Coronavirus Information

Page last updated: Thursday 17 September 2020 11.30apm

This page is to inform staff and students about preparations we're making in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), and to answer your general questions.

As this is a fast developing situation, we will keep this page updated with the latest advice from the UK Government. We appreciate that staff and students may be feeling anxious and concerned. Our priority will always be to keep our students, staff and the wider community safe.

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University Coronavirus Information Line

Our Coronavirus Information line can help with enquiries from students, parents and guardians. This team cannot provide you with a coronavirus test appointment - please instead read the information on coronavirus testing for students or members of University staff.


Telephone: +44 (0)23 9284 5588

The phone line is open Monday–Thursday 8.30am–5.00pm and Friday 8.30am–4.00pm.

Current students

Our coronavirus guidance for current students includes advice on self-isolation and changes to University life, as well as focused information for international and study abroad students, and postgraduate research students.

Guidance on self-isolation

The NHS has provided stay at home and self-isolation advice in line with government guidance.

If you're self-isolating at either University or at home you need to inform us by completing this authorised absence form. You must also report this information to your Personal Tutor. They will ask you some questions to make sure the University properly understands your situation, so that we can provide you with support and signpost you to relevant services.

If you’re self-isolating in private accommodation - including halls of residence not owned by the University - please speak to your landlord, housemates and family to see if alternative accommodation arrangements can be made. 

If you’re self-isolating in one of the University halls of residence - please contact our Coronavirus Information line on +44 (0)23 9284 5588 (9am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday) or by email Out of hours messages will be responded to as soon as possible. For urgent out of hours coronavirus queries and welfare support in University-owned halls please call Security on +44 (0)23 9284 3418.

If you think you may have symptoms of coronavirus, then you shouldn’t be visiting general practitioners, walk-in centres or A&E. Instead you should book yourself a test, and follow Government guidelines around self-isolating

However it is important that you registered with a GP for other health issues that may arise at your time at University.

University life

To keep the campus as safe as possible, two types of testing are available for our students to book yourselves onto:

If you have symptoms of the coronavirus you must book yourself a test through the Government booking system.

If you do not have symptoms of the coronavirus you can voluntarily get yourself tested through the University's proactive screening programme for students and staff.

The University Library re-opened on Monday 27 July, with new safety measures in place to protect students and staff when in the building. Opening hours will initially be 9.30am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday and these will be reviewed closer to the start of teaching. Due to reduced capacity in the building we will be prioritising space for students.

There are some changes to how the library works in line with the University’s safety measures to protect students and staff:

  • All visitors are expected to wear a face covering when in the library. A small supply of masks will be available for visitors who may not have one when they arrive.
  • When in the library please follow the signage and any other guidance to maintain social distancing. There are hand sanitisers at the entrance and across the building - please use them.
  • All students and staff must have their University Card to access the library. Anyone without a card will not be allowed to enter. This is being done so that we can manage the number of people in the library at any one time and maintain social distancing. This also means the library is not open to the public at this time.
  • The reception desk and the IT Helpdesk will be open with other services remaining online e.g. Academic Liaison Team.
  • We’re encouraging library users to not browse books in the library. Instead, please browse online and come and collect the books that you need. If you are in the library and pick up a book that you then do not need please place it on one of the book trolleys provided, and not back on the shelf. All these books will then be quarantined before being returned to the shelves.
  • To allow for social distancing there will be a reduced number of study areas and open access PCs available. The study rooms will remain closed.
  • Additional cleaning has been implemented for the library and cleaning materials will be available for visitors to clean areas that they use as well.

Library chat service

Library staff are available via online chat and email to help with finding, accessing and referencing information and will be more than happy to help you. Go to the Library website and click on the blue and white chat (speech bubble) button on the right-hand side.

Physical books with no electronic version

If you require a physical book that we don’t have an electronic copy of, please email and we will try to acquire an electronic copy if possible. If an electronic copy isn’t available, we’ll put you in touch with your Faculty Librarian and Assistant Faculty Librarian who will try to help you find the information you need from an alternative source.

A number of support services continue to be available at this time.

Academic support:

  • Academic Skills Unit (ASK) – for 1-to-1 and small group tutorials and guidance on any aspect of coursework via Google Hangouts/Meet, WebEx, Zoom as well as phone and email tutorials, book an appointment by emailing
  • Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre – for phone, email or video support including specialist study skills and assistive technology tutors, book an appointment by emailing 
  • Student Finance Centre – for money advice and guidance, and the administration of hardship funds, email
  • Students' Union Advice Centre – contact them on +44(0)23 92 843478 or by emailing

Wellbeing support:

  • The Student Wellbeing Service – for support via video, email and phone please email to make arrangements
  • The WhatsUp App provides daily tools to promote positive mental health and connections – download it to your Android and Apple devices
  • Chaplaincy support – for a listening ear, please email or call +44 (0)23 9284 3030
  • Residential Life support in halls of residence – contact them on +44(0)23 9284 3418 or by emailing
  • Students can also seek support from the NHS and Solent Mind run service called Positive Minds
  • The Speak UP form – an anonymous tool to record any incident or situation where students have experienced or witnessed discrimination, hate crime, bullying, violence or sexual violence

In response to the rapidly changing Coronavirus situation, we made some reasonable changes to our assessment practices and our Examination and Assessment Regulations. See our exams and assessments infographic (PDF) for a quick guide to our no detriment policies.

These changes take into account the impact the coronavirus outbreak may have had on your ability to study and finish assessments during the final weeks of the 2019/20 academic year. 

If you have any queries relating to these changes, please contact your Personal Tutor for further advice and support.

In light of coronavirus and current Government advice, we took the difficult decision to postpone graduation ceremonies due to take place in July 2020. The ceremonies will now take place from 24-28 May 2021. 

Students will still be awarded their qualification this year. Your certificate will be posted directly to you.

Please find further information on our graduation page.

Student Finance England have confirmed that student loans will not be affected. The University will be informed if this changes and you can check for updates on the Student Loans Company website or by logging into your Student Finance England account.

There will be no change to your course fee payments. While face-to-face teaching has been suspended, teaching is being delivered online with the full engagement of staff.

The Student Finance Team can be contacted by email on

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice.

If you need to change or cancel your travel plans, follow these steps:

  1. contact your airline, travel company, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers
  2. get in touch with your insurance provider
  3. continue to follow the NHS coronavirus guidance

The FCO was already advising against all but essential travel or all travel to some areas or countries due to risks that do not relate to COVID-19. This advice remains in place. Check FCO travel advice pages for the latest information.

Current international or study abroad students

If you arrive in the UK on or after 8 June 2020, you'll be subject to the UK government's self-isolation rules. Under these rules you must:

  • provide details of your journey and your contact details when you travel to the UK
  • not leave the place you're staying for your first 14 days in the UK (except in very limited situations)

You may be fined if you fail to provide details of where you plan to stay and/or if you do not self-isolate.

You must think about the extra days when planning your travel to the UK. During this time you won't be able to attend the University, see other people or leave your accommodation except for very limited reasons.

We don't know how long these measures will be in place and they may be subject to change at short notice. You can find further details in the government's guide to entering the UK.

If you have any questions please contact the International Student Advice team at

We understand that it may not be possible for you to rejoin us on campus at the beginning of term because of existing health conditions or because you are not comfortable travelling yet, so you will be able to continue your degree online and join us on campus when you are ready. 

Leaving the UK and returning home

You can leave the UK and go home and you don't have to wait until you have finished your work if you wish to study from your home country. We expect you to continue to engage with learning and assessments provided online. 

The University will continue to sponsor your Tier 4 visa during this period. If you leave before the end date of your programme, you should complete the authorised absence form.

Continuing to work in the UK

There are no changes to your work (employment) permissions. You'll continue to be restricted during term time, as you will be expected to be working on your studies. Term times remain the same at this time.

You can work more than the hours stated on your Tier 4 visas in the following periods:

  • Summer Vacation: Monday 22 June – Sunday 4 October 
Postgraduate Taught (Master's)
  • From Monday 22 June you're considered to be in term time until the end of your course as confirmed on your CAS (for the majority of students this will be 30 September 2020). If you started your course in January you must check with your MyPort Hub whether you have academic work to undertake over the Summer vacation.
Postgraduate Research
  • You'll continue to be in term time other than approved 6 weeks of annual leave – please refer to the Research Degree website for further information if required or contact the Research Degree Team at

University engagement monitoring as required under Tier 4

Your engagement via Moodle will be monitored along with online submission of work and assessments. If virtual meetings take place, such as Skype meetings or telephone interactions with project tutors/supervisors, these will also be used as evidence of engagement.

Suspending or withdrawing from course

If you're not continuing with your current course the normal processes apply. Contact your MyPort Hub and complete the appropriate paperwork.

The University is then required to inform the Home Office and withdraw sponsorship for your Tier 4 visa. The University will send you a confirmation email when this has been done and advise you on how long you have to leave the UK.

Accessing health care

The Immigration Health Surcharge paid as part of a Tier 4 visa application gives you access to the UK health care system in the same way as a British Citizen. If you have a visa for less than 6 months, you won't have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge and will need to ensure you have medical insurance to cover any non-emergency care.

If you need hospital treatment in the UK, the NHS have published useful information about what to expect.  

Visa expiration

If you are planning to leave the UK

If you intend to leave the UK but are not able to do so and your leave expires between 24 January and 31 October 2020, you must request additional time to stay, also known as ‘exceptional assurance’.

You need to contact the Coronavirus Immigration team (CIT) and complete this Assurance Request Form. The CIT will give you information about what you need to show in order to request time to stay in the UK beyond 31 August. 

The form currently states that it is for people whose immigration permission expires between 24 January and 30 September 2020. However, the guidance says that it is for people visa expires between 1 September and 31 October 2020, so you should still use this form if your visa ends after 30 September and before 1 November if you know that you cannot leave the UK or make a full visa application before it expires.

If UKVI accept your request for ‘exceptional assurance’ they will send you the expiry date and confirmation that you will remain in the UK on the same terms and conditions as your previous visa, although it has not been extended, and that "you will not be regarded as an overstayer or suffer any detriment in any future applications". They will also tell you that you are expected to make plans to leave the UK before your ‘exceptional assurance’ expires, although you can apply again under the scheme if you are still unable to leave the UK.

Exceptional assurance is not a visa but the guidance says that it offers, "Short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after your leave has expired", which suggests that you will not be regarded as an overstayer. Unless UKVI states that it will not treat you as an overstayer, you should declare this period in any future visa applications as a period of overstay and explain why. You will have to provide details of why you could not leave the UK before 31 August. Example reasons would include details of a flight booked after 31 August and confirmation of a positive coronavirus test result, but many other reasons should also be acceptable.

If you do require longer and/or are unable to leave the UK by the assurance date given, you must reapply nearer this date by resubmitting the online form with supporting information.

You will need to return to your home country as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.

If you intend to stay in the UK to continue your studies

After 31 August 2020 if you need to remain in the UK for an 'urgent reason' you should apply before your current immigration permission expires. Please note that UKVI have not confirmed what an urgent reason is and wanting to stay in the UK to study may not be deemed an ‘urgent reason’.

You can apply in the UK for a Tier 4 visa until 1 October 2020 if you have been granted 'exceptional assurance'. You can also apply in the UK if you have a visa in a route that does not usually allow you to apply in the UK under Tier 4, including as a visitor, short-term student or dependant and you arrived in the UK before 1 August 2020. You must apply before your immigration permission expires.

The Tier 4 requirement to have a gap of no more than 28 days between the end of your visa and the course start date on your CAS does not apply to you if your course start date is before 31 December 2020.

If you want to start a new course before you finish your previous course, for example, if you want to start a higher-level course before you have completed your current course or transfer into the University from another institution you would need to return home to make a visa application.

This information may be updated at short notice, further useful information can be found on the Coronavirus section of the UKCISA website.

If your visa expires as normal on or before 30 September or 1 October and you need to extend your visa to cover your current course you must apply before your current visa expires. Further information can be found in the MyPort article “Tier 4 VISA - extension information”
If you have any further questions about your visa please contact the International Student Advice Team at

Work placements

If your work placement in the UK ends early you can remain in the UK with authorised absence or return to your home country, if you can. The University will continue to sponsor your current Tier 4 visa. If you decide to withdraw or suspend from your course you Tier 4 leave will be withdrawn. 

Students at International College Portsmouth (ICP)

International College Portsmouth will provide guidance, which will be emailed to you. The University will continue to sponsor you on your Tier 4 leave as long as you're fully engaging on your course remotely. 

Police Registration

If you have a Police Registration Certificate and you have left the UK, please email to inform them. Please include your Police Registration Certificate Number in your email.

If you need to change your address, passport or visa details please create an account or log in to Hampshire Constabulary and input your details. When Police stations re-open for this purpose you will then be able to book an appointment to have your Police Registration Certificate updated. Please check their website for updates.

Postgraduate research students

You can submit work and relevant forms for annual reviews, major reviews and theses electronically. You'll receive email prompts in advance of your deadlines.

Theses should be submitted to, unless an alternative email address is provided. When submitting a thesis, please copy in your first supervisor.

Where a PhD by publication can't be submitted electronically, an appropriate methodology for submission must be agreed by the Faculty Research Degrees Coordinator (FRDC). Your supervisor or Departmental Research Degrees Coordinator (DRDC) should also be able to advise.

Annual reviews, major reviews and vivas will be conducted online if all parties are happy to do so. If one or more of those present is not happy to do so, the date will need to be deferred. Where the outcome of a meeting is to undertake more work, candidates will be advised appropriately on when this can be commenced.

Where a student is experiencing difficulties in meeting deadlines to complete post-viva thesis corrections, the First Supervisor (or if necessary the FRDC) is able to approve extenuating circumstances and set a revised deadline.

Please see the Graduate School Moodle page for further details on reviews, vivas and interim examinations.

If you think your research timeline will be seriously affected by COVID-19, you'll be able to apply for an extension or interruption in the normal way. Any COVID-19 related issues will be taken into account when assessing delays and changes to thesis research through the annual review process.

All placements and field work involving face-to-face contact are suspended, and you should meet with your supervisor to discuss this.

If you're on an overseas placement The University will work on repatriating you, unless it's safer for you to remain where you are.

If you expect to come in close contact with human participants then you must suspend your research. Where possible, online research methods should be used instead. Where this is impossible, talk to your supervisor and consider:

  • alternative means to collect data
  • how to delay face-to-face aspects of the research
  • re-submission to the ethics committee so they can consider the safety aspects of face-to-face research

If your research relies on facilities you can't access, talk to your supervisor to find out if alternative activities can be carried out until you get access to the equipment or facilities. There's some helpful guidance from the department of United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) for researchers in general as well as DTP and other research council-funded students.

Updated guidance has been provided on extension arrangements for fees and bursaries for university, research council and other funding sources. Please see the Graduate School Moodle page for further details on registration, fees and funding.

Postgraduate research students can now apply for financial help through the University Support Fund until the end of the 2020 academic year for exceptional and clearly justified hardships arising from the coronavirus situation.

If it becomes impossible to actively pursue your research, you'll need to discuss this with your supervisor(s).

Interruptions may be granted beyond the normal 1 year limit (2 years for PT) by the FRDC in exceptional cases. The extended interruption should not be in excess of that which is proportional to the nature of the interruption and time required.

You should talk to your supervisor and funder to consider any financial implications. Please see the Graduate School Moodle page for further details.

Talk to your supervisor about an interruption of studies to consider any financial implications. More information about the PGR bursary interviews and supervision meetings is on the Graduate School Moodle page.

Graduate School Events

All Graduate School and related events have moved online.

Graduate School Development Programme (GSDP) Sessions

GSDP sessions will be delivered online. If you're booked on a session or on the waiting list you'll be contacted with instructions for accessing the session. You also have access to a suite of GSDP online modules.

GSDP online modules will accrue the same hours as the face-to-face equivalents and you can record this in SkillsForge using a Certificate of Completion.

Up to date information about the current situation, working away from home and online training opportunities (such as LinkedIn Learning) is available on Moodle

GProf Sessions

If you've completed the GProf Orientation Session in 2019/20, you can use some online resources to complete the course. Alternatively, you may wish to wait until we return to experience the benefit of working with peers in the practical sessions (extra sessions will be available).

See more guidance on the GProf coronavirus arrangements. If you haven't completed GProf Orientation, you should register for the new course in October 2020.

Research Supervision Events (RSE)

Most Graduate School workshops for supervisors have good resources online, including videos of previous sessions, links, and for mandatory/required sessions we have full online training packages.

Please see the Graduate School research supervision events page for more information.


If you’re a research staff member, please find FAQs on the Research and Innovation website.

Working from home

All staff who can work from home should continue to do so. Any possible exceptions to this will be identified by Executive Deans/Heads of Department/Faculty Managers or Directors of Professional Services.

If identified as an exception as you have a business critical need, you'll need to agree this with your line manager and appropriate Head of Department so that appropriate arrangements are put in place. Please read our working from home guidance.


The University has resources to work anywhere including a Virtual Private Network (VPN), Apps Anywhere, Webex Classrooms and Google Meets for virtual meetings and online learning. You can find a full guide to using these resources in our work anywhere guidance.

Using a University laptop off-campus

We have online guidance for working with a University laptop from home. You may take small peripheral items that enhance your remote working environment, such as a mouse or keyboard. Please notify your line manager if you do this.

We appreciate there are specific challenges to colleagues who are now working from home while looking after children who can’t go to school or nursery, supporting home teaching or have other caring responsibilities.

We understand how difficult it is to juggle all of these demands. It’s important to try to think flexibly about how you work and manage your workload. We also recognise that some of you will experience difficulties maintaining your regular hours or your normal level of output. 

In such cases, it’s important you talk this through with your line manager, who will discuss and agree what options might best suit your circumstances. Your line manager can also talk to HR for support.

Your wellbeing is important to us. Options that might be available to you include:

  • Temporarily reducing your hours to help balance caring responsibilities and work
  • Working a compressed week by working longer hours per day allowing you to take some days off during the week so caring duties can be shared between parents/carers
  • Working in blocks of time throughout the day where appropriate, rather than in one session

For further support and to see if any other options can be considered for your circumstances, please email

We’ve put together updated guidance and information for staff and managers about annual leave during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Guidance on self isolation

If you have a case of coronavirus confirmed by testing or are self-isolating with symptoms, notify your line manager immediately and update your ESS record as soon as you are able. 

In both cases, the University’s standard sickness absence reporting procedure will apply. Please see the Managing Sickness Absence Policy for further details. 

Follow the Public Health England guidance for self-isolating at home. If symptoms persist and you remain unfit for work beyond 7 days you must get a self-isolation note via NHS 111 to cover your period of sickness absence and send it to

When you’re fit to return to work, notify your manager as per sickness absence procedure. We recommend a management referral to the Occupational Health Service if you’ve been absent for more than 14 days with Covid 19 symptoms. 

Coping with symptoms

If you can’t cope with your symptoms at home, your condition gets worse, or your symptoms remain after 7 days, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

Shielding is a measure to protect you if you're clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between yourself and others. Shielding is coming to an end at the beginning of August 2020 as determined by the Government. 

However, if you have serious underlying health conditions that put you at a very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus, we strongly advise you to discuss your circumstances with your manager and ensure that an Occupational Health assessment is carried out before you return to working onsite. If you have coronavirus symptoms but continue to work, or don’t have symptoms but are required to shield and are working from home, this won’t be recorded as sickness absence. If you’ve been advised to shield and are employed in a Critical Key Worker post, please discuss this with your line manager or HR. If you’re shielding for the specified period, you must notify the Corporate Health and Safety Covid-19 team without delay through our COVID-19 Shielding form.

Developing symptoms

If you develop coronavirus symptoms while shielding and you can't work from home, your absence will be treated as sickness absence. The University’s standard sickness absence reporting procedure will apply from the date your symptoms appear. Please see the Managing Sickness Absence Policy for further details. You must also notify your line manager and update your ESS record without delay.

Follow the Government and Public Health England guidance on shielding.

If you live in a household with others displaying symptoms of coronavirus, you should self-isolate in line with government guidance and notify your line manager as soon as possible.

If you or a member of your household is displaying mild symptoms but you feel able to work, discuss this with your line manager and make the necessary arrangements for working remotely at home. If it’s been agreed with your line manager that working from home remotely isn’t possible, you’ll still be paid for your period of self-isolation.

You also need to send an email to detailing your period of self-isolation, whether you have a confirmed case of coronavirus, whether you’ll be taking the period of self-isolation as sickness absence or whether you intend to work remotely during this period. This is to ensure that HR records your absences correctly.

If your symptoms during self-isolation change and you are no longer able to work remotely from home, please notify your line manager and send an update email to

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has an updated list of countries and territories exempt from ‘all but essential’ international travel, these destinations no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. This adviceis under constant review to take into account the latest situation in each country.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice.

If you need to change or cancel your travel plans, follow these steps:

  1. contact your airline, travel company, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers
  2. get in touch with your insurance provider
  3. continue to follow the NHS coronavirus guidance

The FCO was already advising against all but essential travel or all travel to some areas or countries due to risks that do not relate to COVID-19. This advice remains in place. Check FCO travel advice pages for the latest information.

If you were on holiday in a coronavirus affected area and can’t return home because your flight has been cancelled, it may be possible for you to identify other methods of getting back home.

However, if alternatives are not available, there are several ways you can manage this:

  • using annual leave
  • agreeing remote working from an alternative location, using the working from home guidance 
  • use of TOIL or unpaid leave

Further advice can be obtained from HR by emailing

Further guidance

To keep the campus as safe as possible, we are offering two types of testing for our staff and students. 

If you have symptoms of the coronavirus you can book a test with the NHS on campus to see if you are carrying the virus. But we also plan to proactively test 10% of our University community every few weeks - to give us regular data to help stop the spread of the coronavirus on campus. 

Staff can find out more about testing via the Return to Campus webpages.

You’ll be paid for all hours where you are contracted and scheduled to work. You may be expected to work remotely from home and your line manager will put in place suitable arrangements to facilitate this. 

You'll be paid for all hours where you are contracted and scheduled to work. Your Head of School will identify suitable alternative work that you will be able to undertake whilst face-to-face teaching is suspended.

On Friday 20 March 2020, the Chancellor announced a new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ('the Scheme') to help pay wages. 

All employers severely affected by the Coronavirus pandemic can access a Government grant, via HMRC and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to reimburse them for specified employment costs for employees who remain on payroll but are temporarily not working during the Coronavirus outbreak. The employee must be placed on furlough (a temporary status whilst there is no work available for them to do).

Duration of the Job Retention Scheme

The Scheme will run until October 2020. 

Definition of Furlough

Furlough (from Dutch: verlof, 'leave of absence') is a temporary leave of employees due to special needs of a company or employer, which may be due to economic conditions at the specific employer or in the economy as a whole. This term has been adopted by the Government in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Furloughed staff

If you are furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you'll remain an employee of the University during the furlough period and a valued team member. You'll need to be ready to return to your job at the end of the furlough period.

The University will identify and notify those of you who are suitable to move onto the Scheme. You’ll receive confirmation of your furlough status in writing and a record of this communication will be kept for at least 5 years, as a mandatory condition of the Scheme.

Communication and training

Whilst on furlough you should respond to your managers communication updates and be prepared to come back to work at short notice if required (unless you are on holiday). Furlough staff should also take time to ensure they are up to date with training such as online health and safety or diversity courses.

The University will identify and notify those of you who are suitable to move onto the Scheme. You’ll receive confirmation of your furlough status in writing and a record of this communication will be kept for at least 5 years, as a mandatory condition of the Scheme.


Whilst on furlough you should take annual holiday as holiday. Leave will not be allowed to carry over to the next holiday year.

Impact on pay and terms and conditions of employment

The Government grant under the Job Retention Scheme is changing but pays a proportion of your wage costs, but the University will continue to pay you your full contractual rate of pay and benefits, including pension. All other contractual terms and conditions will be honoured during this period and there will be no impact on your continuous service.

Recently joined staff

You must have been on the University’s payroll at 28 February 2020 in order to qualify for the Scheme.

Annual Leave

The Government has clarified its position on taking holiday while on furlough. You should take and book holidays, including bank holidays, while on furlough. Generally, you can only carry over 5 days leave to the next year, when signed off by line management in exceptional cases. 

Staff on sickness absence

If a staff member falls ill during a period of furlough, it is a business decision whether the employee remains on furlough or is moved to our Sick Pay Scheme.


If you are shielding in line with public health guidance, or need to stay home with someone who is shielding, you can be furloughed if you’re unable to work from home.

If this applies to you, you should speak with their line manager, who will contact the HR Employment Practice Team for appropriate support and advice.

Continuing work if you’ve been furloughed 

Other than training (which the updated Government guidance now encourages during furlough) it is a condition of the Scheme that you must not work for the University if you’ve been furloughed.

Continuing voluntary work if you’ve been furloughed 

Volunteering for the NHS and the new statutory right to emergency volunteering leave for certain employees are separate to the Scheme. If you’re furloughed, you can take part in emergency volunteer work as long as it doesn’t provide services or generate revenue for the University. 

Rotating employees on and off furlough

Furlough can be rotational and there is no limit on the number of times you can be furloughed. However, each furlough leave period should be a minimum of 3 weeks in order to comply with the Scheme.

Rotation can be used when certain roles are required but in reduced numbers during the lockdown period. For example, rather than placing half of the team on furlough and requiring half the team to work, you can rotate furloughing across the whole team, so long as the furlough period for each employee is a minimum of 3 weeks. Operational requirements will determine whether this arrangement is appropriate and the length of each furlough period (as long as it meets the minimum 3 week criteria).

If you’re furloughed on a rotational basis, you should be notified of this at the outset and HR will need to be informed so that they can ensure that furloughing is appropriately applied.

Prospective students

General guidance

If you're undergoing assessments at another university that impact your application to study with us, we recognise the coronavirus outbreak may affect your ability to engage and complete your assessments.

Universities are making adjustments to assessment practices and Examination and Assessment Regulations, and we'll take those adjustments into account when reviewing your place here with us.

We're planning to run our November Open Day as normal, and bookings are open now. We'll update you with any changes.

You can also explore the city and the University by visiting our Virtual Experience page.

We're still open and accepting applications for all levels of study. Please visit our how to apply pages for more information or contact the University Admissions Centre at

We'll still consider your application even though exams have been cancelled. We're working through applications every day to ensure they're assessed and applicants receive a decision as soon as possible.

We want to treat all applicants fairly and ensure we can support you in transitioning to higher education this year.

If you've applied for an undergraduate course and have accepted a conditional offer, we’ll confirm your place on 13 August. If you don't get the grades needed, you may be able to apply through Clearing.

If you've applied for a postgraduate course and have received a conditional offer, we'll continue to process your application as normal. In light of the crisis, universities are having to make adjustments to assessment practices and Examination and Assessment Regulations. We recognise the coronavirus outbreak may affect your ability to engage and complete your assessments and we have therefore factored this into our Extenuating Circumstances (ECF) criteria. 

Your unconditional offer remains unconditional and isn't affected by exam cancellations or assessment changes. 

If you hold an offer to start in Autumn 2020 and are thinking of deferring, please contact us to discuss your options: 

If you've been invited to an interview for your course, please contact and we will advise you of the arrangements.

If you've applied to study a research degree with us and you need to attend an interview, a member of staff will contact you and advise you of the arrangements.

Prospective international students

If you arrive in the UK on or after 8 June 2020, you may be subject to the UK government's self-isolation rules. Please refer to the UK Government website for more information. Under these rules you must:

  • provide details of your journey and your contact details when you travel to the UK
  • not leave the place you're staying for your first 14 days in the UK (except in very limited situations)

You may be fined if you fail to provide details of where you plan to stay and/or if you do not self-isolate.

You must think about the extra days when planning your travel to the UK. During this time you won't be able to attend the University, see other people or leave your accommodation except for very limited reasons.

We have made our halls of residence available from Saturday 12 September for students who need to self-isolate and they will be free of charge during the 14-day self-isolation period.

The 14-days free accommodation is only available in halls managed by the University of Portsmouth and The Student Housing Company. To find out who manages your halls, take a look at our halls of residence page.

We don't know how long these measures will be in place and they may be subject to change at short notice. You can find further details in the government's guide to entering the UK.

If you have any questions please contact the International Student Advice team at

For you to make the most out of your experience and settle into university life, you should aim to be on campus as early as possible. The blended approach to teaching means that as well as the online learning, there will still be elements of face-to-face teaching which we know is important to you and crucial for many courses.

However, we understand that it may not be possible for you to join us on campus at the beginning of term because of existing health conditions or because you are not comfortable travelling yet, so you will be able to start your degree online and join us on campus when you are ready.

We accept other equivalent tests or evidence of English Language proficiency if IELTS have been cancelled in your country. Our English language requirements page has a full list of acceptable qualifications.

This summer, we have offered our pre-sessional English courses online. We will offer blended Autumn courses leading into our January intake. Please find further information on our pre-sessional English web page.

At present, you'll still need to provide a deposit or suitable sponsor letter to receive an unconditional offer. However, we've updated our deposit policy so if you're unable to start your course due to coronavirus, you'll receive a full refund of your deposit.

Please check back here for updates as the situation progresses. You can find further information on our Tier 4 visa page.

Delayed visa applications

At present, the latest date for registration is 3 weeks from the start date of the programme. So the latest you can join us is 26 October. Please note, some courses do not allow for late registration

We have postgraduate courses and top-up undergraduate programmes you can begin in January 2021. More will be added at a later date. Take a look at courses starting in January 2021.

To defer your September 2020 application to January 2021, please email If you defer your start date, you're still guaranteed a place as long as you meet all your conditions subject to course capacity and any course and entry requirements changes.

If you're a postgraduate research student unable to register in October 2020, you can start in the following February or April.

We are aware that different examination boards and countries are taking different approaches to exams. We'll look at this on a country by country basis. In some countries, such as the UK, the A level and IB Boards are assessing the students on the basis of achievement so far, and will provide an appropriate grade for them. In such a case we would accept the official results from the relevant examination board or examination authority in your country. We're also working to better understand the impact not being able to attend school or college may have on your grades.

We can accept final certificates, final transcripts or an official school/institution letter. Results must be confirmed and not provisional in order for us to accept you.

If you're unable to meet your conditions in time (by 31 August 2020 for most offer holders) due to the coronavirus, please email us at and we'll work with you to explore the options available to you.

You'll be offered a guaranteed room in halls if you apply for accommodation as a new full-time undergraduate student and make us your firm, first choice before 30 June.

If you've applied for a postgraduate course that requires an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate, please ensure you have a valid certificate when it comes to your visa application. You should apply for your ATAS certificate as soon as possible as the process can take at least 30 working days. You will need to send us your ATAS certificate as soon as you receive it as it is part of the conditions of your offer. Further information about ATAS can be found here.

Please email the Global Office at if you have any further questions.

You can also speak to our specialist staff in key locations including China, Malaysia, Nigeria, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Due to continuing uncertainty over potential restrictions and the safety of travel in the autumn, we've decided to suspend all student exchanges abroad and international placements for Teaching Block 1 2020/21.

Your health, safety and wellbeing are our priority and we believe the alternative options provided to you will enable you to progress with your course without disruption.

Our guidance below is for our outbound and inbound students on a study/work abroad mobility for 2020/21.

University of Portsmouth students planning to do a Study Exchange Abroad or international placement in 2020/21

Suspending your exchanges and placements has not been an easy decision. There remains uncertainty around the spread of the coronavirus virus and our primary concern is your health, safety and wellbeing and ensuring you can continue and complete your programmes of study. Some of our partner institutions have made the same decision, cancelling all inbound mobility and there is a complicated picture of worldwide travel restrictions and limited flight availability.

We’ve made the difficult decision to give you clarity on your options for the next academic year with as little disruption as possible and as early as possible to allow you sufficient time to make an informed decision. We also had to take into consideration that you’ll need to make alternative arrangements for whichever decision is made (such as accommodation).

If a compulsory placement is part of your degree, the University will make alternative arrangements to allow you to meet the requirements of your degree course or to transfer to a 3-year variant of your degree course.

The details of these arrangements vary from course to course and you’ll have been contacted directly by your Faculty or School by email. We encourage you to check your emails frequently. If you are still unclear or wish to discuss the options further, please contact your Exchange Coordinator as soon as possible.

For advice on tuition fees if you’re no longer working or studying abroad in Teaching Block 1, please contact the Student Administration Services at or on +44 (0)23 9284 7745. If you need to speak to someone in person, please contact them to assist you.

If you applied for a tuition fee or maintenance loan from Student Finance England and are unsure of the impact on your loan application, please contact the University’s Student Finance Centre at They will need to know what alternative option you’re taking now your placement has been cancelled.

We understand you may not have made any arrangements for accommodation in Portsmouth. If you need support to find accommodation, please contact our Student Housing team at or on +44 (0)23 9284 3214.

The University has taken the decision that our start date for the academic year 2020/21 will be the 5th of October 2020. You should have received an email on the changes to the next academic year. Please see our revised academic calendar for further details.

If you’re still intending to study abroad in Teaching Block 2, you’ll need to compare the revised academic calendar with that of your host institution. Your Exchange Coordinator can support you with this.

If you still have the option to do an in-person mobility experience overseas at your host institution or organisation in Teaching Block 2, then you’ll be eligible to apply for an Erasmus+ grant as part of your approved course plans.

If you have any questions about Erasmus+ funding, please contact the Exchanges and Study Abroad team at

The UK is eligible to participate in the Erasmus+ programme until its end. This means we can support all study/work abroad opportunities for the academic year 2020/21. However, other practical arrangements will need to be considered such as travel and insurance and there may be a need to apply for a visa to study or work for the host country. The UK Government is negotiating these details and our Brexit information page will always be kept up-to-date.

If you wish to defer your next year of study and resume on your year abroad in 2021/22, you can. However, there is no guarantee how the coronavirus pandemic will unfold at this current stage and it’s too early to assess the situation and provide you with firm options for that academic year. Please contact your Exchange Coordinator to discuss this option.

Exchange inbound students who would attend the Autumn term 2020/21

Due to continuing uncertainty over potential restrictions and the safety of travel, we’ve taken the difficult decision to cancel our student exchange programme for the remainder of 2020. We understand that this is a disappointing outcome for you, but sincerely believe this decision is in the best interests of your health and wellbeing.

We're committed to providing you with an international experience. This commitment is also extended to our partners and all students who would have planned to gain a meaningful overseas experience whilst studying with us in the Autumn. We would like to thank you for choosing the University of Portsmouth as your study destination and we hope you will continue to pursue your studies with us in the future.

If you would like to defer your nomination to the Teaching Block 2 in Spring 2021 (08 February – 18 June 2021) we would be happy to welcome you on campus. We have made contact with your home University to advise them of our decision and will cancel your nomination and/ or application for the Autumn term.

We apologise for any inconvenience and disappointment the suspension of our exchange programme may cause, but your health, safety and wellbeing is our top priority. We will be happy to welcome you in the Spring term but in the meantime, we advise you to contact your home institution to explore your available options.

If you were only intending to study in the Autumn term, we’d be happy to welcome you to study with us in the Spring term instead. We understand this is a situation beyond your control, and value all the preparation work undertaken in choosing us for your exchange experience. If you defer your exchange to the Spring term, you won’t need to submit another application. Simply email and the team will defer your application for the Spring term. 

Please note, it is impossible to predict how the coronavirus pandemic will impact over the coming months and your plans may need to change.

If you received an unconditional offer on the exchange programme for the Autumn term, this offer won’t automatically transfer to the Spring term if you choose to defer your start date. We will need you to email to confirm your new plans and if you’re deferring, we will transfer your application.

We understand that in these circumstances you may feel there remains too much uncertainty to continue with your exchange in Spring 2021. Should you wish to cancel your exchange altogether, please let us know as soon as possible by email to

If you decide to rearrange your exchange and attend Portsmouth in the Spring term, rather than the Autumn term, please note that our start date for the Spring term is 8th February 2021. 

If you applied to one of our university owned halls of residences, you can request a refund of your deposit. Please contact to start the process.

Degree apprenticeships

Information for apprentices and their employers

Lectures will be a blended mix of online and face to face and apprentices will receive information specific to their course on how their lectures will be delivered.

We've made reasonable changes to our assessment practices and our Examination and Assessment Regulations.

You can contact your module lecturer, course leader or personal tutor to discuss the situation.

You can stay on your apprenticeship while furloughed and there are no changes needed. This has been confirmed by HMRC.

You should log your off the job hours. This is a minimum of 20% of your work hours, approximately 7 hours per week.

If you’re re-deployed to another job, you can continue with your studies and log 20% off the job training if the new role allows for this.

If the new role doesn’t allow time for study then you can take a break in learning. However, due to the nature of the degree and how it is delivered, it is unlikely you’ll be able to rejoin the course until the same time next year.

You’re advised to discuss this with your personal tutor or course leader as soon as possible. If a break in learning is needed, email the degree apprenticeship office at

The rules around redundancy are unchanged. If you are made redundant, you’ll have 12 weeks to stay on your programme and secure alternative employment. Please contact the degree apprenticeship office immediately if you are made redundant at

Progress reviews must continue and can do so online. Your employer must also participate in these progress reviews with the university tutor.

All End Point Assessments are moving to online assessment, so dates should remain the same. If you have an EPA in the next 2 months you and your employer will be contacted to arrange this. If your EPA isn’t in the next 2 months, you’ll be advised closer to the time.

At this stage we’re still accepting applications for September 2020. If you need more information on which apprenticeship is most appropriate for yourself or your employee, email us at

Our partner, Fareport Training, is still delivering this training remotely. If you have exams booked, you’ll be contacted with more information as they’ll no longer be carried out face-to-face. If you have any questions, contact your Fareport tutor directly or the degree apprenticeship office.

For any queries regarding your course please contact your personal tutor, module lecturer or course leader.

The following websites can also provide further guidance:

My apprentice isn’t well enough to work

If your apprentice isn’t well enough to work, you should follow the government’s guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Apprenticeships fees

You should continue to pay the University via its levy funds as training is continuing. Non-levy employers need to continue to pay for their contribution cost.

For any further queries please contact the Degree Apprenticeship Office at

Useful websites

The following websites can also provide further guidance:

General FAQs

General advice

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, limited sports facilities are available at this time - please see the Sport Portsmouth website for more information about available services at this time.

The University of Portsmouth Eye Clinic will be open for appointments from 14 July 2020. As you'd expect we've implemented key changes to ensure the health and safety of our patients and staff. 

Changes include:

  • Reduced patients numbers in clinic and attendance by appointment only
  • PPE will be worn by staff, appropriate to the test being carried out
  • Appointment times will be longer and staggered
  • Enhanced cleaning regimes
  • Social distancing measures in place
  • Hand sanitiser and face masks for patients on arrival

This short video also details these changes.

We have a backlog of appointments that we were unable to carry out during lockdown. These patients will now be given priority – we'll be contacting everyone as soon as possible.

As always if you have any further questions, or would like to discuss any eye concerns you have please call us on +44 (0) 23 9284 6888 or email us at

Our University buildings, except Halls of Residences and the Library, are now temporarily closed. Essential access has also been given to the Dental Academy, Post Room, Security Lodge and 6-8 Hampshire Terrace. 

The Post Room remains operational for the receiving of post and managing essential deliveries for staff supporting the NHS. Arrangements are also in place for the Faculty of Science and Department of Human Resources only.

Staff access

Access to buildings are restricted to a list of staff determined by faculty and professional services leaders. Any of these staff who need to enter University buildings should contact the security lodge on +44 (0)23 9284 3333 or

Staff who require access but who are not on the current building list will need to contact their Head of Department requesting permission. If approved, the Head of Department must contact campus security and the person requesting access will need to arrange a mutually convenient time to be given access. Please note, this will be an escorted visit to minimise risk and to ensure the building is re-secured afterward. Please note that technicians and other staff working at the University who have permission to do so should not let colleagues in to the building. 

Halls of residence

Halls of residence will remain fully operational and the ResLife team will continue to provide pastoral care. 

Mercantile and Nuffield Prayer Rooms closed

We have closed all prayer rooms. This follows guidance from the British Board of Scholars and Imams that congregational activity for daily prayers be suspended and performed at home. This is also in line with the decision by a number of churches, including the Church of England, to suspend church services that involve intimate gatherings of people.

Building hygiene

Our cleaning team will ensure that the small number of buildings with ongoing regular access are cleaned to a recognised standard with additional measures implemented at this time where handrails, door handles and other touch points are being sanitised daily. We routinely swab test specific facilities which have an NHS standard cleaning specification and this is now being extended across key areas in all buildings. Soap dispensers are replenished daily.

Printing services are operational offsite and continuing to manage production of all types of printed requirements for the University, and for strategic partners and businesses across Portsmouth.

To get in touch with the team, staff can order corporate printing through the Marketing Portal and strategic partners and business can email A member of the team will get in touch to help you with your requirements. We will ensure all printed materials are delivered to any specified delivery address so no need to collect.

We understand the risk of coronavirus can create an increasing level of anxiety. The University is a welcoming, diverse and inclusive community. We need to strike a balance to minimise risk by following the Government’s advice, while continuing to treat people with dignity, care and respect – particularly our international students and staff who might be feeling vulnerable and a long way from home at the moment.

It’s true to say that: “Viruses don’t discriminate, and neither do we.”

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