Updates for students
30 March 2021
Key contacts during Easter break
Due to University closure days, the BSMS Student Support team will be unavailable and unable to pick up messages after 5pm Tuesday 30 March until 9am Thursday 8 April.
Please find important emergency and wellbeing contacts below and other resources to support you. In the event of an emergency – if there is an immediate risk to life:
- Off campus: Please ring the Emergency Services on 999.
- On Brighton campus: In a life-threatening medical emergency, a fire or a physical threat to life, 999. Thereafter call the university emergency number 2222 (+ 44 (0)1273 64 2222)
- On Sussex campus: In an emergency, immediately call the Security Office on ext 3333 (01273 873333 from an external or mobile phone). You can also phone Security for first aid assistance. If you need to call 999, please inform the Security office that you have done so immediately, as emergency services need to be met at the entrance to campus and guided to the incident location.
If you require immediate support you can contact:
- Brighton and Hove Samaritans: 01273 772277 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sussex Mental Health Line: 0300 5000101 SMH website >
- Shout (24/7 text service) Shout website >
- No Panic: 01952 680835 - Recording of breathing technique to control panic, 24/7
- BMA Helpline: 0330 123 1245 - Confidential counselling service 24/7
For Campus Residential Support:
Student Support Team - email@example.com.
Coronavirus information for medical students
The Medical Schools Council and General Medical Council have co-produced advice for medical students if they are concerned about getting a Covid-19 vaccine. This advice can be accessed here >
Rule of six
From next Monday 29 March, the Government’s lockdown restrictions will ease further in line with the roadmap out of lockdown in England. Up to six people or two households will be allowed to meet outdoors (including in private gardens). Outdoor sports facilities will also be allowed to reopen and formally organised outdoor sport can restart. The official stay at home guidance will end, but some travel restrictions will remain in place.
Whilst this is clearly very positive news, many restrictions will remain and it is important that we all continue to stick to local and national guidance to help keep everyone safe. In particular, social gathering indoors remains prohibited so please maintain the admirable behaviour you’ve shown during the last 12 months, for a short while longer.
The DfE has also confirmed that students will be allowed to return home for the Easter break. To minimise the risk of transmission, however, we strongly advise you to remain in term time accommodation wherever possible. If you do decide to travel home for the Easter break you should ensure that you book a university test before travelling. You should also book a test before you return to the university where local testing facilities are available. If you test positive at either of these tests you will be legally obliged to self-isolate for ten days and you should not travel.
All students returning to university after spending time at home for the Easter break must book a university test as soon as possible after returning to university.
Group gatherings - reminder
A complaint was made this week (week commencing 8 March) that six BSMS students were huddled closely together in a library study area. It is possible that these students are living together and were therefore adhering to social distancing guidelines, but all students are reminded of social distancing rules in the library.
For further library updates at both campuses, see the links below.
Sussex Library: sussex.ac.uk/library
University of Brighton Libraries: libguides.brighton.ac.uk/blog
Rent rebates - students based at Sussex
In summary, the position is that students who have not been on campus during the period of national lockdown will receive a rent credit for that time. They will be charged rent from the point at which they return to campus, or the date on which they are invited back for face-to-face teaching, whichever is earlier. If they have a reason not to return when invited to do so, there is a process for them to cite this and to request that they are not charged rent for that period. These requests will then be considered (Covid Exec have agreed the valid reasons, including impact on mental or physical health, covid isolation, and impediment to travel, and will take a view on any other acceptable reasons). Similarly, any students wishing to return before they are invited back can apply to do so on the basis of a number of agreed exceptional reasons, which include mental or physical health, no suitable study space, no safe alternative accommodation, or being called back into military or NHS service. Students returning for one of these reasons will be charged rent only from their date of return. Students returning for any other reasons during the lockdown will be charged for the entire rent period.
Libraries and study spaces
University study spaces need to be booked in advance. The 'Book a study space tile' will be available on My Brighton from Thursday 4 March to allow advance bookings and this will now include study spaces in University of Brighton libraries. All students that use University of Sussex campus facilities, including the Library, study spaces, Co-op and other indoor areas must continue to abide by the current Covid-19 rules. This means that when indoors you wear a face covering (unless you are exempt) and must not gather in groups indoors or outdoors on campus. You can view the simple steps we must all do to keep everyone safe on campus here.
Follow the law
Although this is an understandably exciting time for those able to now return, it is vital that you continue to maintain the high standards of responsible behaviour you have already shown during the pandemic and continue to comply with the ongoing lockdown rules. The Government has introduced a new system of fines for illegal gatherings, up to a maximum level of £6,400. Breaking the law may result in police and University disciplinary action, so please don’t take the risk.
COVIDReady2 study launches
BSMS is taking part in the COVIDReady2 study – a collaborative study organised by researchers at the University of Oxford, in partnership with researchers from the University of Cambridge, King’s College London, and Guy’s and St Thomas Hospital, London. This study has been approved by the UK Medical Schools Council Education Lead Advisory Group. We would like to invite you to complete a questionnaire being conducted as part of a research study organised by researchers at the University of Oxford in partnership with researchers from the University of Cambridge, King’s College London, and Guy’s and St Thomas Hospital, London. This questionnaire asks about the medical education of those who did and did not volunteer to work in a clinical capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to look at issues volunteers and non-volunteers faced. We anticipate this study will help identify volunteer structures that have been beneficial for students; and inform the structure of non-pandemic clinical placements going forward. This study has been approved by the UK Medical Schools Council Education Lead Advisory Group.
The questionnaire is open to all medical students from any year who were enrolled at medical schools in the UK at the start of the first COVID-19 lockdown (23rd March 2020). It is open to those who did and did not volunteer in a clinical capacity. We will be sharing results of this survey with UK medical schools and the UK Medical Schools Council so the more responses we receive the better we can develop a volunteering system that works in the ongoing pandemic, and help inform the structure of non-pandemic clinical placements. No identifiable data is collected unless you choose to provide an email address for a follow up study, and completing this survey does not constitute an application to become a volunteer. This study has been reviewed and ethically approved by the University of Oxford’s Medical Sciences Interdivisional Research Ethics Committee (Ref: R74003/RE001).
Link to questionnaire: https://psychiatryoxford.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cBC2wozJiZRnebI
Mood Boost - booking open now
Mood Boost is a fresh approach to wellbeing run by students for students. This free 4-week course organised by the University of Brighton will help you manage your anxiety, stress and low mood, and connect with other students in a safe, caring and supportive space. It runs online via Microsoft Teams over four consecutive Wednesday afternoons between 1.30pm and 3pm. Next course starting 3 March then weekly on 10, 17 and 24 March. Find out more here >
Update for Year 1 students
In order to make sure you have plenty of notice, we wanted to let you know the plan for course delivery in Term 3. At this time, we are planning to have in-person teaching for modules 101 and 104. As such, students will be expected to be back on campus / in term time accommodation, ready to start teaching on Monday 19 April 2021.
If you are an international student, please ensure that you check the latest government guidance and information on pre-travel testing, quarantine measures and testing once you have arrived, and consider how this might impact on when you travel back to the UK.
Generic Mits, Attendance & Financial support email for Phase 1
We appreciate some of you may be concerned about your end of year exams and other assessments and what we are doing to make these as fair as possible. As such, the following has been agreed in terms of mitigation and attendance. All students in Phase 1 were emailed on January 26 regarding mitigation, attendance and self-isolation payments. Please check your inbox or visit MyStudies for further information.
COVID-19 isolation support payments update
If you’re a student who is self-isolating due to COVID-19 and are away from your usual support networks, you may be eligible for an allowance to help with food and other essentials. If you are, and you find yourself in this situation, please note that the University of Sussex has made some updates to the Student Hub’s Symptoms and Isolation’s Self-isolation payments section on the support available. Read more here >
Counselling workshops for students
The University of Sussex’s Counselling Services are running free, safe and supportive programmes for students experiencing anxiety or low mood. You can view more information and details of how to book on to a course here >
Please note that the Semester 2 timetable will be ready to view from Friday 29 January, initially publication will include teaching weeks through to the Easter vacation. Details of the period after the Easter break will be made available as the semester progresses.
Students who are unable to return to their University of Brighton-managed accommodation for the start of this term will receive a 60% reduction in their third rent payment, equivalent to the number of weeks that they are unable to access their accommodation because of Government restrictions on travel and return to campus.
The terms of the reduction are as follows:
- It will only be open to students who are not in residence as a consequence of the lockdown. Lockdown regulations state that students should not travel and must now stay where they are residing. So those currently in accommodation will be required to stay, and as such will be liable for full accommodation fees.
- Students will need to be up-to-date with their accommodation fees by the start of the third payment period to enable the calculated discount to be applied to their final rent request.
It is important to note that the University of Brighton will still be maintaining and operating all of its Halls and Uni-homes, and will still carry the full cost of this, including that of maintaining security of any possessions left in halls and the insurance cover to protect them. However, we recognise the financial impact of your accommodation and hope that the University of Brighton’s decision shows our commitment to you during this unprecedented crisis. Brighton will be in touch again shortly with details of how the refund will work. You don’t need to take any action at the moment.
An update will follow for students living in University of Sussex accomodation. Please check back for details.
Year 1 - Update to teaching for Modules 101/103
In response to the evolving situation, we have taken the difficult decision to deliver all teaching for Year 1 students this term remotely. We understand that this will be disappointing for many of you, but we have taken this decision primarily to support student well-being.
We are concerned that students may become isolated from their families and peers due to the reduced level of in-person teaching this term necessitated by the increased restrictions. Therefore, you do not have to return to campus for this term, although students wishing to return are assured that the library facilities remain open and available, including bookable study spaces and access to books/journals. A number of staff will continue to work on campus and the School offices will be staffed in person on a limited basis; please contact us via email in the first instance.
Plans for delivery of teaching for students in Year 1 this term:
- Teaching for SSCs, seminars and module tutorial tests will be delivered online as planned.
- All anatomy teaching, including the DR sessions, will now be delivered remotely. The anatomy team are planning extra DR sessions during term 3 that will cover material from module 103, so that you do not miss out on these learning opportunities.
- All teaching in Module 101 will now also move to remote delivery. Further details will be communicated to you next week.
Please be assured that all learning outcomes for Modules 101 and 103 will be delivered, albeit via different learning modalities.
Attendance for online teaching sessions will continue to be monitored for both Modules 101 and 103. It is important that you keep in touch with us by actively participating in teaching sessions. Additional points of contact include:
- Year and module leads will be available via Teams each week to answer any queries and to help guide your learning this term.
- Academic tutors are available for academic support.
- Personal Tutors are available for PPD support.
- Student Support continue to be available for non-academic support.
Discussion Boards are available on My Studies that should also be used to ask questions about the module content or to make more general queries. We very much hope that a return to campus for Term 3 will be possible and we look forward to seeing you all in person then.
A message from the Secretary of State
Matt Hancock has recorded a message to all medical students. You can view this message via the video below.
Update on Semester Two – teaching and learning
Teaching will go ahead as planned and communicated for this term.
- Face to face teaching for placements, DR and any other scheduled face to face teaching will go ahead.
- Teaching for SSCs, seminars and module tutorials will continue to be online as scheduled.
- The 201 Immersion week teaching is still planned to go ahead as scheduled.
Please read the following information carefully:
- Medical students are still classed as key workers – the new lockdown does not change this.
- We are still planning for placements to go ahead, with the same safety measures as previously in place.
- As always, placements may need to be cancelled or altered due to circumstances beyond our control, but we are doing whatever we can to ensure that placement activity can continue.
- The university and government guidance states that students should take two Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) for Covid-19, three days apart, upon their return to university or they will have to isolate for ten days.
- Please follow the links above to book your two tests as soon as possible on your return. For those of you who have placement on Thursday 7 or Tuesday 12 January, we appreciate this may not be possible. Please contact the Watson School Office if you are unable to have a test before your placement.
- We are aware that some students may need to self-isolate for a number of reasons. If this is the case and you are not able to attend a placement, please let the Watson School Office know as this will enable us to re-allocate placement opportunities where necessary and/or if possible.
- Students who are not able to return to campus should arrange to meet with their year lead to discuss intermission.
- Students who are quarantining are still required to follow government guidance regarding self-isolation and are not able to access the lateral flow tests.
- Students should arrange to be tested and have had at least one negative result before attending their first in-person teaching session.
- Students must have a second test booked to take place at least three days after the first test.
- Students do not need to be based on campus to use the university testing service.
- All students should have the tests whether they live on campus, or in Brighton or commute to university.
- If you do not take a test you will need to self-isolate for ten days before attending any in-person teaching. The exception to this is if you have already tested positive for Covid-19 in the previous 90 days, or if you have tested negative in your home town immediately prior to returning.
- At this time, students only need to access this asymptomatic testing service (2 x lateral flow tests) at the beginning of this term - not before every placement or teaching session.
Students who become symptomatic at any point should isolate and request a PCR test as per the government guidance.
- Students who are quarantining after international travel are still required to follow government guidance regarding self-isolation and are not able to access the lateral flow tests.
Testing: book now
In line with Government guidance, it is important to plan your travel date around your return to campus. If you haven’t received this yet, look out for it very shortly. You may wish to consider returning a few days in advance of your scheduled return to face-to-face teaching, to give you time to settle in and book your first COVID-19 test in the days beforehand. Testing will begin on 4 January and continue until early February. Testing centres will be open 9am to 5pm.
Book a test on the University of Brighton campus here >
The University of Sussex is now testing staff/students on campus twice a week. The University has been given the go-ahead to roll out regular mass testing for Sussex staff and students. This extension of the lateral flow testing operation we have been running since November 2020 means that we will be able to offer testing twice a week for students and staff who need it. These can be booked online now. This will initially run until 15 February, but we are expecting further guidance from the Government in the coming weeks about the broader return of students to campus and the role that mass testing will play in that.
Book a test on the University of Sussex campus here >
I understand that our international students may have some further specific concerns. We are continuing to seek clarification from the Government on a number of issues and will write to you specifically with an update in the very near future.
In the meantime, please remember that the current guidance is that international students are being encouraged to study remotely wherever possible. Where this is not possible you will need to follow government advice, including that of your home nation before travelling and around quarantining in the UK when you arrive.
New online mental health platform available to Sussex staff and students
The University of Sussex have introduced Togetherall, an online platform which includes tools to help you understand and manage your mental health. There are self-assessments and recommended resources, as well as a wide range of self-guided courses to study at your own pace. Everyone at the BSMS can access the service for free - any time, any day. Simply register online here using your University of Sussex email address (eg firstname.lastname@example.org).
Wellbeing and mental health
The Student Support Team remains available to respond to all student enquiries, including any issues around wellbeing and mental health, whether as a consequence of COVID-19, lockdown or anything else.
We encourage students to contact us via email@example.com
We can offer telephone or video calls with students and will respond to the appropriate needs of the individual and their situation.
We will continue to signpost to relevant services, both within the Universities of Brighton and Sussex or to external services in the wider community.
We will also advise regarding relevant self-help tools and resources, particularly where a student may be waiting for services such as counselling.
We would also encourage students to access the Wellbeing information and resources offered by Sussex and Brighton:
www.sussex.ac.uk/wellbeing/mentalhealth (includes a large section on Wellbeing books, apps, podcasts and other internet tools)
www.brighton.ac.uk/brighton-students/your-student-life/my-wellbeing (includes self-help guides and links to other support)
Self-isolating and COVID advice
Both university websites offer comprehensive information around the practical aspects of self-isolation, including food delivery:
In addition there are volunteer services that offer help with delivery of food and medicines:
NHS Volunteer Responders - can help anyone who lives in England and who needs to self-isolate for any reason
Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK – local community groups organising mutual aid and coordinating care efforts for people who are self-isolating,
All students are currently expected to wear face masks in the communal areas within the Medical Teaching Building, such as the corridors. Please be advised that from Monday 2 November 2020, face masks will also need to be worn by staff members and students in all teaching rooms in the Medical Teaching Building at all times, which includes during teaching sessions. The only people who are not required to wear masks are those who are considered exempt by government guidance.
Guidance on what to do if you develop symptoms
Firstly, please remember, that if you are unwell at all, do not attend any face to face teaching. Whether it is COVID-19 or flu or something else, we do not want to risk it potentially spreading to your patients, colleagues or staff. If you are not well, please let the school office know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Year 1 and 2) or EmertonSchoolOffice@bsms.ac.uk (Year 3-5) as soon as possible.
All students should follow the procedure below if you are reporting isolating or covid symptoms:
- One member of your household should email the BSMS school office – this lessens the number of emails received and allows us to track households isolating more efficiently.
- The email should contain the following information:
- Names of all BSMS students in the household (they should all be cc’d into the email).
- Information on who is symptomatic and who is asymptomatic.
- The date/s any symptoms started.
- The date/s you all started isolating.
- The date/s of any tests taken.
- Results of tests (whether positive of negative) should be sent to us as soon as you receive them.
- Details of any teaching attended in the three days prior to any symptoms developing.
If we contact you asking for any further information, please reply as soon as possible. Once we have this information, we can arrange for students to attend teaching virtually (where possible).
For year 1 the following teams will be arranging your virtual teaching:
- 102 academic skills: Academic tutor/Amy Gore
- 102 small group sessions: BSMS office
- 101 sessions: Rosie Stanley/ Watson office.
For year 2 the following teams will be arranging your virtual teaching:
- 202 SSCs: SSC tutor/Amy Gore
- 202 small group sessions: BSMS office
- 201 sessions: Hayley Armstrong/ Watson office.
Students should also note that the updated guidance states the following regarding contacts outside of your household:
I have been in contact with someone OUTSIDE my household who is symptomatic/has tested positive, what should I do?
- You do not need to do anything unless you are contacted by the Test and Trace team.
- Test and Trace will advise if you need to self-isolate.
- Unless you are contacted by Test and Trace or develop symptoms, then you can attend all teaching as normal.
- Please notify the school office if you are contacted by Test and Trace or develop symptoms.
I have been in contact with someone OUTSIDE my household who has tested positive, but does not have the NHS Covid-19 app, will Test and Trace be able to contact me?
- Yes. Test and trace is not just based on the app.
- The Bluetooth data collected by the app is to supplement the information that Test and Trace will collect verbally about who a positive case has been in contact with.
Please note that the guidance also refers to arranging swaps for teaching – this relates only to Phase 2 & 3. Students in Phase 1 are not currently permitted to arrange swaps for teaching sessions.
After discussion with the phase team please note the following: If you have COVID and/or are self-isolating due to a household member with suspected/confirmed covid or having covid symptoms yourself:
- Any sessions missed during this time will not impact your attendance.
- There is no need to complete the mitigating circumstances form or contact Student Support regarding absence during this time.
- Missed attendance due to non-COVID reasons must be mitigated as usual.
- Where possible, we will arrange virtual/teams session for isolating students and the office will email you regarding these.
Students should engage with Student Support if they have any concerns during this time.
The University of Brighton has setup a new email address for students on this campus: Student-Enquiries-and-Supportemail@example.com
FAQs, Covid 19 student emails and related content can be found via the links below: