Weekly Statement on COVID-19

 

This is our fourth, and the most recent, statement that we've made on the Coronavirus, on the 6th of April, 2020 at 11:00 am

 

Following on from our statement last Tuesday, We’d like to thank you for your patience and understanding during this time. This has been an unprecedented period for our Union and it’s because of you that we can continue supporting our members. Below, we want to let you know about some of the work we are currently doing especially in the areas of New Assessments, Housing, Finance, Internet Connectivity & Technology for Students.

 

If you have any questions for us, then today and tomorrow we’ll be organising an Instagram Takeover with our Officers and you can also always email our team at Union.Reception@brunel.ac.uk 

 

Also, there may continue to be questions that are more easily answered by the University during this time. You can find their Coronavirus information page here and you can also email them at c-virus@brunel.ac.uk. You might also want to check back through your emails to find messages from the Vice-Chancellor, Julia Buckingham and other senior University Staff.

 

New Assessments for Students

 

Students have been concerned for some time now about the change in assessments, including Summer Exams, which have been announced by the University. We’ve been speaking to several Student Reps about the impact that this change might have on them. At this time, the University is doing everything it can to completely redevelop assessments

 

If you have any concerns, we would encourage you to speak to your College or Department (You can find their details at the bottom of this statement) and your Student Rep or Vice President for College who can either bring clarity to your assessment or support you further.

 

  1. College of Health and Life Sciences - Sam Johnson
  2. College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences - Peri Sherif
  3. College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences - Awais Khan

 

Housing

 

We are still in discussions with the University regarding campus accommodation. At the moment, all students should have let the accommodation team know if their halls will be unattended by the 25th of April so that you do not have to pay for their Term 3 instalment.

 

The key issue for students who have already left halls has been what would happen to their belongings in their room. The University has said the following “You can leave your items in your room until you can safely travel back to campus to collect them or you can organise for someone to collect them. Your belongings will be safe and secure while they are in your room and your room is locked”.

 

However, at this time - No friends of family can currently pick up your belongings because it would go against the current government advice on travel. 

 

We’d like to get clarity on what the future looks like on this issue, especially given that some students may not be able to travel back to Brunel for some time. Some students have been told that their belongings will be put in storage, so we would recommend that you read the guidance here and get in contact with the Accommodation Team.

 

Finance and Tuition Fees

 

We understand that because of the Coronavirus, your finances have and will continue to be impacted. Students are often in the most tenuous of situations financially, and so we understand that during this time - your finances can have a massive impact on your mental health, and your continuation at Brunel.

 

During this time, you can apply for the University’s & Union’s Hardship Fund which can help support you in the short to medium term. 

 

The University will not be refunding tuition fees and has said the following on their website “We are making every effort to ensure that there is no detriment to the value or quality of your Brunel education, despite the changes. We hope therefore you will understand that we will not be refunding tuition fees, but instead focusing on investing in a rapid and effective response to what is a global crisis.”

 

However, on a case by case basis - Tuition Fee “Remission” (or waivers) can be requested and granted in very exceptional circumstances. For you to be successful, students should be able to prove the following:

 

  • That you have made every reasonable effort to meet their fees from other sources, 
  • That there is good reason to believe that a single remission of tuition fees should be sufficient to permit them you complete their programme without further recourse to financial support from the University 
  • That you have been in good financial standing with the University throughout their programme; and
  • That they are in good academic standing with their academic College.

 

Internet Connectivity

 

Over the last week, we’ve been contacted by students on the reduced quality of internet speed and connectivity on campus and more specifically in halls of residence. Whilst this seems to be a result of students using more data through the University network, we have started conversations with the University on what they can do in the short and medium-term to improve the situation.

 

Internet quality is not just important for staying connected to friends and family, but also for students to complete some of their new online assessments without disruption.

 

Laptops for Students

 

Following on from a Student Rep Congress last week on Friday (03/04/2020), we’ve become increasingly concerned with the number of students who lack laptops and other equipment needed to complete online assessments. We are in conversation with the University, and if this changes then we will be in touch with students to promote the scheme to provide laptops to students.

 

We understand that this has been a challenging time, but the Union is committed that we can support students and plan for the next academic year during this time. If you have any questions on our work, please contact us and we hope that you continue to check out our “Stay Healthy At Home” campaign.

 

How To Contact Your Department

College for Business Arts and Social Sciences

  • Department of Economics and Finance
  • Brunel Business School
  • Brunel Law School

Email: CBASS-TPO-ESGW@brunel.ac.uk      Tel: +44 (0)1895 267007 

  • Department of Arts and Humanities
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Social and Political Sciences

Email: CBASS-TPO-GASK@brunel.ac.uk        Tel: +44 (0)1895 267914

College for Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences

College for Health and Life Sciences