Guidance for managing COVID-19 related allegations of student misconduct

Guidance for staff, students and Conduct Investigators

This guidance covers:

  • how to report COVID-19 related misconduct
  • which principles and regulations of the Code may be used
  • the process by which COVID-19 related conduct reports will be managed (including informal stage)
  • example breaches and standard penalties.

Guidance documents

When to report

In the first instance, we encourage a supportive approach towards members of our community so that everyone understands what is expected. For example, reminding others to wear a face covering where it is required (and they are not exempt from doing so) or reminding others of the physical distancing requirements.

Patrol Officers will also have authority to issue COVID-19 cautions to any student not following the COVID-19 requirements. A COVID-19 caution will be used to reinforce the importance of complying with the COVID-19 health and safety requirements and advise that formal action may be taken in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct if they fail to alter their behaviours.

However, persistent and/or serious alleged breaches of COVID-19 requirements will not be tolerated and should be reported to the Student Progress Team (Student Conduct) for review in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct.

Referrals under the Code should be made where there has been a serious and/or persistent breach. An example of serious behaviour might be acting in a disorderly, violent or threatening way when asked to follow protection measures, deliberately coughing on another person, failing to self-isolate when required or any other serious behaviours that are likely to cause injury or impair safety on University premises.

A case is persistent when undesirable behaviour continues after informal advice has been given to the individual and they have been given a chance to modify their behaviour at this informal stage. Members of our community will need to exercise judgement about when that point has been reached.

Persistent and/or serious alleged breaches of the Code will be managed in accordance with the Code. For further information please see the detailed guidance for managing COVID-19 related allegations of misconduct and the Code of Student Conduct.

How to report

Reports of serious and/or persistent alleged misconduct linked to COVID-19 may be submitted via Report and Support, Campus SecurityCampus SecurityCampus Security, to COVID19@essex.ac.uk or to the Student Progress Team (Student Conduct) directly at studentconduct@essex.ac.uk.

Please complete an Incident Report Form (.doc) with as much information as possible. This should include:

  • the name of the reported student
  • the date, time and location of the alleged breach/breaches
  • any supporting evidence such as messages/videos/pictures/names of witnesses.

All reports referred to the Student Progress Team (Student Conduct) or received directly will be reviewed and appropriate action taken. You will be informed when your case is concluded, but will not be given full details of disciplinary action taken in accordance with the Code due to confidentiality.

Contacts for questions

If you have questions about the conduct processes, in the first instance you should refer to the detailed guidance for managing COVID-19 related allegations of misconduct and the Code of Student Conduct.

Any further questions should be directed to studentconduct@essex.ac.uk.

Questions or concerns about the University’s approach to COVID-19 protections measures should be directed to COVID19@essex.ac.uk in the first instance.