The Best Student Life. Bristol SU

Coronavirus Updates

Key Information

Template Letter to Landlords

Assessment Mitigations: Statement from SU Officers

National Lockdown Officer Statement

Bristol SU spaces and services

Coronavirus Guidance for Student Groups

University Information

Financial Hardship Funds

Assessment Mitigations Package

Student experience and study in 2020/21

Living Circle Guidance

Guidance on self-isolation

If you have any questions you should contact info-point@bristol.ac.uk

Wellbeing Resources

University Wellbeing Access

Student Space

MIND

Bristol Nightline

Wellbeing Network Buddy System

Please note the situation around COVID-19 is likely to continue to change this term and the information here may not always be fully up-to-date. Officer priorities will continue to be reviewed based on student feedback and other information. You can find updated information from the University at their coronavirus information page.

Most recent update

20 January 2021 - Open Letter to Private Landlords

Today we have sent a public letter from Bristol SU to landlords and accommodation providers, to ask them to reduce financial pressure on their student tenants during the coronavirus outbreak. The University of Bristol have also sent a supporting letter.

If you are a student concerned about having to pay rent on your private tenancy, because the coronavirus outbreak and current lockdown has put you in a difficult financial position, you can use this template letter to write to your landlord and request a change to your agreement. You may also wish to consider applying for the University's financial assistance fund.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Past Updates

15 January 2021 - Officer Statement on Assessment Mitigations

You'll receive an update today from the university on academic mitigations for assessments this year. This announcement has followed three days of talks with the university and we are pleased to see them implement some of the measures we have been calling for since late November. We hope that the mitigations agreed go some way to reassure you in the assessments that you are about to take. 

However, there are some areas where we've not yet been able to reach an agreement, and the measures announced today do not constitute a finished safety net that fully mitigates the impact of Covid on everybody's qualifications. You'll notice there's currently no no-detriment policy, our calls for which have been rejected. We will continue to negotiate with the university to put in place the blanket measures that are needed to recognise the impact of the pandemic on all students.  

We're proud of what we've managed to win for students so far, but we know the current mitigations do not go far enough and will continue to fight for more comprehensive support for the summer assessment period. We are pleased that the university will continue to meet with us to discuss what these further measures will look like. 

There will be an Education Network Forum following exams where you'll be able to give us feedback on the January assessment period and organise with us for more comprehensive measures for the summer. This is open to all students and we really encourage you to attend to let us know what you think and help us lobby the university to do more to support students in their studies. 

David Ion (Undergraduate Education Officer) and Leah Martindale (Postgraduate Education Officer)

Overview of the mitigation package:

  • You do not need to provide supporting evidence when submitting your extenuating circumstances
  • You can self-certify for 24-hour exams and you can defer your seven-day timed assessments by using the self-certification process
  • You can access an automatic one-week coursework extension on request, without evidence  
  • The performance of student cohorts graduating this year will be reviewed against previous years unaffected by COVID-19  
  • The methods for classifying taught postgraduate Masters’ degrees in 20/21 will be revised
  • If you have Alternative Exam Arrangements you can have two days extra time to take seven-day assessments

You can view further information on the university webpages.

13 January 2021 - Update your Address

Following the government announcement of the national lockdown, and the instruction for all students to stay in place, the University of Bristol is requesting that all students please update your current address so the university can give you the right support and information to continue with your course.

This is a requirement if you are applying for the rent rebate.

12 January 2021 - Rent Rebates for Students Living in University-Owned Halls

Students living in halls who are not currently in residence and are unable to return to University-owned accommodation as a result of Government guidance will receive an 100% rent rebate for the period 1 February – 26 March, providing your course has not resumed blended learning.

For details of how to receive this rebate, please check your emails and visit the accommodation portal >>  https://www.bristol.ac.uk/accommodation/coronavirus/rent-rebate/

Bristol SU Student Living Officer Ruth Day said:

“We’re really pleased that the university have agreed to a rent rebate for students living in halls. This is one of the top priorities I took to the university when lockdown was announced and what students have been asking for. It’s great that the university has listened and acted quickly. We’ll be continuing to work with the University to ensure that students remaining in halls through lockdown get the financial support they need. We’ll also continue to work with JCRs and students striking with Bristol, Cut the Rent on the additional measures that they’d like to see put in place.”

8 January 2021 - Latest Updates from The University of Bristol

The University of Bristol have issued a letter to all students with more details around the impact of the latest lockdown. The key things to know are:
  • You should stay at home if you can.
  • All teaching will be online until at least mid-February, at which point the government plans to review the national situation. The University will plan for all teaching to be online until Easter if necessary, except for specific permitted programmes. You'll hear from the University if this applies to you.
  • Unless you are required on campus for practical or accreditation purposes, your January assessments will be completely online.
  • Most libraries and study spaces are closed. The Arts and Social Sciences Library is open for urgent access only, and online library support is still running. The University will share details of new arrangements in the next few days.
  • If you do need to come to campus, you should book a test before returning. Testing slots are available at the University from Friday 8 January and are due to run until Sunday 7 February. Testing slots are also available at UWE’s Frenchay campus. Students who stayed in Bristol, have returned already, or need to return in the coming weeks are expected to get tested as well.
  • If you are an international student travelling to Bristol from outside the UK and can change your travel plans, you should consider doing so. For international students who have already booked travel or are en route, we are ready to welcome and support you, on the understanding that your teaching will be online under current circumstances unless you are on an exempt programme.
  • Whether you are in Bristol or away, you can still access academic support, wellbeing support, extracurricular activities and advice through Bristol SU’s Just Ask service.

Please check The University of Bristol's website for further information about returning to campus in 2021

7 January 2021 - Government Guidance for Universities Released

The Government have released new guidance for UK universities and the University of Bristol will be contacting students with more detailed guidance in the near future. You can check the full Government guidelines here and running guidance from the University here

5 January 2021 - New National Lockdown: Officer Statement

We hope that you are safe and well wherever you are currently. As your officer team we are now back at work with the rest of the Bristol SU team following the winter break and are looking for the best ways to support you throughout the new national lockdown.  

We’ve been living with the reality of COVID-19 for a significant amount of time now but know that the national lockdown announced last night will bring new challenges for many of you. 

It is important in this time that we recognise our shared responsibility to each other and take the necessary precautions to ensure that we are keeping ourselves and those most vulnerable safe by following government guidance to stay at home, unless for specific purposes.
  
We know how varied the student experience is and we will continue to work closely with the university to make sure you are getting the support you need, and that the student voice is heard in decisions being made. Just some of the things we’ll be looking at as a matter of urgency include: 

  • Academic mitigations for January Assessments 
  • Rent rebates and contract releases for students in halls of residences
  • Tuition Fees 
  • Support for International students 
  • Financial Hardship 
  • Wellbeing support 
  • Supporting students in private-sector accommodation

The university will be providing detailed information on plans for this term as soon as possible. In the meantime, if you have any questions you can contact the Student Information Service at info-point@bristol.ac.uk 

We’re conscious that the current situation is likely to affect your wellbeing so would encourage you to reach out to wellbeing access for support if you need it.  

We will share more information on our plans for this term shortly via email, social media and our coronavirus webpage so you can stay updated with the work we’re doing to support you. You can contact us via email to let us know what is concerning you.
 
In love and solidarity, 
The Bristol SU Officer Team 

7 December 2020 - Testing Update

Limited Lateral Flow testing will now be available in the Anson rooms between the 10th and 14th December inclusive, with reduced opening hours of 2pm - 7pm.

From 15th -18th December inclusive there will be a PCR self-administered testing service at the Anson Rooms between 2pm – 7pm. These tests will be processed by Public Health England labs and the results are usually notified within 72 hours via NHS Test and Trace, rather than the 2 hour wait associated with Lateral Flow tests.

Bookings for this extended provision are available through the current booking form.

4 December 2020 - Rent Rebates for Students in Halls

Following continued pressure and lobbying from Bristol SU and Bristol, Cut the Rent, Bristol has now led the way following the government announcement about staggered returns in the new year.

We’re really pleased about the announcement from the university yesterday on rent rebates, and to see our demands and those of the rent strikers acknowledged. We’ve managed to win:
* A 30% rent rebate for 7 weeks over the Winter period. 
* Extra financial support for students on bursaries and Care Leavers and Estranged Students

This is on top of our previous wins of:
* 10 day rent rebate for the end of the Winter term
* Compassionate case-by-case contract no-penalty release policy

We still think there’s more the university can do and we’ll be continuing to work closely with them and the rent strikers to make sure that students are getting the best deal.

1 December 2020 - Officer Statement on January Assessment Mitigations

We call on the University of Bristol to introduce more academic mitigations for January exams. 

The University’s planned policy for Extenuating Circumstances (ECs) during the January assessment period do not go far enough to protect students. We are asking for the University to take urgent action to change this, and ensure students aren’t left to fail through no fault of their own. 

Students are currently facing unprecedented challenges that are having a huge impact on their education. Thousands in our community have faced serious illness in their family, infection with a potentially deadly or life-changing virus, self-isolation, halls lockdowns and more.  

In any normal year, a student experiencing these things would be seen as suffering exceptional extenuating circumstances, and it would be natural to assume mitigations were needed. It is also an unfortunate reality that every year there are students facing difficult circumstances that slip through the net because they do not understand how complex processes work, or do not realise mitigations are possible. With so many students affected this year it is obvious to us that, without action from the University, a tragic number of students will fall through the cracks. 

Last Summer the University rose to this challenge. While many in the Russell Group dithered, Bristol launched its no detriment and safety net policy, giving thousands of students a fair shot at their degree despite the circumstances. Where the Government's approach to A-levels and GSCEs failed, Bristol University triumphed, finding a route to fairness and security for its students. It was a testament to the hard work, dedication and ingenuity of staff at all levels of the institution that Bristol found a way through. We are not asking for the reinstatement of this policy, but some blanket mitigations are necessary to mitigate the impact Covid has had on all our studies this year. 

We understand the University is now facing substantial Government pressure to avoid “grade inflation” and the perception that it is sacrificing its academic standards. We know it is a tricky balance to ensure fairness while guaranteeing the quality of degrees, and so we are not asking for the full safety net of last summer. But we also know, and think many colleagues at the University will agree, that the current plans do not do enough to protect students and risk devastating outcomes for those who, for whatever reason, fail to gain ECs. 

We have been asking the university to change its approach to academic mitigations for some time now and are disappointed that these calls have been ignored. We are therefore publicly asking the University to urgently consider the following Academic Mitigations: 

  • Uncapped resits as standard for those who fail exams. This is in line with mitigations in place for summer assessments last year and would ensure that no student falls through the cracks.  
  • Ensure that those who have three or more 7-day exams in a week can automatically apply for extensions on one or all of them.  
  • The same allowances for ECs as in the summer assessment period, which stated there was no need to provide evidence if you did not have any.  
  • As with last year, students should not be required to submit evidence to defer their exams. 
  • Mitigations should be put in place and publicised for the loss of Alternative Exam Arrangements for disabled students, with extensions being offered to students who want them. 

We have written to course reps and encouraged them to reach out to their Heads of School, asking them to push for a reconsideration of the current policy.

You can also add your voice to ours by signing this petition.

We hope that the university will listen to our calls and introduce measures to ensure that no student falls through the cracks. 

In Solidarity, 

Your Bristol SU Officer Team

25 November 2020 - Mass Testing

We’ve been lobbying for increased testing capabilities and a clear testing strategy since the start of term and welcome the fact that the university will be offering mass testing for students.  

Testing will start on Monday 30 November in the Anson Rooms and Wills Conference Centre. You can find more information and book your test here >> https://www.bristol.ac.uk/students/your-studies/study-2020/health-safety/mass-covid-testing/

19 November 2020 - End of Term Guidance

Your School will have contacted you to let you know when in-person teaching will end for your programme as teaching moves online for the last two weeks of term.

The University have shared guidance on the end of term and travelling home during the student travel window. There should be further information available on mass testing soon.

17 November 2020 - Updates on Rent and Security

Your Student Living Officer, Ruth has secured a 10-day rent rebate for students living in university halls. We have worked hard to ensure that students are not unfairly financially affected by the student travel window.

We have also been working with the university to get greater clarity on the role of security services. There is further information on this on the university webpages: https://www.bristol.ac.uk/students/life-in-bristol/accommodation/security-services/

2 November 2020 - National Lockdown: Bristol SU Officer Statement

The government's decision to allow universities to continue all on-campus teaching during a national lockdown is indicative of their lack of clear leadership during this pandemic.

It seems wrong on both an educational and public health level to continue on-campus teaching during a lockdown.

We therefore call on the University to show the leadership themselves and move all non-essential in-person teaching online for the rest of TB1.

With in-person teaching moving online, the university should also:   

  • Lobby the Government through UUK to allow students who have completed 2 weeks of isolation to return home before Christmas. The two weeks of isolation is necessary to mitigate the government's concerns of students returning home, but students should not be kept on campuses if they can do their learning online and wish to do so.
  • Allow students in halls no-penalty contract releases from their accommodation so that they can choose to move home.
  • Continue to support students in halls with free food boxes, regular mental health check-ins, and other essentials.
  • Give students who choose to stay in halls a 30% rent reduction for TB1.
  • Keep libraries and study spaces open for students who remain in Bristol. Libraries offer safe and secure spaces for students who may otherwise struggle to access their studies online so should be prioritised.
  • Publicise the financial hardship funds students can apply to due to the financial difficulties of entering another lockdown.

This position is informed by weeks of consultation with students and staff in which it became increasingly clear that in some areas, in-person teaching has not met the high expectations set by seminars under normal circumstances. Plans that we were working with the university on before the lockdown was announced, such as giving autonomy to lecturers to move their teaching online, will not be enough in response to a national lockdown, and more decisive action is now needed.

We also recognise that TB1 has not turned out the way it was sold to students over summer, and the SU will be lobbying for tuition fee reductions on a local and national level, especially for international students.

Your Bristol SU officers will continue to work hard to hear your concerns and work with the university to deliver important support and changes during and beyond this lockdown. If you would like to offer feedback, request help or speak to someone about what this means for you, please get in touch at bristolsu@bristol.ac.uk.

In solidarity,

The Bristol SU Officer Team

21 October 2020 - Rent Strike Solidarity

Bristol Cut the Rent has called for a rent strike for students living in university halls of residence. This is based on frustrations around having to pay full rent given the disruption to their student experience caused by Covid, the fact that a number of students are having to pay for rooms which they are no longer living in, and dissatisfaction with the support they have been received when individual flats have been going into isolation.
 
We fully support the rights of our students to self-organise and raise their frustrations to the University in this highly important area, and we stand in solidarity with them. The Officer Team have been actively lobbying for the university to offer rent refunds to those in lockdown for weeks, and fully support students in their demands. As an SU, we have active policy to support halls rent strikes, and this is what we will be doing by providing them with advice and highlighting their demands to the university in the spaces that we are in, alongside the halls lockdown demands that we have already released.
 
If you are living in halls you can sign the pledge to withhold rent and must cancel your payment to the University by 23rd October. You can sign up here: tinyurl.com/lockdownstrike.
 
If you would like to find out more, you can check out the NUS guide to rent strikes or email our Student Living Officer, Ruth, at ruth.day@bristol.ac.uk.

15 October 2020 - Rent Strike Announcement

Bristol Cut the Rent has called for a rent strike for students living in university halls of residence. You can find further details here.

We’ll be supporting Cut the Rent by highlighting their demands to the university in the spaces that we are in, alongside the halls lockdown demands that we have already released. 

If you are living in halls you can sign the pledge to withhold rent. 

If you would like to find out more, you can check out the NUS guide to rent strikes. If you have more questions, Bristol, Cut the Rent are running a Rent Strike Workshop on Sunday at 6pm, for you to ask any questions you have.

14 October 2020 - Update on On-Campus Teaching and Study Spaces

With the support of course and faculty reps, your Undergraduate Education Officer David has been collecting a list of courses students have highlighted as having particularly low on-campus hours. He has used that feedback to lobby the PVC Education who is:

  • Immediately working to increase the number of on-campus teaching hours for those courses outlined and others with particularly sparse timetables in TB1. People should be seeing this increase over the next few weeks.
  • Committed to a universal minimum of on-campus teaching for timetabling TB2. Bristol SU is now lobbying to set this minimum at 3hrs/week (as an average across TB2 with an awareness that lab courses will often bunch some hours together to decrease cleaning time)

We realise, however, that those who were originally timetabled low levels of in-person teaching will still be missing out on the full blended experience over the next few weeks before increases can be arranged, and this will factor in to any discussion regarding tuition fees.

We will keep reviewing our priorities based on student feedback and other information.

Study spaces is the other issue Leah (Postgraduate Education Officer) and David (Undergraduate Education Officer) are working extremely hard on. So far they have/are working on:

  • Successfully proposed and lobbied for the university to increase staffing provision in the libraries so all study spaces can open until 8pm on weekdays. The uni are sorting staffing for this and it should be in place in the next few weeks. Next they’ll be looking at opening the ASS event longer in line with previous 24/7 coverage.
  • They asked the uni to identify unused teaching space (unsuitable for socially distanced seminars) which can be used for studying. There are 120 spaces which should become available once they’ve been risk assessed (provided use of those spaces doesn’t substantially increase the covid risk.)
  • They’re working with the uni on creating non-silent study areas which can be assigned to students with long commutes or back to back on-campus and synchronous online teaching to complete online learning on campus. That means these students won’t have to miss any online or in-person teaching because of travel between home and campus.
  • They’re looking ahead to January exams, when study spaces are likely to be even more in-demand, and are asking the uni to convert unused lecture rooms to study spaces.
  • And, of course, they’re lobbying for a raising of the 4hr limit.

There are a number of other things we’re looking working with course and faculty reps on including improving the online browsing ability so you don’t have to use library time to browse shelves, improving the laptop borrowing system, teaching online study skills.

13 October 2020 - Halls Lockdown: What we're lobbying for

We’ve been lobbying for the University to ensure plans for halls lockdown include all the support you need. We've already secured making sure that you can access food, laundry and other essentials, but here's the full list of our demands.

Food, laundry, post 

  • The food boxes provided to students in lockdown should cater for all students’ dietary requirements including halal and kosher options - there should be preemptive scoping on this 
  • There should be a hot food option for students who live in catered halls so they do not get substandard food boxes 
  • These food boxes and the hot meal provision should cover the whole 14 days of quarantine and not just 7 
  • The University to arrange laundry provision for students in locked down halls 
  • There should be a provision for getting post and physical worksheets to students in lockdown 

Community 

  • Resilife to work with Bristol SU to put on a comprehensive programme of community building events for students in halls, ensuring all events are accessible to international students 
  • Community Development subgroup to become a lockdown contingency planning group 
  • Facilitate a buddy system where students from similar backgrounds can be linked up online between Living Circles. Specifically a Care Leavers and Estranged Students buddy system should be set up 
  • Facilitate online spaces where students from specific liberation groups can create a community 

Mental Health Provision 

  • Resilife should check in with every Living Circle twice a week. 
  • Resilife provision should be moved online with clearly signposted bookable online meetings with RLAs 
  • Resilife should actively be checking in with Care Leavers and Estranged Students 

At-Risk students 

  • Resilife or Wellbeing Access to conduct an audit to identify the students with disclosed health conditions 
  • Resilife to contact these students and offer them a tailored plan either created by Disability Services or a Wellbeing Advisor on how the student will be supported throughout the 14-day lockdown 
  • Resilife or another member of staff who has been involved in supporting the student more long-term to check in with the student 1 on 1 at least 3 times each week, with the scope to increase this based on the student’s need 
  • The plan for ensuring that students can get their medication needs to be finalised 

Support with rent and financial hardship 

  • Rent in halls for the duration of the lockdown should be fully refunded 
  • Covid Hardship Fund to be properly publicised to students and more money put in to support students who can no longer work 
  • Protecting student spaces 
  • All students to have access to outdoor space in the event of a lockdown where they can exercise and get fresh air 
  • Testing sites should be located without compromising the physical spaces needed to benefit students’ physical and mental health 

We'll be updating you as we secure responses to these demands. We will keep reviewing our priorities based on student feedback and other information.

9 October 2020 - Courtrooms Hall Lockdown

We’ve been living with the reality of COVID-19 for a significant amount of time now and today we’ve seen the first halls lockdown put into place at Bristol. 

There has been significant media coverage of halls lockdowns across the UK and we understand that now Bristol has locked down The Courtrooms this could cause anxiety for you. This is the first hall to be locked down but there may be more to follow. 

We’ve been lobbying for the University to ensure plans for halls lockdown include all the support you need including access to food, laundry and community building events. We are still actively lobbying the university on a number of additional things including: 

  • Access to financial hardship funding 
  • Buddy system 
  • Mental health provision 
  • Additional support for vulnerable students 
  • Rent in halls for the duration of the lockdown should be fully refunded 
  • We're also trying to secure access to outdoor space for all students currently self-isolating.

It is important in this time that we recognise our shared responsibility to each other and take the necessary precautions to ensure that we are keeping each other safe. This means following guidance in order to prevent spreading the illness further in our community.  

You can contact us via email and we’ll be communicating with you on email and social media to give you every opportunity we can to let us know what is concerning you, and stay updated with the work we’re doing to support you. 

We’re conscious that the current situation is likely to affect your wellbeing so would encourage you to use the university wellbeing access form for support if you need it. We’ll be continuing to run events online, like many of our student groups, so that you are still able to connect to other students.  

In love and solidarity, 
The Bristol SU Officer Team 

7 October 2020 - Study Spaces and Covid Cases

The university will publish the current numbers of confirmed staff and student cases each Wednesday: https://www.bristol.ac.uk/coronavirus/statistics/. We welcome this move and are continuining to ask for more open and honest communication from the university.

Following successful lobbying from Bristol SU Officers, all study spaces will be open until 8pm in line with the extended teaching day. We are continuing to push for additional access to study space and to remove the four hour cap.

5 October 2020 - Officer Update on Creating a Safe Campus and Study Spaces

We’ve been lobbying the university on a range of asks, which were developed closely with teaching staff at the UCU, to help ensure a safe return to campus. Some of our successes so far include:

  • Clarifying the university’s policy on face masks and visors.
  • Lobbying for increased testing capabilities
  • Working to improve the way the university communicates key policies, expectations and updates to students.
  • Working in tandem with UCU to ensure that teaching staff feel safe to return to teaching face to face.

We are continuing to work with the university on:

  • A clear testing strategy that communicates to staff and students the Covid situation in the university community.
  • Contingency planning in the event of a local or national lockdown.

We’re also lobbying to safely increase study space capacity for TB1. Some of what we're currently pushing for includes:

  • Extending the amount of time that students are able to book each week.
  • Extending opening hours of all study spaces in line with the extended working week.
  • Ensuring all available study spaces, including in faculty buildings and the SU, are available to book through the main library booking system.
  • Utilising teaching rooms that have been decommissioned for socially distanced seminars.
  • Utilising lecture spaces currently being used for teaching in the lead-up to January exams.

1 October 2020 - Living Circles and Student Group Guidance

We're aware that there has been some confusion recently about Living Circles. To find out who is in your living circle:

Log in to Blackboard to see a list or talk to one of your residential life team who can help.

Remember to stay in your living circle or household and keep social distancing so that you can get the most out of your university experience this year.

We have now published a series of guidance for student groups on how they can run activities safely throughout TB1. Updates can be found here >> https://www.bristolsu.org.uk/tools-to-run-your-group/training-support/coronavirus-guidance-for-student-groups 

24 September 2020 - Living Circles and Households

We know that some of you are already in Bristol and many more of you will be joining us over the next week.

It’s an exciting time but also more important than ever that we keep following covid guidance.

As you move to Bristol you need to stay in your Living Circles and keep social distancing so that we can:
-    Enjoy face to face teaching
-    Make the most of our student experience
-    Keep our community safe
-    Get to know Bristol better and avoid a local lockdown

We’re looking forward to term starting and want you to be able to enjoy it too.

There are lots of events currently running online so that you can meet new people and start your student experience. There are more details at bristolsu.org.uk/welcome 

Bristol SU Officer Team

29 May 2020 - Statement on new academic year

The University have now announced their plans for next term which include delaying the start of the Autumn term until 5 October for undergraduate students and 19 October for postgraduate students. Teaching will take place through a ‘blended learning’ model and social distancing measures will be in place across campus. You can read the university’s full statement and the details here >> bristol.ac.uk/coronavirus   

We know that in recent weeks there has been a growing anxiety about what next academic year looks like which has increased as other universities have made their plans public.  

As your officer team, we want to make sure you have the best experience possible at university next year but are aware that this will look different to usual on a ‘socially-distant’ campus. 

We’ve gathered a lot of feedback from current students and presented this to the university, as well as hosting a forum specifically focused on what a socially-distant September could look like. We’ve continued to represent your views and have made sure the university are including student voices in this important decision. 

We’re pleased to see that some of what we have advocated for has been included in the university’s plan, including giving students the time to adjust through an induction period and highlighting the value of community. 

There are still details to be worked out and we’re continuing to lobby to make sure students get the best deal, and are able to access the financial and wellbeing support they need as well as the technology and equipment required for learning in this way. We know that in some cases minority students have been particularly impacted and are making sure the university put reasonable adjustments in place. We’re also pushing to make sure that relevant representatives such as JCRs, academic reps and chairs of networks are involved in conversations with the university to work out the details of these plans. 

The university community is important and we’re working to make sure that the importance of your social experience is acknowledged by the university, including support for clubs and societies. We’re excited about Welcome Week 2020 and the opportunity to do things differently. We’re still working out the details, but will be keeping you updated throughout the summer.  

We want you to be confident that you are still getting value for money from your university degree and have asked the university for greater transparency on how your fees are being spent. You can see further details of what we have asked the university to prioritise here >> https://www.bristolsu.org.uk/articles/officer-update-on-long-term-asks  

As a team we are continuing to represent and support you, and want to make sure you can continue to shape what your next year will look like. You can submit feedback at bristolsu.org.uk/covid19feedback or contact us directly.  

We’ll be continuing to communicate with you regularly via email and social media to keep you updated with the work we’re doing to support you.

Bristol SU Officer Team

 

Useful Information

Halls Lockdown Demands

We’ve been lobbying for the University to ensure plans for halls lockdown include all the support you need. We've already secured making sure that you can access food, laundry and other essentials, but here's the full list of our demands.

Food, laundry, post 

  • The food boxes provided to students in lockdown should cater for all students’ dietary requirements including halal and kosher options - there should be preemptive scoping on this 
  • There should be a hot food option for students who live in catered halls so they do not get substandard food boxes 
  • These food boxes and the hot meal provision should cover the whole 14 days of quarantine and not just 7 
  • The University to arrange laundry provision for students in locked down halls 
  • There should be a provision for getting post and physical worksheets to students in lockdown 

Community 

  • Resilife to work with Bristol SU to put on a comprehensive programme of community building events for students in halls, ensuring all events are accessible to international students 
  • Community Development subgroup to become a lockdown contingency planning group 
  • Facilitate a buddy system where students from similar backgrounds can be linked up online between Living Circles. Specifically a Care Leavers and Estranged Students buddy system should be set up 
  • Facilitate online spaces where students from specific liberation groups can create a community 

Mental Health Provision 

  • Resilife should check in with every Living Circle twice a week. 
  • Resilife provision should be moved online with clearly signposted bookable online meetings with RLAs 
  • Resilife should actively be checking in with Care Leavers and Estranged Students 

At-Risk students 

  • Resilife or Wellbeing Access to conduct an audit to identify the students with disclosed health conditions 
  • Resilife to contact these students and offer them a tailored plan either created by Disability Services or a Wellbeing Advisor on how the student will be supported throughout the 14-day lockdown 
  • Resilife or another member of staff who has been involved in supporting the student more long-term to check in with the student 1 on 1 at least 3 times each week, with the scope to increase this based on the student’s need 
  • The plan for ensuring that students can get their medication needs to be finalised 

Support with rent and financial hardship 

  • Rent in halls for the duration of the lockdown should be fully refunded 
  • Covid Hardship Fund to be properly publicised to students and more money put in to support students who can no longer work 
  • Protecting student spaces 
  • All students to have access to outdoor space in the event of a lockdown where they can exercise and get fresh air 
  • Testing sites should be located without compromising the physical spaces needed to benefit students’ physical and mental health 

We'll be updating you as we secure responses to these demands. We will keep reviewing our priorities based on student feedback and other information.

Lobbying for a Safe Campus and Study Spaces

We want to make sure that campus is safe and that you are able to access study spaces and other facilities. We have secured a number of things and are continuing to work with the university on:

  • A clear testing strategy that communicates to staff and students the Covid situation in the university community.
  • Contingency planning in the event of a local or national lockdown.

We’re also lobbying to safely increase study space capacity for TB1. Some of what we're currently pushing for includes:

  • Extending the amount of time that students are able to book each week.
  • Extending opening hours of all study spaces in line with the extended working week.
  • Ensuring all available study spaces, including in faculty buildings and the SU, are available to book through the main library booking system.
  • Utilising teaching rooms that have been decommissioned for socially distanced seminars.
  • Utilising lecture spaces currently being used for teaching in the lead-up to January exams.

We will keep reviewing our priorities based on student feedback and other information.

SU Reception, staff and spaces

Many SU services will continue to run online so please try and contact us via email in the first instance. Instead of dropping into the office or calling us, general enquiries should be sent to bristolsu@bristol.ac.uk and a member of our team will respond. 

The Richmond Building is currently closed due to the national coronavirus lockdown unless you have a coronavirus test booked in The Anson Rooms.

The SU reception desk is currently closed due to the national coronavirus lockdown. You can contact the reception team on bristolsu@bristol.ac.uk

If you are coming to The Anson Rooms for a coronavirus test, please be aware there are a number of changes in place to help make the spaces safe for students and staff:

  • There is a one way system in place. Please follow this when moving around the building. Where possible doors have been left open to reduce contact points. 
  • You must wear a face covering whilst moving around the building. 
  • You should follow social distancing throughout the building. Room capacities will be reduced and are clearly labelled. 
  • There are regular hand sanitization points throughout the building. Please make use of these. 
  • The building will be being cleaned regularly. You will also find cleaning products for your own use after using a study space or room. 

The music practice rooms and band practice rooms are currently closed and will not reopen in 2020.

The Balloon Bar is currently closed due to the national coronavirus lockdown. Check back here for further updates.

Orders for The Basket should be placed online >> https://bristolsushop.com. Click and Collect is currently unavailable due to the national coronavirus lockdown.

The Bristol SU Lettings office is now closed. Only urgent appointments (eg key exchange) will be able to take place.

The Bristol SU Living Room is closed. Senate House will not re-open until the current lockdown ends.

The bike shed outside of the Richmond Building should not be used for overnight or longterm storage and you must take bikes home with you if you are leaving at Christmas. 

Bristol SU Events

All Bristol SU events will be taking place online. You can keep up to date with all digital events taking place on our What's On pages.

Regular society activities and events

Unfortunately student group activity will not be able to take place in-person whilst England is under lockdown restrictions. Student group leaders have been contacted.

Student groups will able to run this year following government guidance and guidance from their national governing bodies. Student group leaders will continue to receive updates from Bristol SU on what is possible and how their group can continue to run. 

Guidance for student group committee members is available online and will continue to be updated regularly.

Intramural Sport

Intramural sport will not be able to go ahead whilst we are under lockdown. Captains will be sent further information.

Looking after yourself while self-isolating

Self Isolation Guidance and Support

Government guidance states that anyone showing possible symptoms of Coronavirus, such as a cough or fever, should isolate for fourteen days. 

If you need to self-isolate the university has committed to supporting you every step of the way. You can read their self-isolation guidance for students which will be updated in line with local and national guidance.

A Student to Student Bristol Covid relief scheme has been set up by volunteer students to provide essential items to University of Bristol students who are in lockdown.

What we're lobbying for

We’ve been lobbying for the University to ensure plans for halls lockdown include all the support you need including access to food, laundry and community building events. We are still actively lobbying the university on a number of additional things including: 

  • Access to financial hardship funding
  • Buddy system
  • Mental health provision
  • Additional support for vulnerable students
  • Rent in halls for the duration of the lockdown should be fully refunded
  • We're also trying to secure access to outdoor space for all students currently self-isolating.

Wellbeing whilst self-isolating

Self-isolating may also affect your wellbeing. For some help on managing your wellbeing while self-isolating, read through this guidance from Mind

 Some top tips include: 

  • Keep connecting with student societies online  
  • Try and keep active 
  • Find ways to relax and be creative