Information about the national lockdown from January 2021

Following the government announcement of a new national lockdown we have developed guidance and FAQs to support our students over the coming weeks.

On 4th January 2021, the Prime Minister announced a new national lockdown. This means that unless you are studying one of the subjects listed below you should remain at your current accommodation wherever possible and not return to campus.

From 8th March we will be resuming in-person teaching for some students who are studying practical courses. Read more about the return to Keele from 8th March for certain students.

The Government has advised that all other students should not return to campus until further announcements are made. Unless you are invited by your School to resume in-person teaching in-person teaching, you should continue with your online learning and remain at your current accommodation wherever possible and not return to campus. There will be a further Government review in April about when all remaining students can return, and further details for these students will be announced at that point.

The only exception to this is for students in the following subjects (and those invted by their Schools to return in March) who should return and get tested before taking part in any face-to-face sessions:

  • Medicine
  • Nursing (all branches)
  • Midwifery
  • Physiotherapy
  • Radiography
  • Physician Associate
  • Pharmacy
  • Social Work
  • Veterinary Science
  • Initial Teacher Training

Students who have recently started a clinical placement or who are due to do so soon should speak with their school with any queries.

From Tuesday 5th January, the following will apply:

  • Following government guidance, teaching and assessments will take place online until at least mid-February
  • Only very limited lab-based research activity can continue during the lockdown
  • Students are asked to remain at their current accommodation and to not return to campus, unless they are studying one of the subjects listed above
  • Essential campus services such as the Library and campus store will remain in place for those who have needed to return
  • Campus facilities such as the sports centre, bars and cafés will be closed during the lockdown, in-line with government requirements
  • SU and KPA buildings will be closed, but the SU and KPA will still be offering online activities and support to students
  • Student support services remain open to all students via online services

We recognise that this new lockdown is unsettling for everyone. The University has taken steps to minimise the spread of coronavirus on campus since March 2020 and our information published here demonstrates that cases on campus and in the Keele community have been well managed.

An open letter from the Vice-Chancellor to private sector accommodation providers.

An open letter to property owners (191 KB)

Frequently asked questions

General FAQs

These FAQs are here to provide you with more information about support for studying online, the impact on assessments, mental health, IT provision, and rent. We'll be updating and adding to these FAQs in the coming days.

We are putting some additional 'safety net' arrangements in place to support students taking assessments this year. Read more here.

We will be providing a full rent rebate to those students who have rooms in on-campus accommodation who are not able to access their accommodation as a result of the government restrictions in place. This rebate will cover the period from 4th January 2021 and continue until the current lockdown restrictions are removed, at which time we will review the position and provide a further update. 

For those students returning in March who have accommodation on campus, the current full rent rebate will end on March 7th.

For those students unable to return in March who have accommodation on campus, your rent rebate will continue, and we will review the situation when the Government provides this further guidance in April.

If you are occupying your on-campus accommodation or will do so for permitted reasons, then there will be no change to your rental payments, however we have extended the next installment payment date to 19th February 2021.

Find out more about how we are determining which students are in their on-campus accommodation.

While our rent rebate only applies to students in on-campus accommodation, we are conscious that students may not necessarily be afforded the same offer from private sector accommodation providers. We have written to private sector providers to urge them, where they can, to match the University’s position but this will ultimately be a decision for the landlord. For further information or advice regarding a private provider, please contact the SU’s Advice and Support at Keele or contact Student Services for financial and hardship support.

For students in both on and off-campus accommodation, we are conscious that the current restrictions may place additional financial and other burdens on you. For those students who are being adversely affected financially during the current period, there is funding support available and you can contact Student Services to help you understand what support can be provided to you to help. 

Informal learning spaces are areas on campus where you can choose to study in your own time - including Chancellor's building, Denise Coates Smart Innovation Hub, the Library and CEC. Some need booking in advance, but most don't. Find out more about informal learning spaces.

The campus store, pharmacy and some take-away food venues will remain open, as will the Library (including some bookable study space provision) and informal learning spaces. The Chapel and Islamic faith spaces will be available for private prayer only. All other facilities – including the sports centre, bars, and cafes – will remain closed during the lockdown period.

The campus store (Costcutter) and take-away food venue opening times are:

  • Costcutter: 08:00-20:00 Monday to Friday, 10:00-20:00 Saturday, and 10:00-18:00 Sunday.
  • Chapters Cafe: 09:00-19:00 Monday to Friday.
  • Chancellor's Bistro: 09:00-16:00 Monday to Friday.

See vacation opening times.

The KPA

Takeaway service until Sunday 11 April: 16:00-20:00 Monday to Saturday, and 12:00-17:00 Sunday (roast dinner takeaway).

From Monday 12 April onwards: the KPA will re-open for outdoor table service:

  • Daily for general service: 11:00-00:30 
  • Weekday food service: 12:00-15:00 for lunch, and 16:00-20:00 for dinner Monday to Friday
  • Weekend food service: 12:00-17:00 Sundays for roast dinners; there is no food service on Saturdays. 

We recognise that entering another period of lockdown will be difficult for many of us, and we have services in place to support our students during this time.

Although we have had to reduce our on-campus operations, we continue to offer a full range of mental health support services to our students via digital channels. If you need support or want to talk to somebody, please visit our Student Services pages.

If you would like to speak to a qualified mental health professional, please contact counselling@keele.ac.uk to book an appointment.

If you have medical evidence in relation to your mental health difficulties, you may be entitled to support through the Disabled Student Allowance. Please email your medical evidence to Disability and Dyslexia Support, a member of the team will then schedule a meeting with you to help you apply for the Disabled Student Allowance. 

Unless you have been told otherwise by your school then you should assume that your assessments will continue as planned.

However, the impact of the pandemic on students’ studies is something that we are very aware of and our Education Committee will be closely considering the impact of this further lockdown during the assessment period.

If your current environment means that you cannot complete your assessment (for example if you do not have access to IT equipment or the internet, or have childcare responsibilities following the closure of schools) then you can use the EC process. Please contact your school if your current environment is not suitable for learning, as they will be able to support you in making adjustments to your assessment arrangements.

If your current environment means that you cannot complete your assessment to the best of your ability (for example if you do not have access to IT equipment or the internet, or have childcare responsibilities following the closure of schools) then you can use the EC process to request an extension or repeat attempt later in the academic year.

In line with the national lockdown and returning to Keele in March guidance, unless you are invited by your School to resume in-person teaching (or study the subjects listed above), you should continue with your online learning and remain at your current accommodation wherever possible and not return to campus. 

There will be a further Government review in April about when all remaining students can return, and further details for these students will be announced at that point.

The government guidance states that you should remain in your current accommodation wherever possible, unless you are studying one of the following programmes, or are invited by your school to return to Keele in March:

  • Medicine
  • Nursing (all branches)
  • Midwifery
  • Physiotherapy
  • Radiography
  • Physician Associate
  • Pharmacy
  • Social Work
  • Veterinary Science
  • Initial Teacher Training

If you have not been invited back by your school but you have a legal reason to do so, please contact Student Services to inform us of your return.

If you travel, please follow the government’s safe travel guidance.

At this stage it is too early to determine when in-situ teaching will end in this academic year. It is a possibility that some disciplines may teach later into the summer period than we would normally do. We are working with the schools to understand the impact of this lockdown on teaching delivery and we will write to students to update you further when we have more clarity.

The impact on students’ studies during the pandemic is something that we are highly aware of, and responsive to. Following on from 'contingency' arrangements during the last academic year, all schools have established new foundations for online learning for the 20-21 year, supported centrally by our Flexible Digital Education resources. The current lockdown and further emphasis on online study is the priority theme of our Education Committee.

We are working with academic schools to ensure we make this period of online learning as positive as possible, supported by our experts in digital education. Methods and structures of online learning will vary according to discipline, but we aim to provide a consistently high standard of digital engagement and resources across all subjects.

Students who have recently started a clinical placement or who are due to do so soon should speak with their school with any queries, who will be able to advise you.

Yes. The Library will remain open with bookable individual study spaces, click and collect, printing, and laptop loans. Opening hours are 9am - 8pm Monday - Friday, and 9am - 5pm weekends. Further details can be found here. Other informal learning spaces are also available. 

Your School will be in touch to inform you of how you can access course-related software where it is required as part of your programme. If you have IT equipment and access issues from your current residence, you should contact the IT Service Desk who will offer further assistance to support your requirements.

The University can offer support to students who are unable to access IT equipment to continue their studies and assessments away from campus. If you are unable to access appropriate IT equipment, please contact the IT Service Desk and they will be able to offer further assistance.

Laptop loans are available for students throughout this period - find out more about IT kit provision here. If you require access to IT equipment or support during this time, please contact the IT Service Desk for their assistance.

Yes. Students returning to campus are required to take two Covid-19 tests at our asymptomatic testing centre upon their return. These same students should then get tested again every three to four days throughout the lockdown period.

This aims to provide you with an additional level of reassurance, in addition to adherence to the current national lockdown measures and the approach that the University continues to take to ensure its operations and facilities are Covid-secure.

All tests will take place in the Sports Centre. Testing is quick, easy, and free - and can be booked here.

Daily ‘walk-in’ appointments will also be available, by contacting the Covid Response Team via covid.response@keele.ac.uk or 01782 738999.

Local bus services have confirmed that in response to the current lockdown, and government requests for providers to reduce their service, the following changes will be made to the services that run through Keele University:

No 25: the service will be reduced (Mon - Fri) to every 15 min at peak times and every 30 min at off peak times.
No 85: the Sunday service will be suspended.

Users of these services should check the individual bus service providers websites for detailed information on these changes and up to date timetables.

If you have a complaint or wish to seek redress, i.e. if you are dissatisfied with the provision of a service, either academic or non-academic, by the University, then you can submit this in writing to the University so that the matter can be investigated and resolved. Student complaints are governed by Regulation B7.

However, in the first instance, you are strongly encouraged to attempt to resolve a problem at the lowest level possible - for example, a problem should initially be made known to the member of staff who is most directly concerned with the issue: if the problem is explained to them then they can often provide an immediate explanation or solution.

Details on how to submit a formal complaint can be found here:

https://www.keele.ac.uk/studentcomplaints/

Other Accommodation FAQs

No, under the current government guidelines and during this new period of national lockdown you should not return to campus to collect possessions or post. We will contact students to inform them of when the government position on this changes.

In line with government guidance, there are two exceptions:

If you are permanently moving off campus, for example, you have recently withdrawn or taken a leave of absence,you are permitted to remove your belongings from your room.

We have tried to be as flexible as possible, and you have three options:

  • You can leave your belongings in your room until the end of lockdown. Once the lockdown is lifted, you will be able to collect your belongings by following the guidelines that are in place at the time. 
  • You can book an appointment slot to collect your belongings from campus via this form.
  • You can decide to contract a specialist mover at your own cost to clear your room and return your belongings to you. Chaffinch Storage can pack your room and put the items into storage or delivering them to your home. If this is something that you would be interested in doing, please visit their web pages.

Once your room is cleared, please return your keys and your contract will end once we receive them. You will still be entitled to the rent rebate during the lockdown period. Your final account will then be calculated including any rebate.

Until 7th March: In order to establish who is living on campus during the lockdown, in January we collected information using a short form and also used WiFi and door access usage to verify if you were living on campus between 4th January – 7th March.

The University only used this data for the purposes of establishing your residence, and it will be deleted 28 days after 19th February 2021 or your second instalment is paid, whichever is later.

From 8th March: if your School has emailed to confirm that you will be resuming in-person teaching from 8th March, there will be a form to complete within this email. This form includes giving us details of your travel plans, living arrangements to include dates. We will use the information completed in this form, and a combination of your WiFi and door access usage data, to verify if you are living on campus from 8th March.

If you have not been invited back by your school but you have a legal reason to do so please contact Student Servcices to inform us of your return.

Please also see this FAQ for more information.

The government guidance states that you should remain in your current accommodation wherever possible.

However, there may be exceptional circumstances affecting you that mean you need to return to your permanent address. To help with your decision making, you should read the government’s guidance. If, ultimately, you decide that you will move out of your on-campus accommodation you must book a time slot here so that this can be done in a Covid-secure manner.

Don’t worry if you have already paid your second instalment and are not currently living on campus. Your payment will be credited to your account. You will still benefit from the rent rebate.

We do understand that this payment may have placed you in hardship. You can contact the income team to release some of the money or you can contact Student Services about our hardship fund.

You can speak to the income team (finance.income@keele.ac.uk) to temporarily refund some or all of the money back to you, or contact us about accessing the hardship fund. 

The government guidance states that you should remain in your current accommodation wherever possible.

If you have circumstances which are exceptional and in line with government advice and you wish to speak with an adviser, please contact Student Services to discuss this.

If, after speaking to Student Services, you decide that moving back to your permanent address is the best option for you, you will not be eligible for the rent rebate and you will need to book a time slot to return to your permanent address.

If you travel, please follow the government’s safe travel guidance.

International Students - FAQs

Please be assured that the University remains open and there is no requirement for you to leave. Learning and assessment for most courses will be online only further Government review in April. Support remains available to you along with campus services and facilities. It is important that you remain engaged with your studies online (or in-situ for certain programmes) to progress with your course and remain compliant with the conditions of your visa. If you need any support, please do contact our Student Services team.

Unless you are studying one of the following programmes:

  • Medicine
  • Nursing (all branches)
  • Midwifery
  • Physiotherapy
  • Radiography
  • Physician Associate
  • Pharmacy
  • Social Work
  • Veterinary Science
  • Initial Teacher Training

...or your School has informed you that you will be resuming in-person teaching from 8th March, then your course will be taught online only until further Government review in April. We understand that travel from some countries is very difficult at the present time and so we suggest that, if you have not yet travelled to the UK, you remain at home and engage with your studies online until April when the situation will be reviewed again by the UK Government. It is critical that you have the equipment and connection required to engage fully online and that you can participate in any live taught sessions, regardless of the time difference.

If you have any immigration concerns regarding this, please contact our Student Services team for help and advice.

In most circumstances, it will be possible to grant an extension to the agreement to study online only during Semester 2. Your immigration situation will be considered, and any implications will be explained to you. You will be expected to remain engaged with your assessments and studies online. It is critical that you have the equipment and connection required to engage fully online and that you can participate in any live taught sessions, regardless of the time difference.

Unless you are studying one of the following programmes;

  • Medicine
  • Nursing (all branches)
  • Midwifery
  • Physiotherapy
  • Radiography
  • Physician Associate
  • Pharmacy
  • Social Work
  • Veterinary Science
  • Initial Teacher Training

......or your School has informed you that you will be resuming in-person teaching from 8th March, then your course will be taught online only until further Government review in April. For this reason, and to reduce the risk associated with air travel and travel by public transport, we suggest that you remain at home and engage with your assessments and studies online until April when the situation will be reviewed again by the UK Government. If you are studying with one of the schools mentioned above, you should return to campus as planned and not study online only.

Please be assured that the University remains open and that support remains available to you along with campus services and facilities.

Students with Disabilities - FAQs

If you are extremely clinically vulnerable and studying one of the few subjects where face-to-face teaching is going ahead, please forward your email/letter from the government to support.dds@keele.ac.uk. If you have sent us this information previously, you do not need to send it again. Disability and Dyslexia Support (DDS) will inform your school that you will be studying online for the duration of lockdown. If you need support with online study please contact your School or DDS.

Please see our information about returning to Keele in March

Faith provision - FAQs

The Chapel (including ‘The Space’) and Islamic Prayer Facilities at Home Farm are available for individual use.

For further details see Faith Spaces or email chaplaincy@keele.ac.uk.

Christian worship on Sundays will be offered online - please see Keele Chapel FB on Facebook or to receive links or advice contact the Chaplaincy Team via chaplaincy@keele.ac.uk

Islamic congregational prayer will unfortunately not currently be possible and this will be reviewed in the coming weeks. 

The chaplaincy team are available for one-to-one support, see the chaplains’ individual contact details here or contact chaplaincy@keele.ac.uk

Students Union - FAQs

Absolutely, they’re here to support you through this difficult time by raising issues on your behalf to the University and help point you in the right direction if you’re unsure what to do.

All contact information for each officer can be found here

No, the SU building will remain closed during the lockdown, this includes the bars, catering and click & collect.

The University shop (Costcutter) remains open and details on other catering, building and opening times can be found further in the University FAQs.

No retail is open for walk ins, but you can order from our online shop (orders will be posted on a Friday).

The Print Shop will be monitoring the email account for any enquiries su.print@keele.ac.uk.

Yes, ASK continues to operate online, please contact su.ask@keele.ac.uk with your enquiry or to make a telephone appointment.

Further support information can be found at https://keelesu.com/advice/.

As per Government guidelines, no sport, training or activities will be taking place. If you have any specific questions contact su.athleticunion@keele.ac.uk.

Find out more about Team Keele's return to training and fixtures on the SU web pages

Yes, we will still be supporting you to run online activities and be encouraging students to join. Please get in touch with any questions via su.activities@keele.ac.uk.

In a national lockdown, some in person volunteering may not always be possible, but for any enquiries, please contact su.volunteering@keele.ac.uk.

You can either drop us a message via social media, or email su@keele.ac.uk.

Digital resources during lockdown

  • Take a look at KIITE’s Working with Students pages, brush up on your academic skills, or consider booking yourself in for a one-to-one virtual meeting with one of our academic writing coaches to discuss your draft assignment.
  • With your career development in mind, why not use Keele Careers Online to explore, for example, career e-learning, how to build your personal brand, and experience the new interview simulator.
  • If you want to build, deploy and manage websites then Amazon Web Services offer free access to learning resources.


Getting support

Take a look at the lockdown guide to staying connected and keeping well, created by the Start to Success team.

If you ever need to speak to somebody then our Student Services team is here for you