Friday 10 December 2021

Email to international PGT students who have not yet come to York

Action you need to take ahead of in-person teaching in January 2022


Dear students,


I am writing to outline our current plans for next term (Spring 2022), which once again includes details of the support available if you are intending to join us in York, and also key information if you are not able to join us as you had hoped.


This is a long email, but it is very important that you read it all and take any action that applies to you.


Our teaching plans

We continue to follow UK Government health advice, to support and protect our staff and students, and at the same time uphold the quality of our teaching and learning experience.


Whilst the UK has established some new restrictions this week, the Government’s advice to universities has again been clear. In the specific Department for Education guidance we received 9 December, it states: “we expect all education settings, including further and higher education providers, to continue to provide face-to-face teaching”.


This means we are continuing with our planned approach of teaching in-person from January 2022. All students not yet here should plan to arrive by 17 January 2022 at the latest, as this is when most teaching and learning will resume.


There are eight exclusions, where teaching on a very small number of programmes will be continuing online for longer because of exceptional circumstances. You can find these programmes here.


Safety and support

We have introduced the new UK Government measures in response to the Omicron variant of Covid-19, and we continue to follow its guidance and health advice closely.


Our staff and students are now wearing face coverings (masks) in shops, on public transport, in public indoor spaces on campus, and we also now require the use of face coverings in teaching and learning spaces.

We recognise the UK’s approach to managing Covid-19 is different to other countries, but there are a comprehensive range of measures in place, including robust testing and vaccinations, where our uptake continues to be well ahead of national levels. The latest data shows us 93% of students are fully or partially vaccinated, which reduces the risk of spreading the virus. Our staff and students regularly take Covid tests, which are easy to access across campus (or they can be delivered directly to homes), meaning the situation is monitored closely.

Travelling to the UK

There have been some changes to travel guidance over the last few days, and we strongly recommend that you keep checking the latest UK Government travel advice for entering the UK.


If you are required to quarantine on arrival in York, we will support you. This will include either reimbursing the cost of mandatory testing or the cost of your managed quarantine accommodation. However, please note, we will only do this ONCE during the academic year, when you travel to York for the first time. For more information on financial support, please visit our Covid-19 financial support pages.


Arriving in the UK

A free airport collection service is available from Manchester Airport on 6 and 7 January 2022. You can find more information on travelling to the UK and booking the collection service.


Please be aware of UK national holidays (25-27 December 2021, 1 January 2022 and 3 January 2022). On these dates many businesses and travel providers run significantly reduced services. If you plan to arrive in the UK on these dates it is important to ensure you have pre-booked accommodation (either in a hotel, your student accommodation or with friends/family) and have checked any travel services you plan to use are running. If you would like support with this, please contact our International Student Support Team by 17 December.


Helping you find accommodation

For students who are still looking for accommodation, we are here to help. We are currently contacting those students who responded to the recent travel survey to offer assistance, but if you would also like support, please contact our team by emailing accommodation@york.ac.uk.


In the City of York, we are aware that there are still significant pressures on accommodation, so we continue to help find rooms in nearby neighbouring cities as well. We work with trusted student accommodation providers in Leeds and Hull to secure high quality rooms and access to nearby facilities, and we are also reviewing our travel support to help students make the journey to and from campus with minimal disruption.


Delays in arriving into the UK

If there are legal travel restrictions in place preventing you from getting to the UK (for example your local or national government have imposed rules that mean it is not possible for you to leave the country you are in, or the UK will not allow you to enter), then you must let us know at covid19-enquiries@york.ac.uk. You will be asked to provide evidence of the travel restrictions in question.


If your flight or other travel plans are cancelled, and you are unable to reach the UK by 17 January 2022, you should re-book travel at the earliest possible opportunity to minimise the impact of any lost teaching. If you cannot re-book travel, please follow the steps below on taking a leave of absence.


What to do if you decide not to come to the UK

We understand that all students must decide for themselves how to balance the significant opportunities provided by a UK education and the relative risks of travelling and studying away from home. We continue to recognise that balance will be different for everyone.

Option 1: Leave of Absence

If you choose not to join us in January 2022, you must contact your Department immediately. You will be offered the opportunity to take a Leave of Absence, which will pause your degree so that you can restart it again in-person in January 2023. You won’t be charged any fees for the period your degree is paused, but you will continue to have access to our Careers Services and the electronic library resources.


We strongly recommend you complete your January assessments before starting the Leave of Absence, to give you the greatest chance of success.


You can find more information on taking a Leave of Absence here.


Option 2: Withdrawing from your programme

If you decide not to come to York or to take a Leave of Absence, you will need to withdraw from your programme. If you are withdrawing, we still strongly recommend you complete your January assessments, as that may offer you more opportunities in the future, and also enables your lecturers/supervisors to give detailed information if you need a reference.


If, at the point of withdrawal, you have successfully completed and passed one or more course modules, we can award you credits. Credits can be used in order to support a return to study at York, or sometimes be transferred to other institutions. In addition, in some instances, if you have passed a sufficient number of module credits, you may be eligible for an ‘exit award’, which is still a valid UK Higher Education Qualification.


If you are thinking about withdrawing from your programme, please talk to your Department in the first instance, before completing the withdrawal form on e:vision. More information on withdrawing can be found here.


We’d love to welcome you to York

We really hope you will be able to come to York for next term - there are so many international students enjoying their experience, making the most of their time in this beautiful City, and taking advantage of all there is on offer from a UK education. York remains a welcoming and popular destination for students, and we very much hope you are able to join us soon and we look forward to welcoming you.

Best wishes

Tracy Lightfoot

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching, Learning and Students