarly, there are some students currently here in Aberystwyth who may be keen to return home as quickly as possible, as well as students who are concerned about the prospect of going home during the holidays.

For those who feel the need to travel home early, including international students, please speak to your personal tutor and review the extensive information we have collated online.  Any students who had planned to travel home for Easter but would prefer to stay in Aberystwyth can be accommodated. Our planning includes taking steps to ensure you can complete your education with us.

Hygiene

Our Health and Safety team is working with the Cleaning team to ensure that any necessary changes to our hygiene requirements are actioned.  This may result in you noticing some changes, but please be assured that any such examples will be in line with relevant advice.

In the meantime, I urge everyone to continue with frequent handwashing and efforts to keep our workplaces as clean as possible. As you will have seen in the media, this is seen as a particularly effective way of stemming the spread of infection.

Underlying health conditions

Some people may feel that their own medical or personal circumstances mean they should take additional steps to safeguard against infection.  If you feel this is relevant to you, please raise it with your line manager or tutor as soon as you can.  We are keen to help such individuals to take all necessary actions to reduce risks.

We are constantly monitoring this rapidly developing situation and will act promptly to reflect the latest official advice at the appropriate time, and to maintain ongoing activities as far as possible whilst at the same time doing our best to keep you safe.  I appreciate that this is causing a huge degree of concern and uncertainty for everyone, and I thank you for your continued help and support as we work through the challenges of this global crisis.

Please keep referring to our FAQs which are being reviewed daily.

Yours

Professor Elizabeth Treasure
Vice-Chancellor