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Coronavirus information

Coronavirus (covid-19) status at Birkbeck - 24 March 2020

We understand that this is an anxious time for the Birkbeck student community. Our primary concern is for our students and staff, and to keep you and your loved ones safe. Academic and professional services staff are doing all they can to support our taught and research students to complete their studies.

All face-to-face teaching ceased from Monday 16 March until further notice.

We are continuing to monitor developments, and will be working with 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. Our main priority remains the health and wellbeing of you, your families, our staff and our new applicants.

We are planning to deliver our Summer Term teaching online. More information will be provided in due course. Face-to-face examinations for the remainder of the academic year have been cancelled, and alternative assessments will be provided.

We are following all UK Government and Public Health England (PHE) guidance and are basing our decisions on this, alongside the impact of the current situation on our students, staff and visitors. We are ready to respond swiftly to government advice as it is updated. We are also consulting with the Birkbeck Students' Union.

For details on what to do if you need medical attention, follow the advice on the NHS website and log an ASK query if you are advised to isolate or are treated for the coronavirus.

My studies

  • While there will be no face-to-face classes at Birkbeck until further notice, we will continue to support your studies in the following ways:
    • Material from cancelled classes will be uploaded to your Moodle modules. This may take some time to complete. Please bear with us as these are exceptional circumstances.
    • We are planning to deliver our Summer Term teaching online. We will provide more information in due course.
    • If you have a study-related question for a lecturer, please email them. If your question is for an administrator, please use the ASK system to get in touch.
    • Departmental administrative teams are offering support online, and are not available for face-to-face or phone enquiries at this time.
    • Please continue to use the wellbeing self-help resources available on our student services website.
    • We recommend that you use our Studiosity service, located in My Birkbeck, to support your assignment submission preparations.
  • If you are concerned about the impact of absence on your studies, please contact your personal tutor or lecturer.
  • 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.

My exams and assessments

  • The College has developed alternative assessments to replace the traditional exams that students would have taken between 23 March and 3 April 2020. Departments have contacted the affected students with details of new assessments, including any relevant dates and deadlines. These assessments relate to the following departments:
    • Management
    • Computer Science and Information Systems
    • Economics, Mathematics and Statistics
    • Biological Sciences
    • Organizational Psychology.
  • The College has tried to make alternative assessments as accessible and inclusive as possible. If you have a study support plan or personal exam provision and need to discuss your adjustments, please email the  or the .
  • Please continue to work on any coursework that has been set. You should submit this in accordance with the instructions and deadlines provided by your department.
  • Many courses will require you to submit your assignment, exam or alternative assessment electronically via Moodle. A typed essay will be easy to submit from a laptop or PC, but if you don't have a laptop or PC at home, you can scan handwritten documents using your phone's camera and an app such as OneDrive. This is also a useful way to capture mathematical workings, drawings and graphs for inclusion in 'electronic' exam papers. More information about these methods of assessment will be provided soon in the Learning Online area of Moodle.
  • Dissertations and research projects: If your research involves participant interaction, it is essential that either the participant interaction is made remote or that the research is paused or changed immediately. You must discuss this with your supervisor as soon as possible and your supervisor must approve any change. The College expects that most undergraduate and postgraduate taught students will use approaches that do not need remote participant involvement. You will not be penalised for changing your methodological approach. See full details of the change to research project regulations.
  • Face-to-face exams in Summer Term (April, May and June) have been cancelled. We currently plan to provide alternative assessments. Specific instructions relating to Summer Term assessment will be provided to you once plans have been confirmed.
  • If you are unable to complete pieces of coursework, alternative assessment, or consider that your performance has been impaired in a specific piece of coursework or assessment, please refer to our Mitigating Circumstances Policy. Our online mitigating circumstances form should be completed within two weeks of the relevant assessment deadline. As a result of the general disruption caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the College will not require you to provide documentary supporting evidence.

Student services and library

  • We are continuing to support our students online.
  • Library:
    • The Birkbeck Library is offering wholly online services, including a chat and email enquiry service, with email support from Subject Librarians and the Disability and Dyslexia team. All loans have been automatically renewed until 30 April 2020.
  • Careers Service:
    • You can access your online careers portal in My Birkbeck to:
      • upload CVs
      • book new one-to-one phone/online appointments
      • access live chat with careers advisers during drop-in hours (Monday-Thursday 4-6pm and Friday 3-5pm)
      • CV upload and checking via CV360 (via the 'Tools' tab).
    • Pre-booked one-to-one appointments will take place over the phone or online. We will contact you to confirm.
  • Talent:
    • You can access your online Talent portal to upload your CV and apply for roles via My Birkbeck.
    • Pre-booked one-to-one appointments will take place over the phone or online. We will contact you with details.
    • Alumni careers clinics may take place remotely where possible. We will contact you to confirm.
  • Study skills:
    • You can access writing feedback and online tutoring via Studiosity in My Birkbeck, and we strongly encourage you to use this.
    • You can access study skills workshops, activities, links and one-to-one online appointments in the Study Skills Moodle module.
  • Student Advice Service:
    • Our face-to-face services are closed, but we are still available to answer your queries online or on the phone.
    • Please use our ASK system, or check Instagram or Twitter for updates.
    • If you need to submit funding application documents, please .
  • Mental Health Advisory Service:
    • We are offering a limited service via email. Please email your adviser direct, or mentalhealth@bbk.ac.uk.
    • In emergency, please speak to your GP, your local A&E or the NHS mental health services.
  • Disability and Dyslexia Service:
    • Email your specialist adviser for email, phone or video advice.
    • Please complete the online assessment set by your department. If your adjustments are not in place, please contact your department to make alternative arrangements.
    • To submit a Disabled Students' Allowance application form and/or medical evidence, email disability@bbk.ac.uk.
  • Counselling Service:
    • We are offering a limited telephone appointment service for study stress during working hours. We also recommend our self-help resources.
    • In emergency, please speak to your GP, your local A&E, the Samaritans (116 123), or the NHS mental health services.
  • Fees and 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.
    • Although you are not currently able to pay your fees in person or over the phone, you can still pay online via My Birkbeck. Monthly direct debits will be collected as normal.

Research students and supervisors

  • Guidance specifically for PhD students and supervisors will be highlighted on the BGRS Moodle site.
  • Research students should keep in touch with their supervisors and check the BGRS website for information.

Offer holders and applicants 

Birkbeck students currently studying abroad

  • Due to the rapidly changing situation, if you are studying abroad or are on a field trip we recommend you return home as soon as possible. You may become stranded if you stay in your current location.
  • Circumstances can vary significantly depending on the country you are studying in, so you should consult Foreign and Commonwealth Office guidance and your travel insurance company before deciding to stay or leave the country.
  • If you do decide to return from your studies abroad early due to the coronavirus situation, Birkbeck will try to minimise the impact on your studies and ensure that you are not penalised academically as a result of cutting short your time abroad.

International students

  • We understand that this is a difficult and stressful time to be away from home and Birkbeck is putting in place systems to allow you to continue your studies in the UK in the coming weeks. However, we are aware that you may be considering returning to your home country. If so, Birkbeck will be supportive of your decision and you are advised to discuss the effect this will have on your studies with your academic department before departing.
  • If you do leave the UK, you may be able to continue studying using the online resources that are being put in place by Birkbeck or, if that is not possible, you can take a break in studies and return to your programme at a future date. You can request a break in studies using My Birkbeck.
  • Birkbeck is an inclusive learning community and we treat any reports of harassment or intimidation in the name of the coronavirus very seriously. If you feel that you have experienced harassment within the College please get in touch and we will investigate using College policy and procedure.
  • UK Visas and Immigration have issued guidance for international students who cannot return home to extend their visa. If you have a visa that is due to expire between 24 January and 31 May 2020, your visa will be extended automatically to 31 May 2020. You will need to contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team to update your records.

Tier 4 students

  • The College is working to make online resources available for you to continue your studies.  Once they are in place, we will move to a system of confirming your engagement with these online resources to meet Tier 4 requirements, which will replace attendance at academic events.
  • Those who have exams scheduled in the coming weeks will receive further information on how to proceed as soon as possible. Students’ Tier 4 status will not be affected and the College will continue to sponsor students on Tier 4 visas during this period.
  • If you are currently outside the UK and are due to return from a period of off-campus study within the next two months, please notify us using ASK.
  • As a Tier 4 international student, if you are intending to return to your home country, please discuss this with your academic department. If you decide to go ahead, contact us using ASK so that we can log your case. You will then be contacted by International Student Administration and asked to complete an online Authorised Absence form.

Coronavirus symptoms and preventative measures

  • Based on current evidence, coronavirus presents with flu-like symptoms including:
    • a high temperature
    • a new continuous cough.
  • You can find further details about symptoms on the Public Health England website.
  • If 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.
  • You should inform the College via an ASK query.
  • To find out more about what you can do to help stop viruses like the coronavirus spreading, visit the NHS website.

Travel

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.

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