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Residential Life

COVID-19 FAQ: Can I form a support bubble?

By Adrian 23 Oct 2020

COVID-19 rules in England allow certain types of household to form a "support bubble".

The rules about support bubbles can be found at gov.uk/guidance/making-a-support-bubble-with-another-household.The arrangements may vary depending on the local COVID alert level: gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-levels-what-you-need-to-know. In summary:

Definition

A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home (a single-adult household) and one other household of any size. This is called making a ‘support bubble’. The people within a support bubble can think of themselves as being members of one household, so they can have close contact with one another as if they all lived together. Each household may form only one support bubble, and once a support bubble has been formed, its membership must not change.

Type 1 and type 2 households

See household definitions at campuslife.london.ac.uk/definitions-used-in-managing-coronavirus-risk-in-our-halls_128471

In halls, members of a type 1 or type 2 household may not form a support bubble. This is because the support bubble could only be formed with one other single-adult household, which all members of the type 1 or type 2 household would have to agree upon.

Type 3 households

See household definitions at campuslife.london.ac.uk/definitions-used-in-managing-coronavirus-risk-in-our-halls_128471

If you are a single occupant of a type 3 household (e.g. a studio flat), you may form a support bubble with any other household. Please bear in mind, however, that non-resident guests are not allowed to visit you in hall, and includes anyone in your support bubble. This leaves two options:

  • form a support bubble with another type 3 household in the same hall, and be able to socialise with that other type 3 household without restrictions; or
  • form a support bubble with a household from outside the hall, understanding that you could only socialise with them away from the hall (either at the other household, or in a public place).

We therefore recommend, where possible that single occupants of self-contained flats and studios in the halls form a support bubble with another type 3 household in the same hall. This could be another single-person type 3 household, or a couple / family living in hall (e.g. at International Hall).

Why can't external guests visit you if they are in your support bubble?

With London in local alert level 2 (high), it would be against the law for an external guest to socialise indoors with anyone else in the hall, and there are no reasonably practicable ways for us to prevent this once someone is inside. This exposes other residents to risk. Moreover, there is no reasonably practicable way for us to record and monitor support bubble arrangements for all our residents, particularly as this would be complicated by residents in type 1 and type 2 households being confused about rules for guests.

Exceptions

If a disability or long-term medical condition (inlcuding a mental health concern) means that you require a support bubble arrangement with someone who does not live in your hall, please contact your Hall Warden and Hall Manager to discuss your needs. We will require supporting medical evidence to approve visits from someone who does not live in the hall. You may wish to approach your GP or the support services at your university for help with documentary evidence: campuslife.london.ac.uk/support-services-at-your-college_130899.

Adrian profile picture

Adrian is a medical doctor, the University of London Student Health & Wellbeing Manager, and the Warden of Connaught Hall. He is passionate about advancing equality, diversity, and inclusion. Adrian's interests include fitness, nutrition, mindfulness and insight meditation, medical education, social psychology, and human factors / crisis resource management.
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