COVID-19

COVID-19

We understand the uncertainty the coronavirus pandemic has created, so we are doing all we can to make sure our students have the best experience possible, while ensuring the health and safety of all students and staff. This means that we have had to make some changes to how we deliver teaching, and students are being taught via a mixture of online and on-campus, taking into account any personal circumstances.

We are closely following government advice and guidelines and have adapted our campuses and buildings to give students safe access to some important facilities on campus including the library, workshops, studios, laboratories and performance spaces.

We know that the coronavirus pandemic situation can change quickly, so we are prepared for a number of different ‘stages’ of how we operate, depending on the situation we are in. We are currently in stage 2: offering a blend of on-campus and online teaching and learning to our students.

A chart describing the different stages of Bath Spa's COVID response

The FAQs are updated regularly, so please refer to these if you have any queries. If your question isn’t answered here, please email covid@bathspa.ac.uk.

Local Outbreak Management Plan (LOMP)

In the event there is an outbreak of Covid-19 at the University, we will follow our Bath Spa University Local Outbreak Management Plan (LOMP). Please note that the Local Outbreak Management will be updated as guidance and situations, both locally and nationally, evolve.

We have a ‘COVID Response Process’ in place that outlines the steps we follow to ensure that when any students and/or households reporting a positive test result and/or that they are self-isolating, we are able to respond and suport them effectively.

Number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per week

This table shows the total number of confirmed cases at the University in a 7 day period.

DateTotal cases
5 - 11 October 4
12 - 18 October 7*
19 - 25 October 24

* Please note this figure has changed since last reported

Support is available

Students can contact our Student Wellbeing Services at any time to discuss concerns by emailing studentwellbeing@bathspa.ac.uk or calling 01225 876543.

Staff are encouraged to discuss any concerns with their line manager or HR by emailing hrcontact@bathspa.ac.uk.

General FAQs

What are the symptoms?

The most important symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:

  • A new continuous cough
  • A high temperature
  • A loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell

For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above you must stay at home and arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.

What can I do to help stop the spread of COVID-19?

To ensure your health and safety and the health and safety of others, we ask you to do the following:

  1. Keep your distance
    Please maintain social distancing both inside and outside on campus. Observe the signs and one-way systems in buildings.
  2. Wear a face covering
    We require you to wear a face covering when you are inside buildings on campus, unless you are unable to because of a medical condition, disability or trauma.
  3. Clean your hands
    Please wash your hands regularly and make use of the new hand sanitiser stations at the entrances and inside buildings on campus.

We are conscious of the need to encourage our students and staff alike to behave respectfully towards one another and members of our community. To ensure we can protect our health and safety and the health and safety of others, we are asking everyone to commit to the Bath Spa Community Pledge. We hope the Pledge reinforces the core values of our University and reminds us all of our responsibilities to be good and respectful citizens.

What is the University doing about this?

Bath Spa University is delivering teaching and learning to students through a mixture of online and on-campus methods.

Where possible, staff have been asked to continue to work from home unless their role requires them to be on campus.

We have made adaptations to buildings across our campuses following appropriate Government and other sector/industry guidance. In summary, these adaptations include:

  • Hand sanitiser stations at entrances and exits of all buildings.
  • Additional hand sanitiser stations throughout buildings.
  • Screens fitted to reception desks.
  • One-way systems for all buildings and signage to direct people.
  • Social distancing and hand washing/sanitising reminder signage throughout buildings.
  • Enhanced cleaning regimes for all buildings, including more regular cleaning of touch points such as door handles and push plates on doors.
  • Reconfiguration of room layouts to allow for social distancing.
  • Secured ventilation of spaces with outdoor air.
  • Adaptation of ventilation systems to ensure correct and safe direction of airflow.
  • Toilet ventilation in operation 24/7 and windows to remain closed to ensure the safe direction of airflow.
  • Mechanical ventilation set to run at normal speed during occupancy and at least two hours either side to ensure the spaces have clean air.
  • Switching of air handling units to ensure recirculation to 100% outdoor air.
  • Purchase of several air cleaning systems to help with continued use of spaces that have poor ventilation.

What risk assessments have been carried out?

A general risk assessment for the University has been carried out and is published here.

Will buses be running to University campuses?

Yes, the U5 from First will now be the one route from the city centre (starting at St. James’ Parade), past our Locksbrook Campus to Newton Park. By moving to a single route rather than operating two routes, the service frequency will be increased to a bus in each direction every 10 minutes on weekdays. This will reduce the waiting times at bus stops where social distancing will be difficult and reduce the risk of long waits for students unable to get on a bus operating at 50% capacity. There's also a new, additional bus stop at Twerton Mill.

The new term timetable and route information for the U5 service is available here and will start from 19 September.

Due to the Covid-19 situation, the University's intersite bus service is only running between Locksbrook Road and Sion Hill. The timetable is available here.

Can I access the library?

The Newton Park Library is open for ‘Click and Collect’ only. All other library buildings remain closed until further notice.

If you require material from our print collections but are unable to travel to campus at present you can request a digitised scan using our new ‘Scan and Send’ service.

All the digital resources and services are available through the Library webpages and also via the Library tab on Minerva. Our friendly library staff are working remotely to support you on email (library@bathspa.ac.uk), and on online chat (24/7). You can book a virtual appointment with a Writing and Learning Centre advisor (wlc@bathspa.ac.uk) or with a Subject Librarian (library@bathspa.ac.uk).

Will the Oak Tree Nursery be open?

Oak Tree Day Nursery will reopen week commencing 7 September 2020 for children aged two-four years old. Our under two-year-old room will reopen week commencing 28 September 2020.

We are currently working with the University Estates team to undertake risk assessments to ensure that we are able to follow all current Government guidance for social distancing as well as ensure the safety of all nursery users and visitors (where applicable). We are also following the Department for Education guidance to inform our risk assessments and these will be updated as and when the guidance changes.

We will be making adaptations to our practice and the way that the nursery operates where necessary. For more information, visit the nursery website or if you have any further questions please contact Kerry Edwards, Nursery Manager at k.edwards@bathspa.ac.uk.

How can I look after my mental health and wellbeing at this time?

You might be worried about COVID-19 and how it could affect your life. We have found a number of resources which you may find helpful, including how to take care of your mental health and wellbeing if you need to stay at home or avoid other people.

Our Employee Assistance Provider, Lifeworks, has lots of useful articles on looking after health and welfare. A summary of high level issues is provided below:

For more specific advice and guidance, please use their online resources using the following login details:

  • User ID: bathspa
  • Password: wellbeing

What catering will be available on campus?

For those of you who'll be living and studying on campus, we're preparing our catering outlets to ensure they can operate in a safe way, taking into account social distancing guidelines.

Catering outlets will be opening daily for a mainly takeaway service and opening hours will be reviewed and adapted to meet the level of demand across the University. There will be limited indoor seating, but we've increased outdoor seating.

  • SU Bar at Newton Park. Open from 16 September and serving both food and drinks via the SU purchasing app for takeaway or eat in. (Food available from 6pm).
  • SU Shop at Newton Park. Open from 16 September for takeaway food, drinks and snacks.
  • Cafe Commons at Newton Park. Open from 16 September and serving both food and drinks.
  • Refectory at Newton Park. Open from 21 September and serving both food and drinks.
  • Cafe Sion at Sion Hill. Open from 21 September and serving both food and drinks.
  • Cafe at Locksbrook Road. Open from 21 September and serving both food and drinks.
  • Cafe at Corsham Court. Vending service only.
  • Vending - Located at all sites.

We'll also be launching an app to allow you to order and pay and we'll share details of the app when it's available. Please follow @bathspacatering on Facebook for updates.

Student FAQs

How do I access classes online?

Each module in Minerva has been enhanced with a Virtual Classroom, you will find a link for this on the left menu above Unitu. The Virtual Classroom uses Blackboard Collaborate; guidance can be found on their website.

You may also be asked to join in sessions and have 1:1 tutorials with tutors using Google Hangouts Meet. Google has a really simple guide to getting connected that will walk you through how to join a meeting if you haven’t done this before. You may get a link in an email, or in your Google calendar. Don’t share links, you may end up in the wrong tutorial!
If you are not able to attend online for a session let the member of staff know in advance so that they can record the session to enable you to review it later on.

When you're working online adopt the same thinking you would if you were meeting face-to-face (you wouldn’t come to a tutorial in your pjs!). If you're using a webcam, check the background before you go online. Ideally, you should sit in front of a plain wall.

Do I need to wear a face covering on campus?

We require you to wear a face covering when you are inside buildings on campus, unless you are unable to because of a medical condition, disability or trauma. You should also maintain an appropriate social distance, both inside buildings and outside on campus.

If you are unable to wear a face covering because of a medical condition, disability or trauma, we invite you to wear an orange lanyard which you can collect from reception desk areas across campuses as well as the Students’ Union and security lodge at Newton Park. You can also request one by emailing studentwellbeing@bathspa.ac.uk

I have symptoms of COVID-19 and live in halls of residence, what should I do?

The first thing to do is to return to where you are living and self-isolate. You must contact NHS Test and Trace for further advice and inform the University - this is really important as we are here to support you and your household.

As defined in recent Government publications, university halls of residence are usually considered households for the purposes of the household self-isolation policy. This means everyone in the household must self-isolate if a resident shows symptoms. Therefore, depending upon the circumstances, this would normally include those students living in the same cluster of flats or on the same floor who share cooking or washing facilities, or both.

It is imperative therefore that all students who are living in a hall of residence where someone has symptoms of COVID-19, take part in whole household isolation for 14 days based on their likelihood of being infected. In such cases a notice of infection must be displayed by all those concerned.

I have symptoms of COVID-19 and live in shared private accommodation, what should I do?

If anyone in your household develops COVID-19 symptoms, the first thing to do is seek advice. If there is a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus in your household, you must tell the University. We will support students who need to self-isolate.

The most recent Government advice is that all household members must stay at home and not leave your house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in your house became ill. Please refer to this Government advice on staying at home.

It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or may already be infected. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.

I’m/my household is self-isolating. How can we get food delivered?

If you have reported to the University that you are self-isolating, we have plans in place to support you with food and other essentials. We can also give you specific guidance about cleaning, waste disposal, laundry and post collections and deliveries. If you are self-isolating and haven’t yet told us, please complete this form as soon as possible.

I’m concerned that a friend has COVID-19 symptoms, but isn’t reporting them, what should I do?

If you feel able to, try and speak to them about your concerns. Remind them of the Community Pledge and their responsibility to other people. If you don’t feel able to, please email covid@bathspa.ac.uk and your concerns will be discreetly and sensitively followed up.

What is classed as a ‘household’ in university accommodation?

When you move into your accommodation, your housemates become your household for the time you live with us. These are the people you will likely interact with the most each day. This household could include the other residents in your flat, or the people in your corridor (if you don’t live in a flat).

If I don’t get along with the people I am living with is it possible to move into alternative accommodation?

We want you to have the best experience you can and there is always someone you can speak with about any issues you are having.

If you are in University halls of residence, please contact accommodation@bathspa.ac.uk in the first instance. If you are in privately-rented or other private halls the options are different. Please get in touch with Accommodation Services and speak with one of the team.

Your Students’ Union Advice Centre can also provide impartial and expert advice, and can be contacted at su-advice@bathspa.ac.uk.

 

If there is a local lockdown in Bath can I leave and go back to my hometown?

Most likely not - if Bath and North East Somerset has lockdown restrictions, we will all have to follow the guidance that is issued. Please be reassured that Bath Spa University has thought about this possibility and we will be here for you if this happens.

Can I have visitors to my university accommodation?

Visitor Policy (updated 28 September 2020) - Visitors are not currently permitted within our halls of residence (with the exception of where students are still moving in and arriving).

What are the rules on social gatherings?

Currently, no social gathering of more than six people is permitted either inside or outside, unless you are taking part in an organised sports activity. If you are living in halls of residence you can only socialise in groups larger than 6 people if they are part of your household.

We are aware this may impact on your ability to reconnect in person with one another, but it is extremely important that you observe this rule at all times. We have a responsibility not only to our own health, but to those around us in our community. This does not apply to teaching and learning on campus which will continue as planned.

Will the University reduce tuition fees as a result of COVID-19?

We are not planning to reduce any tuition fee because the University is open, teaching and supporting students both online and on campus. Students can also access the library, careers and support services. We are providing services as promised to students – just in a different way – which accommodates our need to protect their health at this time. We will also take into account any advice from the UK Government. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please raise these with your course tutor in the first instance.

I am experiencing financial difficulties because of the COVID-19 crisis. Is there any help available?

The Bath Spa University Access Fund provides limited discretionary financial support for students who are experiencing financial difficulty and are unable to meet basic or unexpected additional costs from other sources of support.

We have also established the Internet Fund to support you if you require access or an upgrade to your current internet provision in order to enable you to access your virtual learning environment at Bath Spa University. It is open to all students who are unable to fund the above themselves and can evidence this need and their requirements. You can apply for the fund using this online form.

Is the Students' Union open?

Yes, the Students' Union is open and delivering all services such as enabling student representation, providing independent advice, and supporting clubs and societies, predominantly via online means. The Students' Union bar, shop and reception on the Newton Park campus are open and information on new safety measures and opening hours are available on the Students' Union website.

Are clubs and societies running?

Yes, clubs and societies are running, though many groups are operating in a slightly different way. The Students' Union is supporting all club and society committee members to adapt their activities to comply with social distancing requirements, with a mixture of online and in-person activities that are all subject to rigorous Risk Assessments. Sports clubs are also complying with relevant National Governing Body guidelines. British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) competitions are currently due to re-commence in January 2021.

What specification of laptop will I need to undertake my studies this year?

Due to health and safety measures you will need to use your own laptop or other device to undertake your studies this year. This means we can limit the sharing of equipment as much as possible.

We've identified a minimum laptop specification that will give you the basic functionality to complete your studies. Some courses may require a higher specification. If this is the case your course or subject leader will be able to advise you on the most suitable laptop for your course.

Windows

  • Intel® 7thGen or newer CPU – or AMD equivalent (1.6GHz or faster)
  • Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit) version
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 250GB Hard Disk

(Additional storage may be required for large files)

Mac

  • MacBook Air 13-inch
  • 1.1GHz Dual-core Intel Core i3 Intel Processor
  • OS X
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB Hard Disk

(Additional storage may be required for large files)

Can I get any help buying a laptop?

Bath Spa University is part of the Dell Advantage for Students programme, which means we can give you access to unique discounts on Dell consumer products all year round. Here's how:

  1. Learn more. Visit the Dell Advantage for Students page.
  2. Redeem your coupons by simply entering your University email address. Vouchers will be sent by email.
  3. Visit Dell. Choose from either Home or Work products. For your saving to be applied, make sure you add your relevant discount code at the checkout.

If you are using a Mac, visit our Academia portal for discounted Higher Education rates on the Apple range.

I don’t have access to a laptop, what should I do?

If you don't have access to a PC, laptop, Mac or a suitable device on which to access the virtual University environment, including learning, teaching and services, we may be able to help by supporting you with a non-repayable award of up to £500 from the Bath Spa University Laptop Fund.

I am due to come to Bath Spa University, but where I live has local lockdown restrictions, what should I do?

It is important that you follow the guidance in your local area. If this puts restriction on travel outside of the area, please let the University know by emailing covid@bathspa.ac.uk. We will do our best to work with you to ensure that you are able to access your timetable online.

Staff FAQs

What should I do if I am tested for COVID-19?

If you are tested for COVID-19 at any point please make sure you inform the University as soon as possible and complete this form. Please complete this same form to advise us of the outcome of this test and notify your line manager. If you have any questions about this please contact hrcontact@bathspa.ac.uk

If I need to work on campus, what health and safety training do I need to undertake?

All staff must complete a new online health and safety training ‘return to the workplace’.

Do members of staff have to wear a face covering?

All staff and students are required to wear face coverings when inside buildings including during all teaching sessions. We recognise that some staff may not be able to wear a face covering because of a medical condition, disability or trauma in which case you are invited to wear an orange lanyard.  Some staff may need to wear specific PPE if it has been deemed necessary, following a risk assessment.

Face visors are available to use in teaching and other student-facing settings to allow easier communication. However, an alternative face covering such as a mask, scarf or other garment should be worn over the face and nose at all other times when you are inside buildings.

You are not required to wear a face covering if you are:

  • Outside and at a distance of two metres or more
  • Inside working alone behind a Perspex screen
  • Inside working alone in a single occupancy office

Do I have to work on campus if I have previously been told to shield?

Any staff with concerns should have a discussion with their line manager and, if necessary, complete an individual risk assessment so any necessary arrangements can be put in place.

I am struggling to find adequate childcare outside of school hours and can’t work my usual hours, what should I do?

We would encourage you and your line manager to be as flexible as possible and focus on the outcome of work, rather than working hours.

Staff may wish to consider taking some days of annual leave to focus on childcare, or could consider requesting to work shorter hours temporarily if this would help to reduce anxiety over the burden of both work and childcare.

If I am working from home as a result of Covid-19, can I claim tax relief on the additional home costs that I am incurring?

You may be able to claim tax relief for additional household costs such as for heating and electricity, if you have to work at home on a regular basis, either for all or part of the week because of Covid-19.
 
If eligible, you can claim tax relief on £6 per week, which equates to a gain of £1.20 per week for a basic 20% rate tax payer and £2.40 a week for a higher rate 40% taxpayer. HMRC have confirmed that you can claim for the whole tax year, regardless of how many days you had to work from home, for so for basic rate taxpayers, you will gain a total of £62/year, and for higher rate taxpayers, £124/year.
 
The HMRC have set up a dedicated working from home microservice that will automatically apply the whole 2020/21 tax relief via your tax code. 
 
You will need to have your Government Gateway ID to use the microsite, but if you don't have one already, you can create one as part of the process.

As a line manager how can I best support my team members if they are working from home?

Guidance and best practice is available on Sulis. There is also additional guidance for all staff on the Working from Home page.

How can I support students?

We know that many staff may be approached by students with concerns about both their academic studies and their own health and wellbeing. Academic issues should be discussed with personal tutors, subject leaders and the Student Services team. Students can contact mycourse@bathspa.ac.uk if they want to refer their queries directly to that team.

If a student raises a wellbeing concern please ask them to follow the advice on this page. Students can also contact Student Wellbeing Services at any time to discuss concerns by emailing studentwellbeing@bathspa.ac.uk or calling 01225 876543.

What should I do about my annual leave?

It is important for employee wellbeing that staff take annual leave, and especially so at this time and therefore we are actively encouraging staff to take their leave. If it is difficult to fit in taking leave in blocks of a full week, do consider taking days here and there instead.

Where can I find additional guidance on working from home?

Please see the working from home guidance on Sulis with information from IT on how to access your work securely, guidance from Health and Safety to ensure staff work from home safely and information for how to manage your work and keep in touch with your teams. Additional support for working from home is also available on Sulis.

Can I use my own device while working from home?

You can use your own device on trusted Wi-Fi/Broadband/3G/4G without VPN connection for Learning and Teaching purposes to access Minerva (Blackboard, Turnitin, Collaborate) and G Suite (Email, Calendar, Drive, Hangouts) as long as you can ensure the following:

  • You must not access Personally sensitive information about others.
  • You must not access or download “Red” data - as defined below.
  • You must use a trusted internet connection, such as your home broadband/wifi or a 3G / 4G hotspot.
  • You must “Check for Updates”, run a “Windows Update” and install all known patches.
  • You must have an up-to-date anti-virus / anti-malware installed and updated regularly.
  • Where possible, you should use a personal firewall on your device.
  • If you temporarily download any work related documents on your own device, you must delete it after you have finished.

For all other activity, you will need a device managed by IT Services.

“Red” data is defined as: data that if disclosed or inappropriately interpreted or changed would cause harm, or if destroyed would cause disruption. The most sensitive and valuable typically includes: assets with any Special Categories of Personal Data; any automated profiling characteristics or decision making or tracking of behaviour; any card or other payment details; any child subjects; any direct marketing; any security system details; any complaints or highly controversial or offensive content; any urgently required or safety critical information.

Community FAQs

How is the University operating?

We are providing a mixture of safe and socially distanced on-campus and online teaching and learning for our students. We know that the coronavirus pandemic situation can change quickly, so we are prepared for a number of different ‘stages’ of how we operate, depending on the situation we are in.

What health and safety measures has the University put in place?

Safety measures include social distancing; the use of face coverings; increased sanitation points; a mix of face-to-face and online learning; frequent email reminders of Government rules; reducing numbers on public transport and on campuses; using one-way routes and maximum occupancy restrictions; and creating Covid-compliant study and recreation spaces throughout the city.

The NHS Covid-19 app is now in operation across all our campuses, and all students and staff have been asked to download it, and scan into buildings each time they enter.

All students have been provided with clear instructions on what to do if a member of their household develops symptoms of Covid-19. This includes the entire household going into isolation and reporting it to the University immediately.

Plans are also in place to support students who are self-isolating and can’t leave their home. This includes helping provide food and other essential items along with wellbeing and mental health support.

What will the University do if there is an outbreak on campus?

In the event there is an outbreak of Covid-19 at the University, we will follow our Bath Spa University Local Outbreak Management Plan. Please note that the Local Outbreak Management Plan will be updated as guidance and situations, both locally and nationally, evolve.

What guidance is being given to students and staff?

We know we have an important duty to our community in Bath and have developed very detailed plans and guidance for our students and staff to make sure they are clear about how to adhere to both local and national rules including social distancing, the wearing of face coverings, hand washing and limits on social gatherings.

We have also given students instructions on what to do if a member of their household becomes ill, or develops symptoms of Covid-19. We have plans in place to support them if they need to self-isolate and can’t leave their home.

We are asking all international students to follow Government guidelines and self-isolate for two weeks on arrival. We are providing free accommodation to those students for the two week isolation period, including any student who will then move into private accommodation in town. We are delivering food and other necessities to these students so they do not need to leave their accommodation during that time. If any isolating students show signs of illness during the quarantine period, they, along with any flatmates, will be tested for Covid-19 and only allowed to end their quarantine on the direction of public health.

We have published our Local Outbreak Management Plan which explains the procedures we will follow in the event of an outbreak of Covid-19 at Bath Spa. 

We are conscious of the need to encourage our students and staff alike to behave respectfully towards one another and members of our community. We are asking everyone to commit to the Bath Spa Community Pledge. We hope the Pledge reinforces the core values of our University and reminds us all of our responsibilities to be good, respectful and compassionate citizens.

We are working in close collaboration with local public health and health protection teams and with the University of Bath, to ensure we have a joined-up approach. This is an unprecedented year for our students, staff and the wider community. We are very committed in our efforts to help ensure good public health and safety, both on and off our campuses.

How do I raise any concerns with the University?

If you have a concern about the behaviour of others, but feel unable to raise this with them directly, please contact covid@bathspa.ac.uk putting “Covid Conduct – Escalated Concern” in the subject line. You can also share any concerns through Report and Support. We pledge to provide you with support and take the necessary steps to positively resolve the concern.

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