Information for returning students

Frequently asked questions : Return to campus

We understand that this is a time of uncertainty for you all and that you are anxious about joining RCSI Bahrain or returning to study in the current COVID-19 situation. The priority for us is to ensure your health and safety in a new learning environment, and your successful engagement in your programme of study. We will be advising you of these plans as they are confirmed.

We advise you to consult information on the 'COVID-19 Advice to Students' page on the RCSI Bahrain VLE which provides students with the latest information on the situation in Bahrain and updated advice. After the consulting the VLE page and your question is not answered, please email your query to: returntocampusqueriesbh@rcsi-mub.com.

Please remember that this is an evolving situation and change occurs on a daily basis. Be sure to consult other sources that can provide you with the latest information, such as government websites and airline updates. Please read all questions and answers carefully.

COVID-19 in Bahrain and travel matters

The government of the Kingdom of Bahrain has led a robust response, which includes:

  • Implementation of the BeAware Bahrain app.
  • Temperature monitoring when entering public areas e.g. shops
  • Restrictions on gatherings.
  • Mandatory wearing of face coverings in public – in some places you will not be allowed to enter if you are not wearing a mask.
  • Increased testing.
  • Maximum capacity and social distancing at restaurants, gyms, recreational centres and cinemas.
  • For all arrivals into Bahrain, testing and isolation period for those testing positive.

Please note that there are penalties for not wearing face masks in public and for not following government directives.

Bahrain offers free testing of suspected cases and free health care for all COVID-19 cases (expatriates included). The Ministry of Health website www.moh.gov.bh contains information about the current COVID-19 situation in Bahrain.

Your academic start dates will be communicated to you and will be available on the VLE.

When planning your return to Bahrain you should check with the Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs website www.mofa.gov.bh or call +97317227555 for travel advice.

You should also consult with your airline, as well as the public health advisory in the country from which you are travelling. Some countries may require specific documentation such as proof of travel insurance or medical insurance, or a letter confirming the reason for your travel.

The Ministry of Health website contains information about the current COVID-19 situation in Bahrain. Please contact Student Services studentservices@rcsi-mub.com if you have questions about your residence/student visa, or about your accommodation.

Continuing students can request a letter from the university to exit their country through the Document Request facility on the Student Gateway.

Please note that published travel schedules change frequently. Please refer to the VLE page ‘COVID-19 Advice for Students’ for more information about travelling to Bahrain.

At present all passengers arriving into Bahrain will be asked to complete a health questionnaire and will be tested for COVID-19. Testing may cause delays on arrival as this process can take time, so be prepared.

Starting 21st July 2020, arriving passengers will be charged for the first COVID-19 test and the second COVID-19 test (at BD30 each) after the period of 10 days. To support the health and safety of our students, RCSI Bahrain will be reimbursing the expense of these two COVID-19 tests for students for the first trip to Bahrain. Please note that students will need to provide proofs of payment to obtain reimbursement.

Effective from 20th August 2020: The compulsory 10-day self-isolation has been lifted for all passengers who test negative to the first COVID-19 test performed upon arrival in Bahrain. All passengers must sign a form stating that they will follow self-isolation regulations until their first test result is published, usually in 1-2 days. When the first COVID-19 test result issued is negative, passengers can resume their normal activities (no quarantine). For citizens and residents, a second COVID-19 test is compulsory on the 10th day of their arrival.

All incoming passengers are required to download and activate the “BeAware Bahrain” application to check for test results and updates.

If a COVID-19 test result is positive, passengers will be advised of further courses of action by the Ministry of Health (MoH) staff. Passengers will also be followed up with by the Ministry of Health and they must be wearing a tracking bracelet during the quarantine period.

If you meet the criteria for home self-isolation you will be allowed to quarantine within your residence, while adhering to self- isolation precautions. If you do not meet the criteria stipulated for home self-isolation you will be transferred to one of the MOH quarantine facilities to complete the isolation period. You will have an exit test after that period and if negative you will be discharged.

Please note that there are penalties for anyone who does not follow government instructions in relation to COVID-19 self-isolation.

You can refer to the information on the VLE page Covid-19 Advice to Students.

Please contact Student Services urgently studentservices@rcsi-mub.com and do not undertake any travel prior to speaking to them.

Each student is entitled to a maximum refund of BHD60 for 2 COVID-19 tests upon their initial return to Bahrain to complete Academic Year 2019/20 (where applicable) or commence Academic Year 20/21.

Any additional tests outside of this return must be covered by the student.

To obtain reimbursement, please submit the online form available on this link. Please fill in the details carefully and upload proof of payment in order to receive a refund. The proof of payment should be produced from the Bahrain eGovernment page or the BeAware App (a screenshot of a bank text message is not sufficient). However, if you do not have such proof, we will also accept a photo of the visa stamp received in your passport.

If you have any queries, please contact us via email: accountspayable@rcsi-mub.com.

Under no circumstances should students call the Bahrain COVID-19 Hotline (444) to obtain a receipt.

Refunds will be processed every Thursday morning by 12 noon for requests received by close of business at 4pm every Tuesday of the same week.

Please allow up to two working days for the refund if to a Bahrain bank account and up to five working days if refund is to an international bank account.

Health and Safety Matters

The University is implementing a number of key health and safety measures, which will change how your curriculum is delivered. This includes teaching, for example online lectures and small groups on campus, which will respect social distancing measures. There will be a maximum number of people permitted on campus at any one time and visits to the library or consultations with staff must be scheduled.

The individual class schedules will be available on the VLE once finalised. Students must adhere to these schedules as access to campus will be strictly controlled to ensure that social distancing is properly managed.

RCSI Bahrain is committed to ensuring students receive the best possible academic programme that can be delivered during this challenging period. You will be informed of these plans in due course.

If you are concerned you might have COVID 19, for example you are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID 19 such as fever, headache, dry persistent cough, sore throat, or have recently been in close contact with a confirmed case, the following is advised:

  • First, self-isolate at home in a separate room, avoid close contact with others.
  • Call the COVID Hotline on 444 and follow the instructions given.
  • You should inform the Student Health & Wellbeing Team of your situation by emailing; student-health@rcsi-mub.com.
  • The Student Health and Wellbeing Team will offer advice and support.

While waiting for your results you should strictly adhere to the guidance given by the MoH. You should self-isolate in a separate room from others, avoid contact with others, only leave your residence in the case of an emergency and if you need to leave, you should wear a face mask. You should inform the Student health and Well-being Team of your situation by emailing: student-health@rcsi-mub.com. If you receive a positive test result, you should refer to in the following schedule for further guidance.

First, you must strictly adhere to the guidance you have been given by the MOH upon receiving your result. You should immediately self-isolate and should not come onto campus. You should only leave your residence in the case of an emergency and if you do need to leave you must wear a face mask. The MOH will ask you to provide the names of those you have had close contact with so that contact tracing can be conducted.

If you live in shared accommodation, we advise you to immediately inform your roommate as they too will be subject to self-isolation period.

You must advise the Student Health and Well-being Team by emailing; student-health@rcsi-mub.com. The Student Health and Wellbeing Team will offer you support and advice, they will communicate with your SARA Coordinator to excuse your absence.

If you are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and are home self-isolating, we would encourage you to continue with your online learning during your isolation period.

Please refer to the Notices to Students available on the VLE Page: 'COVID-19 Advice to Students'. 

The Student Health and Wellbeing Team are on hand to support you. We understand students may be anxious at this time and we encourage you to make contact with us by emailing student-health@rcsi-mub.com. Once you have made contact, a member of the team will contact you to offer support and advice. The Student Health and Wellbeing team works with a number of external counsellors/professionals, who can be accessed by a referral from the Team. There are also self-help resources on the COVID-19 Advice to Students page on the VLE.

RCSI Bahrain has established a number of mechanisms to support students during this challenging time and our ultimate aim is to ensure all students are supported. If you have received a positive result, you should inform the Student Health and Wellbeing Team by emailing student-health@rcsi-mub.com. The team will support you during this time and offer advice and information on health management, self-care during isolation, and online services available for essential needs.

It is very normal to feel anxious during challenging and uncertain times. For more information on how to manage your anxiety/stress please refer to our self-help resources on the COVID-19 Advice to Students page on the VLE. If you would like to speak with one of our Student Health and Wellbeing Team you can email student-health@rcsi-mub.com to arrange an online support call or meeting.

Students with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, immunosuppressive drug therapy including systemic corticosteroid treatment, heart conditions, neurological disorders and morbid obesity are at higher risk for COVID-19 illness and complications. If you have any of the above conditions or you consider yourself to be at higher risk due to a condition not identified above you should inform the Student Health and Wellbeing Unit by emailing student-health@rcsi-mub.com.

A second wave is a possibility. RCSI Bahrain will continue to monitor the situation closely and will adapt and amend educational provision according to all government regulations and to ensure your health and safety at all times.

Questions about your programme of studies

Please note: If you have academic queries specific to your year of the programme please contact your Academic Lead as follows:

Medicine:

Year 2: Prof Iqdam Tobia

IC2: Prof Iqdam Tobia

SC1: Prof Wayne Cunningham

SC2: Prof John Flood

Nursing:

Year 2: Ms Eman Fateel

Year 3: Dr Maryam Alaradi

Year 4: Ms Sumaya Faraj

Postgraduate programmes:

MSc in Nursing and PG Dip/MSc in Intensive Care Nursing: Professor Maura Pidgeon

Institute of Leadership: Dr Clare Walsh and Dr Christina Larkin

The class schedules have been designed to take into account the requirement for a period of mandatory self-isolation. Detailed information about what will be online, streamed live, recorded and delivered in person, what groups will attend which sessions etc. will be incorporated into your timetable. Where there is a period online at the beginning of a timetable it is expected that this will be taken while in Bahrain and in self-isolation, so you should plan to be back in Bahrain prior to the start of this period.

As you can appreciate, the situation is fluid and may have changed by end of August. We will be letting students know of any updates. We understand that not all students may be able to get back at the start of semester, and in fact all students will not be able to go on to campus at the same time due to social distancing measures. We are doing everything to protect your health and safety whilst on campus. It is therefore being planned that semester 1 lectures will also be available online. We will keep you updated. It would be a good idea if you could let us know of any travel updates, or difficulties, by emailing your SARA Coordinator.

With social distancing measures in place, we are planning for small group teaching sessions, tutorials, and online learning. There will be no large group lectures. Students will be taught in small groups called “Learning Communities” which will provide you with a more personalised learning experience. You will experience learning and teaching within your Learning Community group and extracurricular/co-curricular activities will also be based around these learning communities. Each learning community will have an Academic Lead (member of RCSI Bahrain Faculty) and a Student Engagement Lead. Your groups and calendar schedule will be provided to you as usual by your SARA Coordinator. This will show what sessions will be delivered on campus and online.

Social distancing measures will be in place, and a maximum number of people on campus at any one time. This includes times you can be present on campus and scheduled library hours; services in the gym will also be reduced during this period. There will be a maximum number of students permitted in any particular area at any one time, such as the Centre for Student Success. Wearing of face masks will be mandatory. You may need appointments to visit service providing units, such as Student Health and Wellbeing. Many services will be transferred online, such as counselling support. Please note that access to campus must be according to your scheduled teaching or by prior appointment. Students will not be able to decide, ad hoc, when they do or do not access the campus.

RCSI Bahrain values the importance of face to face, on campus teaching, supplemented and complemented by online measures given the current limitations. Where possible we want to ensure a continuation of the experience of face to face teaching and learning. In many cases there is teaching which can only be properly delivered in person – for example where clinical procedures, examination techniques, laboratory sessions etc. are required.

Currently the winter break is as originally scheduled. Of course, all such matters are being kept under constant review as the global situation is constantly changing and we will let you know as soon as possible of any updates.

All university campuses remain closed until at least mid-September as per Bahrain government regulations. Special permission has been obtained to allow IC3 and SC1 students be taught in the teaching facilities of the hospitals. The provision of transportation to BDF will be addressed through the Class Representatives.

RCSI Bahrain maintains the quality of your degree as the most central consideration of everything we are doing, despite the constraints due to the global pandemic. Careful analysis of the curriculum for each year has been undertaken so as to ensure that all learning outcomes will be delivered and all assessment and examinations will be conducted to the usual high standard of RCSI. In fact, the provision of recorded resources will add significantly to your revision and study resources and, if engaged with properly, should enhance your learning.

All teaching being provided to those who have not yet completed the 19/20 academic year will be delivered in a way that ensures equivalent learning outcomes can be achieved and that all students are fully prepared for their exams.

The outstanding clinical placement will be incorporated into the next academic year.

While teaching may have been different this academic year and will remain so for the next academic semester, we will ensure that the same learning outcomes will be delivered to all of our students with specific online delivery of content and face to face teaching in smaller class sizes. Students will still have access to the same expert lecturers and clinicians who have been working creatively to adapt programmes to the new arrangements. While social distancing will apply for the return to campus and our leisure and social spaces for students will look different and cater for fewer students at a time, we are expecting students to still enjoy an engaging learning and social experience.

As a result, the tuition fees remain the same. However, if any student finds themselves in difficult financial circumstances, please contact fees@rcsi-mub.com and we will do all we can to support them.

For any enquiries not addressed above, please email: returntocampusqueriesbh@rcsi-mub.com.