The government's response to the pandemic changes frequently and sometimes with little notice. You can find their latest guidance on the Government website.
The University updates its own pages with how these changes will affect students and the University's processes and policies. You can find the latest University information on the Keele website.
What support is available from the University?
The University has produced guidance and information on support services provided by Keele. Information about the support available to self-isolating students is available on the University website. If you've tested positive for Covid-19 you should report this to the University, so they can keep track of cases and provide you with support.
I'm not happy with the support or decisions being made by the University - can I do anything?
The University has a complaints process you can follow - information is available on our Complaints page and ASK can support you with the process. You can also contact KeeleSU's elected officer team, who are working to represent students' interests.
The pandemic has affected my mental health, what support is available?
The University has a free counselling service, which is still operating remotely. You can visit the Counselling webpage for information about their service, how to contact them, and for some great self-help resources. The University has signed up to Togetherall (formerly known as Big White Wall), which provides anonymous, round-the-clock professional support online. You can sign up for free using your Keele email address. You can also talk to your GP to discuss support, which could include accessing NHS mental health services or trying medication. Our Mental Health page has links to a number of support services you can contact, including Samaritans.
I'm struggling with my studies because of the pandemic
It's really important you tell your School if your work has been affected. The University has an Exceptional Circumstances (ECs) process, where you can ask for further assessment attempts or extensions. You can visit the Keele website for full information on ECs, along with an instructional video. ASK can help you with the claim if you're having any problems.
If your assessment is coursework, you can ask for an extension at any time up to the submission deadline. If your assessment is a time-limited ‘exam-style’ assessment, then you be granted an uncapped reassessment attempt at the next opportunity, which is likely to be the next reassessment period.
The University has made some changes to the ECs process during the pandemic. The main changes are summarised below, but you can visit their website for full information.
The University has lowered the barriers for evidence so more students can self-certify - you can read more about this on the University's website. In summary, the University recognises there will be difficulty getting evidence at this time so they are more willing to just accept a statement from you if other forms of evidence can't be easily obtained. Your statement should:
Provide enough details of the timeline of your ECs to allow the School to match this with the timing of the relevant assessment/s.
Show you have been in touch with an appropriate member of staff about your situation, either for support or to try to resolve it. If you haven't spoken to anyone yet, your School may decide to still accept your claim but give you details of support services you can access (such as ASK).
For bereavements, the University no longer needs to see a death certificate and will now accept your own statement.
IT issues are not normally accepted as ECs, but they will now be allowed under certain circumstances. Accepted ECs may include IT equipment failure, lack of software, or internet issues. Schools are being asked to be lenient in considering one-off ECs relating to unforeseen IT difficulties. If you are submitting multiple ECs about IT issues, you will need to show that you've been in touch with the appropriate people to try to resolve these issues.
I'm having IT issues, is there anything the University can do to help?
This year, students are more reliant on computers than ever before. If you are having long-term issues with your computer and/or internet, you can seek support from the University. If you're in the Keele area, they may be able to provide bookable study spaces with PC access on campus. They may also be able to provide devices or loans from the University’s Covid-related student hardship funds.
If you have an assessment due you can submit an Exceptional Circumstances claim. IT issues can potentially be accepted (see previous question).
Exceptionally, if it is not possible for you to get reasonable internet access where you currently are and you're not able to engage with your studies, it may be necessary to take a leave of absence from your studies.
Information about IT support for students at this time is available on the Keele website.
Will there be any changes to how my degree or progression decision is calculated?
All undergraduate students who completed their second year studies in the 2019/2020 academic year will currently have their degrees calculated in two ways: the normal calculation, and a second calculation that ignores the marks from Semester 2 of their second year. They will be awarded the highest degree out of those two calculations. You can read about about last year's safety net on the University's website.
Further safety nets were put in place for the 2020/21 academic year and will remain in place until December. Full information and an FAQ is on the University's website but in summary:
1. All undergraduate students who have an average module mark in the borderline range will automatically have their degree raised to the higher class - this was previously only done if a student had exceptional circumstances.
2. All postgraduate taught students' degrees will now be determined by just the average module mark; you no longer need to achieve a particular mark in your dissertation as well.
3. All students will be given a third, capped, assessment attempt if they haven't passed a module in two attempts (and if it can't be condoned). Please note this may not be possible for students on a professional course.
4. At the end of the year, exam boards will review all module results against the previous 2 years. If there is a marked difference, the board may decide to raise the marks of the entire module cohort.
5. Foundation Year students have can now pass with 90 credits below 40%, as long as those credits can be condoned. The mark needed to enter certain subjects has also been lowered by 5%. For those entering Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, you will need to pass all Semester 1 modules with a mark of 40%.
For advice on housing issues caused by the pandemic, you can visit our dedicated Covid-19 Housing page.
I'm struggling financially because of the pandemic, is there any financial support available?
You may be eligible for the University's hardship fund. This is a discretionary fund administered by Student Services. Information about the fund and the application are available on the Keele website and you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a sudden emergency, you may also be able to get a small emergency loan from Student Services.
For more financial queries, you can visit our Covid-19 page for Money.