Coronavirus Update - 4 November

We want to share our plans with students regarding changes to Students’ Union services in light of the upcoming national lockdown which begins on Thursday 5 November. While we feel more prepared for a lockdown than before, we are acutely aware of the impact this has on your university experience and have taken additional steps to ensure we support you as thoroughly as possible.

Your academic experience

We have worked hard to set up a comprehensive network of academic representatives to support you during your studies which has included recruiting 396 new reps. We have delivered training to 255 of these and held a number of 1-2-1 sessions to further develop their knowledge and understanding of what it means to be an academic rep.

It is extremely important you continue to attend your lectures and seminars throughout the lockdown period and the College released more information yesterday regarding the next four weeks. The Vice President Education, Alissa Chohan, sits on the College’s coronavirus education rapid response group which meets regularly to discuss issues affecting the academic experience and she will continue to represent your academic interests throughout lockdown.

Looking after your mental health

Make sure to take time out for self-care during lockdown and reach out to friends, housemates and others on your course to check in and see how they’re doing. For new students, the transition to university life during the pandemic has been especially difficult and we need to make sure we’re all playing our part and looking out for one another.

We have a dedicated section on our Coronavirus Hub for welfare advice while our Advice Centre is continuing to work remotely, offering sessions via Zoom or over the telephone. Take advantage of the services available to you and please don’t suffer in silence.

Getting food and supplies

Tommy’s Kitchen has been designated as a study space and will remain open Monday-Friday, 09:00-22:00, providing catering for students. It will also act as one of the Commuter Hubs for commuting students, where you will have access to microwaves to heat your own food. You’ll also be able to order your food in advance for click and collect (just add notes when placing your order) or for delivery via Uber Eats.

The Packhorse is going to operate as a ‘dark kitchen’ throughout lockdown – a fancy way of saying we’ll be moving to a fully delivered service. You can place orders through Uber Eats and we’re also looking at how we can expand out to other service providers.

As an essential service, the Union Shop will remain open throughout lockdown and we’re expanding the range of products available through our click and collect online shop. A number of other College outlets are also remaining open to serve students on campus, you can find out more about these on the Student Intranet.

Our services

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the changes to our individual services:

Students’ Union Building

From 22:00 on Wednesday 4 November 2020, the Students’ Union Building will be closed to students until lockdown restrictions are lifted. The building will continue to be used for administration purposes for staff unable to work from home.

Union Helpdesk

From 16:00 on Wednesday 4 November 2020, the Students’ Union Helpdesk will be closed until lockdown restrictions are lifted. You can contact our team on helpdesk@su.rhul.ac.uk with any enquiries you have related to our services.

Advice Centre

The Advice Centre will continue to deliver advice digitally through our website, by email and via phone or Zoom appointments.

Union Shop

The Union Shop will remain open to students and maintain the current opening hours of 08:00-23:00. We are in regular contact with our suppliers and are confident that our supply chain is resilient, while a staffing plan has been developed to ensure you will continue to receive the high quality you expect from us.

A click and collect service is available through our online shop and we’re working hard to expand our range as quickly as possible.

Tommy’s Kitchen

Tommy’s Kitchen has been designated as a student study space and will remain open Monday-Friday, 09:00-22:00, providing catering for students. You’ll also be able to order your food in advance for click and collect (just add notes when placing your order) or for delivery via Uber Eats.

The Commuter Hub previously located in Tommy’s Lounge has been relocated to Tommy’s Kitchen where you will have access to microwaves to heat your own food.

The entrance will be through the Union Plaza with no access via the main Students’ Union front door. You may be required to show your College card when eating at Tommy’s Kitchen. If you do not show your card you may be refused service.

The Packhorse

From 22:00 on Wednesday 4 November 2020, The Packhorse will move to a delivered service available via Uber Eats.

The opening hours will be changing to 16:00–23:00.

Medicine

From 22:00 on Wednesday 4 November 2020, Medicine will be closed until lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Sabbatical Officers and staff team

Our four Sabbatical Officers are continuing to lobby on behalf of all students at Royal Holloway. If you have any questions for them, please contact them via email or through their RHSU social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Due to the financial pressure of closing our hospitality venues, a number of our staff team are moving back onto furlough while other members of the team are working reduced hours. We have developed rotas to ensure coverage across the week of all key services but please bear with us in responding to enquiries.

Student groups

From 23:59 on Wednesday 4 November, all face-to-face student group activity is to cease. Virtual events and meetings can still go ahead.

Individual groups will share their own information regarding activity over the next month.

Tommy’s Lounge Commuter Hub

The Commuter Hub that currently exists in Tommy’s Lounge at the entrance of the main SU Building will be moved to the designated study space in Tommy’s Kitchen (the microwaves are coming too).

Playing your part in lockdown

We continue to work closely with the University regarding our response to Covid-19 and will provide guidance as appropriate through our social media channels and via our website.

It is important that you continue to follow the government’s advice with regard to hands, face and space. You should also ensure you follow guidance around symptoms and continue to monitor the student intranet and University social media for updates from the College.

If you leave your household, you must only meet one other person in an outdoor public place. Other than that, it is vital that you stay within your household or support bubble (if applicable).

Clearly, there should be no parties or gatherings taking place on campus or in the community. Please follow the rules in place to ensure the safety of everyone on campus and in our wider community - we will all get through this together if we all play our part.