By Sam Tilley
Cardiff University announced on Tuesday evening that any students who wished to opt out of their Residences Agreement would be able to do so, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme, which was announced via an email from Vice Chancellor Colin Riordan, would allow any and all students who have chosen not to stay in Cardiff for the remainder of the Spring Semester to not pay their third and final rent payment. The final payment would have been due on April 22.
Residence Agreements cover all University-owned accommodation which includes the Talybont student village, Senghennydd Court and House and Aberdare Hall amongst others. The full list of university-owned accommodation can be found here. A spokesperson for Cardiff University confirmed that partnership accommodation Liberty House would also fall under this scheme.
The spokesperson said “Liberty Living are owned by Unite who have announced: “We can now confirm that if you do not plan to continue staying in your Unite home for your third University term (so from after Easter), then provided you let us know by Friday 10th April by emailing [email protected]
The email was sent out on Tuesday and explained that “any students who no longer wish to continue staying in Cardiff University accommodation for the remainder of the Spring Semester (after Easter) will be released from their Residences Agreements. This means that students not staying in Cardiff do not need to pay the third installment of their Residences Fees which would have been due on 22 April 2020.” The spokesperson confirmed to Gair Rhydd that the deadline for deciding whether to stay in University accommodation was Monday March 30 2020 and that “students will have or will be receiving an email with further information shortly”.
To process this, the Vice-Chancellor is encouraging students to fill in an online questionnaire, in the aim of allowing the University to check the status of all students during the remainder of term time. Students can find the questionnaire by logging into their SIMS portal. Additional measures announced in the email include the closing of on-site catering, details about the Financial Assistance Programme and advice from the Department of Education on students travelling home.
The advice states that:
- Students should only return home if they are able to do so without using public transport. On returning home, the household should begin a period of whole household isolation for 14 days following PHE guidance. Households should go into isolation if the student returning home either is showing symptoms or has been in contact with someone showing symptoms.
- Anyone who can return home should gain agreement from their university or college before doing this. Students living in privately owned halls should contact the manager of their accommodation to advise them of their plans.
Joe Kidd, a first-year student studying Politics and Modern History and a resident of University Halls told Gair Rhydd “It’s great to see the University releasing students from their Residences Agreements for the remainder of the Spring Semester. With national lockdown measures in place, university services moved online and facilities closed, it is only reasonable that the university does not charge students for their accommodation whilst they are living elsewhere.”
Details of student well-being services provided by Cardiff University during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here.