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FAQs for Students: COVID 19

Belfast Met has moved online

The Student Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) reflects progress in introducing new arrangements and support as part of Belfast Met’s continuing response to the COVID-19 crisis and, in particular, arrangements that have been put in place following the requirement to close our sites completely.

We are committed to continuing to support to our students, through remote, online and a range of other learning modes, where possible and appropriate.

Although our buildings are closed, we are still open for business.

Key Contacts

School Admin Offices 
Belfast Business School  bbsinfo[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
School of Academic & Continuing Education  ACE[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
School of Creative and Digital Industries   creativedigital[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk 
School of Science, Engineering & Construction  ScienceEngConstruction[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk 
 School of Health, Wellbeing & Inclusion  hcslinfo[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk


Centre for Skills and Apprenticeships
Apprenticeships  apprenticeships[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
Training for Success  tfs[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
   
 Admissions   studentportal[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
 Careers  careers[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
 Centre for Inclusive Learning  CILD[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
 Canvas  canvassupport[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
 Student Wellbeing  Centre4wellbeing[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
 Counselling  support[AT]inspirewellbeing[DOT]org
 Exams  exams[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
 IT Support  ITServiceDesk[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
 Library   library[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
 Safeguarding   safeguarding[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
 Student Funding  studentfunding[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
 Student Union  studentsunion[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
   

Who is my main point of contact?
Your first and main point of contact is your Personal Tutor / Advisor of Studies.

You should already be in regular contact with them about your continued studies. If this is not the case, please contact them immediately using their normal College email address, CANVAS, or other methods as agreed.

If you are unable to contact your Personal Tutor / Advisor of Studies, or have a problem with your studies which cannot be resolved through them, you should contact your School admin office. Please state your name and provide your student ID, name of course and a brief outline of your concern. The team will make contact with the relevant department or staff member for you.

How do I contact my School admin office?
There are five Schools in Belfast Met and each School covers a particular area of the curriculum. If you are not sure what School you belong too, check the list here.

In most cases your main point of contact will be your Personal Tutor / Advisor of Studies.

You can find full College contact information here.

Who do I contact about Training and Apprenticeships?

The Centre for Skills and Apprenticeships is following all Department for the Economy (DfE) advice and is leading on contact with apprentices, trainees, contractors and employers etc.

For any queries or questions, please contact your Skills Support Coach in the first instance.

Contact details for our Hub staff are as follows:

Diane Campbell dcampbell[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
Mark Toman mtoman[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
Veronica Chambers vchambers[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk

The Belfast Met website contains a section on COVID-19 with specific information on Training for Success (TFS) and Apprenticeships. You can access it here.

For general enquiries contact: apprenticeships[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk / tfs[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk

Are you recruiting for the 2020-2021 academic year?
Absolutely. Applications for our full-time, part-time and work-based learning provisions are open for the 2020/21 academic year. We are processing applications for next year and welcoming new ones.

Visit www.belfastmet.ac.uk to search for a course and apply online

Can I still access Student Wellbeing?
The Student Wellbeing Service will continue to support our students’ health and wellbeing via electronic means (email/phone/Skype/Zoom) and where appropriate will ensure referral to external specialist services.

How can I access Library resources?
Students will still be able to access library resources online. E books, journals and other electronic databases can be accessed as normal using Canvas.

If you need any help accessing resources from home, please email library[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk

Can I still access Careers/Employability services?
Yes, service will be maintained electronically using the careers[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk email address, Skype and Canvas as communication platforms.

How will access Inclusive learning?
The Inclusive Learning team remains available to provide support to students over email or SKYPE. General queries should be sent to cild[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk

If you are supported by a Learning Support Officer then please email them directly.

How do I contact Student Funding?

Baseline service will be maintained electronically using the StudentFunding[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk email address.

Can I contact the Students’ Union while sites are closed?
Yes. Baseline service will be maintained using the studentsunion[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk email address as the communication platform.

Do we know what’s happening with exams?
We are working on a daily basis with Examination and Awarding Organisations regarding any planned changes to exams and assessment as a result of COVID-19. This includes consultation on alternative arrangements, where the normal assessment regime may no longer proceed as planned.

We appreciate that this is a concerning time for you and I would like to assure you that as the College receives clarification from the Awarding Organisations, we will write to you with confirmation.

You will be aware that CCEA have confirmed that all summer 2020 exams and further assessments have been cancelled. Further guidance on the awarding of grades will be issued from CCEA to schools and colleges in due course.

What support are you providing students to help them cope?

The Department for Learner Success is continuing to provide a range of support services for our students. This includes the student counselling and wellbeing services.

The curriculum heads of department have emailed students and provided them with the following:

Student Support in the event of college closure
Looking after mental health and well-being

Below are key contact numbers you may wish to put in your phone:

Lifeline:
24/7 Crisis intervention, support and advice line 0808 808 8000
Inspire Wellbeing 24/7 Student Counselling service provision 0808 800 0032

The on-campus Student Counselling drop in service has been suspended until further notice. However, all student counselling will continue to be provided via Skype and telephone calls.

If you are in need of student counselling services please do not hesitate to contact them 24/7 on 0808 800 0032.

If you have any queries about your course please contact your tutor.

You might also like to check out the UK mental health charity, MIND. They have produced a short guide to managing stress, which you can access here

What will happen to my student finance? 

Further Education Grants - The Education Authority (EA) where possible, will aim to pay Further Education grants 3rd instalment directly to the student’s bank account during the second week in April. 

Childcare Grant - 
For those in receipt of a Further Education Childcare Grant, the Education Authority will continue to pay the childcare provider where the student continues to study remotely. 

FE Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) – payments will continue as normal unless advised otherwise by the Student Loan Company (SLC). For further information check with the Student Loans Company on emani[AT]slc[DOT]co[DOT]uk

Training for Success Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) – payments will continue as normal unless advised otherwise by the Department for the Economy (DfE).

Access to Learning Fund – payments will continue as normal unless advised otherwise by Department for Economy.

I am a student and I’ve already paid an exam fee. Will it be refunded?
We are waiting to hear back from the Department for the Economy and will update you as soon as they clarify the position. . 

My course has been cancelled. Will I get a refund?

If your course of study has been cancelled, please contact accountsreceivable[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk and we will be in touch regarding possible course refunds.

I pay tuition fees via a direct debit payment plan. Should I cancel arrangements?
No, delivery will continue remotely.

I have had my account suspended (e.g. outstanding tuition fees), will I still be expected to pay?
Yes.

I am on an Assured Skills Academy. Will I continue to get my allowance?

The Department for the Economy (DfE) has agreed that the payment of the Assured Skills training allowance will continue to be paid to participants of academies, even if the underlying activity does not occur.


Will there be any PEAS (Pre Entry Advice Sessions)?
All PEAs have been cancelled until further notice. Students are being notified that their applications are being processed and that the College will be in touch regarding next steps but course information will be made available to applicants.

How long will we be studying from home?
That will depend on the advice issued by government. It is likely that there will be no more direct face-to-face delivery on campus this academic year.

How do I access my course online?
We are committed to ensuring that you will be able to continue with your studies during this period with as little disruption as possible.
For most courses this will mean accessing course materials etc via Canvas.

We are engaging directly with those students who do not have access to a digital device or the internet. If you are in this position and have not yet contacted us to let us know, then please do so as soon as possible so that we can look at other forms of delivery. You will find at list of relevant contact details at the beginning of these Frequently Asked Questions.

It is important that you keep in regular contact with your Personal Tutor / Advisor of Studies.

I need help accessing College IT Systems (e.g. email or Canvas). What can I do?
For technical issues, please contact the [email protected] .
The Service Desk phone number (028 9026 5111) will also work for calls but it is always best to email, if possible.

Will my attendance be marked if I am studying from home?
Yes, your tutor will make a record of engagement on a weekly basis.

How are you keeping students updated?
We will continue to issue updates via as many communications channels as possible. You should check these on a regular basis.

The channels we will use to communicate with our students are: Canvas, the Student App, All Student emails, social media – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – and the Belfast Met Website.

Where can I find the latest information about COVID-19 (coronavirus)?
It is vital that each of us keeps up to date and compliant with the latest government and Public Health Agency (PHA) advice and guidance.

See below for a range of sources.

Public Health Agency  
GOV.UK 
NHS
The World Health Organization

Department of Health NI – APP:
The Department of Health Northern Ireland has launched a new Covid-19 NI information app. To download the Covid-19 NI app - search for Covid-19 NI on the Apple app store and Covid-19 NI on Google Play.