Update: Jan 18th, 2021
Since our update last week, as a Union we have been working collaboratively at all levels of the University to advocate your voice and the challenges that students are facing during these difficult times. To keep you up to date, we will be posting weekly updates for the foreseeable future.
As I am sure many of you are now aware, the University has confirmed a fee waiver for students not able to use their University-owned accommodation due to the government guidance. All students, that are eligible, will receive a two-week waiver for the impact of the pandemic at the end of 2020. Furthermore, if you are not occupying your accommodation, you will receive a further waiver between the 11th January and the 22nd February.
For those in private accommodation, the Union are finalising an open letter to encourage lettings agents and private hall owners around the city to consider similar compensation. This will be sent jointly from the Union and University and will be available to view on our website.
Thank you to all the students that have got in touch with us to raise your thoughts and concerns around the challenges that academia is facing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognise that this is a very challenging time and will be highlighting this strong student voice in our open letter to the MP of Derby City.
I implore you to keep reaching out and sharing with us your experiences, as your anecdotes are being heard across the institution and adding gravitas to our position to support all students. Again, this letter will be available on our website in the coming days.
The University has assured us that no student will be disadvantaged in any assessment to date through their no detriment principals and approach. Discussions are ongoing about the impact of the latest government guidance and the best way forward to once again ensure that all students are given a fair and equal opportunity to succeed at the University of Derby.
In this vein, we are collating all feedback and the adverse impact on assessments. For example, this week we met with a group of students that are parents/carers to understand the specific challenges they are facing, such as having to home-school their dependent(s) and complete their own consortium academic work.
We are collating similar feedback that looks at specific impact across the whole student body and putting together some suggestions to help ease the pressure on students at this time. If you have any suggestions or concerns you would like to raise, please get in touch via email or across our social media platforms @derbyunion.
If you are particularly struggling, our advice service remains open for free and impartial advice if you need our support in navigating these difficult times.
In the recent days British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) announced that there will be no return to sport for the remainder of the season
‘due to the pandemic and the unpredictable nature of nationwide lockdowns and restrictions.’ We recognise how important sport is to University life and will be constantly monitoring the guidance in the hope to have clubs training again as soon as possible. However, this is now a great time to take some extended rest, sort out those injuries you have been carrying for two years and get fit in your front room. Our COVID Hub has some great links to workouts you can do at home.
Events and Services
In my last update, I said we were doing our best to find innovative ways to replace the typical Union events that cannot happen at this time. In that vein, we have established a new partnership with events company, Native, to offer you an exciting range of virtual events that are slightly different from those we have offered previously. The entire events programme is free to students and you simply have to register to secure your spot at those which interest you. A definite highlight will no doubt be the interactive Dick and Dom DJ set, but others include a K-Pop quiz and over five different live music showcases. Full details of this programme will be launched later this week so please keep checking our website for further updates.
Due to reduced students and staff on campus we have made a joint decision with the University to close Blends at both Kedleston Road and One Friar Gate Square. This takes effect from today. Keddies will remain open to ensure access to sandwiches, snacks and drinks is available to those students with lessons on site or visiting the library. In addition, Starbucks is staying open for hot takeaway drinks. We will continue to monitor the number of visitors to these buildings over the next few weeks and communicate with you again once Blends is ready to reopen. Thank you for continuing to support Union outlets during this challenging time, we will be back serving you our amazing fair-trade coffee and hot chocolates again very soon!
Please stay safe and continue to check in on your friends and family, as I have said many times before, these are very challenging times; however, we remain here for you and will continue to represent you and support you in the best way we can. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Stay safe. Stay well. Stay connected.