NUS MEMBERSHIP UPDATE ON CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) 6 April 2020
Our number one priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of the students and apprentices we represent, so we have been working closely with institutions, trade unions, national sector bodies like Universities UK and the Association of Colleges, the Student Loans Company, and the government to inform our response to Coronavirus (Covid-19).
Here’s an update of what we are doing on your behalf to ensure your interests are represented as we tackle this pandemic:
- We’ve created a briefing outlining all support that is available for students who are unable to work at this time. This also explains some of the gaps in the current support system that we will be lobbying the government to correct
- We met the Office for Students on our regular conference call. Using feedback from members to inform our conversations, we discussed items including unconditional offers and the decision to extend the moratorium; information and guidance to students provided by the OfS and where this could be expanded; financial sustainability of institutions in the current climate and what OfS might do; and concerns around the NSS proceeding under current circumstances.
- Students were discussed at length in today’s meeting of the Communities Committee. The Department committed to working with NUS-USI further on the problems facing students, and also to working with students’ unions to deliver food packages to students experiencing hardship. They also said that some students may be able to access support through the Universal Credit Discretionary Fund
- We’ve started sharing student case studies through social media highlighting problems faced by student renters
- We've also released a statement in response to the Communities Committee!
- We held our weekly meeting with sabbatical officers in Wales on the latest issues their students are facing. Particular concerns raised included accommodation issues students are experiencing in the private rented sector and the adoption of no-detriment policies regarding exams and assessment
- We're working with Welsh Government to ensure all coronavirus advice, directed at students in Wales, is available in one place.
- Revised furlough guidance for students’ unions is now available here
- Over 9,600 responses were received to the Coronavirus Students’ Survey which closed on Friday 3 April. We’ll be analysing the data over the next couple of days. Thanks to all those who promoted the survey. The following SUs met the threshold level for reports and data: University of Liverpool, Bath Spa, Open University, Southampton Solent University, Birmingham City, New College Durham, Walsall College, North West Regional College, Northern Regional College; all will receive their data next week
- Development groups are being set up to give members space to collaboratively explore shared challenges alongside colleagues from NUS Charity and other external experts. For example, around issues such as remote officer inductions, supporting international students, delivering advice online and online student engagement. Watch this space for announcements of how to join
- We’ve been approached by the team of scientists leading the UK’s COVID-19 central mental health research study, which provides weekly data direct to the UK government and NHS. We’ve been asked to help them in the promotion of their study as it will be used to make decisions on government response to COVID-19. We’ll tell you more soon.
- Elections: Voting in the remaining National Conference elections closed earlier today. The winners have been announced and details can be found on the National Conference hub.