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Covid-19 guidance

Covid-19 guidance

Advice and guidance on the Covid-19 Pandemic. This includes the latest information on the University's position, whether the University is open, whether anyone on campus has Coronavirus, the symptoms of the virus and more.

Last updated Wednesday 25th March, 1pm

Update: Wednesday 25 March 2020

The government have issued new advice on visa applications:

See the Applicant FAQs below for more information.

Protecting and supporting the health and wellbeing of our University community is our top priority. The University is taking all precautionary measures in line with the science-led guidance, and instruction, from the UK Government and Public Health England (PHE). In addition, the University is adhering to travel guidance from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The University will continue to keep our students up to date with our decisions through email and through updates on this page so please bookmark it and refer back here in the first instance if you have questions or concerns.

Current University Position

The University of Sunderland in London building will be closed from 4:30pm Friday 20 March. We have moved fully to online teaching, support and assessment. All students will be able to complete their courses and earn their awards. We will fully support all our students’ wellbeing, engagement and progress through online resources and communications.

All University of Sunderland libraries, Wellbeing, Gateway, Careers facilities will remain available to you remotely and are contactable through Compass.

New students joining in April 2020 and May 2020: Enrolment and Induction will be taking place online. You will receive further information with instructions from the University in due course. Please make sure you check your email regularly. If you have any questions or concerns, please email: recruitment-london@sunderland.ac.uk

We remain committed to supporting all of our students and staff during these difficult times.

There are a number of precautionary measures in place and the University does expect its whole community to be aware of and follow all Government advice and guidance.

If you need help or advice, contact the University at: 

Useful links

The University remains open however all face-to-face classroom teaching and assessment, as well as on our two Sunderland campuses and our Hong Kong campus is suspended from Tuesday 17 March. Our Library and other main facilities are now closed. Building on existing practice, we will move to be online only for teaching and assessment by Monday 23 March.

There are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus on-campus.

Although the University has moved to online teaching, all deadlines and assessments are still ongoing as usual. Classes and workshops will be broadcasted and delivered online at the same time and date as scheduled in your timetable.

In the case of assessments that required a face-to-face attendance (e.g. individual/group presentation, written exam, etc), these have been replaced with a suitable alternative assessment. Information regarding the nature of any alternative assessments will be provided on your relevant Canvas module. If you have any questions relating to your deadlines and future assessments, please contact your Programme Leader.

If you are engaged in online sessions, there's nothing you are required to do. Although you will not see your swipe, your attendance % will not be affected.

If you are absent from online teaching, please log your absence as usual through the TDS Student Portal.

The University has notified you that all teaching and assessments will be moved online from 23 March. Therefore if you have returned overseas and plan to continue to study online there will be no impact on your Tier 4 visa. The University will continue to sponsor you. This means that you will be able to return to the UK on your current visa once face to face classroom teaching starts again.

If you are a student with a current Tier 4 visa, and you have returned to your home country you should also inform us via our Overseas Returner form

If you have a specific concern in regards to your Tier 4 visa, please Submit an Enquiry on Compass to our International Student Support Team.

The Government has issued guidance on changes to its immigration rules for people in the UK who are unable to return to their home country. This states that most people whose immigration status is affected by the coronavirus outbreak will receive an extension until Tuesday 31 March 2020.

There is also a special coronavirus immigration helpline which you can access by emailing CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk or by calling 0800 678 1767 for free. Lines are open Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm

There is an increasing number of countries who are limiting arrivals and departures from their airports and ports. You should consider your own health and wellbeing and take advice from your travel agent / Government before you travel.

The UK and other governments are taking rapid decisions on this and you should refer to the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office prior to travelling.  Please be mindful that travel restrictions imposed after you leave but before you return may prevent you from returning to University after the vacation.

Unnecessary travel abroad may also increase the risk of your exposure to coronavirus.

If you are a student with a current Tier 4 visa, and you have returned to your home country you should also inform us via our Overseas Returner form.

The University has taken the decision not to suspend all international travel for its own staff.

The University understands that this is a very difficult time and will continue to sponsor your Tier 4 visa throughout the Easter holiday. 

We will then contact you to find out about your plans and whether you want to study using the on line provision or take a longer break from your programme. We will then advise you on the impact this will have on your Tier 4 visa and whether you need a new visa in order to come back to the UK to pick up your studies at a later date.

All the University expects is that our student community, including international students, log into Canvas and access the online learning teaching and assessments that are available for each particular programme.

If you continue your studies online, even though face to face teaching is not available, then you will be fully compliant with your Tier 4 visa requirements.

Applicant FAQs

For those that have an application pending with us, due to start in April or have interviews coming up, we've put together a range of FAQs below.

If you have any questions not answered below, get in touch with our Recruitment Team

Yes, applications are still being processed by our Student Admissions team. If you'd like to apply, please visit the University of Sunderland website.

We have contacted all international applicants who currently have an application for a course starting in April or May 2020 to discuss your options.


We will continue to keep you updated but if in the meantime you have questions then please get in touch with us here at the International Office on: international.office@sunderland.ac.uk Please include your name and student reference number in your email so that we can find your student records easily.

We have made the necessary decision to postpone the Open Days and all upcoming Applicant Experience Events.

The wellbeing of our university community continues to be our top priority and we will continue to follow government and Public Health England advice regarding future events.

We apologise to all those who were registered to attend and will be announcing details of a virtual alternative soon.
Please lookout for an email for further information.

We have contacted all applicants who currently have an interview scheduled with us to arrange alternative interviews. This may include Skype and telephone interviews and in some cases may require a 2nd interview pre-enrolment.


Further information will be provided to you via email. If you have any concerns in regards to your interview please email admissions-london@sunderland.ac.uk

We have currently suspended our face-to-face English language test and are currently working on alternative arrangements.
We will be contacting all applicants in due course. If you have any concerns please email admissions-london@sunderland.ac.uk.

If you require a DBS check for your programme of studies, our Student Admissions team will be in contact to arrange a Skype interview whereby we will ask to see your documentation adhering to guidelines from Devon County Council, our DBS provider.

If you're in the UK and your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020.

Your visa will be extended to 31 May 2020 if you can't leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation because of the Coronavirus.

If your visa is expiring you have to contact the government's Coronavirus Immigration Team.

For more information, visit their Coronavirus Immigration information page.

No. While the Covid-19 situation is ongoing, you will not need to return to your home country to make an application. 

You will still need to meet the same visa requirements and pay the application fee.

More information can be found on the government's Coronavirus Information page.

Health & Wellbeing FAQs

For those that have an application pending with us, due to start in April or have interviews coming up, we've put together a range of FAQs below.

Symptoms to look out for are high temperature (fever), a new continuous cough and difficulty breathing.

The NHS advises the following:

If you have either a high temperature or a new, continuous cough and live alone then stay at home for a full 7 days

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in your house became ill.

Report your absence to the University by:

Logging your absence through the TDS Student Portal as you usually would.

Guidance and links on access the portal through mobile apps.

Email us at wellbeing@sunderland.ac.uk and tell us you are staying at home.

Please do not come into University or go to your GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital

If your symptoms do not get better after 7 days or your condition gets worse or you feel that you cannot cope with your symptoms at home then:

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus servicePlease only telephone 111 if you cannot get NHS help online.

For comprehensive information on what to do, see the government's guidance

There is a lot of information around about Coronavirus – and it seems to be popping up everywhere.  We understand that this outbreak of Coronavirus can be a cause of concern and anxiety.  We are actively following Government advice and guidance and your safety is our top priority.

Please make sure that you are following official Government advice and guidance including the latest Government information for the public and keep referring back to this FAQ page where the University will publish its latest updates.

Try to keep yourself up-to-date with trusted news sources such as the BBC rather than relying on social media.

There are some useful websites which can help you understand and deal with feelings of anxiety about this outbreak:

Here are some tips about coping with feeling anxious about the outbreak and some more.

You can also access the University’s Silvercloud Health service. We recommend you sign up at Silver Cloud and access “Space from Anxiety”.

If you have concerns about the impact of Coronavirus on your assessments or other aspects of your learning then please contact your Programme Leader.

The University will not tolerate abuse or harassment and we take all such allegations seriously. If you feel you have been a victim or have seen a student victimised then please report it immediately using the Report It, Get Supported online service.

The Government has issued this advice about staying at home and has useful information about living in shared spaces and with children and older, vulnerable or pregnant people. It also has useful tips about planning ahead.

Here is some advice about looking after your wellbeing in self-isolation and some further information is here.

And here are some tips about coping with feeling anxious about the outbreak.