Coronavirus outbreak: information for students and staff

Message from Head of School

Message from the Head of School, Professor Ewan Cameron:

The Coronavirus pandemic has created a set of extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances.  Colleagues across the School have been working hard to maintain teaching to enable our students to complete the current academic year.  We are currently planning for teaching next session, including specific options if some/all students are not physically back on campus for the start of term in September.  No matter the circumstances, I can confirm that we will start teaching in September and we will get back on to campus at the earliest opportunity, but only when it is completely safe to do so.  

In the meantime, I want to impress that it is very much ‘business as usual’ in the School – even if it is from the confines of our home offices/kitchens/bedrooms/living rooms!  The School and its students are famous for their esprit de corps and strong sense of community; the way everyone has pulled together over recent weeks, working together and supporting each other, has been truly heartening.

Please keep in touch by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Keep safe, stay well and we look forward to seeing you back at Garscube very soon. 

Best wishes,

Ewan Cameron
Head of the School of Veterinary Medicine


General information

This page is regularly updated to reflect the latest advice from government and other sources including local partners in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Garscube campus remains open but only for those dealing with essential functions and those working in the clinics. We are complying with advice from public health authorities and will take any necessary steps, including possible further closures, if we are advised to do so in the future.

These FAQs are in response to requests for information from students and staff across the School.  They are in addition to the University’s main Coronavirus FAQ page, which is being updated regularly and can be found at https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/news/coronavirus/

These FAQs are also in addition to any local guidance you have been given.  If you have additional questions or points of clarification, please email vet-enquiries@glasgow.ac.uk

Should you have any questions about application to our (undergraduate) programmes of study, please see our Admissions FAQs or get in touch with the Undergraduate Admissions Team at vet-admissions@glasgow.ac.uk

If you think you may have been infected see NHS 111 coronavirus advice.


Advice and Support for Current Students (BVMS and BSc)

We are aware that you may have questions for us.  We will be using our usual routes of communication to update you as information and plans become available. These will include the Moodle Forums, our Mahara information pages and the University website. If you have any specific queries please ask through the Moodle forum or get in touch with your phase/course leaders, class reps or the student support office.

Advice and Support for Offer Holders and Future Students

Will classes still start in September?

At the moment, the University of Glasgow’s plan is to have as many students as possible (back) in Glasgow and “on campus” from mid-September. At present the start date for September 2020 UG programmes is Monday 21 September, first year induction will be from Monday 14 September with a latest start for International student of Monday 5 October (although some exceptions apply).


How will teaching be done in first semester?

What was lecture based teaching will be delivered in a blended learning format i.e. on line lectures (pre-recorded and live session), small group sessions, group activities, and discussions which will be supported with active learning and engagement materials delivered through electronic communications.  These elements of teaching will also be supported by staff through ’virtual office hours’ where students can contact staff for support if required. The blended online teaching will be accompanied by face to face practical classes. Where face to face teaching will be used, these sessions have been assessed as critical for progression within the programme, so as to achieve Day One Competencies. These face to face practicals will not be taught ‘as usual’ but have been broken into smaller groups to meet current recommended Health and Safety requirements.  Where possible within practical classes, social distancing guidelines will be followed and each practical will have specific PPE guidance based on number of factors (i.e. location, ventilation, material involved, live animal involved, spacing). When appropriate, some practical materials have been converted to online content. Delivery of other practical sessions have been repositioned later in the programme.


What will happen if I cannot start the semester in September or I have to isolate for a period of time after the start of the semester?

We accept that circumstances are different for everybody and some individuals are more vulnerable. We will therefore endeavour to take account of individual circumstances and are building additional flexibility into our curriculum so that students who are unable to attend classes in person, or have any period of absence, can be accommodated.


Should I apply for accommodation as normal?

Accommodation applications are open as normal. Accommodation offers aren’t made until you have been given an unconditional offer for your University course, and accommodation contracts are not sent before the beginning of May. For more information on the University’s accommodation please visit https://www.gla.ac.uk/undergraduate/accommodation/

Wolfson hall which is located on the Garscube estate may be a particularly attractive option under the current circumstances as it is only a very short walk from the School of Veterinary Medicine and so you would not need to use public transport.  It offers individual en-suite rooms, so you will not have to share a bathroom with other students. It is fully catered, we await further details from the university as to how this will be managed, but students have been resident at Wolfson throughout the period of the pandemic.


How do I get my Visa?

Many visa centres have been closed for several weeks but it seems that in the United States some offices will open from 4 June https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/find-a-uscis-office

We are preparing to start issues CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) to current International offer holders later this month.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have released guidance for those affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Please visit the links below for full details.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-immigration-and-borders

https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Studying--living-in-the-UK/Coronavirus-Covid-19-info-for-international-students#layer-6726


Can I defer my offer?

We can usually defer a few offers for exceptional medical or academic reasons.  We will hold requests until the end of June and will make our decision at that point. We will be sympathetic to requests, but please bear in mind that we need to manage our student numbers for future intakes.

If you are not able to defer your offer and you are unable to come this year, we would be very happy to receive a new application for entry in 2021.

UCAS have a dedicated coronavirus information page for students, which will be updated as new information is confirmed. We encourage you to review this periodically and pay attention to other updates that UCAS may provide you with directly or via UCAS Track.


Will UCAS applications run as normal in 2020?

UCAS have confirmed that they're maintaining the key dates and services for the 2021 cycle. The key dates are:

  • 5 May 2020 – UCAS search tool will be updated to display undergraduate 2021 courses.
  • 19 May 2020 – UCAS Undergraduate Apply will launch, so students can start their applications. To ensure stability UCAS will not be making any updates to the design of Apply for 2021 application cycle.
  • 8 September 2020 – Completed 2021 entry UCAS applications can be submitted to UCAS.

UCAS will continue to review the 2021 cycle dates and deadlines in line with UCAS scenario planning for coronavirus.  Further information is available on the UCAS website.


Will VMCAS applications (North American applicants) run as normal in 2020?

VMCAS have confirmed that they're maintaining the key dates and services for the 2021 cycle. The key dates are:

  • 1/22/20:  VMCAS Application Opens
  • 5/12/20:  Colleges are Available/Applicants Have the Ability to Submit Applications
  • 9/15/20, 11:59 PM, Eastern Time:  VMCAS Application Deadline

Further information is available on the VMAS website


Are open days and other events still taking place?

It is with regret that we have made the decision to cancel all visiting opportunities to the School of Veterinary Medicine up to and including 30th June 2020. That includes our June Open Day and individual visits to the School.

We realise that this decision will be a disappointment to prospective students and guests who were looking forward to visiting our campuses. Nonetheless, being mindful of current UK Government public health advice about the risk of COVID-19 being spread through close contact at large scale public gatherings we feel that this is the correct decision at the present time.

In the short term are developing virtual experiences so that you can see the school, potentially meet some of the staff and students and have the opportunity to ask questions  of the admissions team.  More information about how you can connect and access these events will be posted on the website as they become available.


Are there any changes to the Work Experience requirements for 2020 applicants because of Covid-19?

As with other vet schools we have reviewed the normal expectations for work experience and due to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, we are going to REDUCE our requirement for at least 6 weeks work experience.

Details of the changes for this year can be found on the university website, as well as the Vet Schools Council guide to admissions (https://www.vetschoolscouncil.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/VSC-course-guide-2021.pdf).

Work experience serves a useful purpose for you, as it allows you to see what working as a veterinary surgeon is like (Contrary to public opinion the veterinary profession is not always glamorous).  We would, therefore, strongly encourage applicants to try and get work experience and to have at least a few days with a veterinary surgeon, if that is possible. Those hands-on experiences can be supplemented with online research into areas where you have been unable to gain practical experience. To help with this, the UK vet schools which require work experience have agreed to accept completion of a Virtual Work Experience MOOC

(https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/vet-school-application-support) in place of some or all in-person work experience. All vet schools have collaborated on this MOOC and all agree it is valuable preparation for entry into the world of veterinary medicine.


What should I do if the educational support available to me is affected by Covid -19?

All UK veterinary schools are aware that the ongoing COVID outbreak will have affected most veterinary applicants’ schooling and exams, and that this disruption is likely to continue into the 2020/21 school year.

In particular, we are aware that it may have worsened existing disparities in the educational support available to different candidates if you have concerns or questions, please contact the Admissions Office vet-admissions@glasgow.ac.uk


What is the university doing to ensure that my risk of Covid-19 exposure during face to face teaching sessions is low?

Students entering the UK are required to follow all quarantine requirements before attending any face to face teaching sessions. The university and GUVMA are developing measures to support such students during any periods of quarantine.  

All students are expected to be familiar with and follow the guidance from the Scottish Government and abide by directions and measures put in place by the University and School about social distancing measures in the community and on campus. 

We expect to be vigilant in terms of their own health and not attend if they have any potential symptoms of Covid-19. The School will provide guidance on this and specific Health and Safety guidance prior to the start of teaching.

If students do not abide by stated requirements during face to face teaching sessions (social distancing/PPE etc), despite adequate warnings, they will be asked to leave the session and there will be no requirement for the School to provide remedial access to that teaching event.


What do I do if the grades I have achieved are lower than the offer I hold?

There has been considerable controversy regarding the Higher, Advanced Higher and A Level results within and across the nations within the UK.  We are aware that some appeals will take some time to resolve. 

Our principles as we work with this year’s results are as follows

  • All our existing offers to current offer-holders stand.
  • Applicants who do not achieve the required grades will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
  • We will do our best to help all applicants in these challenging times.
  • If you have mitigating circumstances that you believe may adversely affect any grades awarded based on your current/past performance, we would strongly encourage you to contact your school and the exam board, in the first instance, but you may also want to contact the admission team at the School of Veterinary Medicine. 

If you are studying outside of the UK and find yourself in a similar position either now or in the coming months, please let the Admissions Office know. Any such situations will be reviewed on a case by case basis.


What should I do if I cannot get my visa by the scheduled start of term?

We understand that for a number of overseas students there are currently delays in obtaining your Visa – PLEASE DO NOT TRAVEL WITHOUT A VISA!  Let the Student Support Team that you have experienced difficulties getting a visa and keep them updated as to your situation so that we can plan for your late arrival.


How do I collect my biometric residence permit?

When you apply for immigration permission outside the UK, you are usually required to collect your biometric residence permit (BRP) from a post office or your Tier 4 sponsor within 10 days of arriving in the UK.

The Home Office knows that many of you will be subject to self-isolation requirements for a period of 14 days from arrival, and some post offices may be closed, so there will be flexibility around this. Even in other years, BRPs have always been kept by post offices and Tier 4 sponsors for a period that exceeds 10 days. 

We understand that when the Home Office grants you an entry clearance (visa), it tells you that you need to collect your BRP 10 days after arrival in the UK or before the expiry date on the sticker (vignette) in your passport, whichever is the later. Entry clearances are now granted for a 90-day period (previously 30 days), so you have a maximum period of 90 days in which to collect your BRP, depending on when you arrive.

If you arrive in the UK shortly before the expiry date on your vignette, or you cannot travel to the UK before then, and you are worried about not being able to collect your BRP in time, contact your Tier 4 sponsor if you are collecting from them, or you can notify the Home Office.


Further Information Relating to Covid-19 can be found on the University of Glasgow Web Pages: