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Coronavirus information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) status at Birkbeck

All our teaching during the Spring and Summer term continues online, with alternative assessments replacing in-person exams. We have not compromised our academic standards, nor the quality of our learning opportunities. We have created new digital learning resources to provide an excellent online learning experience, and developed new financial support schemes including to support students with access to digital resources. Whether the teaching is online only, on campus or a mixture, students will enjoy an excellent Birkbeck learning experience.

Since the pandemic began, we have gathered student feedback through several surveys, and used the results to help develop our response and direct our resources. Student feedback helped us to develop the Access to Digital Learning Fund, to identify student support requirements, and most recently to help us plan ahead to the 2021/22 academic year.  

The health and wellbeing of our students and staff members remains our top priority.

Self-isolating or positive COVID test

If you develop coronavirus symptoms, please complete the notification process for COVID-19 via My Birkbeck.

If you are contacted independently by the NHS Test and Trace scheme, please provide them with the following email address for Birkbeck: covid@bbk.ac.uk.

Access to Birkbeck buildings

The Library will remain closed at the current time

The Library's full range of online services remains available and accessible, and this includes 180,000 ebooks and other online learning resources. All of these are available through the Library website. You can seek guidance from your Subject Librarian. The Library Chat facility is the easiest and quickest way to contact Library staff, although you can also email your question or raise an ASK query.  

We will keep the situation under close review and provide more in-person learning and support opportunities once it becomes safe to do so. Regular updates are provided on the Library website.

Make sure you read the student protocol for visiting Birkbeck buildings before you travel.

CAMPUS EVENTS AND TEACHING

The College will be continuing to monitor government guidance on social distancing for campus events and teaching. Due to the ongoing impact of coronavirus, we will again be delivering our programmes online in the Spring Term (January-March) and we will take a decision on teaching in the Summer Term (April-July) during Spring Term 2021. 

The Minister for Universities wrote to students on 22 February to announce plans for students who need access to specialist equipment to return to in-person teaching and learning from 8 March. 

A few of our courses incorporate an obligatory practice-based component such as a laboratory session or field trip which means students would need to attend some teaching events physically in order to complete the year. Departments will write to students separately to explain the arrangements for these courses.

Option to complete the academic year fully online

We guaranteed that you would be able to complete the academic year through our high-quality online learning platform. We hope that you will also be able to access as many of our campus facilities as COVID-19 constraints allow.

This balanced approach is designed to safeguard your educational experience and ensure that you can engage with the Birkbeck community if you are placed in local lockdown, required to self-isolate, need to shield from the coronavirus or unable to travel to the Birkbeck estate. This also ensures continuity of your studies if your personal or professional circumstances are affected or change.

Our virtual classrooms are supported by a rich range of learning materials including videos, reading materials and learning activities, which you can engage with at times convenient to you. You also have virtual access to a full range of student support services.

My Studies

  • Designed with accessibility in mind, our excellent online resources and support will work across various devices and platforms. As most of our teaching will be virtual in the autumn, you will need a personal computer or laptop and reliable internet connection. If these are not available to you, at home, work or on campus, please check our financial support pages for news of relevant schemes of support that may be able to assist you.
  • If you are concerned about your progress on your course, please contact your personal tutor or lecturer. You can find the details of your personal tutor by logging in to My Birkbeck and selecting 'Academic Support'.
  • If you decide that the logistical challenges of continuing your studies are too great, you can take a break in studies due to compelling personal reasons. Before you do, please talk to your personal tutor or lecturer.
  • Keep checking your email, My Birkbeck and online calendars for information about your classes.
  • If you feel unsatisfied with your experience, please raise your concerns with the department in the first instance to see if they can help resolve your concerns. If you are still dissatisfied, you can lodge a formal complaint by following our student complaints policy and form on our policies page.
  • We are using national guidance from the Office for Students and the Quality Assurance Agency to ensure that teaching quality and standards are maintained, and to mitigate the impact of the situation on your studies and assessments.
  • If you are self-isolating, you are required to your update your status on My Birkbeck.

My exams and assessments

  • The College has developed alternative assessments to replace traditional exams. Online assessment details are provided in your Moodle modules.
  • The College has tried to make alternative assessments as accessible and inclusive as possible, with provision for students studying in different time zones. If you have a study support plan or personal exam provision and need to discuss your adjustments, please email the Disability and Dyslexia Service or the Mental Health Advisory Service.
  • Please continue to work on any coursework that has been set. You should submit your coursework in accordance with the instructions and deadlines provided by your department.

Research students and supervisors

  • The impact of COVID-19 is a particular threat to the long-term nature of the work of researchers, and the BGRS is working to find the best ways to support our PhD students.
  • Information and guidance specifically for PhD students and supervisors is available on the BGRS Moodle site, which includes an open letter from PhD students to Professor Julian Swann, and his response.
  • Research students should keep in touch with their supervisors and check the BGRS website for information.

Mitigating circumstances

  • Mitigating circumstances claims must be made through My Birkbeck.
  • If you are unable to submit an assessment or you consider that your performance suffered as a direct result of significant personal or family illness, bereavement or serious personal, emotional or financial challenges either related or unrelated to the outbreak of COVID-19, then you should submit a mitigating circumstances claim in My Birkbeck.
  • Please visit the links below and read the information carefully:
  • You can track your mitigating circumstances claim through the Ask system.

Financial support

  • Birkbeck offers a range of financial support options to students. We can take IT-related costs into account when assessing your financial support application.

Wellbeing

Student services

  • Our student services, including Careers, Study Skills, Wellbeing and Student Advice, are available to you virtually. We work closely with the Birkbeck Students' Union, who current students can also contact for support.
  • Students who are estranged from their families, or who are care leavers, are encouraged to get in touch with student services to explore the resource we have available and the financial support that you may be eligible for. 
  • Our Student Transition and Success schemes support students from under-represented backgrounds, including care leavers, and include meeting existing Birkbeck students who can provide advice and valuable insight linked to timely issues such as assessments and wellbeing.
  • Explore the resources available through BBK Futures to support immediate and longer-term career plans. 

TRAVEL

International students

  • Birkbeck attracts students from over 100 different countries, all of whom contribute to the vibrant community at the College. View our social activities.
  • You can also view upcoming events in My Birkbeck.
  • Over 1500 international students have completed enrolment for the 2020/21 academic year.
  • Our teaching in the Spring Term (January-March) will be delivered online for all students, including those on a Student visa (previously Tier 4).
  • If it is safe for us to return to in-person teaching in the Summer Term (April-July), students who require a Student visa will be expected to return to class. If you do not wish to return to in-person classes, you will not be entitled to continuing visa sponsorship and will need to complete your studies online in your home country.
  • We will notify all students of any changes in advance.
  • Please visit our visa information page and  if you have specific queries.

Coronavirus symptoms and preventative measures

  • If you suspect that you have coronavirus symptoms, visit the NHS's online coronavirus service, which will tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do next.
  • To find out more about what you can do to help stop viruses like the coronavirus spreading, visit the NHS website.
  • Get a free NHS test to check if you have coronavirus. 

Being respectful of others

  • The coronavirus is an international health issue and transcends ethnicity and nationality.
  • Where a member of the student community is harassed or intimidated in the name of the coronavirus, or indeed in any other issue, the College will treat any reports of harassment seriously and will investigate using College policy and procedure.
  • We are an inclusive learning community and in times of external challenge it is a time to support one another.

Contact information

  • If you are concerned about a student or member of staff, you can contact the College by logging a query on ASK.
  • If you are a student living in a University of London halls of residence, contact Residential.Life@london.ac.uk.
  • If you have a clear medical concern about yourself or someone else, use the NHS 111 online service.