We know that the current situation will raise many questions for students living in University accommodation, whether you have travelled home or are staying in place. Please be aware that the information on this page will continue to be updated as the situation develops.
A significant amount of work and planning has taken place over the last few weeks to ensure that the University is in the best possible position to meet the needs of our students and respond quickly to the latest government announcements during this unprecedented time. As you will be aware, in light of last week’s government guidance on stricter social distancing and further travel restrictions, the University moved to restricted campus operations from 20 March, which we expect will be the case until at least 1 June 2020.
Although our accommodation service has remained open, and will continue to be open for those students who need it, we understand that students who were able to return home have done so. Over the last week our priority has been to identify which students remain in their university owned accommodation so that we can continue to provide support and advice to them about how they can continue to live safely and remain well during this time.
We have also been considering the additional steps we can take to reduce the financial pressures on those students (and their families) who had contracted to be in our halls for the remainder of this academic year but no longer intend to stay as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
As a result, we can confirm that we will release you from your contract from the 11 April 2020, and won’t take any payment for term three accommodation fees.
In order to be released from your contract and the associated fees you will need to notify us in one of the following ways, depending on your circumstances:
Release from Your Contract
All students who have left their accommodation and want to be released from their contract need to submit an Early Release Request to Living, Accommodation service:
If you have already submitted an Early Release Request to Living, Accommodation Services then you do not need to do anything else, as we are already processing your request.
If you have not submitted an Early Release Request, we ask you to complete the Early Release Form through the Accommodation Portal by Friday 3 April 2020.
For students who are still in their room, you will have one week from the date that the government lift the restrictions on travel, to move out of your room, as we appreciate that the restrictions on travel may affect you being able to leave your room. You will not be charged for your stay in accommodation beyond the 11th April 2020.
For students who have left accommodation and their belongings remain in their room
If you have belongings in your room, this will not affect the release from your Accommodation contract. On the 23 March 2020, the government put restrictions in place around leaving the house for essential travel only. While these restrictions are in place you are not required to remove your belongings from your room.
When the government restrictions on movement are lifted we will contact you with the date by which your belongings must be removed.
For those unable to return to the UK and collect any left belongings please contact Living to discuss how we can support you.
If you have paid for your accommodation fees in full
You do not need to do anything apart from submit an Early Release Form. We will be in touch with you to confirm the credit to your account and to arrange for the accommodation fees to be refunded to you.
If you pay for your accommodation fees by termly payments, direct debit payments or a payment plan
You do not need to do anything else apart from submit an Early Release Form by 3 April. We will not be taking the next Direct Debit payment (which was due on 1 April). We will be in touch with you to confirm any remaining balance on your account. After you have submitted your Early Release Form Finance will be in touch with you to confirm any remaining balance owed and deadline for payment; if any outstanding payment is not made by this deadline your liability for the full year accommodation fee will be reinstated.
If You Want to Return to or Stay in Accommodation
For students who need to remain in their accommodation
We are acutely aware that some students are unable to leave their accommodation at the university. We would like to offer reassurance that our accommodation will remain open throughout; this is your home and we will do everything we can to help you during this time, whilst ensuring we adhere to government and NHS advice.
Should these restrictions continue beyond your contract end date and you want to live with us beyond the end of your current contractual agreement please contact the Living email to discuss your specific circumstances.
For students who have left their accommodation but do not want to be released from their contract
We would like to offer reassurance that our accommodation will remain open throughout; this is your home, you are free to return to your room and resume your stay until the end of your contract providing that government restrictions allow you to travel and you have not requested an early release.
If you are displaying the symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) you need to avoid contact with other people, use NHS 111 to find out what to do next.
We are aware that this is a worrying time and people are concerned for their safety, and the safety of the wider public. We are following Public Health England advice regarding self isolating and staying at home.
The University went into restricted operations on Friday 20 March and as such all our campus catering facilities were closed. Services at the Vale were maintained for resident students in the form of Infusion, The Melt and Costcutter. This situation changed following the Prime Ministers briefing on Friday evening 20 March which resulted in the closure of bars restaurants and cafes across the country and as such we further reduced our offer closing Infusion and restricting The Melt to take away only whilst allowing for public distancing when collecting product.
The Prime Minister made a further announcement on Monday to implement extra restrictions allowing only supermarkets, pharmacy and essential services to be maintained and also instructing people to stay at home. The decision was made to close The Melt as a result of this direction for the protection of the staff, students and public and for provision to be provided by Costcutter.
Meal Plan students are able to use Costcutter whilst the current situation prevails. Students are asked to maintain social distance and not panic buy and only attend site once per day to ensure everyone can access product and services and not put pressure on the staff. Everyone is asked to make use of the sanitizer gel or gloves prior to entering the store for the protection of everyone.
Please be aware that due to the circumstances any unspent fund on this year’s meal plan will roll over to the next academic year.
The situation is unprecedented and we realise this is not the normal level of service we would provide for students on Meal Plan and this is being reviewed on a regular basis in line with the government advice.
At this time, access to flats by staff is for urgent matters only. Please contact your Village reception if you require more information.
A group of students have set up a food bank to support both students and locals in Selly Oak who will be self-isolating.
If you need help with food, feeling lonely and would welcome a chat, fill out the form and the group will try and support you.
Other campus services
From 17:00 on Friday 20 March until Monday 1 June, at the earliest, we are moving to restricted campus operations. This means that the majority of buildings and facilitieswill be closed, and those that are open may have restricted access during this period. Find out about Library and study spaces, or visit our campus page for more information on arrangements.
The Living shop based in University Centre is now closed until the 1 June. Living staff will be working remotely during the normal working hours of Monday-Friday 09:00-17:00 (from 10:00 on Tuesday). Details of how you can contact Living, Accommodation Services can be found here.
The three Accommodation Villages are aiming to remain open 24/7 on an ongoing basis. Should there be a requirement to reduce the number of staff on site, the Vale Village will remain open 24/7 full time indefinitely. You can reach the Villages by phone at;
- Selly Oak Village – +44 (0)121 415 1011
- Pritchatts Park Village – +44 (0)121 414 9022
- Vale Village – +44 (0)121 415 8520
Visit Living to find out more.
For students who have a contract with one of our nominated Partner accommodation providers.
We are working closely with Unite Students, Liberty Living and Host- Metalworks to ensure you are well supported, these providers have already written to our students in their accommodation on how to end your tenancy. Please find links to each of our Partner accommodation provider’s websites below;
Information for students living in the local area
If you are living in Selly Oak or the surrounding areas, visit our community support page for information to help you at this time.