Category Archives: Student Guide

Christmas vacation support services

Student Support and Wellbeing continues to operate until 22 December and then will return on Monday 4 January. Wherever you find yourself over the vacation period, please find below some information to help you stay well and connected:

  • For expert information to help you through the challenges of coronavirus from Student Minds, check out the Student Space website which provides advice, as well as telephone, email, webchat and text support.
  • For 24/7 free online support from peers and trained professionals, all Kent students can access Togetherall.
  • If you’re having a difficult time and want to talk to someone, you can call the Samaritans free on 116 123, or email jo@samaritans.org.
  • If you would prefer to receive support via text message, Shout is a free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope, simply text 85258.
  • Spending Christmas on campus? There’s lots happening for our on campus communities – for information on events, where to eat, meet, study, worship, walk and much more, check out the vacation webpage (coming soon). Local GP surgeries (University Medical Centre in Canterbury, St Mary’s Island and  in Medway) are operating according to normal opening hours apart from bank holidays, outside of these please use NHS 111.

More information, advice and resources will be posted throughout vacation on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts – check out @UniKentSSW.

Coronavirus

Spring term restart

From Professor Richard Reece, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education & Student Experience

I hope you are well and looking forward to the Winter vacation. For those of you travelling home within the next few days, I wish you a safe and pleasant journey.

Many of you will understandably be interested in our plans for the Spring term and I would like to provide you with some information regarding this.

The Government has now released its guidance for returning students to campus after the Winter vacation period. The Government is recommending that universities implement a staggered return to campus, which will see students returning during January 2021. The purpose of a staggered return is to allow students from across the country to return to their universities in the safest fashion and enable them to be tested for Covid-19 before their face-to-face teaching begins.

We are currently developing our plans for a staggered return to Kent in line with the Government’s recommendations. We will provide further information next week on how the staggered return will be managed and specific details relating to your study programme. This will include when your face-to-face teaching will begin in the Spring term and when your recommended travel window to return to the University will be.

To support this, we will be continuing to provide asymptomatic testing in the New Year, at both Canterbury and Medway campuses. Testing will begin again in early January 2021 and will coincide with our plans for your staggered return. This will enable you all to be tested before your face-to-face teaching begins.

I would like to remind you that the start of Spring term is 18 January 2021 and this is when teaching will start for all undergraduates with the exception of KMMS students who will start earlier. Please ensure you engage with all your teaching sessions from the start of term.

We are planning to provide additional events, activities and services on campus in Spring to support your participation in all aspects of your student experience. This will include social events, development opportunities, ways to engage with fellow students and help to look after your wellbeing. Many of these will be listed in the Events Calendar and new events are added regularly.

Lastly, I would like to thank all of you that have been tested prior to returning home for the Winter vacation period. For those of you staying with us for longer, we still have appointments available should you wish to book for a test in Canterbury or for a test in Medway. More information on asymptomatic testing is available on our Coronavirus webpages.

Best wishes

Richard

Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience

Coronavirus

Tier 3 Covid regulations in force from today

From Professor Richard Reece, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education & Student Experience

Thank you for your commitment to your studies this term, for working so hard throughout these challenging times and for endeavouring to keep both yourselves and the whole of our community as safe as possible.

You will no doubt be aware that the national lockdown has now ended, and Tier 3 Covid regulations come into force in both Canterbury and Medway from today (2 December 2020). Tier 3 is classed as Very High Risk, meaning it remains vitally important that we all comply with the guidance to ensure we keep our community safe.

I would like to remind you of the Tier 3 guidance:

  • No household mixing indoors or in private gardens – please do not socialise with those you do not live with. This means no visitors to your student accommodation.
  • The ‘rule of 6’ applies when meeting others outdoors in public areas such as parks. You can meet outdoors in a group of up to six people you do not live with, providing you abide by social distancing.
  • The Government is advising against travelling in and out of the area in which you live. Please be aware however that the Student Travel Window (3-9 December 2020) still applies. You can travel from your term-time to permanent address for the Winter vacation period. However, please do not make other non-essential journeys.

Do please follow the Government guidelines set out above and ensure you follow Hands, Face, Space, Test guidance.

Please remember that unless you are in an exempt categoryyou should be wearing a face covering when inside University buildings, including teaching spaces, catering outlets, the library and other communal areas. You should also wear a face covering in the local community, when in shops and on public transport.

I do appreciate that this has been a challenging term. Please be assured we are doing everything we can to provide the best possible student experience whilst we adhere to the Government guidelines.

On campus, most of our outlets will remain open offering a takeaway service until 11 December 2020. Opening hours will vary during the Christmas and New Year vacation. Our sports facilities open on 3 December 2020 with reduced provision to ensure we comply with Tier 3 guidance. You can access all our study facilities and library services; these will remain open over the Christmas vacation for those of you staying with us.

I will contact you again shortly to provide further information on our plans for the Spring term. I encourage you to continue to engage with all your teaching sessions until term ends on 18 December 2020, and thank you again for your dedication to your studies during these challenging times.

Coronavirus

Asymptomatic testing appointments still available at Canterbury and Medway

If you do not have symptoms of Covid-19, ie are asymptomatic, you can make an appointment to be tested for on campus.

Canterbury and Medway appointments are still available to book online.

Please remember that asymptomatic testing is for people not displaying Covid-19 symptoms. If you do have symptoms, please follow our Self-Isolate, Test, Inform procedure and book a test via the NHS Coronavirus website.

You should ideally have two asymptomatic tests 3-5 days apart and then return home within 24hrs of your second negative test result. If you are unable to wait for a second test, please return home as soon as possible after your first negative result.

If you decide to get tested, please register for an NHS login before your appointment. You can set this up using your email address. Please note that you will not receive your barcode until you arrive to be tested, however you can still set up the rest of your account.

Once registered, please bookmark this link to the NHS Coronavirus Testing site on your phone. Pre-registering for an NHS login will speed up your appointment and make the testing process even easier.

Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience

Financial support over the Winter break

This year has come with many difficulties. If you find yourself struggling financially, you are welcome to apply for financial support from the University. Please note the deadlines and university office closure dates below.

Kent Emergency Short Term Loan

You will need to have your application for the Kent Emergency Short Term Loan completed and sent to us by 14.00 on Wednesday 16 December to receive any money by Christmas.

You should complete and scan the application form to FinancialAid@kent.ac.uk (Canterbury) or UKMFinance@kent.ac.uk (Medway) along with scanned copies of your bank statements (for all bank accounts UK or abroad). These statements should show all transactions back 30 days from the date of the application.  Payments will be made directly into your bank account – no cash can be issued at this time.

Other financial hardship packages

The other financial hardship packages are still available for students to apply but please be aware that any application may not now be processed or finalised before Christmas. Students should therefore not rely on receiving any funds granted before the New Year for these packages.

Office closures

Financial Aid and other Central Finance offices will be closed for Christmas from midday on Tuesday 22 December 2020 and will re-open on Monday 4 January 2021.

Puppy wearing Christmas hat

Top 10 ways to feel festive this December

Blog post by Second Year Law Student, Ellie House. 

Although lockdown ends on 2 December, the new tier system will bring its own challenges – especially as we try to navigate through the Christmas period. Here are some top tips on ways to feel festive this December, while still staying within restrictions and keeping safe!

  1. Take a walk with those in your household/bubble

A great way to stay active during this time is taking walks outside. There are many beautiful walking spots around Kent and within Canterbury and exploring those with your household could be a great activity! If you also want a festive feel, try taking a walk through Canterbury (or your local area) and looking at this year’s Christmas lights.

  1. Try some festive baking

This is an activity you can do by yourself or with those in your household! Try making a festive cake or some cookies and get creative with your decorations. If you’re feeling extra Christmassy, you could even try building a gingerbread house, or having a gingerbread house making competition with your friends – this could be together if you’re a household or over Zoom.

  1. Take time to do some festive arts and crafts

A great activity if you feel like you’re in a creative lull is doing some festive arts and crafts! There are many different things you can create with a Christmas theme, but if you’re stuck for ideas, you could try a wellbeing art kit.

  1. Decorate!

If you haven’t done so already, decorating is always a fantastic way to feel more festive. You can put up a tree and decorate your home with all the glitter and tinsel you can find. Whether you stick to a traditional red, green and gold colour palette, or change it up with something a little different, you’re bound to feel more in the Christmas spirit once your decorations are up.

  1. Have a Christmas movie night in

Unless you’re the Grinch, Christmas movies are bound to get you in the festive spirit. Set up a movie night with your household and watch all your favourite Christmas classics, and maybe even a few new releases out for Christmas this year. You can make it more interesting by having each person pick their favourite film, or if you don’t have time to binge-watch them all, pick them out of a hat. You can also feel more festive by drinking hot chocolates and eating festive snacks!

  1. Make your own Christmas cards or gifts

Whether you’re creative or not, you can still get into the Christmas spirit by making some DIY gifts for your family and friends. There are lots of tutorials online for all sorts of gifts, so you’re bound to find something you’d enjoy making and that would be appreciated by your friends and family.

  1. Have a ‘Zoom’ Secret Santa

Use an online Secret Santa generator to each pick someone to get a gift for and set a budget for how much you’re each going to spend. Then, buy your gifts online and get them delivered to each other’s addresses! Make sure you set a date for when you’ll all open the gifts and call each other whilst you open them to see everyone’s reactions.

  1. Festive ‘Come Dine With Me’

Why not get together with the other members of your household and have a festive ‘Come Dine With Me’? You can each cook a meal for everyone in the evening, and then each ‘guest’ can rank the meal out of 10! Whoever gets the highest score for their meal wins. Make sure to add a festive element to each of your meals, maybe by making a Christmas-themed dessert or even just adding some brussels sprouts to your dish!

  1. Hold an online Christmas quiz

You can find plenty of Christmas-themed trivia questions online or come up with your own. Put them together in a quiz and test your friends’ Christmas knowledge. You can come up with a prize for the winner, or just play for fun – it’s completely up to you!

  1. Volunteer

During this difficult time, it’s especially important that we give back to our local communities and help those in need. Helping others during this festive period, even if it’s just donating a small amount of your time, can really make a difference to someone’s Christmas. Take a look at the volunteering opportunities around your local area and see what you can do to help. Whether you’re able to give up your time for charity, or you have some change to spare and buy some food for the foodbank on your weekly shop, helping others during this difficult December is something we should all strive to do.

No matter how you spend your Christmas, try to get the most out of December whilst staying safe.

Meet your residential life officers

Who are your Residential Life Assistants and what do they do?

Residential Life Assistants (RLAs) are postgraduate student volunteers who host events and support initiatives within your College. They will help you to form a College Committee in the spring, to find your voice and promote your ideas and values. They will support you to shape the ways you can all come together to make your College Community, where every student is welcome no matter what their background and whether living on or off campus.

Fawaz (studying Bio-digital Architecture MSc)

Fawaz is currently studying for a MSc in Bio-digital architecture. "Being an international student in such a diverse student body, I am very excited to be involved in developing a social campus life and help students from all backgrounds to connect with others with shared interests."

Ally (studying Economics MSc)

Ally is currently studying for a MSc in Economics. "I am looking forward to making Kent feel like a second home to everyone and building a greater sense of community."

Maria (studying Forensic Osteology MSc)

Maria is currently studying Forensic Osteology MSc. "The one thing I am most looking forward to as an Residential Life Assistant is helping the community connect and grow within each college but also as a whole."

Ishaan (studying Environmental Anthropology MSc)

Ishaan is currently studying for a Environmental Anthropology MSc. "I am most excited about conducting events where all students come together, feel included, and have a sense of belonging to their colleges."

Daniella (studying Criminology MA)

Daniella is studying Criminology MA. "I am most looking forward to bringing together the communities we have on campus through the various events and ideas we have planned."

RLA festive events

Get involved with The Tw’Elf Days of Christmas competition on your College Facebook page (daily prizes awarded). Find your College Facebook page on the College webpage.

We also have a Christmas Cookies baking event coming up hosted by the RLAs and Kent Union Baking Society for live baking fun! If you’re staying on campus you can borrow the equipment you need for the bake from the College Life team.

We’re adding more events to our College events page so keep an eye out.

College Life Team

The RLAs focus on events but also work closely with the College Life Officers (CLOs) who are experienced, full time staff working in the central College and Community Life team. Your CLOs can offer you individual or group support if you are struggling, by email (cclteam@kent.ac.uk), phone, or Teams. Their focus is on welfare, support, and access to specialist services.

toy-car

Preparing to leave campus for the Winter Break

Following the announcement of the Student Travel Window, here’s few things you need to consider when planning your journey home for Christmas.

Everyone should follow the national lockdown restrictions until 2 December 2020 and not travel home before 3 December.

  1. Decide when to travel

The Government has set out a Student Travel Window from 3-9 December 2020. All teaching will move online from 4 December to help support this. Please remember to keep up with your academic timetable online until term finishes on 18 December.

To help you travel home safely and reduce the spread of the virus, we ask that you travel during one of the following timeframes (depending on when you have face-to-face teaching):

  • If you do not have face-to-face teaching on 3-4 December 2020, please try to travel home between 3-6 December 2020.
  • If your face-to-face teaching continues until 4 December 2020, please try to travel home between 5-9 December 2020.

We understand that the allocated dates will not be suitable for all students. Some of you may have already made other plans or intend to stay with us for longer, which you are very welcome to do. Please be assured we will support you whatever your personal circumstances.

Once you know your travel plans please make sure you have completed the Winter Vacation/Student Travel Window survey which was emailed to you by the Accommodation Team on Friday 13 November 2020.

Please note: If you have tested positive for Covid-19 or have been notified to self-isolate by the NHS test and Trace system, you will have to follow the self-isolation guidance before travelling home. See our self-isolation support.

  1. Book a test

You can book a Covid-19 test before you leave campus to help protect your loved ones and stop the spread of Covid-19.

  1. Plan your journey

If you are being collected by car between 3-9 December 2020, the person collecting you will not require a parking permit. They can park free of charge in marked parking bays on campus. Please have everything you want to take home with you ready for when they arrive so you can quickly load the car and make your way home.

If you are using public transport, book your tickets in advance, take a face covering, check for travel disruptions ahead of time, and avoid busy times (we anticipate 5-6 December will be busy). See our tips for travelling during Covid-19.

National Express has enhanced their coach service to help students get safely home between 3-9 December and you can get a 10% discount. Read more and get a discount code.

If you are planning to take the train, please book in advance and check South-Eastern’s website for travel disruption. Find out more on South-Eastern’s website.

You can read our full advice and FAQs for travelling home for Christmas, including travelling outside of the ‘Student Travel Window’, on our Transport webpages.

  1. Planning international travel

International students: you can travel home from 3 December. Before you travel, you should:

  • Check the COVID-19 entry requirements for your destination country
  • Speak to your travel insurer
  • Check with your carrier for latest developments at your destination
  • Plan ahead to avoid busy times and routes

If you are a student abroad and are travelling back to the UK, you should:

  • Speak to your travel insurer
  • Check GOV.UK for advice on returning to the UK
  • Plan ahead to avoid busy times and routes
  • Complete your Passenger Locator Form before you return to the UK
  1. Leaving on-campus accommodation

If you are leaving your on-campus accommodation for the winter break, please make sure you:

  • Remove all rubbish from your accommodation, kitchen, and bins
  • Turn off all electrical items and lights (but not the fridge!)
  • Dispose of any perishable foods or take them with you. You can also donate any unwanted items. 
  • Close your windows but leave the vent open
  • Check your doors are locked

If you live in part-catered accommodation and are staying after the travel window don’t forget your winter vacation move out dates.

In case another lockdown delays your return, we also recommend taking all your important items with you.

Remember that items left in communal areas are not covered by your standard room insurance, so you may wish to move items into your bedroom.

Read more about moving out on our accommodation webpages.

Have a safe journey home and we look forward to welcoming you back in the New Year!

Photo by Nubia Navarro on Unsplash

Christmas tree

Christmas on campus – what to expect

Are you spending Christmas on campus and wondering what to do with your time? Well you have come to the right place.

As well as on-campus facilities (for example Templeman and Drill Hall Libraries), we have a variety of exciting activities planned so you can have fun and connect to others who are staying on the Medway and Canterbury campuses.

Those on the Medway campus can get stuck into Lockdown fitness, E-Sports tournaments, quizzes and self care Sundays.

Canterbury students can look forward to virtual Christmas concert, quizzes and movies nights. scavenger hunts and cook-a-longs.

We have a website launching soon that will contain details of all these events plus ideas and resources to help you make the most of your vacation.

We have also created a Facebook Group so you stay informed and connect with others on campus.

Please feel free to use the hashtag #ChristmasOnCampus

Canterbury gift card launch

November sees the launch of the Canterbury Gift Card, an initiative designed to keep money circulating locally and support local traders through these difficult times. Cards can be bought online at spent at over 80 Canterbury businesses. On the list are big chains (Fenwick, Boots, McDonalds, Smiggle and more) and dozens of small, independent businesses including cafes, shops, bars, restaurants, venues, pubs, hairdressers, salons and even the local butcher. There really is something for everyone (especially that impossible-to-buy-for person).

New businesses are signing up all the time. The card is a preloaded Mastercard, so the payment goes straight into the trader’s till in the usual way.

The card is the initiative of the Canterbury BID (Business Improvement District) which works to ensure that Canterbury is a vibrant and successful city centre for those who visit, shop, live and work in the city.

They make fantastic Christmas presents – this year, give someone the gift of Canterbury !