FAQs for students

Page last updated: Thursday 7 January 2021, 13:00

We have prepared the FAQs below to help answer any questions students might have about the impact of the latest national lockdown on their study and accommodation.

We will continue to keep this page under review and update it if the advice from government, Public Health England or the city’s Public Health Team changes.

Can I still come to campus?

Following the rise in Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases across parts of England the Government has required all universities to restrict and delay the anticipated return of students in January, to reduce the potential transmission of the virus across different parts of the country.

For the majority of (taught) students, on-campus teaching was not due to start until 1 February when the second semester begins. Ahead of that date we are planning for the online assessment period (between 9 – 23 January) to continue as scheduled and the UoBe Festival (week commencing 25 January) will be delivered virtually.

The Government has identified a small group of taught subject areas that can return to campus study and placement activity from 4 January and where in-person teaching can continue, including: Medicine & Dentistry, subjects allied to medicine and health (including all branches of nursing and physiotherapy), Education (initial teacher training) and Social Work. If you are on one of these programmes your School will have confirmed this.

We are awaiting further clarification on the position for Research Students. Our current understanding is that PGR students can continue to access specialist facilities on campus, where these facilities are essential to your research, but where you are able to continue your research activity from home you should do so. We will provide further information as soon as more detailed guidance becomes available.

On returning to campus, the Government has also identified where there may be exceptions to the delayed return advice, including:

  • Students without access to appropriate study spaces or facilities in their vacation accommodation.
  • Students who have remained in their university accommodation over the vacation period.
  • Students who may require additional support – including for mental health and wellbeing.
  • Students on placements where these can continue, based on the local restrictions and where the placement provider has Covid-secure measures in place.
  • International Students who have remained in the UK or have already arrived in the UK.

There is also very clear guidance about the steps necessary to ensure the safe return of students, including the completion of two asymptomatic COVID tests, at least three days apart, in advance of any return to on-campus activity.

Will there still be face-to-face teaching?

The Government has updated its guidance to universities about the timing of resuming face-to-face teaching with the expectation that, apart from the small number of exempt programmes noted above, teaching will be online only until mid-February.

Course teams are preparing to resume Semester 2 teaching online in the first instance and we will provide further information as soon as more detailed guidance becomes available.

We would ask that you follow the most up-to-date Government guidance at all times. When you are permitted to return, consider carefully and plan your return to campus activities in line with this advice and the latest Government guidance on testing to return before accessing campus facilities as detailed at the end of this message.

I’m concerned about the infection rate on campus

The safety and wellbeing of our students and staff remains our priority and will be at the heart of any decisions we make. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our community, COVID test-positive figures remain low on campus, with no evidence of transmission in teaching settings. For the latest figures visit the Test, Trace and Protect page. For the latest figures visit the Test, Trace and Protect page.

What support is available for my mental health and wellbeing?

Support for your wellbeing is always available and we are continuing to provide a range of resources and expert contacts that are accessible wherever you are. Our Wellbeing Services are open from this week in your Schools and Colleges and from our Mental Health and Wellbeing Team.

What financial support is available?

We understand the continuing impact of these restrictions on all of our daily lives, and, in particular the added financial difficulties that many of you will be facing. We have therefore established an Enhanced Student Support Fund – which will be available to all students so that targeted financial support can be provided for those in need. In addition to a substantial increase in the hardship funds available we have also made changes to the criteria so that all students who need additional support will be able to access this. We will provide more information about the Enhanced Student Support Fund and how you can apply shortly.

What will be open on campus?

Buildings and maintenance

Work is ongoing to identify buildings that need to remain fully operational, and buildings which may be placed into standby mode. Standby mode means they will remain compliant and ready to open but will not be accessible on a daily basis. This differs to the March Lockdown where buildings were temporarily closed for staff and student access. This list will be shared once finalised.

Sports, Museums and Galleries

The government has confirmed that museums and galleries must close and therefore the Lapworth Museum, Barber Institute, Elgar Concert Hall, and Winterbourne House will remain closed for visitors.

Winterbourne Garden opens to visitors for the 2021 season on Friday 8 January. Open seven days a week from 10:30 to 16:00 (with last entry at 15:30), entry is free for UoB staff and students upon presentation of a valid ID card. Botanic Gardens are able to remain open under Tier 4 restrictions as they provide valuable access to fresh air and nature, so beneficial to health and wellbeing. The house, shop and tearoom remain closed until further notice.

Sport & Fitness

In line with government lockdown rules, the University’s Sports Centre and Tiverton Gym have temporarily closed.

The Guild

The Guild building remains open from 09:00 until 17:00, Monday to Friday. Reception will be staffed throughout this time, and the seating areas (ground floor) and study space (first floor) are available for students to use. Joe's Bar, in accordance with government guidance, has had to close. For further information, please see the Guild's website.

Cafes and catering

In line with government lockdown rules no household mixing, aside from support bubbles and two people meeting in public outdoor spaces is permitted so cafes and catering will be closed with the exception of sales by takeaway or click and collect. The latest opening times for outlets are set out below. We will also continue to provide ‘isolation packs’ for any students that need to self-isolate during this period. As always, we will continue to keep these measures under review in light of any changes to government or local guidance.

Opening times for campus outlets from Wednesday 6 January 2021
Outlets - Main campus
Take away plus click and collect only where available
 Opening times
Mon-Fri
Medical School   09:00 - 17:00
Library  09:00 - 16:30
Costa Bramall  08:00 - 16:00
Costa Uni Centre  08:00 - 16:30
Starbucks Muirhead Tower  08:00 - 17:00
Starbucks Pavilion   08:30 - 16:00
Research Park  08:30 - 16:00
Food Court (Cafe Go and Go Mex)   Closed
Opening times for Vale outlets from Wednesday 6 January 2021
 Outlets - The Vale Opening times
Mon-Sun
The Melt  10:30 - 18:30
Infusion  16:30 - 21:00
Costcutter  08:00 - 20:00

What is life like on campus?

We want everyone to be able to do their best – even in these unusual circumstances - and we will continue to be flexible and understanding if you encounter difficulties (such as access to reliable Wi-Fi). We expect our on-campus facilities, including study spaces, libraries, and catering to remain open for students, operating under our established COVID-safe measures.

Who can I socialise with?

In accordance with the National Lockdown effective from the 4 January 2020, you may only socialise/exercise with your household (or support bubble) or exercise one other person, which should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area. You may meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one.

Am I allowed to invite guests into my flat/house?

No. In light of the new restrictions, no one who isn’t a house/flatmate is allowed to visit or socialise in your home/flat/room.

I am a commuter student - what does this mean for me?

In accordance with government guidance, you should continue to study from home and not access campus facilities – unless you fall into one of the exempt categories. In planning your return to on-campus activities we are recommending that all students should take two rapid LFD tests, three days apart, before using on campus facilities and in advance of any in-person teaching and learning.

How can I keep up to date with changing guidance?

All the latest guidance will be posted on the news section of the student intranet (which is also shared via the MyUoB app), or check our social media channels. We will also email important updates so please keep checking your inboxes.

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