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Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, your university journey is looking different to everything you have imagined, and as one of our international students, you may need extra information and support - please know that everyone here is working hard to make sure that life as a Solent student will be the amazing experience you deserve.

Below are the top things you need to know to help you keep yourself and others safe, and a couple of videos to show you what to expect on campus. Our Student Charter has also been updated to reflect Solent's commitment to protect students, staff and the wider community during Covid-19. Please make yourself aware of the commitment and the Charter that you signed up to when enrolling at Solent.

Scroll down and you will find some frequently asked questions that provide more details specifically for our international students. We'll be updating them regularly, so keep checking back.


I have Covid symptoms - what should I do?

If you are living in a University residence

  • Contact the Residence Team and email covid.support@solent.ac.uk.
  • Request a test and notify the Residence Team of the result.
  • Self-isolate until the results come back.
  • All students in the same ‘household’ or flat group will also be advised to self-isolate until the results of the test are known.

I have tested positive for Covid what should I do?

  • Email covid.support@solent.ac.uk to let them know and continue to follow government guidelines.

  • You may be placed in quarantine if difficult to self-isolate in your own room.

  • Flat occupants to be advised to self-isolate for 14 days. Guidance on self-isolation and support will be provided.

I have tested negative for Covid do I need to do anything?

  • Yes, please email covid.support@solent.ac.uk to confirm this. You and members of your ‘household’ or flat group can also come out of isolation, unless one of them has symptoms.

If you are living in private accommodation/at home

  • Email the Student Hub using covid.support@solent.ac.uk to alert them, with name/student number/accommodation details. If in privately owned student residences, you must follow any procedures issued by that residence.
  • Get a test and follow government guidelines,
  • Notify covid.support@solent.ac.uk of the result.
  • Self-isolate until results have come back. If in a shared flat, all students should self-isolate until the results of the test are known.

I have tested positive for Covid, what should I do?

  • Email covid.support@solent.ac.uk to confirm this and continue to follow government guidelines. Flat occupants will be advised to self-isolate for 14 days. Guidance on self-isolation and support will be provided.

I’ve tested negative, do I need to do anything?

  • Yes. Email covid.support@solent.ac.uk to notify them.
  • You and any housemates can come out of isolation, unless anyone has symptoms.

How do I obtain a test? 

Make sure you are clear about the symptoms of coronavirus and when you should get a test. If you have any of the following symptoms, you should get a test:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste.

Advice is provided on the Southampton City Council website for Southampton residents. Alternatively, you can book a test online at GOV.UK, or by calling NHS 119.

You can be tested in one of the following ways:

  • Visit the NHS website to book a free test.
  • Request a home testing kit.
  • Attend a drive through testing site (appointment required).
  • Attend a Southampton local walk-through testing site (appointment required).
    Currently there is a walk-through testing site in Marlborough Road (South) in Shirley (SO15 3ND).


Top things to remember when coming on campus

  • Complete your 'return to campus' training on SOL.
  • Swipe your campus card when entering buildings and signing into sessions on site.
  • Wear a face covering when moving around campus.
  • Use the hand sanitiser and one-way systems provided.
  • Remember to pre-book the use of on-campus facilities, including the library, editing suites and studios.
  • Keep checking these pages for updated info and FAQs.

 

Thank you for helping us keep you safe!

Course delivery

In collaboration with our Students’ Union, we have worked hard to ensure we provide you with a learning journey that supports both wholly online and hybrid delivery.

Using a combination of videos, discussion forums, hyperlinks and text your course pages will:

  • introduce you to your course team,
  • show your learning outcomes,
  • show what you will study and how you will be assessed,
  • show the activities you can engage in, both at a course level and across the University, and
  • show how your voice feeds into improvements through course representation and the student union and more.

Your module pages will:

  • introduce you to your module team,
  • show you what you will be studying and how you will interact with the lecturers and the students, how and when you will be assessed,
  • give you access to the topics you will be studying, and
  • provide resources, activities and the support you can access to achieve your potential.

Your course and module pages within our online learning environment are safe spaces only accessible to students enrolled on the course or module. This gives you a private space for class discussion and sharing of ideas.

Online delivery

What does online delivery mean exactly? How will I be taught?

You will be taught exclusively on a digital basis, but rest assured this is not a self-taught course - you are simply being taught in a different way.

You will be provided with a lecture which will be shorter in length and interspersed with engaging activities.

The lecture and activities will be flexible, so it is easier for you to access at a time that suits you and you can stop and start these to maximise your understanding of the topic.

However, you will need to complete watching the lecture and the activities before the next learning session.

Throughout the week there will be timetabled opportunities to meet your lecturers and other students on your course. You will work in groups on real world industry relevant problems which will help you to apply your learning and get feedback from your lecturers and other students. All of this will help you to engage with large and small groups, so you can strengthen your ‘voice’ and your confidence.

Timetabled activities will be supplemented by guided learning opportunities to prepare for assessments and to ensure you gain the confidence and employability skills for your future career.

We use a virtual learning environment which will host your accessible course and module information.

How many hours of teaching will there be? How will the time difference in my home country affect the delivery of my course?

You will receive the same hours of guided learning and teaching as if you were on campus, but this will be shaped differently to reflect the way people learn online.

You can also use our online learning platforms to arrange conversations and meetings with your classmates and smaller working groups outside of the formal timetabled sessions.

If the time difference prevents you from taking part in a real-time session, you will be able to discuss with your lecturer how you can access the learning and teaching.

What sort of support will be available?

You will be supported to achieve your goals for assessment and learning through one-to-one contact with your lecturers, as well as access to fantastic set of tools and resources.

You will only be one click away from a member of Solent’s supportive and incredibly helpful staff. You can access support from the Student Hub, the Library and the Learning Technology Help desk. You can contact the teams via videoconferencing, telephone or email.

We also have comprehensive online support resources including our learning technologies induction and a Succeed@Solent study skills package to help you study and learn online.

How will I be interacting with other students?

We know that students come to Solent to study, to enjoy university life and make friends. Knowing this, we have worked hard to provide you with the opportunities to interact with other students throughout your digital experience.

At the start of your course you can meet other students through the induction (also known as orientation) activities provided by the Students' Union and your course. These will help you make friends from your own course and across the University.

You will interact with other students through the learning and teaching sessions, through group work, and any group assignments you are set.

You will have fun with access to social events whether you are physically or virtually on campus. You will be provided with a calendar of activities created in collaboration with the Students’ Union ensuring you have opportunities throughout the year to make friends easily.

How practical will my course be if my course is to be delivered online?

Wherever possible we will provide online and self-directed activities to support the practical elements of your course. This may be through simulation, demonstration or group work tasks, depending on the nature of the course.

Will my course require specialist software?

No. If you are being taught wholly online it is because you do not require specialist software. You will be provided with access to video conferencing and free technologies that may be used on your course.

Is my course to be delivered online only until January? Will I be able to study on campus in January?

We are unable to predict what the status of Covid-19 or any vaccines will be in the future, or what Government guidelines and travel restrictions will be. However, we are really looking forward to welcoming our students physically and safely onto campus at the earliest possible opportunity.

As a non-EU student, will I need a Tier 4 visa to study online?

You will not require a Tier 4 visa to start your course of study online.

Can I still come to the UK even if my course is taught online?

Yes. If you have been granted a Tier 4 visa you can come to the UK.

As a non-EU student, if I am able to come to the UK, will I still be able to work my 20 hours a week while being taught online?

Yes. Although no face-to-face lectures, tutorials or seminars are taking place, you remain in term time, except for official vacation periods at Christmas, Easter and, for undergraduate students, during the summer. Therefore, your restricted working hours, as stated on your BRP, still apply.

View term dates and holidays

Will I have to pay the IHS charge for the period of time I am studying remotely?

The Immigration Health Surcharge is paid for the validity of your visa. Therefore, if you apply for a visa starting in September you will pay the charge from September, even if you do not travel to the UK until a later date.

Will my attendance be monitored?

We monitor the attendance/engagement of all students and will continue to do so where study is online. If you are granted a Tier 4 visa and do not engage with your online studies the University will withdraw sponsorship and your visa will be cancelled.

What happens if my entry vignette expires and I have not yet travelled to the UK?

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the UK Home Office now issues 90-day entry vignettes, instead of the usual 30 days. This should provide you with enough flexibility to travel to the UK. However, if your entry vignette expires, you will need to apply for a replacement. This is currently free of charge until the end of 2020.

Do I have to apply for my visa in September, or can I wait and apply in January?

We will issue you with a CAS with a start date of September 2020. Due to the likelihood of extended visa processing time due to Covid-19, we recommend you submit your visa application as soon as possible to ensure you are able to arrive on campus when required.

Will I be eligible for the graduate (post-study work) visa if part of my course is taught online?

Yes. If you hold a valid Tier 4 visa and successfully complete your course of study in the summer of 2021 or later, you will be eligible for the graduate visa even if part of your course is taught online.

Please note: to be eligible, you must enter the UK before 6 April 2021 and complete the final semester of your studies in the UK.

Will I be eligible for the graduate visa if I don't come to the UK

No. You must enter the UK by 6 April 2021 and complete the final semester of your studies in the UK. You must also be in the UK on valid Tier 4 leave to apply for the graduate visa.

Can I bring my dependants with me if my course is being taught online?

Yes. If you are eligible to bring dependants to the UK, your dependants will be able to apply for a dependant visa as normal.

I'm an EU student and I understand there will be new immigration rules in place from 1 January 2021. How will this affect me if I start my course online and then come to study on campus in January?

Exact details of the new UK immigration system/rules are still to be released. However, it is our understanding that if you arrive in the UK on or after 1 January 2021 you will require a student visa to study in the UK.

Students who arrive in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 will be able to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, free of charge and be permitted to study without the need to apply for a visa.

If I resume my course on campus in January, will the University help me find accommodation?

We have developed several additional, flexible accommodation options, designed to complement the different modes of study. These options allow students to apply for accommodation that best suits their needs, on a short-let basis (1 week to 1 month), for a semester, as well as the more traditional full academic year.

If we were unable to provide you with University accommodation, we have excellent relationships with accredited private accommodation providers within the city and can help you with advice and support.

Hybrid delivery

What does hybrid delivery mean exactly? How will I be taught? How much of my time will be physical and how much remote?

This means that your learning and teaching activities are designed to use both digital and onsite delivery, allowing a seamless transition between the two.

You are most likely studying on a hybrid course because your on-site access to specialist facilities is important for your learning outcomes in terms of knowledge and skills acquisition or for assessment.

The nature of your course will determine the balance of online and onsite delivery. But broadly speaking you will most likely be provided with an online lecture which will be shorter in length and interspersed with engaging activities.

The lecture and activities will be flexible, so it is easier for you to access these at a time that suits you and you can stop and start these to maximise your understanding of the topic.

However, you will need to complete watching the lecture and the activities before the next learning session.

Throughout the week there will be timetabled opportunities to meet your lecturers and other students on your course.

You will work in groups on real world industry relevant problems which will help you to apply your learning and get feedback from your lecturers and other students.All of this will help you to engage with large and small groups so you can strengthen your voice and your confidence.

We use a virtual learning environment which will host your accessible course and module information.

How much time am I allowed to spend on campus outside of lessons?

The library will be open for pre-booked resources and computers for study use.

There will be specialist facilities (eg, labs) made available on a pre-booked basis, as appropriate to your course of study.

Pre-booking is required to manage numbers and ensure social distancing.

There will also be events held by the Students' Union and the student societies and these may take place on campus or in the local Southampton area.

Do I have to come to the UK? Can I choose to opt for an online delivery approach instead?

Unfortunately, this is not possible. You are most likely studying on a hybrid course because your on-site access to specialist facilities is important to your learning outcomes in terms of your knowledge and skills acquisition, or for assessment.

If I am on a hybrid course, but cannot travel to the UK for September due to the pandemic, what are my options?

You should let the University know as soon as possible. There will still be a range of options open to you. These include arrangements for you to study the first part of your course at home – this will depend on whether it is possible for us to make the materials you need available to you and for you to achieve the learning outcomes for your course.

Another option is that we are able to offer you a course which is similar to the one you applied to but which does not require your attendance on campus.

If neither of these options is possible, it may be that we discuss the option of deferring your place so that you take up your place at Solent when you are able to travel.

The most important thing is that you keep in touch with us and let us know what your situation is and we will do everything we can to support you. Please contact student.hub@solent.ac.uk.

Will I need to quarantine on arrival in the UK? When should I arrive to the UK?

Yes, unless you are from a country which is on the exempt list. This list is likely to change regularly so please check the UK Government website prior to travelling.

Self-isolation

What are the current UK guidelines regarding how to self-isolate when I travel to the UK?

If you are travelling from a country that requires self-isolation, please check out the official Government guidelines on how to self-isolate, here.

Who does not have to self-isolate?

People who arrive in the UK will not have to self-isolate if they are well and have come from one of the countries listed in the coronavirus (Covid-19) travel corridor list.

This list is updated regularly - please ensure you revisit the list before your departure.

Is there a point of contact at Solent who can give me some advice if I have any questions regarding self-isolation?

If you have any questions about your studies or life at Solent while you are self-isolating, please email student.hub@solent.ac.uk. If you have any questions about visas, please email internationalsupport@solent.ac.uk.

What happens if I arrive after my course's teaching start date and I need to self-isolate? When is the latest date I can start?

Teaching for undergraduate courses starts on 28 September; the latest date for enrolment is 9 October.

Teaching for postgraduate courses starts on 5 October; the latest date for enrolment is 16 October.

Students are encouraged to arrive as early as possible, especially in the event of having to self-isolate. However, we understand it may not be within your control, for example if you are waiting for your visa. Should you arrive after the commencement of teaching, it should be noted that you will be expected to attend any face-to-face teaching no later than 26 October, if on an undergraduate course, and no later than 2 November, if on a postgraduate course.

We would also like to remind you that you can enrol without your visa. However, it is essential you complete your registration and pay your tuition fees in order to access learning and teaching activities. Communication about pre-registration/enrolment is being sent out to all students who hold an Unconditional Firm offer. While in isolation, you will be expected to attend any online aspects of your course. 

If I must self-isolate for 14 days, how will I be able to buy groceries and any other things?

While self-isolating you cannot go out to public areas and therefore cannot go shopping. If you have friends or relatives, please ask them to support you. However, we understand many of you will not have anyone to rely on. There are many places in Southampton that offer online delivery - we advise you to do your research before you arrival.

Here are some examples of supermarkets or local takeaways that do online food deliveries:

Local supermarkets that deliver in Southampton:

Local takeaway deliveries:

Other online shopping:

How do I keep in touch with the University during isolation?

It's important you keep in touch and we recommend you have a PC, tablet or smartphone so you can access the student Portal, download the MySolent App and connect with the University's online learning platform, Solent Online Learning.

If you are in a University student residence, you will have access to the internet, but you need to ensure you have internet access if you are in private accommodation. 

Are there any online activities for students who self-isolate that I can join?

There are lots of online activities you can take part in while you are self-isolating. Please go to Get Ready for Solent to find out more about these events; and from 1 September, you can also access our new Get Ready to Learn programme to prepare you for studying at Solent. 

I will be living in Solent's student accommodation. How will the University support me during my self-isolation? 

The residence team will support those who are self-isolating by: 

  • Ensuring a swift check-in procedure on arrival

  • Providing a handbook in your room with lots of useful information 

  • Arranging for deliveries and mail to be taken to your room 

  • Residence staff available to call 24 hours a day if assistance is needed. 

Please join the Solent student residences Facebook group for the latest news and events across the Student Residences. 

I will be living in the private sector. How will Solent support me during my self-isolation?

Please see above for guidance on shopping and food delivery. If you have any questions or concerns while you are self-isolating, you can contact the Student Hub by email on student.hub@solent.ac.uk or by phone on 023 8201 5200. The time will pass very quickly, and you’ll be able to get on with your studies and your new life in Southampton in no time.  

What do I need to know about transport from the airport to my accommodation - can the University assist me?

When you arrive in the UK, go straight to the place you’re staying. Only use public transport if you have no other option. If you do use public transport, wear something that covers your nose and mouth and stay two metres apart from other people. Pack a face covering or scarf to cover your nose and mouth before you travel.

What do I do if I have symptoms?

You will have received information on what to do if you have symptoms when you enter the country and it's important that you follow these guidelines. You should be tested as quickly as possible. You can register for a test on the NHS website. If you have no internet access, you should call the NHS on 119 to arrange for a test. You must let the University know that you have symptoms by emailing student.hub@solent.ac.uk.

Who can I contact if I feel unwell during quarantine?

If you feel unwell while in self-isolation, you can call the non-emergency NHS telephone number 111 for a telephone assessment in the first instance. 

The visa guidance states I need to collect my biometric card within 10 days of arrival in the UK, but I need to quarantine for 14 days.

You will be able to collect your biometric card after you have completed your quarantine.  

My visa states that I need to register with the police within seven days from my arrival in the UK.

Currently the nationality officers have suspended their operations due to Covid-19. For the latest information about Hampshire Nationality service visit the Hampshire Police website.

If you already have a police registration certificate that needs updating, you should contact your local police station (by phone or email). You should make them aware that you are self-isolating and make arrangements for any updates after the 14 day period.  

General questions (including visas and immigration)

What additional safety and wellbeing arrangements will there be if I stay in the University's accommodation?

The University is fully committed to following and adhering to UK Government guidance to ensure the safety and well-being of its students, including the residential experience.

The University is introducing a series of additional health, safety and well-being measures and initiatives at the residences. These include:

  • Installation of hand sanitiser stations at all residence entrances /exits.
  • Enhanced cleaning schedules for touchpoints and communal areas.
  • Hygiene keys will be issued to all residents for safer door opening.
  • Regular online - email and Facebook - safety messages and updates to all residents.
  • 24/7 qualified first aiders across the residences.
  • Options for online, telephone, or video meetings with staff at the Residences Hub.
  • Introduction of protective equipment for staff and perspex screens at the Residence Hub and reception areas.
  • Installation of directional and social distancing signage across the residences.
  • Installation of one way and ‘keep left’ routes across the residences.
  • Pre-booked timeslots available for moving in on the date you choose.
  • Procedures in place for overseas residents to self-isolate if required on arrival.
  • Programme of physically-distanced welcome activities to help you get to know your flatmates.
  • A programme of ‘residence life’ socially-distanced interest groups, online quizzes and activities.
  • Fast, reliable and secure wired and wireless internet in every room and all communal spaces.
  • Socially-distanced group working areas at residences.
  • Individual post and parcel collection lockers.

What happens if I miss some lectures due to Wi-Fi or laptop problems?

You can contact your lecturer who will work out with you a plan of action to cover the missed session(s).

Wherever possible lectures will be recorded and made available on the online learning systems in the appropriate module page so you will be able to review and catch up with sessions. These pages will contain a rich set of resources and activities to support your learning.

Will lectures be recorded?

Yes. They will be recorded so you can access them flexibly. Recordings will be automatically uploaded and made available in your module page within 30 minutes of the end of the lecture.

What platforms will the University use to deliver courses online?

We will use a virtual learning environment which will host your course and module information. You will have access to this when you enrol on your course. This can be accessed via the internet on laptops or mobile devices and does not require you to have any specialist software on your part.

We will primarily use Microsoft Teams as the videoconferencing platform and the University will make that available to you automatically.

At a course level, you may be asked to download free technologies designed to allow collaboration with other students. You will be made aware of these by your course leader and if you are having difficulties you will be supported to access these by our learning technologies team.

If I have a disability, how will I be supported through online or hybrid delivery?

Access Solent is the disability and neurodiversity service for students. Please refer to the Access Solent Solent Online Learning page for lots of helpful information about support at university. If you have diagnostic evidence, Access Solent can use this to set up support, including sharing information with your course and exam teams about support needs, advising on assistive technology to support with independent study, and any specialist support available. We encourage students to have contact with their course team about any queries or concerns relating to remote learning.

If you have concerns about being able to access your course/learning or the campus due to your disability or health condition, it is important to contact Access Solent and your course team in advance so we can provide advice and guidance.

Access Solent are available for contact with students via email at access@solent.ac.uk, phone and Zoom/Skype if you have any queries and want to discuss and set up support. We look forward to hearing from you.

I am an international student and can't book an English language test because test centres are closed - what do I do?

We accept other equivalent tests or evidence of English language proficiency. More information on this can be found on our course entry statement.

We also accept the following tests:

Duolingo

TOEFL iBT

Before arriving in the UK - important information

All students coming to Solent in September from another country, including UK passport holders, must complete a passenger locator form before travelling to the UK, regardless of whether or not the country you are coming from requires you to self-isolate after arrival in the UK. This form must be completed online 48 hours before travel. The UK government will use the information you give to contact you if you, or someone you've travelled with, develops Covid-19 symptoms.

Arrival in the UK - important information

From 8 June 2020, there are new rules in place for entering the UK due to Covid-19. The rules are for both residents and visitors to the UK and include 14-days' self-isolation on arrival. During those two weeks you will not be able to attend classes. You should take this into account when planning your journey to the UK. Further details, together with guidance on how to travel safely from the airport, are available at: https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control

I have a short-term student visitor visa and I require treatment for coronavirus - do I have to pay for NHS treatment?

Government advice is that no charge is made to an overseas visitor for the diagnosis or treatment of coronavirus (Covid-19). All overseas visitors, including anyone living in the UK without permission, should be aware that:

As a non-EU student, if I am able to come to the UK, will I still be able to work my 20 hours a week while being taught online?

Yes. Although no face-to-face lectures, tutorials or seminars are taking place, you remain in term time, except for official vacation periods at Christmas, Easter and, for undergraduate students, during the summer. Therefore, your restricted working hours, as stated on your BRP, still apply.

View term dates and holidays

My UK visa has, or will, expire soon and I'm concerned I cannot travel home

Tier 4 visa holders needing to extend their visa to complete their course in the UK
If you hold a Tier 4 (General) visa and need to extend your visa to continue your course of study, please complete the CAS request form on the Portal. Please note, if you are a Tier 4 (General) visa student who has completed their course, please see the guidance above.

If you are in the UK and your leave expires between 24 January and 30 September 2020, but you cannot return home due to Covid-19 restrictions
Now that travel restrictions are lifting globally you will no longer be able to extend your visa in the short term and you are expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or regularise your stay in the UK.

If you intend to leave the UK but are not able to do so and your leave expires by 30 September 2020, you may request additional time to stay, also known as ‘exceptional assurance’. You can submit your application online, providing information about activities you are planning to do during this time. If you have outstanding exams or courses, you should provide details of the study you are hoping to undertake. The UKVI will make decisions on a case by case basis on the permitted engagements within the leave granted. Once your exceptional assurance leave is granted you may be allowed to apply for a different visa category. But please note you wont be able to apply for a Short Term Student Visa from within the UK.

Who can I contact for further questions regarding my visa?

Students with immigration and visa-related queries can contact the international support team by email: internationalsupport@solent.ac.uk.

In addition, the UK Council for International Students (UKISA) has created a frequently asked questions page, which contains information and guidance for international students.

Do I need to open a bank account in the UK? How do I open one?

It is more important than ever to open a bank account before you arrive in the UK.

The UK Government's list of countries from which travellers need to self-isolate upon arrival could change shortly before your planned arrival date. We strongly recommend you arrange an international account or bank card to facilitate a 14-day self-isolation period upon arrival, even if you currently are not required to do so.

In the UK many places accept card payments only, due to the pandemic. Therefore, you should arrange an international bank account or bank card to be able to make card or online payments for basic necessities, such as food shopping, takeaway meals, and paying tuition fees, when you arrive in the UK.

Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted in the UK - you should avoid bringing a large amount of cash with you as opening a UK bank account may take a little while, depending on which bank you choose.

Financial support for international students

For help with setting up an instalment plan for your tuition fees you should contact the income team on: income.team@solent.ac.uk

If you find yourself in financial hardship the student funding team may be able to help. Please contact them on student.funding@solent.ac.uk explaining your situation and confirming your student ID number, visa type and its expiry date.

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