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COVID-19: Student Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Considerations

COVID-19 does not discriminate, but it does impact people differently. Taking Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) into consideration is essential and we have pulled together some useful resources to assist students with particular needs.

The University recognises that different family and personal circumstances that we all experience are also likely to have an impact on our mental and physical health, as well as having a practical impact on our ability to work and study.

The wellbeing of our community – students, staff and their families and friends, is the priority. We understand that vulnerable students are being hit particularly hard by the changes brought on by the current situation and we are working hard to mitigate against disadvantaging those experiencing particular challenges.

These are extremely difficult times and the Equality Office would like to reassure students that we are here to support you. You can also feel free to get in touch if you need extra support.

Advice for students

Student mental health and wellbeing support:

You might find yourself feeling worried about the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on you and your loved ones. These feelings are normal and it’s important we acknowledge them and remind each other to look after our physical and mental health. 

Advice for student parents:

Many of our students have children or other dependents to care for whilst they are at University. Although schools and childcare providers have reopened, parents may be forced into periods of self-isolation if their children are exposed to the virus in school. Student parents are affected by the current situation two times over, as both they and their children have had to adjust to learning online. Those with young children who are not in school also must find a way to study whilst looking after them.

Advice for students with a disability:

Disabled students, and students who have dependents who are disabled or otherwise vulnerable to this virus, may have specific concerns. This may include students who have health impairments which do not affect their day to day ability to engage in education, but who are at particular risk during this period.

Advice for student carers:

Caring for someone can be difficult even under normal circumstances and we understand that student carers might be worried about COVID-19, both for the people they care for and for themselves. As the situation evolves, it's important to know what support is available to you as a carer and those you look after.

Advice for LGBT+ students:

LGBT+ people are no more likely to catch COVID-19 than the general population, but LGBT+ students could experience specific social and wellbeing challenges as a result of the current situation.

Virtual EDI events

The Equality Office organises virtual activities (e.g. quizzes etc.) and drop-ins for students. This information is available via the Dean of Students email communications, so have a look at the events listings for details. We are also open to suggestions for virtual events via twitter, and email.

Harassment and hate crime

Incidences of hate crime and bullying have increased since COVID-19 first arose. This has particularly affected people experiencing racism, discrimination and verbal abuse, arising from perceptions that they are from communities with a higher occurrence of Coronavirus and therefore likely to be carriers of the virus. Throughout history, pandemics have often intensified discrimination against minorities.

The University would like to remind everyone that we take a zero-tolerance approach to harassment, bullying and hate crime, and all employees, workers, contractors, students and visitors are expected to be treated, and to treat each other, with dignity and respect.

If you witness or are subject to hate crime, you can report these incidents anonymously online via the Dean of Students. You can also contact the Students' Union Advice and Support Centre or the Equality Office

If you or someone you know is experiencing bullying and/or harassment, you can get in touch with the University's network of Dignity and Respect Advisors for support.

Black Lives Matter

Here at the University of Hertfordshire, we stand by and support our black students and staff. People in the UK and all over the world have taken to the streets to highlight issues faced by black people and called for action to tackle racial injustice. We have provided useful facts, links, resources and further information for you to learn more and get involved.

Resources

Have a look at The COVID Files from the Stephen Lawrence Foundation, which presents a repository of published material designed to provide a lens for raising awareness about social inequalities created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further information

It is particularly important to remember that although social distancing has been enforced, we must remind ourselves that this is only in the form of physical distancing. We hope that in the absence of a physical presence, we are still able to maintain strong relationships within our community. Continuing to support each other and work together will help us get through this together! 

For further information, please contact the Equality Office at equality@herts.ac.uk or visit our webpages.

 

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