Latest updates for students

Update - 31/03/20 at 17:43

Dear students

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

Police Powers

As you know, we have been raising awareness of the UK Government’s movement restrictions, and urging you to conform to them.  Following recent changes to the law, it’s important for you to remember that the police are now stopping people they see outside to check whether they are adhering to government guidelines.

The police also have new powers to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives. From now on if the public do not comply with government advice to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel, the police can issue fines.

Feeling Isolated

If you or someone you know is feeling isolated or worried, remember that all students have free access to the Big White Wall, that offers a range of mental health and wellbeing resources and connections, where you can anonymously link into a safe space to talk, share and support others:

https://www.bigwhitewall.com/

Also, the University’s Coronavirus helpline number is 01970 622483 and the opening hours are Monday – Sunday, 9am (10am on Wednesdays) - 10.00pm. 

If you are in crisis, further information about sources of help can be found on our website by clicking here.

Social Distancing

We would like to remind students staying in our accommodation to respect the Government guidelines about social distancing. This helps to keep you, fellow students and university staff safe. You can read more about the guidelines on the Public Health Wales website.

Catering on campus

Nosh Da will continue to offer a limited hot food and groceries delivery service over the Easter period.  To order, download the NoshDa App from the App Store or Google Play. Tamed Da is closed.

Postgraduate research

We have published guidance regarding postgraduate research which can be found on our website here.

University Court

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. The Court provides an annual public forum for communication and discussion of the University’s activities, and it includes several key stakeholders in its membership. All staff and current students are members of the Court, as are representatives of numerous local and national organisations. More information can be found here.

Ongoing updates

As required, and as the situation develops, we will continue to provide regular updates to all our students.

These updates may become less frequent from now on, but please c­ontinue to contact the dedicated helpline if you have any queries. Send an email to coronavirus@aber.ac.uk or telephone 01970 62 2483.

Your Department will keep in touch in respect of ongoing teaching and assessment.

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 - 27/03/20 at 18:38

Dear students

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

Student location and health status notification

Could all students please take action in line with our request below.

We need ALL students to notify us of their current location, and their health status.  So please log into your student record and complete the online form under the Academic Record tab > Attendance Record.

The form can be completed on/off campus and from a mobile device if required.

We also need you to update the form if your circumstances change - for example if you decide to return home, or if you go into self-isolation. If you inform us that you are self-isolating with symptoms, we will contact you and your flatmates by e-mail to provide guidance.

For more information about the online form, please visit: https://faqs.aber.ac.uk/2934

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; however, we are moving away from these daily updates towards communications every few days or as new information becomes available.

Your Department will keep in touch in respect of ongoing teaching and assessment and please continue to use the helpline if you have any 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 students

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

Restrictions on movements

We’re aware that a number of you have asked for clarification about the UK Government’s restrictions on movements.  Specifically, we’re being asked whether travel from University accommodation to homes elsewhere in the UK comes under the latest restrictions published by the UK Government earlier this week.

We have been awaiting further clarification on this issue and we will incorporate this into our communications to students, including our online FAQs once we receive it.

Accommodation fees

Yesterday we informed you that where students have left their University accommodation and do not intend to return for the remainder of the academic year, we’re able to end agreements early and not charge rent for the final term.

While we’re aware that you have further questions about the detail of this announcement, please rest assured that we will be writing to all relevant students as soon as possible.

Wellbeing Service daily ‘phone drop ins’

Our Wellbeing Service has opened up daily ‘phone drop ins’ for any student with heightened worry, concerns about the current situation. Please email studentwellbeing@aber.ac.uk or call 01970622087 to arrange a session with one of our practitioners.

Stay connected 

Whether you are still in University or private accommodation, AberSU has created a Facebook group AberSU Covid-19 Peer Support | Cefnogaeth Cymheiriaud to help keep you connected and supported.

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 you study and live your 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 19:42

Dear students

We appreciate your cooperation in observing the Government’s movement restrictions due to the Coronavirus outbreak.  We understand that these may prove difficult for many of us, and our priority right now is the safety and welfare of all our students and staff.  I would urge you to find further ways of maintaining regular contact with friends and colleagues during these tough times.

As a University, we are working through the implications of the crisis, and the government’s response to it.  We will continue to keep you updated as circumstances develop.

Student accommodation fees

This crisis has forced many students to leave campus and, as things stand, we understand that many of you will not intend to return for the remainder of the academic year.  As a result, we have taken the decision not to charge for accommodation after Easter, if you wish to bring your tenancy with us to an end.

We hope that this will help alleviate at least one of the concerns that students are currently dealing with.

We thank you for your patience as the technical detail around this decision have been finalised.  You will receive correspondence from the University which explains how you will be able to terminate your tenancy agreement with us for the final term of this year, should you so wish.

If you wish to remain in your Aberystwyth University accommodation for the remainder of the academic year, you are of course welcome to do so.  We will continue to provide accommodation services for students who wish to remain, in accordance with government restrictions.

Self-isolating

It is crucial that the University is notified as to where you are and whether you are self-isolating.  If you have not yet completed our online notification process, please do so asap. If you are living in University accommodation, please log into your student record (studentrecord.aber.ac.uk) and complete the online form under the Academic Record tab > Attendance Record.

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 compromise your personal data or University information, e.g. passwords, contacts, and bank details.

Some examples of scam correspondence 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 our FAQs will be providing 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 18:49

Dear student

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 of essential services.

Please make every effort to respect the latest advice:

  • Stay in your accommodation 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


Also, do not congregate in groups inside or outside residences or off campus.

As has been said before, this is not only for your own welfare, but to show the wider community that we are contributing fully to collective efforts to slow the spread of infection.

We appreciate that these are exceptional circumstances and I would like to thank everyone for your patience and understanding in these matters.

Student accommodation
Our accommodation remains open for those of you who have decided to remain here with us in Aberystwyth. Note also that laundry rooms are also open. However, to comply with guidance on social distancing the Sgubor Lounge, Rosser Lounge and PJM Lounge are now closed.

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.

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 that are available to you can be found here.

You will also find information that relates specifically to the availability of online resources, including the extensive collections of electronic journals, databases and ebooks which available to you 24/7 on and off campus, here: Library Services and COVID-19.

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. 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 18:09

Dear student

Please stick to the advice

Over the weekend, the UK Government has given clear indications that it is advising all of us to fully observe its social distancing measures.

For those who have stayed on campus in particular, we would strongly urge you to ensure that you:

  • stay in your accommodation and avoid gatherings of students in residences as much as possible;
  • maintain the recommended 2 metres distance between individuals;
  • do not to congregate in groups inside or outside residences or off campus;

This is not only for your own welfare, but to show the wider community that we are contributing fully to our collective efforts to slow the spread of infection.  Government advice is clear that the NHS’ ability to cope with the Coronavirus crisis will depend on the public’s adherence to social distancing guidance.  Please play your part by sticking to the government guidelines and helping to reduce infection in our community.

 

Playing our part

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.

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. 

To make a payment please 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 work we have put in place steps to recognise the unprecedented disruption to our normal working practices.

Wherever possible, staff will continue to assess and feedback to students within 15 working days. In line with our normal practice, where feedback is delayed, staff will make sure students are informed of a revised date by which they can expect to receive feedback. Where this is necessary we thank students for their patience.

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. 

And finally, remember that 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.

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 15:17

Dear student

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 those of you in your 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 your 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 everyone and I am determined to ensure that you do not lose 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 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.

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.

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.

If you are worried about Coronavirus and your mental health, you can get support from 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 18:00

Dear student

Against the backdrop of the rapidly evolving Coronavirus outbreak, we are making every effort 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
The announcement yesterday that all schools will be closed from tomorrow, Friday 20 March, has direct implications for those of you with children of school age. The latest information from Welsh Government is that schools are likely to remain closed until September. If you have childcare responsibilities that may affect your studies, please contact your personal tutor.

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 students have already returned home. For those of you who are still here in Aberystwyth and in University accommodation, 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 on matters such as teaching arrangements and course work deadlines in the FAQ for Students page.

Support

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

If you are worried about Coronavirus and your mental health, you can access free online mental health and wellbeing support with Big White Wall, any time, any day.

This along with other information is available on the Students’ Union webpage dedicated to mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The University’s Student Support Services are also there to provide advice and assistance – you can contact them directly by e-mail student-support@aber.ac.uk  or call 01970 621761. You can also visit the Student Welcome Centre during office hours.

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.

Many thanks for all your patience and understanding during this most difficult period.

Professor Elizabeth Treasure
Vice-Chancellor

Update - 18/03/20 at 17:09

Dear student 

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

I promised to let you know of any developments and I can confirm we will not be running formal examinations on campus in May. 

Specific details for alternative arrangements are still being finalised and your department will be providing further guidance as soon as possible. Please bear with us as colleagues prepare this information. The mechanisms we are putting in place will mean that you are able to complete your course and graduate or progress on schedule.  

  • Please continue to engage in your learning and work on all of your other assessments for semester two.
  • Current assessments should be submitted online with all deadlines extended by 1 week for this term.  
  • All deadlines for term 3 (after Easter) remain the same. 
  • If you are unable to complete an assessment for semester 2 for whatever reason, youdo not need to fill in a special circumstances form. The exceptional circumstances mean we will give you an automatic resit opportunity and your mark will not be capped. 
  • All remaining MEQs will be cancelled for the rest of this semester.

Please check your university email account over the coming days for further updates. 

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 services continue to operate as normal. Should you need to contact a member of staff, please use contact them in the usual way, by phone or email. 

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

Please keep checking our Coronavirus webpages and if you have a question that isn’t answered in the FAQs, please email coronavirus@aber.ac.uk.      

Best wishes 

Professor Elizabeth Treasure
Vice-Chancellor

Update - 17/03/20 at 16:39

Dear student 

Covid-19 / Coronavirus update, Tuesday 17 March 2020

We are writing as a follow-up to last night’s message to students.

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.
  • Research students should contact their supervisors for guidance on how to continue their studies through this period.

The University has recognised procedures for adopting alternative methods of assessments to examinations in extreme circumstances. We are reviewing every module to identify what form of assessment is possible and we will communicate the outcome by the end of this week. Please continue to look at your university email account over the coming days for updates. 

The mechanisms we are putting in place will mean that you do not have to be on campus to achieve learning outcomes to progress to the next year or to graduate. Therefore, please continue to submit your coursework and participate in learning activities.

Events on campus 

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

Travel

All travel relating to your study 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 and 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.

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 are aware that some students may remain in university accommodation and so these, along with our libraries, study spaces and computing facilities, will stay open and operate in line with government advice on social distancing. If you are leaving early, please make us aware by emailing your personal tutor.

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 you at this time, working closely with the Students’ Union. 

If you are worried about coronavirus and your mental health, all students at Aberystwyth University can access free online mental health and wellbeing support with Big White Wall, any time, any day. 

The University's Student Support Wellbeing Service can also offer support. Advice is also available from Mind the charity dedicated to better mental health. 

This is 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  

Email coronavirus@aber.ac.uk. 

Best wishes and thank you for your understanding, 

Professor Elizabeth Treasure
Vice-Chancellor

Update - 16/03/20 at 20:44

Dear student

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 department. 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. For those who believe their interests are best met by returning home, please speak to your personal tutor and review the extensive information we have collated online including opportunities to view teaching materials online.
  • We continue to make plans 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. 
  • 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 13:25

Dear student

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