We hope you and yours are well and everyone is coping in these strange and difficult times. We are all desperately keen to return to life-as-we-knew-it, although it seems we are going to have to wait longer than we had initially hoped.
As we begin what would otherwise have been the start of the summer term, to make sure you are kept up-to-date we will be sending out a regular bulletin, twice a week, with the latest information about the University’s response to COVID-19 and the different sources of support you can access to help you through the next term.
In this update, there is important information for all continuing students to explain how we will support your progression to the next level of your studies, we recap on the latest on graduations and highlight the range of mental health and wellbeing support available to help you cope with the lockdown. We also start a regular Birmingham Heroes feature to highlight your fantastic efforts to respond to this crisis and share how you can join a virtual neighbourhood.
- Information for continuing students: progression arrangements
- Mental health and wellbeing services during COVID-19 lockdown
- Letter to International Students from Minister of State for Universities
- Birmingham Heroes - Student leading global hackathon to combat Coronavirus pandemic
- Top tip – Guild of Students Virtual Neighbourhood
Important information for continuing students: progression arrangements
The links below explain how your progression mark (i.e. the mark that contributes to your future degree classification) will be calculated, as most of you are missing credits, and provide some more information on the Bridging Coursework arrangements.
As you know, in recent weeks, your lecturers had to prioritise the development of an emergency assessment framework to address the immediate challenges facing our 2020 graduating cohorts. We would like to thank you for your patience while this work was ongoing.
Select the relevant link below to take you to the information for your circumstances:
You are likely to have seen the announcement from the Vice-Chancellor before the Easter vacation period, confirming that we have regrettably postponed the summer graduation ceremonies that were scheduled for July 2020. For final year students, it is important to remember that the Graduation Ceremony is the celebration and postponing this element does not mean that students will not complete their degree and graduate with their awards.
We recognise that our final year students will still want the opportunity to mark their achievements in some way and so will also be arranging a virtual graduation celebration in July for our graduating students wherever they are in the world. We have also committed to arranging an opportunity for the class of 2020 to reunite with friends in person and on campus to celebrate their achievements, put on a graduation gown, take photos and share the experience with family and friend, which we expect to take place in March 2021.
Read the Vice-Chancellor’s statement
FAQs and more information
For all those students who are expecting to graduate in ceremonies in December 2020, we are still planning for these to go ahead as scheduled. We will continue to monitor the global situation closely and follow UK Government advice carefully – and if the situation changes then we will let you know as soon as we can.
Mental health and wellbeing services during COVID-19 lockdown
We know that coping with lockdown and the current crisis is likely to raise concerns about your mental health and wellbeing, whether or not you have previously needed to access support. There are a number of different ways of accessing services at this time.
• Canvas course - The Mental Health & Wellbeing Team have developed a new Canvas course to support students through the current difficult circumstances. The course is open to all and provides resources for students to help with the anxieties, worries, stresses, difficult emotions and feelings caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Mental Health & Wellbeing Team - Access materials from our Mental Health & Wellbeing Team.
• School and College – Contact your School and College Wellbeing Team who are working remotely to support you.
• PAUSE - The UoB PAUSE Service is still available by email and phone if you need someone to talk to. Find out more.
• SHOUT - SHOUT offers a free crisis test line service available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Text Shout to 85258. All data is anonymised.
• Library Services - Library Services have developed an online list of Wellbeing resources (as opposed to the physical UBWell collections in libraries). For all members of our community (staff and students), the list covers not only where to seek help from UoB and national charities, but also material on overcoming stress, mindfulness, productivity, and ideas for keeping young ones occupied. All these are online resources accessible from home using your UoB login details.
Other sources of support:
• NHS - The NHS have created new resources and advice to support your mental health during the current COVID-19 circumstances. The Every Mind Matters campaign has been launched across the UK and is full of helpful tips and activities.
• MIND - There is also some helpful advice from MIND that is more focused on student life.
Letter to international students from Minister of State for Universities
On 9 April the Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan MP, published a letter to international students. The letter provides information and guidance from the Government during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read a copy of the letter.
Birmingham Heroes - Student leading global hackathon to combat Coronavirus pandemic
One of our Computer Science students, Will Russell, has co-ordinated a huge global initiative in which hackers around the world are working to combat issues created by the coronavirus pandemic. Will, who is in the second year of his undergraduate degree, led the global online ‘hackathon’ called Hack Quarantine, with over 2,500 people across five continents taking part.
The hackathon, which ran until 12 April, offered ‘hackers’ four themes for their inventions: supporting those quarantined or at risk; creating new technology to improve health; finding ways to improve remote working; and, improving awareness and behaviour. Find out more.
We are keen to share your stories of volunteering, community action or anything else you and your course mates are doing to join the fight against COVID-19. If you have a story to share, please send details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top tip – Guild of Students' Virtual Neighbourhood
The Guild of Students have set-up the Facebook group UoB Virtual Neighbourhood as a space for you to share and stay connected with workout routines, recipe ideas, live performances and guest lectures.
Student Communications Team