Page fully revised: 6 August 2020
This page includes frequently asked questions about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. There are sections on:
Advice for all students and applicants
Will the academic year start on time?
- You should make plans to come to the University as normal to begin your studies in the autumn, unless the Government advice changes. If this happens, we will notify you.
- Our campuses, which have remained open throughout the pandemic, will be open.
How will I be taught? In person or online?
- We are planning to begin the new academic year with as much personal participation in learning and living at the campus as is possible and responsible.
- Every student will have the opportunity to access to in-person tuition and facilities where we can offer this, in line with Government guidance.
- Specialist sessions, such as clinical simulations, workshops, and laboratory practicals, will take place face-to-face on campus.
- At least for the first semester, large lectures will be delivered online to ensure we comply with Government social distancing requirements. We will be ready to respond as guidance changes.
- Some other learning will also be online, as it usually is, through a combination of real-time interactive sessions and materials that you can study in your own time.
- Any lectures that are delivered online will be accompanied by the opportunity for you to ask questions and interact with staff. We know from feedback from our students that this is very important in developing the understanding of new topics.
- Where possible, we will retain the remote learning features that our students have particularly valued, such as off-campus access to e-books and specialist software.
- As we do very year over the summer, we will be reviewing the delivery of our modules to ensure that fresh and inspiring content is available from September.
- Learning facilities, such as the Hive Library and the Peirson Study and Guidance Centre, will be open with appropriate social distancing measures in place.
When will I get my timetable?
We are intending to make Term One timetables available for new and returning students in early September, although this may change if government guidance changes.
We understand that you might prefer access to your timetable sooner however the finalisation process is even more important this year due to social distancing guidelines and other safety considerations.
What happens if I can’t be there for the start of the semester?
We recognise that some students may be unable to join us at the beginning of the semester as they have underlying health conditions, which make them particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. Some students may also have to self-isolate if they, or a member of their household, becomes unwell. If this is the case, please contact the relevant School email address and someone will respond to discuss your individual circumstances:
What are you doing to prepare the campus for students?
We’ve been busy behind the scenes to prepare the campus for September. Our ‘4 C’s’ approach is based around minimising crowds and close contact, while taking extra measures in confined spaces and extending our cleaning programme.
Some of the specific things we’re doing include:
- We are designing new layouts in classrooms and facilities to support collaborative learning in a safer environment, and this includes laboratories and specialist facilities such as our Clinical Skills Suites.
- We will be timetabling courses in line with social distancing guidelines, so there will be fewer students in rooms than usual. We’ll do this by making full use of the teaching day, including scheduling classes in the late afternoon and evening.
- We are introducing one-way traffic flows around buildings and have produced signage to guide people around our campuses and buildings.
- There will be hand sanitiser stations in every building and outdoor handwashing facilities around the campus.
- We are preparing additional outdoor seating areas, which can be used for informal learning and socialising
- We will continue with our enhanced cleaning programme, including a greater frequency of cleaning in commonly used areas in buildings, such as toilets.
- We can’t do this alone, and we will need our students to follow guidelines designed to protect their own safety and wellbeing and that of others, both inside and outside University premises and to follow government guidelines with regards to social distancing and use of face coverings.
What happens if there is a ‘second wave’ and another lockdown?
Infection rates are currently falling in the UK, but there are debates among experts over whether or not a 'second wave' of coronavirus could affect the country or parts of the country. This might mean a national or local lockdown. If this happens, we will move to delivering learning, teaching and assessment online. Our prioriity is always the safety of our students and staff.
Will I be able to live in Halls of Residence?
- Yes, of course - University accommodation will be open as usual.
- If the University is unable to start any teaching on campus due to Covid-19, you will be able to defer your contract start date to one week before the University is able start your course on campus.
- If the University is required to move all teaching online for a prolonged period (longer than 28 days) due to a resurgence of Covid-19, you will be able to terminate the contract with one week’s notice.
- We have some University-managed accommodation available for returning students. If you would like to access this new service, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
What support will be available?
Supporting your health and wellbeing will continue to be a priority. We have already enhanced the resources available to you, including the online delivery of many of our services for students
Will I be able to socialise with other students?
- Meeting other people and making new friends is an important part of University life. We will provide opportunities for you to interact with other students by using our spaces innovatively and creatively.
- We are continuing to work closely with the Students’ Union to provide a range of social activities for our students for the start of the semester.
- We are also finalising our plans for Welcome Week 2020. Although Welcome Week activities are particularly aimed at students who are new to Worcester, it’s an important opportunity for all students, so we want to let you know we are planning sessions for everyone. The aim of Welcome Week is to help students settle into and back into University life, encourage social activities and develop a sense of belonging to the Worcester community. We aim to provide a vibrant and engaging on-campus and online experience this year.
How does the University work out my degree classification?
We already have in place a flexible way of working out a student’s degree classification, which looks at two different ways of calculating a combination of a student’s best grades from their second and third years and then takes the best result for the student from these two calculations as the basis for the degree classification awarded.
A student’s first year grades are not included at all in the degree classification at the University of Worcester. This already ensures that if a student underperforms in their first year, it has no impact at all on their degree classification; if a student underperforms in their second year, they can retrieve their performance in their third year and if a student underperforms in their third year, they can discount some of their weakest third year grades and include their best second year grades.
The Students’ Union have produced a simple guide to try and explain how degree classifications work.
Advice for students on health placements
There is a case of coronavirus or suspected coronavirus on my work placement, should I attend?
Clinical placements have very effective processes in place to manage patients with coronavirus. Please follow the guidance and policies in your work placement. Students who may be required to deliver clinical care to affected patients should have the necessary skills and knowledge, including infection prevention and control measures needed to work in such environments.
What should I do if I think I have contracted coronavirus, or been in close contact with someone with coronavirus?
The most effective measure you can take to protect yourself is to follow NHS guidance on hand washing.
Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus should follow the guidance for households with possible infection from Public Health England.
Please ensure that you email the Work Base learning Support Office (WBSLO) email@example.com as well as your course leader. It is important that you stipulate the reason for your absence as having symptoms of Coronavirus.
Is it likely that the University will cancel our placements in the event of a more widespread outbreak within the UK?
There are currently no plans to cancel or suspend work placements. We are however monitoring the situation and regularly liaising with all partners who offer work placements.
I cannot attend my work placement as the school/ nursery/early years setting that my children attend is closed, what should I do?
Please notify your placement as soon as possible. Please email the work-based learning support office firstname.lastname@example.org as well as your Personal Academic Tutor. It is important that you stipulate the reason for your absence.
I have been informed that my work placement area has closed due to coronavirus but I have not yet completed my hours and standards/competencies am I going to fail the placement?
No, this alone will not result in a failed placement. The University of Worcester will endeavour to find an alternative placement if at all possible. Where this is not possible, your course leader will speak with you regarding arrangements for making up hours and meeting your standards/ competencies at a later date.
I am due to go on an international work placement, can I still go?
All new requests for international placements have been put on pause for the foreseeable future.
Will the academic staff still visit me on my work placement?
Where these arrangements are currently in place, academic staff will continue to support and visit you in practice areas. It is possible that at the request of a placement provider these arrangements may change. In all cases the university will communicate any changes to you.
Do I need special protective equipment from the University or will my work placement provide this?
Any special protective equipment personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided by your work placement.
If I have a diagnosis of Coronavirus, when can I return to my work placement?
The NHS advice on self-isolating must be followed.
Please ensure that you email WBSLO email@example.com as well as your course leader to inform them you will be returning to your placement. You should also contact the practice facilitator of your planned return. You must also ensure that you check your Course Blackboard site to familiarise yourself on any relevant updates
How will Coronavirus related placement absence be categorised on my training record?
If you have reported that you are sick, this will be recorded as sickness absence
If you are self-isolating but are well, this will be recorded as authorised absence
If you are well but have to stay at home for childcare/caring responsibilities, this will be recorded as authorised absence.
What is the advice if I am a health care student and pregnant?
We understand that you may have some anxieties if you have a placement in a healthcare setting and you are pregnant. The most recent update (26 March 2020) from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) emphasise that pregnant women of any gestation should be offered the choice of whether to work in direct patient-facing roles during the coronavirus pandemic. The RCOG website has more detailed information on coronavirus and pregnancy.
The RCOG state that if you are less than 28 weeks pregnant, with no underlying health conditions, you should practice social distancing, but can choose to continue to work in a patient-facing role. If you choose to continue to work, it is strongly recommended that the necessary precautions are taken. As a vulnerable group to COVID-19 you should participate in your own risk assessment with your placement provider and the university.
If you are more than 28 weeks pregnant or have an underlying health condition – such as heart or lung disease – the RCOG strongly recommend that you avoid direct patient contact.
The University of Worcester will support the choice you make, and you should discuss your individual circumstances with your course leader and work placement who will be able to advise you.
Specific information for applicants
How is the University responding to the summer exams, such as A levels, being cancelled?
Firstly, please try not to worry. We know that this is a worrying time especially given the government’s announcement that school and college exams will not go ahead this summer.
We are doing all we can to provide you with the answers you need about your studies next year as soon as we can.
In light of the unprecedented challenges you are facing at the moment, we will be as flexible as we can in relation to applicants fulfilling the terms of their offer. We recognise potential – in terms of the qualifications which you have already achieved, your predicted grades, and your reference – and will always take these factors into account.
If you hold a conditional offer and have made Worcester your firm choice, then we’d like to reassure you that this offer to study with us still stands. While the current circumstances mean things are changing every day, the conditions of your offer are unchanged and we very much hope to welcome you to Worcester in the autumn.
My course requires an interview. Will that now take place?
We are contacting all applicants scheduled to attend an interview to advise them of how we will proceed with their application.
In some subjects, particularly for courses such as nursing and teacher training, we will invite you to a remote interview (by Skype or over the telephone). In some subject areas, a decision may be reached by considering solely the information on the UCAS application. We will contact you directly about the arrangements that will apply for your course.
When will I receive my results? What if I don't receive them in time to start university in September?
Ofqual, the examinations regulator, has stated that they intend to provide calculated A level grades for students in England on 13 August 2020 and it is likely that other awarding bodies in the UK will adopt similar timescales. We are monitoring the situation in terms of other international qualifications closely.
The current UCAS deadline for applicants to meet the conditions of their offer is 31 August 2020. In light of the recent announcements regarding the timing of examination results there are currently no plans for this deadline to change but UCAS are continuing to review the situation.
Read more about the Government’s approach to qualifications.
Can I contact UCAS for further advice?
Yes, UCAS are continuing to update applicants, advisers and universities as information becomes available. Further details about the UCAS process and updated information is being published on the UCAS website.
Can I defer my offer to 2021 entry?
While we appreciate that the situation with coronavirus is changing quickly and some offer-holders may be considering deferring their offer, we would suggest that you hold off on making any final decisions on this until the situation becomes clearer over the coming months. This is so that your decision is an informed one.
Provided the national situation continues to improve, including the effective implementation of the Government’s proposed test, track and trace programme, we hope to be able to move most of our learning back on campus by the start of the term. You can read more about our plans in the below question, 'Will I still be able to start my course in September 2020?'
We do recognise that individual circumstances change and many of our courses may be able to consider deferring your entry to 2021.
Where can I get further information about applying to study at Worcester?
If you have questions that haven’t been answered on this page, please get in touch with us in the Admissions Office on firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information about the coronavirus, and our response, can be found on our main coronavirus information page.
Submit a question
If you have a question that hasn’t been answered here, you can submit a question through our online form. If you are a student and you have a specific question about your course, you should contact your Course Leader or Personal Academic Tutor in the first instance.