Coronavirus

The latest information and advice for staff, prospective and current students and visitors during the current coronavirus pandemic. The University is closely monitoring developments and will continue to update you on the latest advice and guidance. 

Recent updates

Teaching and learning at Surrey – our plans for September

We have announced our plans for teaching and learning from this September. Our intention is to deliver a hybrid model of teaching, with face-to-face delivery for most seminars, tutorials, workshops and practical sessions, supported by online learning and assessments. Lectures will be recorded and available online.

Chief Student Officer Lucy Evans has sent a message to current students, and a video message for prospective students explaining our plans.

Supporting postgraduate researchers disrupted by Covid-19

We have launched a Covid-19 Research & Innovation Disruption Fund to support those Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) whose research has been most disrupted and delayed by factors relating to Covid-19. The full details and new FAQs are available on our Coronavirus web pages.

The critical role of universities in tackling Covid-19

As Covid-19 spread across the globe, it brought with it a clear reminder of the critical role that universities have to play in supporting society through the biggest challenge of our time. Patrick Degg, Vice-President (External Engagement), has highlighted Surrey's contribution to our local community. You can continue to follow our stories on the Coronavirus Activity, Research and News pages.

Collecting belongings from accommodation

Following the relaxation of some social distancing measures by the UK Government, the University can now allow students to return to campus or USL rented accommodation to collect any belongings left in accommodation.

Before returning to campus you must first book a slot on our online booking system so we can ensure that all students and guests can come onto campus safely, and follow the social distancing guidelines. For USL accommodation you must email usl@surrey.ac.uk to give three working days’ notice, so any housemates can be kept informed.

Details in our Accommodation FAQs.

Information about UK visas

Some UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) have reopened for existing customers. Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are temporarily closed because of COVID-19. For visa customers outside of the UK, some UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) are resuming services, where local restrictions allow.

For updates to the status of VACs, contact TLS Contact if you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East; or VFS Global for all other countries. Please be aware, ongoing global restrictions mean some UKVI services will remain closed. Individuals should contact their local VAC to find out the latest status. Where services are resuming, existing customers will be contacted. Some English Testing Centres are also resuming services. Visit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)’s website, the Pearson Test of English website or the LanguageCert website or an individual can contact their test centre for more information.

A phased return to campus for some staff

As outlined in the VC’s message yesterday, we are now starting a phased return to campus for some staff, beginning with researchers this month. For those staff who are able to return, you will be contacted directly by your faculty, and HR will be in touch very soon with details of what to expect and what you need to do before you return.

Working in these challenging times: Learning to COPE

We all need to find new ways to cope with our challenging environment, and this means working together to support each other and implement new arrangements that recognise the complexities in our lives and the different pressures we are having to juggle. The COPE Framework encourages us all to think about how we are working together and suggests how we might explore doing things a little differently to make our transition to the ‘new normal’ a bit easier, for ourselves and our colleagues.

Inclusive remote communications – particularly for our deaf colleagues

The channels and methods we are using to interact since the Covid-19 restrictions were put in place are presenting a challenge for everyone, particularly for deaf or hard of hearing colleagues. The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Team (who sit within HR’s People, Culture and Inclusion Team) have developed some guidance to support everyone with remote meeting management, general communication and preparation for returning to a physical working environment.

Staff collecting equipment from campus

We have shared new working from home health and safety guidance which outlines the measures that the University has put in place to support those staff who may need to review their home working environment, including Display Screen Equipment self-assessment and explains how you can make arrangements to collect equipment from campus.

Previous updates

Employee visas

If you are in the UK on a visa and it expires between 24 January – 31 July 2020, your visa will be extended to 31 July 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to Covid-19. You must request an extension if your visa expires between 31 May – 31 July 2020 by updating your records with the Coronavirus Immigration Team if you cannot leave the UK and are not planning to stay in the UK longer term. (If your visa expired between 24 January – 30 May 2020 you should have applied for an extension to the 31 May 2020, and all visas extended to the 31 May 2020 will be automatically extended to the 31 July 2020.)

Surrey research and innovation to address Covid-19

The University’s wide range of research and innovation projects helping to address the Covid-19 pandemic are celebrated on a new Covid research web page. Please do take a look.

Student finance applications

Applications to Student Finance are open. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible to ensure finances are in place for the start of next semester. Applications for the NHS Bursary are also open now. Students are advised to apply by 31 July. Students can apply for Postgraduate Doctoral and Master’s loans from the end of June. Any students with financial concerns can contact the Student Money Team at moneysupport@surrey.ac.uk.

Revised Government lockdown advice and phased reopening of buildings

We continue to review the latest revised government lockdown advice and recovery strategy announcements. We are considering how this informs our own plans to allow for the safe return of specific groups to campus. Acting Chief Operating Officer Andy Chalklin has written to all staff to inform them of our approach to the development and delivery of plans for opening up the campus and extended remote working

The first phase of gradually re-opening some of the buildings on campus has begun. The ATI building opened in late May. On 1 June the AW, AX, AY and AZ buildings re-opened to specific staff as part of our very gradual, phased re-opening of the campus. You should only access these buildings if you have already been communicated with directly about this. 

For now, all students and staff who do not need access to the buildings above are advised to continue to study and work as they have been, with most staff working from home for the foreseeable future wherever possible. There are no immediate changes to the operation of our campus. We will provide further updates on our plans or our advice as soon as they  these are available. 

A return to teaching on campus from September 2020

All students have been emailed with details of how the University intends to deliver teaching for the 2020/21 academic year.

The University is planning a return to campus, with the intention that teaching will be delivered via a hybrid model of online and face-to-face modes. The proportion of online and face-to-face teaching is likely to vary, depending on the programme and Government advice at the time. Planning for this is underway and updates will be provided in the coming weeks.

We remain optimistic that course dates will not change and, subject to UK Government advice and restrictions, that teaching will commence on Monday 28 September 2020 in most cases.

We are committed to providing all students with an excellent learning experience, enabling our community to have ongoing access to University studies, facilities and support services. Read the full statement from the University.

The University will update staff, students and applicants with further information about this model and our plans for the 2020/21 academic year as they become available.

New support service from the Nightline team

The Students’ Union-run Nightline's traditional call and text services are currently suspended, but the SU have opened a new email service so our volunteers can still work to support you in this difficult time.

New online chat student support services

MySurrey Hive and the Library have both launched a new live online chat feature, to give you an additional way to access support. Click on the purple box headed "Chat live with us" in the bottom right corner of the screen to start a live chat, or during out of office hours you can leave us a message.

Student loan applications for next academic year

The Student Loans Company is encouraging returning students to apply for finance early. Returning students are asked to apply by 19 June for next year’s finance.

Apply for student finance

Hardship fund deadline

The University has increased its hardship fund to respond to the Covid-19 crisis and would like to remind you that the application deadline is four weeks before the end of your academic year. More details can be found on MySurrey. The hardship fund is open to all students in hardship, this includes UK/EU/international, undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research Students. If you have any questions, please contact moneysupport@surrey.ac.uk

Prospective students – visit us virtually

In light of the current situation, we have moved our events online to make sure you don’t miss out:

  • Our June open days will now take place on a virtual basis, rather than on campus. 

    There are three Faculty based open days:

    • Health and Medical Sciences, including Veterinary Medicine, on Wednesday 24 June
    • Arts and Social Sciences on Thursday 25 June
    • Engineering and Physical Sciences on Friday 26 June.

If you have any general questions about studying at Surrey, we're here to help you! We have launched a new LiveChat on our website. It is available from 7am - 5pm BST, Monday - Friday. You can chat to us in real time to ask any questions you may have. Please note, that for specific questions regarding your application you should email or call us instead.

For further information visit our prospective students page.

Community champions

Many of you have responded to our request for personal stories about the wonderful ways you are supporting the community. We have been overwhelmed and inspired by the response. We’ve shared our first collection of stories about your acts of selflessness and incredible sense of community, to celebrating the wide array of ways that Surrey students have been helping out. There are many more student and staff stories to come!

Shape Your Surrey student survey on our Covid-19 response

We have launched the Shape Your Surrey Covid-19 Response survey for our students. It’s your chance to tell us what you think about Surrey’s response to Covid-19, based on your experiences since on-site studies were suspended. Completing the survey is anonymous and will only take 5 minutes, and your feedback will be used to help us adapt our ongoing response to Covid-19.

Covid-19 testing facilities  

The University is supporting with the infrastructure to provide coronavirus testing for Surrey. The Onslow Park and Ride, which the University leases to Guildford Borough Council, will be used as a Regional Testing Centre from Wednesday 28 April. The Surrey Sports Park car park is also being made available for an additional testing facility. Eligible individuals will be able to book tests through the Government’s testing website. 

Surrey County Council has updated guidance on Covid-19 testing in Surrey following the Government's announcement that new groups are eligible for testing:

  • Anyone over 65 with symptoms
  • Anyone with symptoms whose work cannot be done from home (for example, construction workers, shop workers, emergency plumbers and delivery drivers)
  • Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus and lives with any of those identified above.

Key workers at the University can get themselves or immediate family members tested if they believe they have the virus. The general advice section on our coronavirus staff page outlines which staff at the University are defined as key workers. 

Message from the Vice Chancellor

The Vice-Chancellor has shared a message with all staff and students.

Thank you 

Each and every member of staff is doing their bit to help in these challenging times and we're truly grateful for your support. This film is a small token of our appreciation for the wonderful collective effort demonstrated by everyone in our Surrey community, to say thank you.  

Government’s higher education update

On Monday 4 May universities minister Michelle Donelan outlined plans (PDF) for the Government’s approach for the higher education sector.

Visas 

On Monday 20 April the UK Government provided updated guidance on those with Tier 4 visas. Read the fact sheet (PDF) with the latest information. These include temporary changes to visa and immigration regulations in response to Covid-19 – initially covering the period until 31 May 2020, but subject to change. If you have further questions, students should follow the advice below, while staff can contact their Faculty/Departmental HR Department. 

International students 

The Universities Minister in the UK Government, Michelle Donelan MP, wrote to international students (PDF) on 9 April to reassure them about the measures the Government and others are taking to mitigate the worst impacts of the Covid-19 situation on them and their education. 

The letter stresses the value the Government places on the contribution of international students to the UK, and pulls together in one place helpful advice and sources of further information for international students. 

In addition to the information in the letter and the other sources of information it highlights, Surrey students can: 

  • Find a wealth of information and Frequently Asked Questions on our own coronavirus information pages
  • Get in touch with our International Student Support team for specific advice on visas. Note that the UK government issued new guidance on 24 March covering visa extensions where Covid-19 means you are unable to return home. 
  • Make use of the resources from the Centre for Wellbeing if you have any concerns about your health or feel you are struggling or becoming overwhelmed. There are a range of ways you can seek support online from our wellbeing teams. 
  • Find advice and resources for online study – whether you’re in the UK or abroad – on MySurrey. If you need additional support with your studies, contact your module leader or personal tutor. 

UKRI funding announcement for PhD students  

The UK Government has announced that UKRI-funded PhD students whose studies have been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic will be provided with additional support. UKRI-funded Doctoral students in their final year will receive an extension to their research with additional grants, known as a costed extension, of up to six months, providing them with peace of mind that they will be able to complete their studies. 

Further UKRI information is available on their website and the Surrey research community can also consult our own updated Frequently Asked Questions.   

Employability and careers support for students  

The Employability and Careers team are available to help you through these difficult times, whether you are looking for a Professional Training year, graduate job or part time work/volunteering, please read their advice on how Covid-19 could affect your job search and keep an eye out for emails from them. To make sure you are on their email list, please email the Employability and Careers team

NHS workers travel free 

Any students or staff currently working for the NHS can now travel free on Stagecoach buses. Just show your NHS ID card when you board the bus.   

University contribution to combating Covid-19 

The University is providing practical and academic research support for efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and its impacts on the NHS and our communities.

We’ve created an at-a-glance graphical summary (PDF) of the work we’re doing to support our communities – locally, nationally and internationally – in the battle against Covid-19. 

Keep up to date with the latest news about the work we are doing.

The University’s research and work has featured in UUK’s #wearetogether campaign, which highlights the work of the HE sector in response to the current crisis.

International Nurses Day

To celebrate International Nurses Day on Tuesday 12 May and the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020, we asked our nurses and midwives to share their stories – why they chose their careers and what inspired them to help others. We’ve gathered them together on YouTube. Share your nursing and midwifery story on Twitter using #YearoftheNurseandMidwife and tag @UniOfSurrey.

Student volunteers 

The Students’ Union is supporting Voluntary Action South West Surrey and Guildford Borough Council to ensure that vulnerable people who have to self-isolate get the help they need. Your support would be gratefully received

Virtual desktop access 

From Wednesday 29 April, anyone wishing to log into the virtual desktop service will now need to use multi-factor authentication (PDF). IT have already contacted regular users directly but please do contact IT Services if you need further assistance. 

Microsoft Stream – new video streaming option

Microsoft Stream is now available for use by staff and students. It is a video streaming platform that will allow you to host or play back video content within the University of Surrey community. Like an internal YouTube platform. You can use it to capture new video content, or to upload existing content.

Zoom security

Zoom is part of the University’s online teaching toolset and is configured to be as secure as presenting in a campus lecture hall. However, it is not a secure and private communications tool so Microsoft Teams should be used for meetings where sensitive or confidential issues will be discussed. There is more information the Teaching section on our Staff FAQs.

Your IT security experiences in lockdown

Researchers within the Surrey Centre for Cyber Security (SCCS) and the security team within the University IT Services would like to understand your experiences using multi-factor authentication, and are particularly interested in any barriers and challenges you may have experienced.

Respect the rules on social distancing

Please can we ask all students to strictly respect the Government guidance on social distancing, and the current movement restrictions. These are challenging times, and there are many examples of our students and staff doing amazing things to support the battle against Covid-19. The University will take extremely seriously any minority of students who do not respect the Government’s emergency rules.

Please can we particularly thank those still living on campus for their restraint in the warm weather. Please continue to stay at home to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Daily exercise around campus is fine, but sunbathing is not. 

Hardship Fund 

To support those students who have been significantly impacted by Covid-19, we have increased our Hardship Fund to respond to this crisis. 

Graduation ceremonies

Undergraduate graduation ceremonies for the current academic year have regrettably been cancelled

Centre for Wellbeing support

In these unusual times, it is more important than ever that we all look after our own health and wellbeing and that of those we care for and about. Social distancing does not have to mean isolation. We are regularly sharing advice on ways to protect your physical, mental and emotional health on our designated Wellbeing and Health page, and our Centre for Wellbeing has launched new services:

  • The virtual waiting room is open 10am to 3pm each weekday. One-to-one drop in sessions are available for staff and students via Zoom, to provide a safe space to talk to a friendly person and ask for wellbeing advice. No booking required.
  • An additional virtual waiting room is available for students living on campus to speak to their warden. This service is available daily, between 8pm - 8:30pm. 
  • Contagious Conversations is brought to you by our Surrey Peer Support scheme. Available to all students on Zoom between 2pm and 3pm every Wednesday. A chance to catch up and speak to other students and share any tips.
  • The Centre for Wellbeing is running a series of virtual events and workshops for students and staff, covering a wide range of wellbeing topics from anxiety to self-care. Students can read more about them in the dedicated Wellbeing email we have sent. Staff can read about them on the SurreyNet homepage under What’s On, where you can also find out about a regular Wellbeing Group to encourage staff to connect with one another virtually on their coffee break.
  • Surrey has signed up to the Stand Alone pledge as part of our continued support for students who are estranged from their families. Please remember that we have a dedicated Senior Support Officer and a dedicated Careers Advisor available to support our estranged students. Please contact Javayria Masood for further details.

Report and Support

Please remember that Report + Support is your online tool for reporting an incident of harassment or abuse, and the website is also home to many support resources. You can find information on a range of topics, including mental health, wellbeing, bullying, relationship abuse and addiction.

New Surrey United group on Teams – helping us stay connected

A new Surrey United group has been launched for staff on Microsoft Teams. You can use the Surrey United Team if you are experiencing a lack of social interaction – or if you would simply enjoy more social contact. All are welcome.

Campus bike hire discounts

Staff and students on campus looking to get out in the fresh air and embrace exercise while practising safe self-distancing can now access discounted subscriptions to the Nextbike scheme. The scheme is being offered during the Covid-19 outbreak to help support physical and mental wellbeing. The bikes and docking stations are thoroughly cleaned by the Geared Up mechanic team.

Accommodation

Please see the FAQs for students which offer accommodation guidance on a range of topics, including:

  • University accommodation - payment, early release from contracts and storing your belongings
  • Privately rented accommodation - advice for liaising with landlords or a private accommodation provider.

Please note: it is a breach of the current movement restrictions to return to clear your room, and places those still living and working on campus at risk. Government advice says that if you are still resident at your University address, you should not leave until after the movement restrictions have been lifted. 

Keep us informed about your self-isolation

If you are a student self-isolating in campus accommodation, please remember to complete our self-isolation form. It will enable us to support you and ensure you have everything you need during this challenging time: we can help by delivering food parcels to vulnerable self-isolating students, for example. Please do update this if your status changes.

Teaching, assessments and 'safety net' policy

All learning, teaching and assessments will be delivered and administered online through SurreyLearn for the rest of the academic year 2019/20.

On 2 April we announced our 'Safety Net' policy meaning students will be guaranteed that their final grades for the current year of study cannot fall below the average grades they had achieved for the year up to and including Friday 13 March 2020. Further information on the changes to online assessments and out new emergency regulations were issued to students on 29 April 2020.

Continue to follow official advice

We are working with Public Health England and we have robust plans in place to limit risk to others. These support the latest general government advice on self-isolation if you have any symptoms of Covid-19, however minor.

Anyone concerned about their health in relation to this development should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service in the first instance. You can also inform yourself with the latest updates from Public Health England.

Support those who are self-isolating

  • Keep in daily contact via messages, email or phone calls
  • Try to avoid even brief face to face contact but if you do have to, limit this to less than 15 minutes and no closer than two metres (three steps away)
  • Help them access food by offering to shop for them or meet online shopping services, leave it outside their door
  • Collect medication from the pharmacy if possible or collect their prescriptions
  • Encourage them to contact their department and coronavirusenquiries@surrey.ac.uk if they have not done so
  • Encourage them to eat if they can and drink at least two to three litres of fluid per day
  • Encourage them to call 111 if they are worsening
  • Call Security on 3333 if you are seriously worried about their health.

What to do if you think you might have Covid-19

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms and seek advice from the NHS Covid-19 website. Stay at home if you have either:

  • A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • Your condition gets worse
  • Your symptoms do not get better after seven days

What the University is doing

The University has been developing and delivering a comprehensive action plan since the Covid-19 outbreak first emerged. We are following national and international advice and guidance, working closely with health authorities and Public Health England. The health and well-being of our entire community is our first priority, with a particular focus on those living on campus.

A senior management response team (Silver Response Group) continues to meet frequently to oversee and manage our preparations and response. They are guided by a set of agreed strategic objectives, and the key actions taken will continue to be summarised on this page and in the Frequently Asked Questions pages for different parts of our community, below.  

Latest guidelines

View the latest advice and guidance from: