Equity Statement on COVID-19 for Student Members

The COVID-19 epidemic has presented significant and unprecedented challenges for students, teachers and institutions across the world. During these uncertain times, Equity is here to support our Student Members. As those currently studying or due to graduate in the class of 2020 face unexpected changes, Equity is committed to assisting and advising you to the best of our ability. 

Stay Safe

First and foremost, in the interests of health and safety we urge all Equity members to follow the Government’s advice on preventing the spread of COVID-19. A regularly updated record of the Government’s latest advice on COVID-19 is detailed here: www.equity.org.uk/coronavirus-advice

Stay Informed

While institutions throughout the world are all following the latest Health and Safety advice, different Colleges, Universities and Conservatoires can have differing internal policies. These policies dictate protocol for internal matters in times such as a global pandemic. With this in mind, it is important to keep informed of your education provider’s specific policies and regulations to understand how COVID-19 may affect your personal circumstances as a student.

The National Union of Students has published a document detailing the different questions you can ask your education provider in order to remain fully informed. These questions cover finding out about polices on Virtual Learning, Mitigating Circumstances, Deferrals, Examinations, Student Housing, Student Finance and Funding, Studying Abroad and Students with vulnerabilities to Coronavirus, which you can read here.

The Office For Students has published the following advice on COVID-19 here including information on Teaching, Learning and Assessment, Accommodation and Finance, Health and Wellbeing. The Office of the Independent Adjudicator has additionally published further information on COVID-19 in relation to external Complaint Escalation here.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) has issued the following guidance for Students via GOV.UK here. This page is continually updated as the Government issues further information on Student Loans in relation to COVID-19.

Equity will be presenting Zoom Conferences and Workshops on a variety of COVID-19 related topics throughout April 2020, with further information being shortly published via our website and Twitter account. Equity has additionally created an extensive guide on Financial Assistance and COVID-19 to help you understand your rights, the different kinds of financial support that may be available to you during the Coronavirus outbreak and how to claim, here.

Equity will continually update our membership on news regarding COVID-19 and how this relates to our industry, so we encourage you to follow our Twitter and Facebook channels and check Equity’s website regularly for new information.

Stay Involved

Once you understand the policies in place at your institution and how this relates to your current learning experience, you can empower others by sharing this knowledge with them. At times like these, misinformation can spread easily, so receiving clear information from your institution’s leadership is paramount.

Sharing this knowledge with your fellow students will allow you to keep abreast of any future changes as the climate of COVID-19 is managed across the world and keeping this channel of communication open with your institution’s leadership will allow you as students to become active participants in these discussions.

To do this, you can ask to get in touch with your Equity Student Dep at your institution, or you might choose to get involved with your Student Union or Student Body. During this time some students may elect a COVID-19 Student Representative to liaise with faculty on their behalf to relay any feedback, concerns or ideas that Students would like to share with their institution’s leadership. These are unprecedented times for us all, but we can get through the COVID-19 crisis by facing it together.

If you’re seeking Equity’s help or advice, the more you know, the more accurately we can advise you. Like anybody, the union can’t answer theoretical questions with authority, so these open channels of communication will allow us to help you as best we can.

Get Inspired

In light of the current climate, many individuals and organisations in the entertainment industry have created innovative ways for Students to showcase and hone their skills online. There are so many creative ways to spend your time, but we’ve listed a few ideas below to get you started:

  • Record your skills and share them with the world by taking part in #UK2020Grads on Twitter.
  • Join in West End Producer’s #DIGITALDRAMASCHOOLSHOWCASE on Youtube.
  • Submit for The Actor’s Centre’s 2020 Graduate Festival at The Tristan Bates Theatre.
  • Get in touch with Showcase 2020, the website showcase platform for the graduating cohort of 2020.
  • Start free online training for creative freelancers with the Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU) as part of your Equity Student Membership.
  • Ask your Course Leader to book in an Equity Student Talk for your cohort (we can join you online for a talk on workplace rights, Equity membership and more!)
  • Take part in Spotlight’s one-to-one career sessions or get involved in their online Spotlight Showcase for Spotlight Graduates.
  • Attend the National Student Drama Festival’s virtual festival.
  • Watch theatre productions online with offerings like #NationalTheatreAtHome
  • Read, write, listen, create, learn a new skill – then get in touch with us online to tell us all about what you’ve been up to at @Equity_Students and @Equity_Events!

Get Advice

At this worrying time, many of us are experiencing stress or anxiety. Our mental health website ArtsMinds has a page of collated resources to assist you in coping with COVID-19 related worry here.

If you are in need of support over the phone for anxiety, stress or other mental health problems arising from your situation, then you might like to contact Equity’s confidential Mental Health and Well-Being Helpline on 0800 917 6470 (you will need to have your Equity number to hand). Find more information about the service here.

Get In Touch

If you’d like some advice on your current learning experience from a member of the Equity Team, please contact info@equity.org.uk and your query will be forwarded to the most relevant staff member.