UWE closes campuses, agrees to cancel rent, extends deadlines

UWE joins Unite in offering to release students from contracts, but you must contact your accommodation provider to be released. UWE’s Wellbeing service remains accessible online and over the phone.

The message from the Vice-Chancellor, Steve West, was clear: “Every single one of us now has a part to play in this pandemic. Stay at home. Do not gather in groups of more than two, unless you live together.”

Engineering buildling (Z Block) under construction.
The Engineering building (Z Block) is still under construction. Photo: Kane Smith

Despite this, construction on UWE’s engineering building continues to go ahead.

It is a stark turnaround. Just a week ago on Monday the campus was “open for business and running as normal.” This was quickly followed by a suspension of teaching on Tuesday, and a move to online learning on Wednesday.

Now, campuses will close from 5 PM today, and the library will be waiving fines until they reopen.

Insisting that students “will not be disadvantaged”, the Vice-Chancellor has taken the extraordinary step of extending all coursework hand-in dates to 14:00 on Thursday 23 April, and has said that there will be no 24-hour late window, with all students entitled to one uncapped resit on modules in the current semester. Personal Circumstances will be applied for all students, covering every assessment submitted between Wednesday 18 March and the end of the academic year, with no evidence required.

The Vice-Chancellor has stated that all of those leaving accommodation “must let [UWE] know”, through their absence recording form, and states that those who do will be released from their accommodation contract for the final term – allowing affected students to save money on rent. Those in accommodation run by Unite Students, a body separate from UWE, must inform them by Friday 10 April in order to be released from their contract – more information in their statement.

Students still living on campus will be able to obtain free food and drink from the Atrium Café, located in the business building.

Access to specialist equipment and spaces is now not possible, and the campus will be accessible on a swipe card basis only, with students unable to access any buildings other than those that explicitly remain open.

Except for year 3 September cohorts for nursing and midwifery, and year 2 physicians associates, all students on professional placements should arrange to finish their placement by 17:00 on Friday 27 March.

Updated, full, information is available on UWE’s coronavirus FAQs.

£600-per-month no more (this year, anyway). Photo: Maya Bond-Webster

Featured photo: Craig Whitehead / Unsplash

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