Hey, you're not logged in - Log in

Coronavirus FAQs

Last updated: 03/04/2020

As a result of advice from central Government after the Prime Minister's coronavirus press conference on Monday 16th March, the Union has decided to close its buildings until further notice. As stipulated by the Union's Coronavirus Contingency Plan, CSU will be closed today (Tuesday 17th March 2020) from 1 PM until we have determined it is safe to reopen. That means that as of this afternoon, all Union buildings, offices and spaces will be closed to students, staff and the general public until we feel it is appropriate to reopen.

Though our buildings are closed, please be assured that all of our core services will be available – we'll merely be delivering them online and via email instead of in person until we reopen.

This page provides links and email contacts for all of the Union's major departments. From now forward, please contact us by email in the first instance. We'll also be using this space to duplicate answers to questions you've asked via social media, so there's one central place you can check for answers.

 

Please bookmark this page and check back regularly – we'll be issuing updates over the next few weeks.

 

If you require the Advice Service, please visit www.chestersu.com/advice or email csuadvice@chester.ac.uk

If you have a query about student reps or representation, please email studentreps@chester.ac.uk

If you have a query about societies, activities or events, please email csu@chester.ac.uk

If you have a query about marketing activities or communications, please email csumarketing@chester.ac.uk

For all other inquiries, please email csu@chester.ac.uk.

 

FAQ UPDATES - FRIDAY 3RD APRIL 2020

UNIVERSITY-OWNED ACCOMMODATION FAQ

Students in University-owned accommodation that are not returning for the summer term will not have to pay rental fees. Our statement available below, and in PDF here.

Image may contain: text

 

ANSWERS FROM THE ACCOMMODATION TEAM

Arrangements for student accommodation following pandemic 'lockdown.'

As the Government has introduced stricter measures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision has been made to release students from their accommodation contracts if they are either unable to return, or do not wish to come back into halls due to the temporary suspension of face to face teaching.  

Students will be charged as normal until 21st March. Providing they notify us as below, then their contracts will be cancelled, they will not face further charges and will not have to pay the final rent instalment.  

We realise some of you can't or may not wish to vacate and that you are still in halls and wish to see out the remainder of your contract with us. This is fine and you will be allowed to continue to reside in our accommodation. Please be aware if you do decide to stay that you might be asked to move for logistical reasons, but only when it is deemed safe to do so.  

We realise that this is a complex situation and that there are a lot of questions you might have right now, so we have done our best to anticipate some of these and answer them in the section below.

The University will be in touch as and when restrictions are eased or lifted, to make arrangements for the collection of personal belongings. Meanwhile, security staff remain on-site 24/7.

 

I am still in University accommodation, but wish to go home what should I do?

The Government advice to residential students now is that you should stay where you are and not attempt to travel. If you are living in student halls, or private rented accommodation, you should remain there and stay indoors while current restrictions are in force. Do not complete a cancellation form whilst you are still here and email us once the lockdown is over for further advice.

 

Can I stay in my accommodation, as I have nowhere else to go?

Don't worry, you can continue to stay in your University accommodation and the advice is that you should now stay where you are and not attempt to travel. It is the University's absolute priority to do all that we can to support your health and wellbeing. Please be assured that the University will continue to provide support for any students who need to stay in University accommodation.

 

I am an international student who can't go home due to flight restrictions but aim to do so at my earliest opportunity. Where do I stand?

It is difficult to know how long the Government's lockdown might last and we appreciate you won't know when you will be able to vacate. We advise you to pay as normal if you end up staying past the next instalment date and then complete a cancellation form once you have vacated. We will then advise Finance to refund for the period you paid for, but didn't end up staying.

 

I am not in accommodation at the moment and wish to cancel my contract, but I still have items in my room, when can I collect them?  

Currently, travelling to University to empty a room would not be considered by the Government as critical or essential travel during the lockdown.  

It is very difficult to advise on time-scales for when this restriction will be lifted, as, it will be down to whether the Government is still limiting travel at that point. You will only be able to return to collect items when it is safe to do so and we will formally advise you of this via email. Please be assured that your items are safe and secure in your halls until you are able to collect them.

In exceptional circumstances, there may be a situation where the University requires the room in which you have left your possessions. Should this arise, the University will contact you directly for consent to package up and store your belongings securely.  

 

I am in accommodation but plan to leave once the lockdown and travel restrictions have been lifted. Where do I stand with payments and cancellation?

Do not complete a cancellation request form at this point. Please wait until restrictions have been lifted and you have a date on which you will vacate. You will continue to pay as normal until this point, so if this date is later than the next rent instalment you will be expected to pay this as normal. Please then contact us for further advice.  

I am leaving what is the process for returning the key / cancelling the contract?  

You will need to complete the cancellation request form by Friday 10th April, to prevent the next instalment being taken. With any forms received after this date, we cannot guarantee that you won't still be charged as normal. Please email the form to accommodation@chester.ac.uk and as the subject please put the following: Room cancellation request - your name - your accommodation - your room number.  Please note cancellation request forms will be sent via email separately after this email.    

If you have already emptied your room then you should post the key back to us, or if your student card is your key, please advise us that your room is empty and card access can be cancelled. For postal returns, please ensure that you include a note with your key to advise us of your name, the name of your accommodation and room number.  

Please post your keys to:  

Residential Living office, University of Chester, Parkgate Road, Chester, CH1 4BJ.  

We recommend you send keys by recorded delivery.  

If you still need to remove items from your room, continue to keep hold of the keys, so you can return when we advise you it is safe to do so, according to Government guidance at the time, and we will allocate you a slot to come on to campus and empty the room.  You will then return the keys in person once you have emptied the room.

*Please note, empty rooms will be monitored and if someone is found still living in accommodation that has completed a cancellation form they will be charged for the entire final term.  

 

I am in Full Board Accommodation. Am I able to return after the Easter break?  

As per Government guidelines, you should not come back until the lockdown restrictions have been lifted. It is difficult for us to advise on how long this might be, so we will cancel your contract from the end of the 2nd term. If after restrictions have been lifted you wish to come back, please contact the accommodation team via accommodation@chester.ac.uk  

 

I have gone home for Easter but want to come back. Am I able to?  

As per Government guidelines, you should not come back until the lockdown restrictions have been lifted. It is difficult for us to advise on how long this might be, so you must make a decision on if you wish to cancel the contract or continue to pay in the hope that a change in the situation means you can return soon.  

 

I am an international student that has left but items are in my room and I don't know when I can return to get them?

Contracts run until 4th July, so you have until this point to clear the room. If the lockdown here or in your home country prevents you from travelling, then we will work with you to arrange storage for your items after this point. This might be in a private storage facility if the room is to be used by the University over the summer. Please keep us updated on this situation and let us know by mid-June if you know that you won't be able to empty your room by 4th July.  

 

Can I leave items in my room and stay in the same room next year, rather than collect them?

Unfortunately, this isn't possible, as we prioritise 1st-year applicants each year and so can't guarantee that if you apply that you can continue to reside in your current room again.

 

Can I move rooms at the moment?  

We can't offer room moves at this point, but once others have vacated and it is safe to do so we will hopefully offer this service again.

 

Under what circumstances may I be asked to move?

If, as a result of students cancelling contracts, we are left with a number of properties with very few residents left in them, we might merge these residents into fewer buildings together, when safe to do so.

 

UNION SERVICES FAQs

Why is CSU closing?

We are not closing – we are shutting down access to our buildings, offices and spaces. This is a preventative measure in order to both protect the health of staff and students and to prevent further spread of the disease. Our core services – advice, representation and communications – are operating as usual, just remotely instead of on-site.

 

When will CSU reopen?

Our current plan is to mirror the University – that means that whenever the University decides to reopen their buildings, we will too.

 

What is happening about Societies Awards/1839s/End Of Year Ball/other societies-related events?

Currently, the plan is that all of these major events will run as scheduled. This may change as advice from the Government and the University changes.

All other societies-related events, such as socials, meetings etc. that were scheduled to happen on campus are, as of 17th March 2020, cancelled as you will not have access to campus. We do not advise rebooking these events or meetings offsite until after the University has reopened.

 

Where can I find more information about the University's response?

The University has a dedicated coronavirus/COVID-19 page on Portal at https://portal1.chester.ac.uk/coronavirus/Pages/default.aspx.

 

What should I do if I'm living in University halls of residence?

This is the current advice from Residential Life (as of 12/03/2020):

  • Wash hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer if necessary

  • Sneeze into a tissue which should be disposed of as soon as possible. If you do not have a tissue, then use the inside of your elbow to cover any coughs or sneezes. This is what medical staff do. 

  • If you have any symptoms or suspect you may have coronavirus do not go to A&E, self-isolate and call 111 who will be able to advise you further.

  • If you are travelling back from an affected area following the Easter break, you must inform Student Futures on covidstudent@chester.ac.uk AND accommodation@chester.ac.uk before you return to Chester. Check the affected areas list on government websites. 

 

What should I do if I'm living in private halls or private rented accommodation?

Please follow the most up-to-date advice provided by the Government; currently, if you are not symptomatic, you do not need to self-isolate. There is no quarantine or curfew in place in the Chester area; however, it is recommended that you avoid pubs/clubs/bars/restaurants/cinemas/theatres etc.

Please do check in with your landlord or property manager to see if they have any specific additional advice. We are working closely with the local housing community to ensure they're kept up to date with the latest information from the University, NHS and central Government.

 

YOUR QUESTIONS FROM SOCIAL MEDIA

Regarding University Centre Shrewsbury:

 

We are due to attend a meeting on 25th with Shrewsbury NCS. I assume they will email any new details? 

We've been advised by University Centre Shrewsbury that all events are cancelled for the next two weeks. If you need any further information, you can email enquiries@chester.ac.uk

UPDATE 17TH MARCH: The University is now closed until at least 6th April; we'd expect the same to be the case for UCS.

 

What happens to the other campuses?

We have not heard about other campuses at the moment, but as soon as there is an update, we will be posting it.

UPDATE 17TH MARCH: All campuses are closing for face-to-face teaching from 6 PM on Tuesday 17th March until at least 6th April, when a decision will be made on whether or not to reopen.

 

Is this genuine, as it's not on any other college pages, websites or local news?

Yes, this is genuine communication between University Staff and students. There are no confirmed cases as of yet, and this is more of a precautionary measure in the meantime. We will update as and when we know more.

 

Isn't this against the current advice? I thought only potentially infected people should self isolate for seven days, and the schools should stay open...not send potentially affected people across the country on public transport?

We are passing on the message that has been sent by the University and unfortunately have no more information at this time. If you have questions about policy, you can email enquiries@ucshrewsbury.ac.uk.

 

Riverside:

What about Queen's Park Campus? Riverside students use our car park and have access to our facilities? So should Queen's Park be closed too?

We don't have any info to share about Queen's Park right now. We'll issue an update if that changes.

UPDATE 17TH MARCH: All campuses are closing for face-to-face teaching from 6 PM on Tuesday 17th March until at least 6th April, when a decision will be made on whether or not to reopen.

 

Any news about Parkgate Road Campus? How can it still be open if most of the people who go to Riverside Campus live on Parkgate Road campus and use its facilities? How can it be worth the risk?

We don't have any news to share about Parkgate Road campus right now. If that changes, we'll put out an update as soon as possible. Keep checking both here and on Portal for up to date info.

UPDATE 17TH MARCH: All campuses are closing for face-to-face teaching from 6 PM on Tuesday 17th March until at least 6th April, when a decision will be made on whether or not to reopen.

 

How does this affect our student fees? I wouldn't be able to do my course online as it's an art-based course

We advise that any questions about fees are escalated via your personal tutor at this point. We don't have any specific advice about tuition fees. If that changes, we'll send out an update. 

 

Any news on any of the other campuses, please?

We don't have any news to share about other campuses at this point (other than Riverside & UCS). If that changes, we'll send out an update ASAP.

UPDATE 17TH MARCH: All campuses are closing for face-to-face teaching from 6 PM on Tuesday 17th March until at least 6th April, when a decision will be made on whether or not to reopen.

 

Any news on how this affects students on placements?

We'd advise you contact your PAT or placement supervisor for more information on that in the short term.

 

There are also a couple of members of University who based at Queen's Park Campus who have reported symptoms to COVID-19. Why is only Riverside Campus closed? Is it a different standard? Salford University will give the online classes from 16th March. Why have we only cancelled Varsity? The current decision is really ridiculous.

We sympathise with this feeling and understand that many people feel the same way. We will share any new information with you as soon as we have it.

UPDATE 17TH MARCH: All campuses are closing for face-to-face teaching from 6 PM on Tuesday 17th March until at least 6th April, when a decision will be made on whether or not to reopen.

 

Advice Closure:

Any updates about Parkgate Campus at all?

We don't have any news to share about other campuses closing at this point. If that changes, we'll send out an update.

UPDATE 17TH MARCH: All campuses are closing for face-to-face teaching from 6 PM on Tuesday 17th March until at least 6th April, when a decision will be made on whether or not to reopen.

 

Presumably, if you consider it a "risk", then there could be some pressure placed on the University to stop lectures and close all campuses. For the safety of lecturers, students and the broader public within the Chester area.

We're collating all of your feedback and questions and forwarding them to the VC and her team.

UPDATE 17TH MARCH: All campuses are closing for face-to-face teaching from 6 PM on Tuesday 17th March until at least 6th April, when a decision will be made on whether or not to reopen.

 

If you are closing face to face meetings (presumably due to risk of infection) why is the main campus still open?

We're independent of the University, and this is a precaution we've decided to take ourselves. It doesn't reflect any decisions the University has made or will make about campus openings.

UPDATE 17TH MARCH: All campuses are closing for face-to-face teaching from 6 PM on Tuesday 17th March until at least 6th April, when a decision will be made on whether or not to reopen.

 

I assume all campuses will close due to the same risks?

We don't have any news to share about other campuses closing at this point. If that changes, we'll send out an update.

UPDATE 17TH MARCH: All campuses are closing for face-to-face teaching from 6 PM on Tuesday 17th March until at least 6th April, when a decision will be made on whether or not to reopen.

 

From End of Monitoring Message on 15th March:

What happens to international students? I can't afford to miss uni, but I don't want to risk getting ill. 

International Students who need to continue in University accommodation should confirm this to Hospitality and Residential Services by Friday 20th March. Otherwise, the advice for International Students is the same as for other students. If you have specific concerns about visas or travel, you can contact us for help by emailing csuadvice@chester.ac.uk.

 

People that go to Parkgate have symptoms too.

If this is the case, those who are symptomatic should self-isolate for a minimum of 7 days and inform covidstudent@chester.ac.uk as soon as possible.

 

Is Parkgate Campus due to make a statement?

We don't have any information to share about Parkgate Campus at this time. If this changes, we'll issue an update as soon as possible.

UPDATE 17TH MARCH: All campuses are closing for face-to-face teaching from 6 PM on Tuesday 17th March until at least 6th April, when a decision will be made on whether or not to reopen.

 

When will we find out whether or not the whole uni will close? There are people at Queen's Park campus with symptoms, so why isn't the campus closed yet?

We don't have any information to share about campus closures at this time. If this changes, we'll issue an update as soon as possible.

UPDATE 17TH MARCH: All campuses are closing for face-to-face teaching from 6 PM on Tuesday 17th March until at least 6th April, when a decision will be made on whether or not to reopen.

 

Twitter:

Hi, are there currently any plans to cancel face to face teaching at the Parkgate Road Campus? Face to face teaching has been suspended at many other universities across the country and other Chester campuses.

We don't have any news to share about Parkgate Road campus at the moment. If that changes, we'll send an update out as soon as possible.

UPDATE 17TH MARCH: All campuses are closing for face-to-face teaching from 6 PM on Tuesday 17th March until at least 6th April, when a decision will be made on whether or not to reopen.

 

GENERAL ADVICE (adapted from NHS advice at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19)

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus is the generic name for a family of viruses that cause upper respiratory illnesses in humans. One of the forms of the common cold is caused by a coronavirus, as is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The variant currently designated with pandemic status is named COVID-19.

 

How is it spread?

Because it's new, it's difficult to say precisely how COVID-19 spreads from person to person. The current theory is that the method of transmission is similar to other coronaviruses – mainly droplets dispersed by coughs and sneezes.

 

What's the best way to protect against infection?

COVID-19 has been shown to live on hard surfaces for a long time, which means it's essential to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with antiseptic soap and warm water and use hand sanitizer (if available) regularly, especially after touching hard surfaces or your face.

 

How do I know if I'm infected?

The three main symptoms of COVID-19 are a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath. These symptoms don't necessarily mean you have the illness as they are also symptoms of other more common illnesses like colds or flu.

 

What should I do if I suspect I'm infected?

If you think you might have COVID-19 or you've been in contact with someone who has it you should:

1)     Stay at home and avoid close contact with other people

2)     Do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital

3)     Instead, call NHS 111 or use the NHS 111 Coronavirus Service online (http://111.nhs.uk/covid-19)

 

GENERAL RESOURCES

Coping During Covid-19 - a Zine by students from UCL, SOAS and MDXU.