FAQs

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Students and staff will also be directly contacted via emails. Please regularly monitor your university email account

These questions will be regularly updated.

What is the current situation? content

What is the current situation?

What is the current situation?

The health and wellbeing of our staff and students is at the heart of everything we are doing during this unprecedented virus outbreak. We are working hard to continue to deliver education for our students despite the disruption caused by coronavirus. The university is also mindful of the local communities, businesses and schools in our region and are working to offer support where and when we can.

We continue to follow advice from the Scottish Government and the relevant health authorities.

All relevant public health information from Health Protection Scotland, including regular updates, is posted on the NHS inform website.

People who have concerns about their health in relation to suspected coronavirus, we ask that they follow current guidance about COVID-19 from NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government, including social distancing and stay at home advice which can be found on the NHS inform website.

NHS Scotland 24’s special helpline for general advice about coronavirus is open daily from 8am to 10pm. The free number to call is 0800 028 2816

Is the new academic year starting as planned? (New) content

Is the new academic year starting as planned? (New)

Is the new academic year starting as planned? (New)

Yes, our autumn term will start on the usual dates, with the majority of higher education students beginning their studies on Monday 7 September. Further education students will also start at the times they usually would through their individual partner campuses.

Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all of our staff and students in line with Scottish Government public health guidance.

The university partnership will be delivering educational opportunities to learners across the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Perthshire and beyond, drawing on our experience in blended learning to run courses while still adhering and adapting to changing government guidelines. Our approach will combine video conferencing and remote learning technologies as well as face to face teaching where possible and appropriate.

We have been developing and delivering our courses to students across our partnership and the word for over 20 years, connecting our students and our communities. We have established proven ways of learning through technology, delivering an active and personalised experience to our students who are supported through our university partnership of colleges and research institutions.

We are still welcoming applications for courses starting in September. To find out about the range of opportunities on offer, visit www.uhi.ac.uk.

Will graduation ceremonies still take place this summer? (New) content

Will graduation ceremonies still take place this summer? (New)

Will graduation ceremonies still take place this summer? (New)

Due to the health and safety challenges faced during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have made the difficult decision, in consultation with the Highlands and Islands Students' Association and Comann nan Oileanach at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI, that there will be no graduation ceremonies, either in person or virtually during 2020.

The university partnership plans to organise special events in 2021 which will enable graduates and guests to celebrate achievements when it is safe to do so. The format and timing of these events will be determined in due course by each academic partner college or research institution.

Students finishing this academic year (2019/20) will receive their awards from the awarding body as they normally would. Higher education students will have their awards conferred and will graduate in absentia.

The student records office will be contacting Graduands (degree students) when their award has been confirmed, to explain how graduating in absentia will work during the covid-19 situation. If you have an immediate issue you would like to discuss, please contact Red Button team.

I am planning to stay in the university student residences, should I apply as normal? What if I apply for a room and am then not able to travel? (New) content

I am planning to stay in the university student residences, should I apply as normal? What if I apply for a room and am then not able to travel? (New)

I am planning to stay in the university student residences, should I apply as normal? What if I apply for a room and am then not able to travel? (New)

If you are considering applying for accommodation at your chosen location of study, you are encouraged to apply as normal.  If you apply for a room and then cannot travel you may be able to defer your stay to a later date.  For further assistance or if you have any questions please contact student.accommodation@uhi.ac.uk.

I am a student, where can I find advice on funding? content

I am a student, where can I find advice on funding?

I am a student, where can I find advice on funding?

During this worrying time, we understand that money might be a big concern for our students.  Advice for students on funding can be found here.

The university has an undergraduate and postgraduate discretionary fund which is there to assist students who are struggling financially. You can also contact your local student support team for advice on applying.

Some additional sources of funding may be available.  Please find more information on scholarships, discretionary funds and bursaries available on our bursaries and scholarships page. Should you wish to discuss these options please email our student support team.  The Careers and Employability Centre team can also help you with making applications and creating personal statements.

If I am not eligible for Discretionary Funds, is there any additional support available? (New) content

If I am not eligible for Discretionary Funds, is there any additional support available? (New)

If I am not eligible for Discretionary Funds, is there any additional support available? (New)

If you are not eligible for Discretionary Funds, you may be able to receive support from the university’s new Emergency Study Fund

This fund has been set up to help students impacted by the Covid-19 situation and who are in need of IT equipment, to enable them to continue their studies, or financial support to help with day to day living costs. With regards to financial support, only students NOT eligible for discretionary funds should apply to this fund. This includes, but is not limited to, EU and International students.

If you are unsure if you would be eligible for funds, please get in touch with your local funding team who will be able to advise you further.

Are you closing the university? Will my teaching be affected? content

Are you closing the university? Will my teaching be affected?

Are you closing the university? Will my teaching be affected?

No, we remain open, however we are making changes to the way we deliver teaching and learning. We are already a distributed partnership and have considerable expertise in online learning - we’re just extending that distribution more widely.

We are focusing our efforts on online delivery of our courses and to ensure our staff and students are safe. Colleagues across our partnership are working together to ensure we can deliver as much as we can to all of our students online: both at further and higher education level.

On Tuesday 17 March, at 5pm we suspended the delivery of face-to-face teaching and have moved to the delivery of teaching and learning online to help reduce the risk of spread of coronavirus within our community.

This arrangement will continue until further notice. Students should not attend classes in person, this includes lectures, tutorials, laboratory classes, seminars etc.

Students on placement should cease to attend their placement until further guidance is given, this excludes nursing and midwifery students. Students who wish to remain with their placement organisation on a voluntary basis do so at their own risk.

We are aware of how unsettling and frightening the current situation across the country is for students. We know you are all affected by coronavirus in different ways and we want to reassure students that we are thinking about you and we don't want you to be concerned about the impact of the virus on your studies.

We want you to continue with your course and to succeed, but we know that is going to be difficult in these really challenging times as some of you may not have internet access or access to computers.

We are doing everything we can to help you continue your studies. Your local course leaders should have been in touch to explain how this will affect you directly and to let you know how they plan to continue teaching and assessment arrangements. It is important that you keep in touch with your course contact as they will have the answers to your more specific questions.

This suspension will cover all further education, higher education and community programmes delivered at all our campuses across the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Perthshire.

Local course leaders have made initial contact with students to explain how this will affect students directly and to let them what plans are being put in place to continue teaching and assessment arrangements.

It is important that students keep in touch with their course contact team. Support services or the red button is also available for questions or to keep in touch.

It is crucial that students keep an eye on their student email account and also www.uhi.ac.uk/coronavirus, where all the latest information and frequently asked questions will be posted as well as looking for information from your local campus, including how you can access electronic library resources.

I am a student with accommodation in halls of residencies, can I end my contract early? content

I am a student with accommodation in halls of residencies, can I end my contract early?

I am a student with accommodation in halls of residencies, can I end my contract early?

As part of the support measures being developed for our students, the University of the Highlands and Islands has decided (7 April) that those who are residents during the coronavirus crisis and who have already chosen to leave their residences will be released from their contracts early, at the end of April 2020. It is crucial that you notify Cityheart of your wish to be released by 5pm on Friday 17 April 2020, advising that you have returned home and wish to be released from your tenancy agreement from 1 May 2020.

Those students who are still living in residences [Dornoch, Inverness, Elgin, Perth, Fort William, Oban and Sleat] will be able to remain and stay longer than their tenancy agreement if they need to.

We want to continue to help those students whose plans may have been affected by the movement restrictions implemented during the coronavirus crisis. In addition to local onsite support, the university provides all our students with access to a range of support services available regardless of which campus you study with.  Our student support team can answer queries or refer you to someone who can help locally - email us,  visit our webpages, or use the Red Button service.  

We are currently in discussions with NHS Highland and NHS Grampian about the use of our residences for essential workers, should this be required to lend our support to the challenge of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Should student accommodation being requested for use, it may be necessary to put some student belongings, which have been left behind, into temporary storage. If we need to release any rooms for this purpose and move student belongings, students will be notified and ask for their permission in advance. Students can collect their belongings as soon as movement restrictions are relaxed. For more details contact us.

I am a SQA student, how will my programme or assessments be affected this year? content

I am a SQA student, how will my programme or assessments be affected this year?

I am a SQA student, how will my programme or assessments be affected this year?

We are working hard to make sure that you have the tools and support you need to help you complete your qualification. Most courses will be completed by the end of the academic year (19/20) as normal, but there may be others that might need a little extra time. The delay might be because we need students to sit practical assessments that have to be carried out on campus when they reopen. Your course team will tell you if this affects you.

If you need clarification on any point it is important that you speak with your course team/tutor for specific information on what this means for you. You can visit your local college website for localised information and guidance for students. And you can go to the Red Button at any time – your query will be directed quickly to the right person.

The latest guidance and information from SQA can be found on their website.

I am a degree student, how will my assessments be affected this year? content Is there information available for Honours degrees level students and students completing other final awards? (New) content

Is there information available for Honours degrees level students and students completing other final awards? (New)

Is there information available for Honours degrees level students and students completing other final awards? (New)

Yes. We are aware of how complex and challenging the current situation is for students, particularly those who are due to graduate this academic year.

To take into account these exceptional circumstances, we have agreed a fair approach for determining Honours degrees classification and Distinction classification for other final level awards this year.

This approach will use two different calculation methods. If one gives a higher classification than the other, you will be awarded the higher classification. This will only be used to improve your classification outcome, not to lower it. This ‘no detriment’ approach aims to take into account the way COVID-19 may have affected your studies.

Your programme leader and personal academic tutor can advise you if you have any questions on these arrangements. You can also direct questions to your local student support team or through our Red Button service.

Is there guidance available for students on taught postgraduate programmes? (New) content

Is there guidance available for students on taught postgraduate programmes? (New)

Is there guidance available for students on taught postgraduate programmes? (New)

Yes. We are aware of how uncertain and frightening the current situation is for everyone. We recognise that your lives may be being disrupted in all sorts of ways during this time, and each person’s situation will be different. You may have different and unplanned employment or caring responsibilities, you may be a key worker, or you or your family members may become ill.

We are doing everything we can to help you continue, and/or, complete your studies despite the disruption, and in the light of these exceptional circumstances. Many of our taught postgraduate programmes were designed for distance learning, and so delivery has been less impacted by campus building closures. We have now moved all programmes to teaching and learning online and, developed alternative assessments where existing arrangements were no longer possible.

This is the latest information on assessment, mitigating circumstances and support available to students on taught postgraduate programmes.

Your programme leader and personal academic tutor can advise you if you have any questions on these arrangements. You can also direct questions to your local student support team or through our Red Button service.

Can I access a campus building? content

Can I access a campus building?

Can I access a campus building?

No. All the university partnership campuses are now closed to all staff, students and visitors except with approved access for maintenance and designated staff who have pre-arranged access through their local arrangements.

I am a member of staff, how does it affect me? content

I am a member of staff, how does it affect me?

I am a member of staff, how does it affect me?

All staff will be contacted by their employer to discuss ongoing working arrangements, specific local guidance should be followed.

Staff should now discuss possible alternatives to how they normally carry out their work with their line manager.

Staff: Arrangements for continuing teaching.

The reasonable adjustments agreed within my original Personal Learning Support Plan (PLSP) don’t meet my needs to work from home, what can I do? content

The reasonable adjustments agreed within my original Personal Learning Support Plan (PLSP) don’t meet my needs to work from home, what can I do?

The reasonable adjustments agreed within my original Personal Learning Support Plan (PLSP) don’t meet my needs to work from home, what can I do?

If you have any queries about the support in place for you, you should contact student services staff at your home academic partner in the first instance. Student services staff will be able to advise you, and arrange a review of your PLSP as appropriate.

I have a query about disabled students’ allowance, what should I do? content

I have a query about disabled students’ allowance, what should I do?

I have a query about disabled students’ allowance, what should I do?

If you are a Higher Education student and are in receipt of, or considering applying for, disabled students’ allowance and have any queries in relation to this, contact home academic partner student services in the first instance. Remember that you can have a personal learning support plan in place without necessarily having access to disabled students’ allowance funding.

I am looking for a job just now - what's currently available and where can I go to for support? content

I am looking for a job just now - what's currently available and where can I go to for support?

I am looking for a job just now - what's currently available and where can I go to for support?

This is a difficult time and many people will be affected by job losses, and a reduction in the number of organisations looking for staff. However some businesses are in need of staff and the nature of roles available is changing. We are continually updating opportunities and signpost to job opportunities on our Careers Centre Website.

Iain and Helen from the Careers and Employability Centre are available to help you with applications, CV’s and general advice on job searching. You can access this support and book an appointment through FutureMe. If you have a specific question or are unable to access the portal you can email the team. Graduates of the University of the Highlands and Islands can also access the FutureMe service regardless of when you graduated, you just need to create an account on first use.

Can I travel? content

Can I travel?

Can I travel?

The Scottish Government has published a routemap which sets out the plans for easing Scotland's coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, which includes guidance on travel.

No business or course related travel is permitted overseas for students or staff.  There will be no student exchanges and placements which involve travelling outside the UK during semester one of the 2020/21 academic year. We will also be unable to accept applications for incoming exchanges during this period.

For all travel outwith the UK please consult and observe the latest advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. First check that it is safe to do so and that you are aware of any travel restrictions issued by your home country and the UK which can be found on the Fit For Travel website.

Please seek additional guidance from your course leader, line manager or local human resources team.

If you are an International student please refer to additional advice. If you are an International Tier 4 student and have any additional questions you can contact admissions@uhi.ac.uk. Students from all other non-UK countries can use the Red Button.

What precautions should I be taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus? content

What precautions should I be taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus?

What precautions should I be taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus?

Everyone must do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading. It is important to follow NHS inform guidance on how to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus.

Extensive measures have been implemented across many countries to slow the spread of COVID-19. In the UK the current recommendations are for everyone to stay at home as much as possible and severely restrict their interactions with others outside the household.

The latest guidance about COVID-19 from NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government, including social distancing, shielding and stay at home advice can be found on NHS inform.

NHS inform also has guidance caring for a cough or fever, mental wellbeing and other COVID-19 advice. Always check the website to ensure that any guidance you are using is the latest version.

Health Protection Scotland continues to update guidance.

Workplace Guidance for non-healthcare settings [NHS Scotland]

What should I do if I suspect I, or someone I live with, might have coronavirus? content

What should I do if I suspect I, or someone I live with, might have coronavirus?

What should I do if I suspect I, or someone I live with, might have coronavirus?

Please do consult with the latest guidance from NHS inform and use the self-help guide to check your symptoms and find out what to do next if you or someone you live with has symptoms of COVID-19. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS24 on 111. Please do not go into medical facilities as this could infect others.

The Scottish Government advise that anyone developing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, however mild, should self-isolate for 7 days. The person with symptoms should isolate for 7 days following the onset of symptoms anyone living with them should isolate for 14 days.

Information for the public on COVID-19 can be found on NHS Inform.

Your absence will be treated as sick leave and you will receive your sick pay entitlement for the period of absence related to the virus. Your local sickness absence reporting procedure will apply in this situation.

This is all getting a bit stressful, who can I turn to? content

This is all getting a bit stressful, who can I turn to?

This is all getting a bit stressful, who can I turn to?

There will continue to be a lot of news and distressing reports on coronavirus, we understand the toll the current situation may be taking on mental health and wellbeing and we want to remind you that we are committed to supporting you as an individual.

All students and staff, now have access to Big White Wall, a digital mental health support service which is available online, 24/7, and is completely anonymous so you can express yourself freely and openly. Professionally trained wall guides monitor the community to ensure the safety and anonymity of all members. In addition to Big White Wall’s online community, you will have access to a wealth of useful resources and can work through tailored self-help courses covering topics such as anxiety, sleep, weight management, depression and many more. For information on how to register, head to www.uhi.ac.uk/bigwhitewall.

Each of our campuses across the university partnership has expert local student support staff who can offer support and guidance on a wide range of topics including finances, disability support, learning support together with mental health and wellbeing support and personal issues. Help and advice is always available from these teams, along with access to trained counsellors via the green button service.

We also have a list of other external support helplines available.

The university's health and wellbeing Facebook page provides regular updates, resources and links to help you to maintain your mental wellbeing.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the charity Mind have produced some useful resources on coping with stress in the face of an outbreak.

I’ve been in self-isolation for more than 14 days; do I need a fit note? content

I’ve been in self-isolation for more than 14 days; do I need a fit note?

I’ve been in self-isolation for more than 14 days; do I need a fit note?

Whilst it is standard to require evidence for any absence extending beyond a period set by your employer, usually seven days, we recognise that as local GPs will be under additional strain you might not be able to get a fit note if you’ve been told to self-isolate.

In these circumstances retrospective evidence will be accepted. Alternatively, you can request a letter from your local health protection team to explain any absence from work related to self-isolation.

I have been subjected to bullying or have been racially harassed as a result of coronavirus. What should I do? content

I have been subjected to bullying or have been racially harassed as a result of coronavirus. What should I do?

I have been subjected to bullying or have been racially harassed as a result of coronavirus. What should I do?

There is the unfortunate possibility that current events may cause an increase in incidents of racial harassment, aggression or abuse which some staff or students might face either on or off campus.

This is never acceptable.

If you face any negative or abusive comments or behaviour from anyone, you should tell someone and seek support from your course leaders, local student support team, line manager or from your local human resources team.  Red Button is also available for students  

How can I access library resources? content

How can I access library resources?

How can I access library resources?

We have made some changes to library services, including extending all materials that are currently on loan, which removes the need for users to renew or return their items during the outbreak. There are further details in this guide. We're also reminding them of the great online systems and resources they can access while off-campus and soon plan to offer online drop-in sessions to demo services and answer any queries that students and staff may have.

Library information on Coronavirus and changes to library service

My studies have been disrupted by Coronavirus. Can I apply for mitigating circumstances? (higher education students only) content

My studies have been disrupted by Coronavirus. Can I apply for mitigating circumstances? (higher education students only)

My studies have been disrupted by Coronavirus. Can I apply for mitigating circumstances? (higher education students only)

If your personal circumstances have been affected by coronavirus and disrupted your studies (due to illness, caring responsibilities, lack of access to IT/resources or any other way), you should apply online for mitigating circumstances in the normal way via the Student portal.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, if you need an extension, or to defer assessment submission until the summer, please apply or speak with your personnel academic tutor who can do this on your behalf.

Students will not be required to submit any medical ​or other evidence and the application will be approved automatically. We will not require evidence in support of any mitigating circumstances claims at the current time.

If the disruption affected the whole class, this will be dealt with by the university, and you do NOT need to submit an individual claim. You will not be penalised academically.

Should I expect feedback on marked assessments to be returned to me as normal? (higher education students only) content

Should I expect feedback on marked assessments to be returned to me as normal? (higher education students only)

Should I expect feedback on marked assessments to be returned to me as normal? (higher education students only)

All staff will attempt to mark work and give feedback within the normal timescales, however some modules/units may be affected, as staff adapt to the new situation, and in the event of absence due to unexpected childcare commitments or illness. We will try to communicate any changes to you as clearly as possible. We appreciate your understanding in these difficult circumstances.

I have heard that some students on health, child and social care programmes have been asked to go into the workforce. Should I consider this? (higher education students only) content

I have heard that some students on health, child and social care programmes have been asked to go into the workforce. Should I consider this? (higher education students only)

I have heard that some students on health, child and social care programmes have been asked to go into the workforce. Should I consider this? (higher education students only)

This would be entirely up to you, as an individual, whether you wish to contribute in this way, whether as a volunteer or on a paid work basis. Please be aware that all university placements ​(except Nursing and Midwifery) were suspended from 17 March 2020, hence any activity of this nature would not be undertaken as a university student. Any such activity would be on a voluntary basis and would not form part of a programme of study.

If I have a question about my programme or assessment, who should I contact? (higher education students only) content

If I have a question about my programme or assessment, who should I contact? (higher education students only)

If I have a question about my programme or assessment, who should I contact? (higher education students only)

You should be getting general information from your programme leader. Module leaders will provide information about any changes to teaching, assessment, access to learning materials, etc.  If you need clarification on any point, contact the Programme leader in the first instance. Your personal academic tutor is also available to help.  And you can go to the Red Button at any time – your query will be directed quickly to the right person.

I have an exam scheduled in May. Will it go ahead? content

I have an exam scheduled in May. Will it go ahead?

I have an exam scheduled in May. Will it go ahead?

The usual formal examinations that students would have attended in person in colleges or other invigilated venues will not take place in May. Please be assured that programme teams are planning alternative methods of assessment, which may involve, for example, some kind of coursework, or an online exam. You will be informed directly of any changes by your programme leader or individual subject tutor as soon as possible and it is essential you stay in touch with them.

I’m a postgraduate research student, where can I find specific information? content

I’m a postgraduate research student, where can I find specific information?

I’m a postgraduate research student, where can I find specific information?

Postgraduate research students should refer to their ‘Postgraduate Research’ area on Brightspace where they can find more detailed information and guidance.

I am a student, is the Highlands and Islands Students Association still open? content

I am a student, is the Highlands and Islands Students Association still open?

I am a student, is the Highlands and Islands Students Association still open?

Yes, the Highlands and Islands Students Association is now operating fully online, where the staff and officers safely continue to serve any student’s needs.

The HISA website is being regularly updated with information regarding online clubs, societies and events, as well as outlines of plans to better connect digitally with their members during this situation.

If you have any questions, please do reach out to your HISA team.

I am not feeling well, what should I do regarding my studies? content

I am not feeling well, what should I do regarding my studies?

I am not feeling well, what should I do regarding my studies?

If you feel unwell and think that you may have the symptoms of coronavirus you should:

  • Follow the latest advice from NHS inform.
  • Inform your course leader or international support member of staff so that they know you are unwell.
  • If you are unwell and unable to study, you must follow your local absence reporting as soon as practicable.
I’m an international student, where can I find visa advice? content

I’m an international student, where can I find visa advice?

I’m an international student, where can I find visa advice?

Advice for International students can be found here.