A letter to all our in-house residents
It has been a pleasure for our teams across the Intercollegiate Halls to welcome you over the past few days and weeks. We hope that you have felt safe and supported in the time you have been with us so far.
We have done a lot of work to make our halls Safe to Stay during the coronavirus pandemic. But now the baton passes to you. Our collective safety is in the hands of each and every individual member of our halls community, including you. So step up; take the baton. Know the consequences of, and be responsible for, your own actions. Don't let everyone down. Don't let yourself down. For a little inconvenience now, you will save yourself and others much greater inconvenience down the line. You could also save lives.
For we do have residents in our halls, students on our campuses, and neighbours in our local communities, who are at high risk of serious complications from COVID-19. If you are young and medically fit, the risk of developing severe COVID-19 illness is relatively low (but not zero); what is more worrying is that young, fit people - like most who live in halls - frequently develop asymptomatic infection. This means you could be infected and not know it, spreading the illness to many other people. This video helps explain: https://campuslife.london.ac.uk/understanding-how-covid19-spreads_126083.
That is why our published standard precautions are so important: https://campuslife.london.ac.uk/covid19-precautions-in-halls_122083.
We expect everyone in our halls to follow these standard precautions at all times when on the premises.
Our standard precautions as currently published lie on a sliding scale of COVID-safety measures. If compliance is good and the measures prove to be effective, as time goes on, we should be able to relax some of the restrictions. If compliance is poor, and we see increasing infections in our halls, we will need to introduce more and stricter controls. This graphic may help to explain the idea of a sliding scale of measures, and gives some indication of what relaxation and tightening of controls might look like: https://padlet.com/socialmediahalls/safetostay.
Based on reports about non-compliance by a small minority of residents since the weekend, I ask you to please pay particular attention to the following:
- If you need to be in travel quarantine, contact quarantine, or self-isolation, please follow the relevant instructions carefully. You can find all the necessary information at https://bit.ly/uol-covid-19.
- Wear a face covering in shared/communal/social/public areas of the hall.
- Do not move furniture (e.g. tables and chairs) in shared/communal/social/public areas of the hall. We have carefully placed all furniture to support the legal requirement to maintain physical distancing.
- Do not move garden furniture.
- Observe the 2m distanced "stand here" markers in queuing areas (e.g. in the dining hall queue).
- Don't gather in groups of more than 6 people. This is the law in England (colloquially called "the rule of six").
- Maintain physical distancing and the rule of six in outdoor spaces (including the garden at your hall) as well as indoors.
Whilst our preferred approach is to engage, educate, and encourage compliance with our Safe to Stay requirements, we do reserve the right to enforce these rules, including the power to terminate accommodation with 24 hours' notice to protect the health of other residents. We believe it is crucial that the irresponsible and selfish behaviour of a small minority is not allowed to ruin the experience for all.
FAQ: What is a household?
For public health purposes, a household is any group of people who share bathroom or food preparation facilities.
In most catered halls, we encourage members of slightly extended households (usually one floor) to attend the dining hall within a designated time window. This will greatly reduce the risk of any widespread coronavirus transmission in the hall, as only extended household members will be eating together. If your hall has household-specific time windows for mealtimes, please keep to the times for your extended household as much as possible. Only use the shared bathrooms and pantries that are designated for your room.
Please consult your Warden or Hall Manager, or refer to locally published information, for more specific detail about households.
Thank you for your help, support, and cooperation. This year can only be safe for all of us if each one of us recognises our personal responsibility for our own behaviour, our own health, and the health of those with whom we share halls, university, and local community spaces.
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