Coronavirus: Frequently asked questions

Find out the latest information and advice for current students on coronavirus and your studies at the University.

Last updated: 16 June 2021

The University is reflecting the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England, UKCISA and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Staying safe on campus

How can I stay safe on and off-campus?

Once you’re here, you need to take action to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You should follow UK government guidance at all times.

Our regular on-campus testing will also help contain the spread of COVID-19. We also have a range of measures in place to keep campus safe, including face coverings and social distancing - we ask everyone to please follow these measures at all times, even if you live together or are part of the same support bubble.

A diverse range of people live in our local area, some of whom may be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. We must all make a commitment to protect the health and safety of the wider community. Read our guide to off-campus safety and being a good neighbour.

What will happen to people who break the rules? What should I do if I see people doing this?

It’s important that everyone follows the guidelines on campus to keep themselves and others safe.

If someone breaks the rules, for example by having a house party, or meeting up inside bars or restaurants with anyone outside their household, the police can take action against them. This includes asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices (fines) of up to £3,200.

Breaches of COVID-19 guidelines may also be subject to University disciplinary action. Serious cases could result in exclusion from the University.

We have faith that all members of our University community will do the right thing. You can politely remind people of the guidelines if they aren’t following them - if you still have concerns you can contact us:

How can I register with a GP (doctor)?

It has never been more important for all students to register with a GP. In the UK the term we use most often to describe a local or family doctor is ‘General Practitioner’, which we shorten to ‘GP’. Registering gives you access to a range of medical services, including tests for COVID-19. 

As soon as you know your Manchester address, register with a local GP, preferably before you arrive in Manchester.

When should I self-isolate?

If you are living or studying on campus and you get COVID symptoms or test positive for the virus, you must follow the instructions on our COVID student safety page. This includes immediately notifying the University and self-isolating. Support is available to all students who are self-isolating – for further information see our self-isolation guidance for students.

What should I do if self-isolation (or another issue) affects my studies?

If issues relating to ill health, technology failure, or new care responsibilities prevent you from engaging with your studies for seven days or less, you should complete the student self-certification of absence form and send this to your School support team.

If these issues prevent you from engaging with your studies for more than seven days, and you believe that this will impact your ability to complete an assessment, you should submit a claim for mitigating circumstances to your School support team. You will need to provide supporting evidence of the issues you are experiencing.

2021/22 academic year

Are we returning to on-campus teaching next year?

We expect that at the start of the 2021/22 academic year most students studying on an on-campus programme will be in Manchester and learning through our blended, flexible learning model.

Studies for these students will be a mixture of in-person on-campus activities, live online lectures and classes, and new video content and other materials from your lecturers. Some of your activity will be “synchronous”, where you learn live with your lecturer / peers and can interact as appropriate – helping you get support and feel part of a community. At other times it will be “asynchronous”, where you access materials like presentations, video content, online discussion boards or collaborative documents in your own time (within a framework provided by your programme).

This blended approach will help you study in a way that works for you, and allow the University to respond as quickly as possible to the planned government roadmap stages and any changes in restrictions over the coming months. We also plan to have on-campus libraries and study spaces open where possible, to support your learning.

However it is possible that ongoing travel restrictions and other safety measures may make it difficult for some students to return to campus at the beginning of the academic year. To support these students, we aim to make remote study options available in Semester 1 wherever possible. See the next question for further information.

Can I study remotely next year?

Some students may possibly find it difficult to return to campus at the beginning of the next academic year, due to ongoing travel restrictions or other safety measures.

To support these students, we will make remote study options available in Semester 1 wherever possible. However if your programme team determines that the knowledge, skills and competencies associated with the next year of your degree can only be delivered or assessed in person, they will invite you to return to campus from the start of next academic year.

Your programme team will write to you in the week of 19 April to confirm whether a remote study option will be available for your programme.

If I choose remote study but then change my mind, can I switch to on-campus study?

If your programme has a remote study option, you may initially choose this but later change your mind. In this case you can notify your programme team that you wish to switch to on-campus study (they will let you know how to do this).

If you notify them by 1 September, you will be able to attend on-campus teaching activities from the start of Semester 1. If you notify them after this date, they’ll make every effort to integrate you into on-campus teaching as soon as possible – however this will be dependent on your specific programme and the nature of your learning activities.

You will still be able to return to Manchester at any time and use other campus facilities (government regulations permitting).

I have been vaccinated - will my lectures now be delivered in person?

We’re aware that our students and staff will likely receive COVID vaccines at different times in the coming months, as they may have access to different vaccination programmes (for example in their home country).

A mass vaccination programme has begun in the UK, but due to government prioritisation of vulnerable groups it is likely that most of our lecturers and students will not be vaccinated until the summer or autumn of 2021.

While many people are still unvaccinated, we must maintain a COVID-secure environment for everyone’s safety.

Will other facilities be open on campus at the start of next year?

We aim to have other facilities such as libraries and study spaces open. However there will likely still be additional procedures and requirements in place to keep everyone safe, depending on government safety guidelines at any time. We will keep you updated as we approach the return to campus in the autumn. You can read more about our current safety measures here.

What happens if government guidelines change over the summer?

We know there are still lots of uncertainties about next year and the possible return to campus. Please rest assured that we are following government guidance closely and planning intensely for next year. We’ll keep you updated by email and in this FAQ with further information as and when it’s available.

Studying, teaching and assessments

Will I get a partial fee refund if I study remotely?

No – students will be charged the full published tuition fees whether studying on-campus or remotely in Semester 2. We’re committed to delivering the highest-quality learning and student experience. The current situation has brought forward our development of a blended, flexible learning model – we’re confident that you will be able to engage with your studies effectively, no matter the circumstances. See a breakdown of what the tuition fee is spent on.

If you're experiencing financial hardship, you can seek assistance from the University’s Living Cost Support Fund. This offers both small grants and loans, and is open to all University of Manchester students.

Will the University refund tuition fees for the 2020/21 academic year?

The pandemic has caused a great deal of disruption for students, and you have not been able to have the university experience you would have expected. Our focus has been, and continues to be, on supporting your learning and wellbeing.

We are committed to delivering learning outcomes for all our students in these challenging circumstances – that means the academic requirements for you to move to the next year of study or graduate successfully. We are confident in the quality and standards of our awards, and in the steps we continue to take to protect the academic interests of our students.

Adapting our teaching and learning during the pandemic has required a major investment, and we have also prioritised several million pounds in the provision of additional services to support student and staff mental health and wellbeing.

We have no plans to issue an across-the-board refund of tuition fees for this academic year.

How can I make a complaint about my course or student experience?

If you have issues or concerns in relation to your academic experience, you should first contact the Head of Teaching, Learning and Student Experience in your School. They will be happy to discuss and seek to resolve your concerns, in-keeping with the Student Complaints ProcedureIf you remain dissatisfied after those discussions you can submit a formal complaint to your Faculty, as explained in the Basic Guide to Student Complaints.

I’ve submitted a formal complaint – do I still need to pay my fees?

Yes – you must continue to pay your tuition fees by the published due date. Where a tuition fee payment remains outstanding beyond this date, an indicator will be applied to your student record. You will be notified of this via your University email account and asked to contact Credit Control to arrange payment. Until payment or a payment plan has been agreed you will be unable to re-register or graduate.

I am having difficulties accessing online learning, what should I do?

If you are having difficulties accessing the University network, or need advice and support with accessing online services, you can email helpmegetonline@manchester.ac.uk for help with accessing online learning and assessments.

Alternatively, you can also call +44 (0) 161 306 5544 between 8am and 5pm weekdays. The out of hours telephone support service, on the same number, is available at all other times.

We have also updated our guides to accessing learning online.

How can I access library resources and return books?

Find out more about our University Library resources and how to access them on our library pages. You can return all Library books to the book return bin in the entrance of the Main Library. For further information on Library services see the Library FAQ.

I am having difficulties engaging with my studies – what should I do?

If illness, technology failure, new care responsibilities or other personal circumstances prevent you from engaging with your studies for seven days or less, you should complete the student self-certification of absence form and send this to your School support team.

If these circumstances last more than seven days, or impact your ability to complete an exam or assessment, you can either:

  • Request a seven-day automatic extension on a piece of coursework or an assignment, if this will help you (you may request this on up to two pieces of work this academic year).
  • Make a mitigating circumstances claim.

For further information, see the student support mitigating circumstances webpages.

University Halls of Residence

I couldn't return to my University halls due to lockdown, do I still have to pay rent?

If you lived in University halls of residence, you will only pay rent from the date you returned to your accommodation in semester 2. If you did not return you will not pay any rent for this period.

We also gave all students in halls a 30% rent reduction for semester 1 (September 2020 – 31 January 2021). This was given whether you stayed in halls over the Christmas holiday period or not. This was part of our new accommodation pledge to students living in halls.

What does the contents insurance I get with my licence fee cover?

We provide cover for all students in University Halls through Endsleigh insurance. It’s important to confirm your cover so that you understand what is and what isn’t covered. To check the cover matches all your requirements please view the policy here.

Private accommodation

Below are frequently asked questions for students renting private accommodation.

Manchester Student Homes (MSH) is a department of the University that works with accommodation providers in and around Manchester. You can search on their website to find private accommodation that suits your needs. You can contact Manchester Student Homes at manchesterstudenthomes@manchester.ac.uk or on +44 (0)161 275 7680.

How do I find accommodation for next year?

Manchester Student Homes will be running their annual Accommodation Fairs virtually this year to allow you to meet accredited accommodation providers. To find out more visit their Accommodation Fair page or their Facebook page.

There are some things you should consider before speaking to landlords/ agents / private hall management teams:

  • How big is your group/ do you want your group to be
  • How much you want to spend per week
  • Do you want an en-suite room or a shared accommodation
  • How far are you willing to travel/ walk
  • Are you/ Is someone willing to manage your own bills? If not, a bills inclusive may be an option

 See top tips and a viewing checklist

I have signed a contract for a house/ apartment/ private hall room (for the 2020/2021 academic year), but I want to defer my move in date?

You have signed into a legally binding contract for a fixed period, you can speak to your accommodation provider to see if they will defer the contract. However, this would most likely mean that your contract would end at a later date.

I have signed a contract for a house/apartment/private hall room but I don't want it anymore. What do I do?

A tenancy agreement is a legally binding -contract and all tenants are obliged to its terms until the end of the fixed period. To avoid any contractual breaches there are a couple of things you should make sure to do. These are as follows:

  • Inform the other tenants (if you are on a shared agreement)
  • Inform your accommodation provider
  • Seek an alternative tenant by advertising on Manchester Student Homes’ Message Board and Manchester Student Homes’ Facebook page
  • Once an alternative tenant has been found, contact the accommodation provider and the tenants to arrange for a transfer of names to occur.
  • Ensure that your name had been removed from the tenancy.

The replacement tenant must be accepted by all parties (where applicable) involved in the contract. If a replacement tenant is not found you are still liable for the contractual obligations (including rent) of the tenancy.

You are welcome to post as many messages as you like and in more than one section of the Manchester Student Homes’ Message Board. In the message you should include as much detail as possible:

  • Whether it is a house or a Private Hall
  • The number of tenants the house/flat accommodates
  • How much the room is
  • Whether or not bills are included in the rent
  • Location of the property
  • Facilities
  • Distance from the University campus
  • Time it takes to get to the campus
  • Your contact number (if you prefer)

It will be beneficial for you to reply to existing posts where students are looking for accommodation.

How do I deal with my belongings that I have left in Manchester?

Tenants are legally protected by Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977. There is a legal duty on the accommodation provider to protect and keep secure any belongings that have been left in a property. If they believe they have been abandoned, they must receive express consent from the tenant before disposing of anything. They should be able to demonstrate that several attempts were made to contact the tenant and a reasonable period of time had lapsed before disposing of the goods. If an accommodation provider sells or disposes of the goods without taking the correct steps the tenant could advance a civil claim against them.

We advise you liaise with your accommodation provider and housemates when making any plans to return and collect belongings. This will ensure the accommodation provider knows you are collecting your items, and your housemates can ensure there is enough space for you (and anyone accompanying you) to be in the property whilst maintaining social distancing. Ensure that communications are detailed in writing and any telephone conversations are followed up with written confirmation (this should be standard practice for any dealings with your accommodation provider). 

If you can't return to Manchester, you should arrange for belongings to be stored or collected. Flexistore, our student storage partners, provide a solution for students living in University Halls. You can arrange to give Flexistore access to your private rented room, where they will pack and move your belongings either to their storage facilities in Manchester or ship them directly to your preferred address. Packing, storage and shipping costs vary, so it is best to contact them directly for a quotation. Insurance is usually included but can be topped up if necessary.

 

I am thinking of looking for accommodation for next year, what do I do?

We understand that students may be worried about their accommodation for the next academic year as a result of Covid-19. Students may have queries around searching for accommodation, tenancy agreements and stay in Manchester.

Manchester Student Homes (MSH) is a department of the University that work with a number of accommodation providers in and around Manchester. Students can search on their website to find accommodation that suits their needs, including houses, flats, studios and Private Halls of Residence.

MSH will be running their annual Accommodation Fairs virtually this year to allow you to meet accredited accommodation providers. To find out more visit their Accommodation Fair page or their Facebook page.

A Top Tips and a Viewing Checklist is available.

We are pleased to hear that a number of Approved Accommodation Providers have already considered the impact of Covid-19 and the flexibility that students require in order to plan than subsequently sign into a legally binding contract with confidence. These Accommodation Providers have implemented additional clauses to their contracts to increase flexibility in order to adhere to student needs, and provide the support and care students require during this difficult period.

Flexibility will vary between accommodation providers but the information will be readily available on the MSH website.

You can search for properties with the Coronavirus Amendment Policy by:

  • Visit www.manchesterstudenthomes.com
  • Click on ‘Everything’
  • Click on ‘Search Tool’ to get the black panel on the left-hand side of the screen
  • Click on the filter ‘Coronavirus Amendment Policy’

 

Alternatively you can search for accommodation using the search criteria on the main page and look out for the following message on the search results:

screenshot of text that read 'coronavirus amendment policy in a yellow box

An example of the Coronavirus Amendment Policy offered by:

screen shot of coronavirus amendment policy on MSH website

I am not ready to sign a contract for accommodation yet, is there a deadline?

There is no deadline for signing a contract in the private rented sector, but rooms/houses will gradually go off the market as other students sign for them. If you are looking for something specific then we advise that you sign sooner rather than later. It is important that you view the property/room and carefully read your tenancy agreements before signing anything. Manchester Student Homes offers a free contract checking service to help you understand your contract or any clause within it. You can email them at manchesterstudenthomes@manchesterstudenthomes.com or call them on +44 (0)161 275 7680.

How do I find short term or single semester accommodation?

Manchester Student Homes (MSH) is a department of the University that works with a number of accommodation providers in and around Manchester. Students can search on their website to find accommodation that suits their needs, including houses, flats, studios and private halls of residence.

You can search for short term properties:

You can email manchesterstudenthomes@manchester.ac.uk with your requirements if you can't find what you are looking for.

Are there any flexible contracts available?

Manchester Student Homes (MSH) is a department of the University that work with a number of accommodation providers in and around Manchester. Students can search on their website to find accommodation that suits their needs, including houses, flats, studios and Private Halls of Residence.

We are pleased to hear that a number of Approved Accommodation Providers have already considered the impact of Covid-19 and the flexibility that students require in order to plan than subsequently sign into a legally binding contract with confidence. These Accommodation Providers have implemented additional clauses to their contracts to increase flexibility in order to adhere to student needs, and provide the support and care students require during this difficult period.

Currently there are 91 properties, owned by individual Landlords and Private Halls, totalling thousands of rooms that are offering the Coronavirus Amendment Policy, with this number increasing with each day. Flexibility will vary between accommodation providers but the information will be readily available on the MSH website.

What do I do if I want to view a property?

Students' safety is the first priority of our accredited accommodation providers. Depending on government guidance at the time, you may or may not be able to view a property in person. You should use virtual viewings where possible, in order to minimise public health risks. Ensure you always follow current government guidance around COVID. Find out more on Manchester Student Homes’ information and top tips on viewings page.

Support and wellbeing

What support is available during lockdown?

We’re very much aware of the continuing challenges that lockdown and local restrictions present to students. If you need support don’t worry – go to our support services during lockdown page for further information on how to get help.

Is there any financial support available?

We know that a number of students have started to struggle financially because of a sudden change of circumstances (e.g. through the loss of part time work). We want as many students as possible to be able to continue with their studies and so from today, we are widening access to our student hardship fund and making it easier to make an application.

The fund, which can award both small grants and loans, is now open to all students, regardless of mode of study or nationality. Further details can be found on the student support webpages or by emailing: funding@manchester.ac.uk.

I receive financial support, will this continue uninterrupted?

All students in receipt of financial support e.g. the Manchester Bursary, will continue to receive their instalments as planned. We are committed to maintaining support for all of our students.

What if I have an existing condition which has become worse and I am struggling with online study?

Please notify your School if the impact of the exacerbation of your condition means you need support and/or advice.

I am a student on work placement, should I still be working?

Government guidance is very clear that workplaces should make every possible effort to enable working from home (with appropriate support provided to help facilitate that) and that individuals should only be asked to attend their workplace where this is not possible. As such, we expect that, in the vast majority of cases, students on work placement will be working from home. Some of our students are attending work, such as those carrying out essential work in healthcare services. 

If working from home is not possible and your placement provider asks you to attend work, then they must follow Government guidance, including making every effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines. There are also additional considerations in relation to individuals who are vulnerable or live with someone who is vulnerable.

Your health and wellbeing are our priority and if you have concerns about any aspect of your placement (including being asked to attend your workplace) which you cannot resolve with your supervisor or manager at your placement provider, then please contact your School for advice in relation to the options available to you.

EU and international students

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has published advice for students planning to travel in the UK or oversees, and the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has published their advice for international students.

Are there any travel restrictions for students coming to the UK?

All students planning to travel to the UK should be aware of the current rules and requirements relevant to your circumstances before travelling. The situation is changing on a regular basis - for the latest information check our FAQ for EU / international applicants and offer holders.

Will the University pay for my quarantine hotel stay on arrival in the UK?

For students travelling from any designated 'red list' country, the University will reimburse the cost of a required quarantine stay in a government approved hotel. Find out more in our FAQ for EU / international applicants and offer holders.

I am an EU/EEA or Swiss student, how do I get a UK study visa?

From 1 January 2021, EU/EEA (except Republic of Ireland) and Swiss nationals will need a visa via the student route to study in the UK unless they have pre-settled or settled status  (or have applied for such). This isn't related to COVID-19, but is part of the new immigration rules as a result of Brexit.

You can apply for a visa via the UK government website and you’ll usually get a decision within three weeks.

To arrange this visa, you'll need a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) number from your School or Department and it will be sent to you after you've accepted an unconditional offer.

Full details can be found on the student route visa area of our student immigration and visas pages.

I was already granted a visa, but I haven’t entered the UK yet and the entry vignette has run out – what should I do?

If the 90-day entry vignette on your passport has expired and you haven’t yet entered the UK and collected your Biometric Residence Permit, you must get a replacement vignette before travelling. For further information go to our student immigration and visas pages.

Will studying remotely affect my student visa? Will I still be able to apply for the Graduate Immigration Route visa?

2020/2021 academic year

Some Schools / departments currently allow remote study for some or all students. If this option is available to you, you should be aware of any possible consequences for your visa (and future work visa applications):

  • If you have already obtained your biometric residence permit (BRP) card, your student visa will not be affected by studying remotely.
  • If you have not yet applied for your student visa, or you have obtained the 30-day or 90-day visa vignette in your passport but this will expire before you will travel to the UK, please see the guidance on our student immigration and visas pages.
  • You may plan to apply for a post-study work visa under the new Graduate Immigration Route. The UK government has confirmed that international students studying by distance/blended learning who are due to complete their course in 2021 will remain eligible to apply for this, as long as they are in the UK by specific dates as set out in the student concessions guidance and they meet the other requirements of the route. You should only travel when your programme team confirms that in-person on-campus teaching for your specific course is resuming. 

For further information go to our student immigration and visas pages.

2021/22 academic year

Your programme team will contact you shortly to confirm whether a remote study option will be available to you in Semester 1 of next academic year. International students who have a choice between on-campus and remote study will have additional considerations related to visas when making their decision.

UK government guidance does not currently allow for remote study for international students who are studying with us on a student visa. Concessions were made for the 2020-21 academic year, but these have not yet been finalised for 2021-22. However if travel restrictions remain in place at the start of the next academic year, we would anticipate a change in this policy as there was this year.

If you have a choice of study options, we ask that you indicate your initial preference in the same way as other students – just follow the instructions in the email from your programme team. We will then keep you updated with any changes in government policy that may affect your choice.

Will moving my studies or research temporarily online affect my visa?

No. If you are studying or researching online temporarily, are self-isolating or are unwell and unable to study or research, we will continue sponsorship of your visa. Please make sure that you keep your programme administrator, student support administrator, or academic supervisor updated about your situation.

 

I’m an international student, what should I do if I miss a police registration appointment due to COVID-19 restrictions?

Police registration appointments have now been suspended by Greater Manchester Police in response to the January 2021 national lockdown. Once the lockdown has been lifted, any available appointments can be booked through your MyManchester portal. You should expect a delay in being able to obtain an appointment even after the lockdown has been lifted.

Greater Manchester Police has advised that the delay in completing police registration will not affect your immigration status and no penalty will be given for missed or late registrations under these exceptional circumstances.

I am worried about my visa status. What should I do?

If you are concerned about your immigration status, please contact the Student Immigration Team for advice.

 

I am planning a trip abroad and have a non-UK passport, what should I do?

If you are planning to travel to other countries please be aware that if you have a non-UK passport, some countries are adding visa restrictions in efforts to contain the virus.  Please ensure your visa is valid before making any bookings. You should also check whether you will be required to quarantine on your return to the UK.

Can I access COVID-19 medical treatment?

There is no charge to international students or overseas visitors for COVID-19 testing, even if the result is negative. There is also no charge for any COVID-19 treatment provided if the result is positive or up to the point that it is negatively diagnosed. The same is true of most other infectious diseases.

I am on a placement - what should I do?

If you are an undergraduate on a study or work placement overseas and you have any concerns please contact ipoincidentsupport@manchester.ac.uk.

If you are a Masters student or PhD student on placement overseas, please contact your School office or Supervisor.