Advice for students

The University takes the health and safety of its staff and students very seriously and our Coronavirus Planning Group is carefully monitoring the situation around the coronavirus outbreak. We are issuing regular communications through a variety of channels to both staff and students on what precautions should be taken to prevent infection and how to move to working remotely.

Frequently asked questions for students are listed below - and we update these as and when necessary. If students have further questions or issues they would like to raise, please contact the Student Helpline (coronavirushelpline@gcu.ac.uk / +44 141 331 3130).

The helpline is now available 7 days a week from 9am – 5pm.

Following guidance from the UK and Scottish Governments, and in order to safeguard the health and wellbeing of students, staff and visitors, the University has taken the decision to postpone all of its graduation ceremonies that were scheduled to take place in July 2020 at both our Glasgow and London campuses.

Student FAQs Fees and Financial Support

Can I claim any tuition fees back because of the impact of Covid-19?

No, the University will not be offering compensation for tuition fees due to the outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19). Module delivery will restart online from March 23, 2020.

Will I be required to pay any additional fees for any catch-up period I will be required to undertake to complete my current modules?

No, additional fees will not be charged for any catch-up teaching, including placements, which you will be required to complete before the start of the session 20/21

I am an international student and I am having problems paying my fee instalments, what should I do?

Please email arstudent@gcu.ac.uk, explaining your current situation.

My income has been stopped or reduced as a result of coronavirus and I am having difficulty paying my bills and rent. Is there any financial support available to me?

There are several routes for students to explore.

Our Student Funding webpages detail a number of ways to reduce your bills and how to budget. However, if you are still struggling financially, there are funds that you can apply for at this time to support you, including:

SAAS are currently developing a number of enhanced support measures with the Scottish Government for students, in recognition of the immense period of uncertainty across the sector. We will publish information on these measures on our Coronavirus webpages as soon as it becomes available.

Will there be any changes to SAAS fee payments, Student Loans or Disabled Students Allowance as a result of the current situation?

SAAS have created a list of Questions and Answers relating to higher education funding in Scotland. The list includes help with payments, funding, placements, study abroad and the DSA. English, Welsh, Northern Ireland, EU or International students should contact their “home” funding bodies in the first instance to discuss any questions.

Can I claim a refund on my University accommodation as I have moved out to go home during this coronavirus outbreak?

The University has decided to release all residents with effect from March 24 to the end of their rental agreement with the University. For students with an outstanding balance up to this date, this will be collected across April and May in the normal manner. However, where a refund is due, the University will process this as quickly as possible. Please be reassured that, if needed, you may continue to stay in residence.

I live in private rented accommodation and, in order to issue a refund, my private provider/landlord requires proof from the University that I no longer need to be in Glasgow for my studies. Where can I get this?

You should contact the coronavirushelpline@gcu.ac.uk to request a letter from the University.

I have received childcare funding from the University for Tri B, do I have to pay this back?

We are liaising with SAAS on this matter and we will update you when we have further information.

Who do I contact if I have another funding query?

Please email funding@gcu.ac.uk with any additional questions.

Student FAQs Caledonian Court

Information for all Caledonian Court residents

I am a resident of Caledonian Court; will I receive a refund for the rest of my rental agreement?
The University will release all residents from their rental agreement with effect from the 24th March. All refunds, if applicable, will be made to residents, as quickly as possible.

Information for students planning on leaving Caledonian Court

What should I do if I want to leave Caledonian Court?

It is really important that we have up-to-date information on who is remaining in the residence. So, if you are leaving please email accommodation@gcu.ac.uk to advise of when you are planning to leave and drop your keys at the Security Office located at Caledonian Court.

I am planning to leave Caledonian Court. How do I get home?

The Department of Education has confirmed that student travel home is considered ‘essential travel’. However, students should only return home if they are able to do so safely. We also urge students to check the latest Government advice on travel and to follow it carefully.

Is it okay for a family member collect me from Caledonian Court?

Should a family member wish to collect you, they can do so. However, please ensure the following is adhered to:

• The Security Office is informed of the arrival of your family member.
• Social distancing rules are applied when your family member arrives.
• They should not have contact with anyone else staying in your residence.


Information for students who have left Caledonian Court

I have left Caledonian Court, removed all property and handed my keys in. Do I need to do anything else?

You are not required to do anything further.

I have left Caledonian Court, however, I have left property and personal effects behind; what do I need to do?

Please email the accommodation office to provide this information. Moving forward, when Government guidance says that it is safe, you should return to collect your property and personal effects and return your room key.

I have left Caledonian Court, however, I still have the keys to my residence. How do I return these?

Please email the accommodation office and thereafter return the key by post addressed to Campus Security.

 

Information for students planning to remain resident at Caledonian Court

I plan on remaining at Caledonian Court; will I be allowed to do so?

Yes, Caledonian Court will remain open and measures have been put in place in accordance with Government guidance to provide a safe environment for students who need to remain in the residence.

I don’t know whether I should return home or stay in Caledonian Court?

Given the rapidly changing situation, and Government guidance regarding ‘essential travel’, it is recommended that if safe to travel home then you do so. We know this is not an option available for some students, including those who are on placement, those impacted by international travel restrictions and those who do not have a permanent home base.

What do I do if I need to self-isolate while staying at Caledonian Court?

If you show any symptoms, the Scottish Government has advised that you should self-isolate for at least seven days. You should refer to NHS guidance.

Students staying at Caledonian Court must contact the Security Office (0141 331 3958/3787) to advise that they are self-isolating as well as informing the Coronavirus Student Helpline at coronavirushelpline@gcu.ac.uk

What support is available to me if I need to self-isolate?

For anyone who may require to self-isolate and seek support, please contact the Security Office (0141 331 3958/3787) who will liaise with Student Services to make assessment on an individual basis.

Our recommendations to students who are required to self-isolate includes using online ordering of groceries and carry-out food deliveries, together with the practical assistance that may be safely provided by fellow students.

The University will provide practical wellbeing advice but, is, however, unable to provide food or other supplies.

If I stay in Caledonian Court will I be required to move flat or room? 

Students will continue to reside within their allocated room. However, in the future, we may require some students to move during this period of social distancing and/or for students who are self-isolating. If this is the case we will contact you with further information.

If I have any questions about my residence in Caledonian Court, who should I contact?

You can contact the Accommodation Office via email at accommodation@gcu.ac.uk
In the case of an emergency, please contact the Security Office on 0141 331 3958/3787

What is the university putting in place to support my wellbeing while I remain a resident of Caledonian Court?

The university is looking at a number of ways we can provide remote support for your wellbeing. We will contact you with further information on this soon. However, should you require any wellbeing support please contact the Wellbeing Team by emailing studentwellbeing@gcu.ac.uk

Student FAQs Graduation and Graduation Ball

Graduation Ceremonies

Will Graduation Ceremonies go ahead in July 2020?

Following guidance from the UK and Scottish Governments, and in order to safeguard the
health and wellbeing of students, staff and visitors, the University has taken the decision to
postpone all of its graduation ceremonies that were scheduled to take place in July 2020 at both
our Glasgow and London campuses.

We know that this will be deeply disappointing to many. However, the safety of our students, staff
and visitors is paramount and we do hope that you appreciate and understand the reasons behind
this difficult decision.

Students due to graduate at these ceremonies, if eligible, will now receive their degree parchment
by post to their home address, which we are aiming to undertake by the end of July.
All students eligible to graduate in the summer will be invited to attend a ceremony at a future
date.

Will I still be awarded my degree despite the ceremonies being postponed?

Yes. The University will make sure that all eligible students graduate in the summer and receive
both their letter of award (confirming the degree that the University has granted them), and their
transcripts (confirming the modules and marks achieved as part of the degree, and some wider
achievements within the University).

We aim to print degree parchments and have these posted to your home address by the end of
July.

Will I have an opportunity to attend a ceremony in person?

The graduation ceremonies in July 2020 are postponed to protect students, staff and visitors
from the coronavirus – your health and wellbeing will always be our priority.
We know how much graduation means to graduates, their families and our proud staff. All those
who are due to graduate in the summer will have the opportunity to don their robes, take to the
stage and celebrate their achievements with friends and loved-ones at a later date. Details of the
rescheduled ceremonies will be shared once confirmed.

When will the dates for the new ceremonies be confirmed?

The University will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will confirm revised
ceremony dates as soon as we are able to. We will ensure that sufficient advance notice of the
dates is provided to enable graduating students and their families to make plans to attend.

Will I receive an invitation to the new ceremonies once the dates have been confirmed?

Yes. The University will contact you by email and information will also be published on our
website and via social media.

I have already registered to attend graduations in the summer, do I need to inform you that I
will no longer be attending?

No. No further action is required.

I have not registered to graduate yet, should I?

All students who are due to complete their studies this calendar year will have received an
invite to register to graduate. If you have not already done so, you should register asap. The
deadline to do so for all ceremonies in 2020 is May 1.

If you have not received an invite to register, please contact the Graduations Team:
graduation@gcu.ac.uk

I have hired my academic dress and/or booked gradation photography services from Ede &
Ravenscroft. How do I arrange a refund?

For the small number of students who have already placed an order with Ede & Ravenscroft for
the summer ceremonies, Ede & Ravenscroft will be in touch with you directly to offer a refund or
carry your order forward to any future ceremony.

I am an international student and my visa might have expired, will I need a new one?

If your visa has expired at the time you attend a future ceremony, you and any family members
travelling to the UK for the purposes of attending a ceremony will need to apply for a Standard
Visitor Visa. Information about these can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa

How will I be contacted when the ceremony has been rescheduled?

All correspondence will be via email to your GCU and personal email addresses. Information
will also be published on the University website and social media.

Will the University reimburse me for any travel costs?

The University recognises that cancelling your graduation ceremony may have affected your
travel arrangements. While we are sympathetic to your circumstances, the decision to cancel, due
to the outbreak of COVID-19, was taken to safeguard the health of our students, the families and
friends of graduating students, our members of staff and the general public. The outbreak itself is
outside the University’s control and we cannot offer you compensation for any ancillary costs
incurred in preparation to attend graduation.

We would advise you to contact your travel provider for information on cancelling or delaying
travel. Similarly, if you have travel insurance, we would advise you to contact your provider for
information regarding the extent of your coverage in these circumstances

Graduation Ball

Will the Graduation Ball go ahead in July 2020?

The graduation ball taking place at the DoubleTree by Hilton on Saturday, July 11 will not go ahead and has been postponed. The University will explore plans to hold another ball at a later date. 

Will I get a refund for any tickets for the ball that I have purchased?

The University is working through how best to manage the process of refunding those who have purchased tickets for the graduation ball.  We will provide details as soon as possible but we aim to refund all affected students by the end of April.

Frequently asked questions for students

What is open on campus at present?

The Sir Alex Ferguson Library will be closed from 5pm on March 17. Many resources will continue to be available online. 

In light of the Prime Minister's announcement on March 23, the IT facilities that were available to students at the Learning Café on our Glasgow campus will be closed as of March 24 until further notice. This is the same for the facilities that were available to students at our GCU London Campus. 

Only essential staff will be allowed on campus. Thank you for your understanding.

I'm an international student, can I leave to travel home?

Yes, if it is safe to do so and the home country is accessible.

What if I can't travel home?

For international students who stay with us at our Glasgow campus and cannot return home, as well as care experienced students who remain on campus, we will continue to support you throughout where possible.

For students who are already at home overseas, you should not return to Glasgow for the time being. Further advice will be provided in due course.

What should I do if I’m concerned about myself or a fellow student?

If you show any symptoms, the Scottish Government has advised that you should self-isolate for at least seven days.

If symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days then you are advised to phone your GP or NHS24 (111).

For all student coronavirus concerns, you can also use our dedicated helpline on +44 141 331 3130. The helpline is available from 9am - 5pm, seven days a week.

If you are concerned about a fellow student, please make them aware of this advice if practical to do so.

I'm looking for a letter from the University to give to my private landlord. Who do I contact?

We realise that many students will have signed rental agreements with private landlords and providers but have now returned home.

Please contact studentrecords@gcu.ac.uk and ask for a letter stating that you no longer need to be in Glasgow for your studies. This may help with trying to recoup a refund on rent. 

Who do I contact if I don't have the resource at home to complete online learning?

Please email scholarships@gcu.ac.uk with the following information:

  • Name
  • Student ID
  • Programme 
  • Level of study
  • Confirmation that you have wifi access at home
  • Email address
Will this have any implications on my visa?

Any student who is worried about visa implications of the coronavirus should contact the University’s VISA Team. The Home Office understands that in many cases these implications are because of circumstances outside of your control and arrangements are being made to support people. As the situation evolves, the UK Visas and Immigration (UKIV) team will be best placed to offer you the most up-to-date advice.

Frequently asked questions for postgraduate and research students

Attendance, remote working and access to laboratories

Q. What do I do about attending work?

A. In line with the UK government’s advice, we are advising that anyone who can work from home, who is already equipped with the right technology and enabled with the necessary capabilities to practically deliver in a new way, should now do so. If you believe you can do this, you should agree with your line manager that this is the case.

Q. What about remote working?

A. This can involve Skype, WebEx, Zoom or MS Teams. For example, MS Teams is good for large groups, whilst, at the moment, Zoom is free for groups of six and meetings of up to 45 minutes’ duration. The IT Helpdesk can be contacted ithelp@gcu.ac.uk. All of the usual standards in terms of data security apply to home working, so make sure you are up to date on the online training and guides to handling special category/ sensitive data. Wherever possible, sensitive data should be kept securely on campus. Where that is impossible, discuss with your Principle Investigator/Supervisor.

If possible, electronic data should be stored on University network drives so that it is held securely in the University’s IT infrastructure. This means that access is controlled and the data is available to appropriate staff/researchers. In cases where it is agreed that sensitive data can be removed from campus, staff have access to encrypted laptops/USBs which could hold electronic copies of the records that are scanned to secure files and shared. If physical records must be removed, then these should be redacted to remove any personal data. As well as obtaining copies of the data, a record should be kept of any personal data leaving campus ie when it was removed, who has it and where it will be located when off-site.

Some basic guidance to researchers on the best practice to protect personal data when offsite, includes:

  • Keep the information and personal data securely stored away in your home when not using it
  • Do not disclose personal data or allow others in your household to access the personal data
  • Where possible, limit the amount you transport or travel with the data – keep it at home, don’t risk leaving it in your car, a café or public transport.
  • If you lose the data or have reason to think it has been stolen, contact dataprotection@gcu.ac.uk immediately
  • Personal data should be disposed of securely. Documents must be shredded or disposed of via secure document disposal (which may mean returning them to GCU for disposal). Do not throw them straight in your household bin

Q. What about access to laboratories?

A. For staff and PhD students, access for this week will be facilitated as per usual, but beyond March 20, it is important to plan for remote working with your supervisor or line manager. Where this creates an issue of risk and/or resource (eg extra costs), you should discuss this with your Postgraduate Research Tutor/Associate Dean Research and, if necessary, escalate this to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research. The first course of action should be to attempt to reorganise the project so that lab requirements can be factored in at a later date without any adverse effect on project timelines

Data collection, supervision, impact on VISAs, RDC2, and research project applications

Q. What about research involving data collection from human participants (eg via interviews) and in specialist laboratories?

A. For research involving human participants:

Unless clinically essential for treatment purposes, all (staff, PhD, MSc) current and planned data collection involving direct face-to-face contact between researcher and participant should be suspended and re-organised when the coronavirus outbreak is over. Where relevant, NHS Research guidance should also be followed. Your Associate Dean Research should be notified if you consider suspension is not possible at this point.

  • Do not enter into participants’ homes. Older participants and those with health conditions might be voluntarily self-isolating. You might still phone them to check on them and to explain. Some data collection might be done remotely – so, again, talk to your research team. Principal Investigators (PIs)s and Directors of Studies (DoSs) should consider whether such alternative approaches to data collection, eg telephone/Skype interviews are feasible.
  • PIs should notify funding bodies of any changes in circumstances and copy in your Associate Dean Research and Mark Anderson, Director of the Research and Innovation Office. For health projects based in the School of Health and Life Sciences (SHLS), the Centre for Living and elsewhere, please copy in Lyndsay McDade, Senior Clinical Research Governance Manager. Lyndsay will offer support and advice regarding any required NHS approval amendments. Any impact on fixed-term contract researchers should be discussed with the funding body and if necessary, People Services, with outcomes notified to your ADR and HoD.
  • DoSs and research students should discuss reorganising work activities to be productive during any suspensions of data collection or lab access, eg drafting chapters, but seek advice from ADRs/PGRTs in the event of potential inability to produce the thesis as originally planned.
  • Indeed, any issues with regard to risk or resource should be raised with the ADR and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

For research in specialist laboratories, we request that this research is ceased for the time being and that PIs/ DoSs decide and agree with ADRs how to safely ‘cease’ experiments/data collection in a way that minimises risk, waste, and maximises the utility of the existing work. As with lab access, any requests for ‘exceptional continuation’ should be put to the Associate Dean Research in the first instance.

Q. Is there any guidance on what to do about research on Covid 19 or if wider aspects of research are impacted by Covid 19?

A. Guidance on issues such as amendments to existing studies (e.g. because of exposure of or to patients) is available at the following sites:

Q. What about supervision of researchers?

A. It is important that, as a supervisor and line manager, you follow the University guidance issued to line managers.

Q. What about Vivas for PhDs?

A. We are compiling a list of Vivas that have been set up and we are arranging for remote administration of them according to these guidelines. The guidelines also cover what we will do for future Vivas if we move to complete remote working.

Q. What about RDC2 Examination?

A. You can now hold the RDC2 examination by videoconferencing. Guidelines on how to do this can be found here.

Q. What about research project applications?

A. These will continue as usual, as we have, for the most part, now established an electronic system. We await any announcements from funders as to any changes in grant deadlines or anything else with regard to submissions. If in any doubt, you can contact the Research & Innovation Office at riegeneral@gcu.ac.uk or else the individual emails described here

REF, position on pay-for-research students, contacts for help and advice

Q. What about the REF?

A. Preparations for the REF continue, but, as with all areas of our work, have been impacted by Covid-19.

On March 24, it was announced that the REF submission date of November 27, 2020, would be postponed. 

There are three main implications of the announcement, as follows:

  • Submission delayed: We will be informed eight months before the new submission date. So, for example, if we were informed in January 2021, the new submission date would be August 2021. Of course, REF could make the announcement before the now-previous submission date (November 27, 2020), meaning that it would not necessarily be delayed by eight months as such. For example, if, by some stroke of good fortune, things were easing by May 2020, and a new submission date was announced at that point, then it could be January 2021; so not amounting to much of a delay at all. The logic for eight months is likely that it is approximately eight months from the March 24 announcement to the previous submission date.
  • Census date remains the same: This is the date on which staff in all Higher Education Institutions, who will have outputs submitted to the REF, have to be in post. It is currently July 31, 2020. At the moment, it seems sensible not to alter this date given that, as illustrated above, the delay may not be that long in effect. However, it may change in the future.
  • Pressure still on: Due to the potential for the effective delay not being that long and the unchanged census date, our current timetable still applies, although this is being discussed by our Research Continuity Group and our REF Management Group.

Q. What is the position on pay-for-research students engaged through the casual process, if any scheduled work is cancelled for reasons relating to COVID-19?

A. Line managers should work with their casual workers to understand if or ensure that current work commitments can be fulfilled. It may be alternative ways of delivering the work can be agreed if necessary. However, it is important to reassure casual workers that they will receive payment for any work they may be unable to deliver that is disrupted or cancelled for reasons relating to Covid-19. This includes engagements where there is a reasonable expectation of work based on previous agreements or commitments being made. Line managers must ensure the normal casual worker paperwork is processed in line with normal arrangements. People Services will work together with school-based Professional Services staff and department process owners to ensure any casual paperwork is processed. If you have any concerns regarding this, please contact CasualHours@gcu.ac.uk

Q. Who can help with advice?

A. We are working on plans for the ongoing continuation of research studies, supervision and research within the new context of social distancing. You will see further updates as we develop resources and guidance for remote working in research.

For research students, in the first instance, you should keep in touch with your supervisors and raise any concerns you may have to them. If supervisors aren’t sure of the answer, please both raise your questions/concerns to your Postgraduate Research Tutor (PgRT) and then to your Senior PgRT and/or your Associate Dean of Research.

In addition, the Graduate School will continue to help facilitate answers and solutions to your questions at any point through the graduateschool@gcu.ac.uk mailbox.

A flow chart of who can help can be found on the Graduate School website or at https://edshare.gcu.ac.uk/id/ document/39339 A list of key contacts is available on the Graduate School website.

For staff researchers, please raise your questions/ concerns to your research group leaders and ADRs.

Coronavirus advice: Students with any questions, please contact the coronavirus helpline: +44 141 331 3130 (9am to 5pm, seven days per week) or you can email coronavirushelpline@gcu.ac.uk

Further information for staff and students is available via our dedicated web page. Wellbeing advice: Staff members with any questions or concerns can contact the staff well-being service at staffwellbeing@gcu.ac.uk.

Research students with any questions or concerns can contact the student well-being service at studentwellbeing@gcu.ac.uk.

Frequently asked questions for students on placements

I am a student on placement, should I continue to attend my placement?

Students should attend their placement unless they have been informed otherwise by their placement provider or Academic School.

The University is in regular contact with all placement providers and will update students if and when the situation changes.

As is normal practice, students should avoid attending their placement if they are unwell and should use the normal absence reporting procedures for their Academic School.

What should I do if my placement provider is closing?

Students should contact their Personal Tutor or level co-ordinator, so they can plan accordingly.

I have been in contact with a patient/relative with known or suspected Covid-19, what should I do?

The current guidance is that if you are well and are not showing any symptoms, there is no need for you to self-isolate and you should attend your placement as normal.

However, if you are living with someone who is showing symptoms, you should seld-isolate as per NHS Inform guidelines.

I am a nursing student and am worried about losing practice hours (either through a change in my placement / being ill / chilldcare).

Will I need to make up my practice hours? Placement hours are planned to meet the requirements set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). If there is a risk that you will have insufficient hours, the University will work with placement providers and students to make up the required hours at a later time.

I am a nursing student - should I be getting fitted for a face mask and personal protective equipment (PPE)?

Some placement providers are providing PPE, including face masks, as required for their practice learning environments. This means that some students will be fitted for masks if their placement providers feel that this is appropriate. In other settings, there will be no requirements for fitting staff or students for additional protective equipment.