UoM students abroad won’t face penalty if they return home because of coronavirus

Students are under “no obligation to remain abroad”

The University of Manchester has informed its students studying abroad that they can return home without suffering any formal academic penalties.

An email was sent out at 16:44 PM telling students that they were under “no obligation to remain abroad” adding “should you feel that it would be in your best interest to leave your host country to return home, formal academic penalties will not be applied for doing so.”

The new information follows numerous social media posts complaining about the lack of communication.

#UoMLove5069Spare a moment to think about the poor souls on their years abroad in Europe receiving no guidance from…

Posted by Uomlove on Friday, 13 March 2020

The full statement from the university is as follows:

“We know that this is a very stressful time for many of you, particularly those of you who are currently abroad. As you are all too aware, the situation with CoVid-19 has developed rapidly, demanding continuous review of the University’s response in consultation with key colleagues in order that we provide you with appropriate, up-to-date and detailed guidance to inform your next steps.

“We understand that you will have a number of concerns at this stage, primarily whether you should return from placement or stay where you are. We will not require students to leave their host country unless guided to do so by the FCO, as we appreciate that some of you would prefer not to travel at this time. However, please be assured that you are also under no obligation to remain abroad and should you feel that it would be in your best interest to leave your host country to return home, formal academic penalties will not be applied for doing so (regardless of whether your placement is currently running or not), although you will be expected to participate in any alternative provision put in place (e.g. online materials). We also ask, please, that you inform us straight away if/when you leave your placement, so that we can continue to maintain up-to-date itinerary records for you on My Placement (which is essential should we need to verify your location in an emergency situation). Please email details of your new itinerary to [email protected].

“You will receive further, detailed guidance (covering a number of key considerations such as Erasmus funding, Student Finance, accommodation and travel insurance) from the University’s International Programmes Office later today. If possible, we would recommend that you await receipt of this message before making firm travel plans. Additionally, after further emergency meetings have been held with relevant academic colleagues next week, we will write to you with details of a proposed study plan for your language area(s) which we hope will go some way to mitigating the impact of returning early from residence abroad. In the meantime, please continue to work on your language(s) with the help of the independent language learning skills you developed in your first two years of study in Manchester. If your host university is providing online learning materials you should also engage with those.

“Should you need to speak to someone urgently, a member of the Residence Abroad team would be more than happy to chat things through with you via phone/WhatsApp or Skype. Please just let us know of how we can contact you and your availability if you would like us to arrange this. The University also has a range of helpful support resources available online via the Student Support website, including the 24/7 confidential online platform, ‘The Big White Wall’: http://www.studentsupport.manchester.ac.uk/taking-care/

“Thank you again for your patience while we work to provide you with further guidance. We’ll be back in touch with more information as soon as we can.”