Concerned about returning?
It is only natural if you have some concerns about starting back at York in September; you are not alone - the whole world feels a little uncertain right now. But here are some things that might help you feel better and give you the confidence to look forward to coming to campus, or joining us online, and getting on with your life at university.
Changes to your financial circumstances
If your financial circumstances have changed (for example, you or your parents have been furloughed) then there are options for you to consider.
If you are a UK student in receipt of a Student Loan Company (SLC) loan, it’s possible to have the amount of student finance you are eligible for reconsidered in light of your new circumstances. This evaluation is based on ‘Current Year Income’, so you’ll need to provide the SLC with evidence of your parent’s new income. If you are an undergraduate student, you may also be eligible for a York Bursary based on your new residual household income. This will be calculated based on your SLC evaluation, and details can be found here.
We can also potentially help with other unexpected costs associated with COVID-19 through the Student Support Fund. We suggest that if you are concerned about how you are going to afford to study this year, you talk to our Student Welfare Advisors who work within the Student Hub team. They can help you to consider your options, and help you feel more confident in your plans for university.
Working to help pay for university
Many students use part time work to help cover some of their costs at university. The economic downturn has made the employment market more difficult for everyone. If you already have a job, it’s worth having an honest conversation with your employer about the amount of work they predict that you can expect so that you can budget accordingly. If you are looking for work in York, it’s worth looking at the resources available through Careers and Placements, which can help you look for part-time and casual work as well as supporting your longer term career goals.
It may also be possible to get by on less money than you might think. Take a look at the resources on the Managing your Money page to consider ways that you might be able to cut costs, even if you can’t increase your income at the moment.
Access to a computer
You are likely to take part in more online learning, especially during the first term, and studying on a phone (or even a tablet) isn’t likely to be a viable plan for a year. There are also likely to be fewer study spaces available with access to computers.
That’s why we’ve set up assistance funding schemes to help any student who cannot afford to buy their own laptop to invest in one to allow them to continue to study regardless of varying access to campus.
Making campus safe
Your health and wellbeing is our top priority. We are preparing campus for your safe return so that we can get back to the university life we want to lead as soon as we can.
Working within Government guidelines, we are doing all we can to make campus a safe space for our students and our staff. We’ll be implementing staggered starts to reduce the traffic flows on campus; physical distancing within all of our classrooms, labs, and other teaching and learning spaces; a one way system for travel on campus; and a test, track and trace system to ensure that students who come in contact with someone who is ill are isolated appropriately. Hand sanitising stations will be placed in every building and you will be given a washable face mask at the start of term when you arrive on campus
Colleges will be available to support students who may need to self-isolate on campus, and those living off-campus will have access to the wide variety of University and community support services which make self-isolation practicable in a small city like York.
If you are particularly worried about the risks associated with the virus because of a pre-existing medical condition, we advise that you speak to your GP and to Disability Services.
For anyone feeling anxious we have prepared a set of resources to help you manage these anxieties yourself; if you need a little extra support, you can consider speaking to the Open Door Team. They are experts in mental health, and may be able to help you to get some of the worries under control.
Balancing face-to-face and online learning
This way of teaching and learning is new to us all; your department has been thinking hard about how to maximise the value of your time in the classroom whilst making it possible for those who are unable to attend campus (for example, because of travel restrictions or underlying health conditions) to benefit from the learning available online.
If you are worried about what the impact of this change is going to be for you, we’d suggest that you contact your supervisor or your department to discuss what it will mean for you. Departments are excited to welcome students back this year, and it may be that a discussion about what we’re planning for you will get you excited about it too.
Online only learning
We are planning to provide as much of our teaching on campus as possible. Where our programmes are offered as campus-based, we believe that teaching in person comes with benefits that outweigh the mitigated risks under the current conditions. For those students who are unable to join us at the start of term due to health risks or travel constraints we will provide the best possible online learning experience.
If you have a reason other than health conditions or travel restrictions for not wanting to return to face to face learning right away, you can contact the Student Hub with details of the reason and your contact details. Someone will be in touch to discuss your options and provide support and guidance.
Options for students who cannot study this year
If, once you’ve considered all of your options, and all of the support that we can offer, you decide that you really can’t make study work for you in the current circumstances, you can consider taking a Leave of Absence. That would mean taking a period of time away from your degree (usually a year for taught students) and rejoining the cohort behind you next year.
You won’t be eligible for student finance at this time, and we suggest that you speak to the Student Welfare Advisors, or someone you trust in your department before you make this decision so that you can be sure that your decision is well informed. But for a small number of students, this may be the right choice.