IT issues and Covid update


We’ve been talking with the university about the things that matter to you. In these conversations, the SU has been representing your academic interests and pushing for students to be well-supported and treated fairly, in all aspects of student life.

We are working as quickly as possible to get you some answers and information about things like the no detriment policy, extenuating circumstances, online resources, deadlines, exam dates, rent costs, information for international students, financial support and more. As soon as we have updates, we will update this page.

 

Why has it taken so long to resolve the IT issues?

The University was subject to a highly malicious attack by sophisticated cyber criminals seeking to disrupt our institution as much as possible.  Since then, we have been working to restore functionality as quickly as possible. This has involved shutting down entire systems to prevent further intrusion then putting them through a process of checking all of the existing servers and databases, scrubbing them to ensure that they are completely clean and then rebuilding them. The University is being supported in this work by a range of organisations, including the police and anti-virus consultants.

Is my personal data safe and what are you doing to make sure this won’t happen again?

The University are not aware of any evidence that confidentiality of any personal data has been affected in this attack. We are upgrading all of our anti-virus and security systems to limit the possibility of any similar attack occurring in the future. No system is fool proof, but we are investing to make sure that our systems are as safe as they possibly can be.

How long will remote teaching continue?

In the current lockdown conditions, remote learning is scheduled to continue until at least 22 February 2021. The University hopes to be able to revert to blended delivery after that date in order to provide face-to-face on-campus delivery to those students who want it, or for whom attending on-campus sessions is essential in order to meet the learning outcomes for their course. The University will keep the situation under constant review and will look to advise students as quickly as possible about how we intend to deliver courses after 22 February taking into account the latest data on the spread of the virus, as well as government advice

I am worried about meeting deadlines or not getting the mark I deserve because of the disruptions in the year, will this be taken into consideration?

We know that your performance in assessments is being affected at this time, so we have spoken to the university about their plans for a 'no detriment' policy. The university agrees with us that no student should be disadvantaged by the IT issues or new coronavirus restrictions, and so are making changes to ensure your work will be assessed fairly. 

LSBU’s ‘no detriment’ measures aim to reduce the impact of any disruption students may experience, as a result of COVID-19 and the malicious cyber-incident, to properly reward their hard work, whilst maintaining academic standards.

We have taken action for the 2020/2021 academic year to ensure LSBU students will not be disadvantaged as a result of the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the malicious cyber-incident. Given any constraints to meet externally regulated courses, the university commits to:

  • Reviewing all module marks and student profiles at our Examination Boards in accordance with our quality and standards procedures to ensure LSBU students are not disadvantaged because of the disruption. 
     
  • If a significant negative impact on performance is detected, it will trigger adjustments (following a ‘no detriment’ formula) for individual student marks to ensure students are not disadvantaged by receiving lower marks.
     
  • All students to be automatically given the opportunity to resubmit semester 1 assessments impacted by the malicious cyber-incident, during the April resit period (12 – 16 April 2021), without penalty.

The University has also extended all semester 1 assessment dates which were affected by the malicious cyber-incident to give LSBU students the best possible opportunity to succeed in their assessments. 

I need access to campus on my course, how will I know if I am allowed to access the campus during that time?

The campus is open and will remain open throughout the semester unless we are required by the Government to close it down. During this time the library will remain open to students and, where necessary, we will provide additional study space in order to ensure social distancing. While on campus students will be required to wear face coverings at all times. Access to specialist facilities will be given where these are essential to meeting learning outcomes for specific courses and where that is in line with guidance from the Department of Education / Office for Students.

I am in a shielded group. What should I do and how will this affect my studies?

Most teaching is being provided online until 22 February and you will be able to access that teaching remotely. Some courses have face to face teaching planned – if you are shielding and have face to face teaching planned, don’t attend campus.  

Either way, we want to make sure that you are well supported, that any impact on your studies is understood and that we identify any actions we need to take. 

If you are shielding, please complete this short survey so that we can organise for an adviser to contact you and, working with your course team, create a support plan for you. 

I am an international student who returned home. Should I come back?

This will depend on the nature of your course as well as any travel restrictions that may be in place.  Our International Student Advice team are here to offer you individual guidance and support – please contact the International Student Advice team on international.advice@lsbu.ac.uk

I am experiencing financial hardship – can I access any support?

Yes – The University has enhanced its Hardship Fund and simplified the application process. Please e-mail: studentlife@lsbu.ac.uk and our Student Advisors will walk you through it. Student Advisors can also support you with guidance on other financial issues, such as budgeting, Student Finance England queries, and private rent arrears.

I don’t have the technology to study at home, can you provide it for me?

Due to the IT and Covid 19 situation(s), the University has re-opened the Remote Learning Fund which provides students with the funds they need to buy IT equipment, to enable you to study at home. This fund is open to all LSBU students and can be utilised to buy all types of IT equipment including laptops, tablets, charger cables, keyboards, etc.  Please email: studentlife@lsbu.ac.uk and the team will walk you through the process.

What do I do if I don't have the course content I need to revise?

Course teams should be uploading all this content via MS Teams. If something is missing, first check your emails for information. If it's still not there, contact your course director. If you still don't have what you need after that, please contact us.

How long will the Moodle and Panopto be unavailable?

Panopto has already been restored (13/01/21). At the moment we are expecting Moodle to be back on-stream around 22 January.

How can I find out whether my assessment deadline or exam date has changed?

All Course Directors have been communicating directly with the students on their course regarding submission deadlines. Please check your emails for that information. If you have not received an email, or cannot find the relevant email, please contact your Course Director in the first instance

How do I submit an extenuating circumstances claim?

The university has agreed that all students can sit a second, uncapped attempt at your upcoming assignments as long as you have submitted a first attempt. You don't need to submit an extenuating circumstances claim for this if you need to resit as a result of Covid disruption or the IT issues.

I have not returned to my residence when I am at Uni yet, should I come back?

In-person teaching will only take place for a small number of courses – you will have been informed by your course team if this applies to you. Government guidance is that all other students should not return to campus, and should remain where they are, wherever possible. If you do not have on campus teaching, there is no need for you to return before 22 February. We will seek to inform you as quickly as possible if this start date for return to blended learning is moved.

I pay for university accommodation, but I am unable to return to it, can I claim compensation or be released from my contract?

The University will waive 7 weeks’ accommodation fees (4th Jan – 21st Feb) for any resident with a current full-year June/Aug 2021 Accommodation Licence Agreement, who has not been able to use their room during the period of national lockdown in England. This waiver covers student accommodation agreements at LSBU halls of residence and will be applied to the third instalment to accounts which are up-to-date and not in arrears.

The University hopes that once lockdown restrictions are lifted and a blended approach to teaching is resumed, you will return to halls of residence. However, if once lockdown restrictions are lifted and you still want to permanently terminate your Accommodation Licence Agreement, this option will be made available to you.

Can I carry out research on campus?

Research that can only be carried out on campus and is essential for your studies can still be carried out on campus. You should speak directly to your supervisors and/or Course Director who will be able to advise you on what procedure you should follow.

Can I get a Covid test from the University?

Yes – The University have a test centre at the Southwark campus for students and staff – the tests are for those without symptoms.  If you have symptoms, please arrange a test through the NHS and observe self-isolation rules.

Asymptomatic testing at LSBU: For everyone coming onto campus for studying, the advice is that you should have a Covid test; please show you love LSBU by booking your test and helping to keep your friends, family and our community safe.

I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed by my situation, who can I talk to?

These are unusual, challenging and unsettling times, so it is ok to be feeling anxious, worried or upset. You are not alone and there is always someone to talk to. 

The Mental Health and Wellbeing team offer a safe space for you to talk about what is on your mind. They’re working remotely and can offer appointments via telephone or Microsoft Teams. 

To arrange an appointment please email studentwellbeing@lsbu.ac.uk 

You can access emotional support 24/7 through SilverCloud free with your LSBU email address and phone, email, text message, and webchat support from Student Space

Useful links - The following organisations have lots of useful information and advice on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during this period: 

·       MIND - Coronavirus and your wellbeing

·       NHS Good Thinking - Coronavirus and mental health 

·       Family Lives - Your family life - coping during the coronavirus outbreak 

·       Coping during Covid-19 - A guide to students from students 

·       The Samaritans - Your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak

 

Channel for informal student complaints with monitoring of resolution progress

For academic issues, this is different for each school. If in doubt, contact your course director.

For now, we can provide the following support emails: 

su.general@lsbsu.org (SU Advice Service)
studentlife@lsbu.ac.uk (for Student Life Centre team)
disability@lsbu.ac.uk (for Disability & Dyslexia Support)
studentwellbeing@lsbu.ac.uk (for Mental Health & Wellbeing)
international.advice@lsbu.ac.uk (International Team)

 

If you have any questions, please email your officers:
 

Hattie (SU President): Hattie@southbank.su
Rabbi (VP Education & Deputy President): Rabbi@southbank.su
Ferdous (VP Welfare & Equalities): Ferdous@southbank.su
Joel (VP Activities & Employability): Joel@southbank.su

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