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Exeter WW2 bomb: 2,600 homes evacuated around Exeter Uni

Exeter WW2 bomb: 2,600 homes evacuated

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Exeter bomb. Pic: Devon and Cornwall PoliceIMAGE COPYRIGHTDEVON AND CORNWALL POLICE
image captionPolice said they were expecting “a big bang” when the bomb was rendered safe in a controlled detonation

More than 2,600 households have been evacuated after an unexploded World War Two bomb was found in Exeter.

Officers were called to University of Exeter halls of residence on Glenthorne Road at about 09:20 GMT on Friday and declared a major incident.

More than 1,400 students were evacuated from 12 halls of residence after the explosive was found.

Devon and Cornwall Police said work was under way “for the controlled detonation of the device”.

On Twitter, the university said the device was discovered by “builders on private land” next to the Streatham campus.

An initial cordon of 330ft (100m) was extended to 1,310ft (400m) on Saturday morning and people in about 2,600 households have been told to move.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Bomb disposal experts started examining the device at about 10:00 GMT on Saturday to decide how to deal with it.

The explosive device is estimated to be about 8ft long (2.5m).

Police said a bomb disposal team “worked through the night to establish a walled mitigation structure”.

Ch Insp Steve Alexander, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said the mitigation “box” was made using 400 tonnes of sand and “at some point today, all being well, there should be a big bang which will render this device safe”.

He said: “It’s reasonable to expect this bang will be heard quite a distance across Exeter, and it will be important for people not to report it to us as an incident as we are aware of what it is.

He also said anyone not asked to leave their homes should stay to comply with coronavirus lockdown rules.

Road closed at Exeter bomb scene
image captionPolice declared a major incident at the scene on Glenthorne Road

The BBC’s John Ayres said there had been “unusual scenes” of “hundreds of students with suitcases, all marching down the street towards St David’s [railway] Station, away from the university and finding somewhere to go”.

One student, Lucy, told the BBC she was in a hall just over 330ft (100m) away from the scene when she and neighbours were told to leave at about 18:00 on Friday, given dinner and moved to hotels.

She said: “We’ve been told we’ll be staying here until Sunday.”

She added: “I didn’t think it was that big a deal until I realised how big it was and how people were taking it so seriously.”

The university said it would “support those who are affected until the situation is resolved and buildings are reopened”.

It said: “We will communicate directly later today by email with those students who have been relocated.”

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The university said on Friday night it could not say exactly how many students were moved as “obviously many students are not back on campus because of the Covid-19 situation”.

Exeter students being moved from halls
image captionStudents who were moved from the halls have been told they be in hotels until Sunday

Coastguard rescue officers, volunteers from Dartmoor Search and Rescue and members of disaster response charity Re:Act were among workers helping with the evacuation.

Re:Act said the evacuations were completed by about 11:00.

Devon County Council and Exeter City Council staff had been working to “support those in private residences to find alternative accommodation, providing support to those who are particularly at-risk or vulnerable”, police said.

The majority were “staying with family or friends”, officers added.

Roads have been closed in the area and city rail services disrupted as a result of the discovery.

The city was heavily attacked by German bombers in 19 raids during World War Two, particularly in May 1942 during the Baedecker Raids.

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The University of Exeter has extended the cancellation of rent across all of its accommodation after being advised by the Department of Education that educational settings cannot reopen until 8 March at the earliest. Students who have not returned to their university-managed accommodation between 4 January and 8 March will not be liable to pay rent for that period. The provision is also in place for students whose accommodation contracts have been organised by the university. Students’ Guild President Sunday Blake has said that the Guild will “still be pushing for a system where all students will get 100 per cent rent refunds”. Students in privately-owned UNITE accommodation had originally been told that their rent would be reduced by 50 per cent between 18 January and 14 February, as long as they did not return to their accommodation during this time. This has now also been extended to 8 March, in line with the government’s advice. The vast majority of students in privately rented accommodation are still paying full rent regardless of whether they are currently living in their term-time homes. Students’ Guild President Sunday Blake has said that the Guild will “still be pushing for a system where all students will get 100 per cent rent refunds”.

The University of Exeter has extended the cancellation of rent across all of its accommodation after being advised by the Department of Education that educational settings cannot reopen until 8 March at the earliest.

Students who have not returned to their university-managed accommodation between 4 January and 8 March will not be liable to pay rent for that period.

The provision is also in place for students whose accommodation contracts have been organized by the university.

Students’ Guild President Sunday Blake has said that the Guild will “still be pushing for a system where all students will get 100 per cent rent refunds”.

Students in privately-owned UNITE accommodation had originally been told that their rent would be reduced by 50 percent between 18 January and 14 February, as long as they did not return to their accommodation during this time. This has now also been extended to 8 March, in line with the government’s advice.

The vast majority of students in privately rented accommodation are still paying full rent regardless of whether they are currently living in their term-time homes.

Students’ Guild President Sunday Blake has said that the Guild will “still be pushing for a system where all students will get 100 percent rent refunds”.

Is Exeter a good student city?

Is Exeter expensive for students?
Cost of living

It is estimated that a single student living in Exeter or Cornwall will need approximately £1015 a month to meet basic living expenses such as accommodation, food, books and equipment and other necessities.

How many students are in Exeter?
22,540 (2017)
Is Exeter expensive to live in?
A single person estimated monthly costs are 857$ (620£) without rent. … Exeter is 30.55% less expensive than New York (without rent). Rent in Exeter is, on average, 69.98% lower than in New York.

Is Exeter posh?
Exeter is well known for being somewhat of a preppy uni. Full of the Home Counties finest, shipped down to the South West every semester in daddies Range Rover, it is easy to think of Exeter as being one of the poshest establishments going.
Is Exeter dangerous?
I wouldn’t class any neighborhood as being dangerous in Exeter. … No city is totally safe, and nasty stuff still happens rarely, but Exeter is one of the safest cities I’ve lived in / visited.

 

The things you see on the road In Exeter    How much does a student need to live on a week?
The average student living costs are about £795 a month (or £183 a week), with our findings revealing that the Maintenance Loan often falls way short of covering students‘ living expenses. It’s probably no surprise that rent takes the biggest chunk out of the student budget.

 

 

 

COVID-19 vaccine will be given to Exeter international students in the UK

After rigorous clinical trials have been conducted, with thousands of people involved, the UK has officially become the first country in the western world to authorise a COVID-19 vaccine. The experts from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have taken all the necessary measures to analyse the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine’s safety, quality and effectiveness, and thankfully it is good to go.

With authorisation granted, Pfizer will deliver the vaccine to the UK as soon as possible. Fortunately for international students in the UK, the Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that international students will “be able to access these vaccinations, just as they are able to access healthcare”.

Who is first in line to receive the vaccine?

According to a priority system devised by the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, care home residents and their care-givers are top priority. Next in line are the elderly over the age of 80, frontline healthcare workers, people aged over 75, then younger age groups and/or with underlying health conditions. Excluded for now are pregnant women and children under the age of 16, but vaccine trials for these groups are ongoing and planned.

The UK has officially become the first country in the western world to authorise a vaccine. Source: JOEL SAGET / AFP

The UK government has actively expressed its commitment to support international students, ensuring they will not be forgotten as the vaccine is distributed and administered. In an open letter to students, universities minister Michelle Donelan expressed the country’s gratitude to them, thanking everyone for their patience.

“I understand that international students may have additional questions as we approach the end of the 2020/21 autumn academic term. Whether you are currently at your chosen university, are studying remotely from your home country, or plan to study here in the future, I am writing to you directly to provide you with support and guidance at this challenging time,” she wrote.

Donelan’s letter focuses on the movements of international students during the festive season and new term, noting that some students may have to stay on campus at this time. “It is [the] government’s expectation that HE providers should help to ensure you are well looked after,” she said. Donelan also mentions that the government is advising international students to return to university during a period staggered over five weeks.

In light of the UK’s vaccine breakthrough, a new survey by QS has found that over a fifth (21%) of international students have said they want to bring forward their plans to study abroad and there’s no reason why they should not.

“Our borders are open for both returning and new international students wishing to study in the UK and our universities are looking forward to welcoming you to campuses in the new year,” Donelan reassures.

“We are committed to prioritising education and want to enable all students – domestic and international, current and prospective – that they can return to, or start new courses at our universities and will be able to engage in blended learning as soon as possible,” she adds.

Exeter Students What to know about returning to the UK in spring 2021

Students who were allowed to return home during the special travel window in early December will soon be returning to the UK for the new semester. The spring semester begins in January and runs through to Easter, which is typically in April. Anticipating mass travel, the UK government has released an official set of guidelines for higher learning institutions.

If you are one of the students returning to the UK, we’ve condensed what you need to know below. Bear in mind that though these are official guidelines, each university is responsible for setting the rules for its returning students. So, be sure to confirm all details of your return with your university.

When to return

The UK government advises everyone to stagger the return of students over five weeks to minimise person-to-person transmission. Practical and placement students must be prioritised; they should be returning to the UK between Jan. 4 and 24, 2020. This includes students training for allied health professions and teaching, as well as those in lab-intensive STEM programmes. Additionally, students with valid reasons to return should be allowed, for example, “students who do not have access to appropriate alternative accommodation, facilities, studying space, or that need to return for health reasons.”

Universities should have set up a reliable online learning infrastructure by now, which will allow students to begin the term from home. Students who can proceed with the course online should only return to campus between Jan. 25 and Feb. 7. This includes postgraduate taught students, students in second year onwards, new starters, other international students. Basically, the government directive is: “If you’ve returned home for winter break, you need not return to your campus accommodation until face-to-face teaching resumes.”

returning to UK

A Qatar Airways flight preparing to land at Heathrow airport in west London. Source: Adrian Dennis/AFP

You must test for COVID-19

Yes, every student crossing the border should be offered a rapid turnaround test. If you test positive, you must isolate for 10 days — even if asymptomatic — to prevent unintentionally spreading COVID-19 to your campus community. The guideline further states: “If a student has had a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test in the last 90 days through NHS Test and Trace and been recorded as a positive case on the national system, they do not need to be tested again.”

If you are tested via lateral flow devices, you must take the test twice — once upon your return, and again after three days. You must remain isolated until receiving two negative results. Besides that, your university should ensure that your campus is a COVID-secure environment by providing access to resources, study spaces, campus catering, as well as pastoral and study support. University officials should also be open to listening to what international students need and responding in kind.

Prepare for travel before returning to the UK

Before returning to the UK, be sure to confirm when face-to-face teaching begins, and when you are expected back on campus. You should also inform your university if you have already booked travel for dates outside your specified cohort date. Don’t worry — universities are encouraged to be flexible with international students, especially those who bought tickets before this guideline was issued.

Upon arrival in the UK, you must complete a passenger locator form and self-isolate for 10 days (unless you’re coming from a country on the travel corridor list). Universities UK has prepared a checklist for universities to follow in supporting self-isolating students. You may refer to further guidelines for entering the UK here.

UPDATE: University students are advised to stay home as campuses close in England’s third lockdown. More information here.

covid update 26th Jan 2021

BREAKING

UK COVID news live – latest updates: PM expected to rule on plans for quarantine hotels to protect against new strains

Coronavirus latest: UK access to Pfizer jab threatened; quarantine hotel plans expected to be approved; UK records 592 new COVID deaths.

Students mental Health

Room self-isolation with flatmates they barely know halls of residences emptying out over lockdown to struggles to get the wifi to work for Zoom lectures, the start to the 2020 term has been riddled with uncertainty for most university students. Just one thing’s for sure: it’s been a strange year.

It’s perhaps unsurprising that students across campuses have been grappling with loneliness, anxiety, and depression as a result of their experiences.

“Students aren’t just disappointed that their university experience looks different in terms of teaching and learning, they’re also asking: ‘What does it mean for all the other things I wanted out of uni life? The people I could have met? The sports and societies I could have joined?’” said Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, vice-president for higher education at the National Union of Students.

Mental health is a critical part of students’ overall health and well-being.

Students today face a range of demands that can impact their mental health. From meeting high academic expectations to navigating the world of social media to maintaining relationships with their peers, and parents being so far away from home. students often have busy schedules that result in a lack of sleep and self-care. Many students are also dealing with distress, crises, and trauma in addition to typical life stressors. Mental health challenges can negatively impact all areas of functioning in students, contributing to social, emotional, behavioral, and academic problems.

 

 

 

 

Students returning home

The government is committed to ensuring that students that have been living away from home are able to return home at the end of term, if they choose to do so. HE providers should support students to ensure that this is possible, following the period of national restriction, whilst mitigating the risk of transmission of the virus. It is essential that measures are put in place to ensure this can happen as safely as possible for students, staff and the communities that they return to.

 

Your students must follow the rules on movement and self-isolation after a test.

If a student tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) they are required by law to self-isolate for a period of 10 days.

If a student has been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive but can access testing via the mass testing programme, they should seek a test. If they test negative, they must still self-isolate for 10 days from the day after contact with the individual who tested positive, but this can be done at home if they wish to do so, taking into account the risk of transmission to their family. Students should only use public transport if they have no other option. They should strictly follow safer travel guidance for passengers. Where mass testing is not available, students must self-isolate in their current accommodation and not return home.

If a student tests negative and is not a close contact of someone who has tested positive, they can travel home by any mode of transport and do not have to undertake any further periods of self-isolation. If, after travel, they subsequently develop symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), or are alerted by NHS Test and Trace that they are a close contact of a case, they should immediately self-isolate at their new location and get tested.

Students who are unable to self-isolate safely and practically at home, whilst continuing their studies, should be supported to do so at university (see the section on specific support for students).

The LFD tests we are deploying have a high specificity which means there is a very low chance of false positive test results occurring. The test does not detect all positive cases, however, and works best in cases with higher viral loads – those who are most infectious. As the test is easy to administer and does not require a laboratory, repeat tests can be carried out. The benefit will be the ability to detect a significant number of people without symptoms who are infectious who will then be asked to self-isolate thereby reducing the transmission of the virus.

LFD tests will not be available in all locations. If you cannot provide LFD testing, you should inform them of the broader guidance in this document and they should return home, either:

its real 

It is against the law to leave your home to travel unless for work or other legally permitted reasons.

Where you need to travel, walk or cycle if you can. This will reduce pressure on public transport and the road network.

You should stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings).

Your local council can help you plan your journey by providing maps showing dedicated paths and routes.

You must observe social contact rules while walking or cycling in England.

Where possible, keep a suitable distance from other people. For example, when waiting at crossings and traffic lights. Take precautions where this is not possible.

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands before and after cycling.

Do Please let us no what you want to read and we wll try our best to do a blog.

Studying safely on Exeter campuses

Studying safely on Exeter campuses

shared from the Exeter university site.

exeter.ac.uk/coronavirus/students

The Prime Minister has announced a period of national lockdown in England, starting from Tuesday 5 January and expected to last until at least mid-February. Find out more on our latest updates page. For information on in-person teaching and when you should be coming to campus visit our dedicated webpage.

Your safety is our highest priority and we are working to ensure our campuses are as safe as possible. We’ve done this by assessing every building on our campuses and giving them a COVID-19 secure certificate.

It is mandatory to wear a face covering when inside buildings on our campuses. To support this, we provide three re-usable face coverings to all students. Hand sanitiser is available at approved entrances / exits to buildings, and clear signage sets out how you’re able to use each building safely. You’ll also notice enhanced cleaning arrangements are in place.

REGISTER FOR SAFEZONE

We’ve recently purchased SafeZone, an online app that helps us to help you whilst on campus – if you request it. The app is available for all colleagues and students to download and sign into if they wish. Once installed if you press Emergency, Help or First aid, your location will be sent to relevant staff on campus and allows us to keep you updated, via text messages, and relevant information relating to your emergency.

To download the app please go to: www.safezoneapp.com and follow the instructions for your device. You will need to register with your University of Exeter email address and review the permissions for the app to enable the app to be aware of your location, by using the transmitting signals on your phone. You should also allow push notifications, to enable the University to communicate with you if you raise an emergency alert. You can read more information about the SafeZone app online.

Compensation must be available for Exeter students unable to live in private accommodation

Compensation must be available for students unable to live in private accommodation they still are paying for, a union says.

The National Union of Students (NUS) said it was “simply unacceptable” that there is no financial support for students and landlords.

Universities, including Bristol, Bath and Bath Spa, plan to give students who cannot use accommodation rent rebates.

The Department for Education said there is funding for those “most in need”.

A students’ representative at Bath Spa University said many students “feel completely cut off” from their academic community.

That is despite them spending thousands of pounds on tuition and accommodation this year.

And an NUS spokesperson said: “All student renters must now be offered rent refunds and the option of leaving their tenancy early.

“If universities and landlords need financial support to make this happen then government must step in.”

‘Such an injustice’

Ciara Martin, an education studies student who is in her third year at Bath Spa, said she has spent about £1,500 in the last three months on a house in Weston-super-Mare.

She has spent all of that time living at home in Surrey.

Ciara MartinIMAGE COPYRIGHTCIARA MARTIN
image captionCiara Martin said she’s spent about £1,500 on a house that she’s not legally allowed to stay in

Ms Martin decided to go home for a reading week in November – but was then unable to travel back because of the second lockdown.

“I haven’t lived there since November. I’m paying all these bills and I’m not even using it. It’s ridiculous, it’s just such an injustice,” she said.

“It’s great the universities are helping those in university accommodation but something really needs to be done [about private rentals]. There’s the extra worry of the money we’re spending”, she said.

“It just feels totally helpless.

“Landlords haven’t said anything about paying less or anything like that so we’re definitely stuck between a rock and a hard place.”

‘If there was mould, we didn’t see it’

Poppy Colbourne is currently spending about £550 a month on rent and bills for a house in Bath that she cannot visit or live in.

She is completing her Master’s degree in neuropsychology while living at her family home in Northampton.

Poppy ColbourneIMAGE COPYRIGHTPOPPY COLBOURNE
image captionPoppy Colbourne was unable to view her house before agreeing to stay there because of coronavirus restrictions

Ms Colbourne and her two housemates signed up to the property without seeing it in person because of coronavirus restrictions.

A virtual tour of the house was the closest they could get to a typical viewing.

“We just had to take the landlord’s word for it. If there was mould, we didn’t see it”, she said.

She has not been in a classroom since March but has graduated and started studying for her current degree.

“I feel like my life’s on pause but I’m still expected to do the same and it’s not possible. I’m overwhelmed, it’s making me ill about how stressed I am. I just need a sense of normality.”

‘I didn’t want to waste my money’

For Jess Foster, a second year human nutrition student from Somerset, it seemed like “everything was slowly getting back to normal” when she returned to Bath in September.

She had signed up for a year in private accommodation with housemates for the first time.

Jess FosterIMAGE COPYRIGHTJESS FOSTER
image captionJess Foster stayed alone in her student house in Bath last year because all her housemates left

But just a couple of months later, she was the only person living there.

“All my housemates, because of uncertainty, and because they live so much further away from Bath, decided to go home”, she said.

“Because of how much I’m paying in bills I wanted to go home but I didn’t want to waste my money. So during the second lockdown I lived on my own in my house.”

She went back home in December and remains there, still unsure whether she will be able to undertake practical units of her course in the next few months.

What do the landlords say?

Many landlords are reliant on rental income “for their livelihood and pension and cannot afford just not to be paid”, the chief executive of the National Residents Landlords Association said.

Ben Beadle said the association has “encouraged landlords to show whatever flexibility they are able to provide”.

But he added: “If the desire is for students not to be required to pay rent where they are temporarily not occupying their housing but want this to be kept available to them when they return, then the government needs to provide a package of compensation.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said it recognised it had been a “very difficult time for students” and that it “encourages universities and accommodation providers to ensure they are fair, transparent and have the best interests of students at heart”.

They said it has announced funding of up to £20m to help students “most in need of support in these exceptional circumstances”.

Universities have been given £256m which they “can use to help students”, they said.