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Accommodation

Easing of coronavirus restrictions from 19 July

By Adrian 14 Jul 2021

At 04:00 on Monday 19 July, England will move to step 4 of the government's roadmap out of lockdown. The government has published:

The way we manage coronavirus safety in the intercollegiate halls will change in line with the new national guidance. Our online information will be updated next week, and it may take a little longer for rooms to be returned to their normal function and furniture restored to its normal place. There is a full outline below of all the changes. The following points highlight the main differences.

  • Face coverings will no longer be required in communal areas (but we do still advise wearing them, and request that you do so in any crowded spaces).
  • Seating arrangements in dining halls will be returned to normal. However, we continue to advise keeping close social contacts to a minimum and ask that you normally eat together with the same group of friends.
  • Any common rooms or study areas currently used for queueing or overflow dining will be returned to their normal use.
  • There will be no limit on the number of people from different households allowed to socialise together, indoors or outdoors; but again, we encourage you to keep close contacts to a minimum.
  • Rules for guests will revert to the standard rules in the Hall Handbook.

If you have symptoms or a positive test

There is no change to this guidance. You must self-isolate and inform us. We will continue to support you. Full details are HERE.

If you are a close or household contact of someone with coronavirus

Guidance for close contacts who have been fully vaccinated by the NHS is expected to change on 16 August, but for now there is no change to the requirement for close and household contacts to contact quarantine. We have slightly different guidance for Handel Mansions & Eleanor Rosa House and all other halls.

International travel and quarantine

If you have travelled from or through a red list country

You must quarantine in a government-approved hotel.

If you have travelled from or through an amber list country...

… and you have been fully vaccinated by the NHS

You will not have to quarantine, but you will need to complete a passenger locator form and take a coronavirus test before arriving in the UK; and take a PCR test on or before day 2 after arrival in the UK. The government guidance is HERE. You can see how to get your NHS COVID Pass to confirm your vaccination history HERE.

Please note that if you have travelled from or through France in the 10 days prior to arriving in the UK, you must follow the instructions as if you are not fully vaccinated.

… and you have not been fully vaccinated with an NHS vaccine

You must quarantine when you arrive in the UK and take pre-paid PCR tests on days 2 and 8 after arrival. Quarantine normally lasts for 10 full days after you arrive, but there is an option to take an additional, paid-for, "test-to-release" COVID-19 test on day 5 of quarantine.

See our guidance for residents in catered accommodation or self-catered accommodation. 

If you have travelled from a green list country and have not visited any red or amber list countries in the 10 days prior to arriving in the UK

You will not have to quarantine, but you will need to complete a passenger locator form and take a coronavirus test before arriving in the UK; and take a PCR test on or before day 2 after arrival in the UK. The government guidance is HERE.

Standard precautions

Face coverings

Face coverings will not be required in communal areas.

We still advise you to wear a face covering, and request that you do so if you are unavoidably in a crowded indoor space.

Keeping a safe distance

The prohibition on moving furniture in communal areas will be lifted. We will no longer enforce maximum numbers around dining tables, and we will not actively monitor distancing in queues. We will not enforce any one-way systems and the limit of one person to a lift (elevator) will be removed.

We continue to advise you to avoid crowded spaces and to keep a safe distance from people not in your household. We request that you avoid more than 2 people in a lift at the same time.

Fresh air

We still advise you to mix with other people outdoors if possible, or if socialising indoors, to ensure there is a flow of fresh air, e.g. from an open window.

Hygiene

We continue to advise you to clean your hands more often, wipe shared surfaces and equipment before and after use, and catch coughs and sneezes.

Twice-weekly testing, vaccinations and the NHS COVID-19 app

We still strongly encourage you to get tested twice a week, every week, and to ensure you are fully vaccinated as soon as possible. We also recommend downloading the NHS COVID-19 app and turning on contact tracing. In addition to the COVID-19 app, you will need the main NHS app to prove your vaccination history with the NHS COVID Pass

Social life

Gatherings

There will be no enforced limits on events or social gatherings of any size, indoors or outdoors (unless there is an issue with noise or other antisocial behaviour).

We continue to advise you to limit your close social contacts as much as possible, and to meet other people outdoors whenever you can. This may, for example, involve eating with the same group of friends most of the time, and choosing to go outdoors if you are mixing with a new group.

Guests in hall

The rules for having guests to visit you in hall will revert to the standard rules in the Hall Handbook.

Social and study spaces

In many of our halls, social and study spaces have been repurposed as queuing areas or overflow dining rooms. We will gradually put these spaces back to their normal use and return furniture such as sofas or study desks.

If you are clinically vulnerable

The government has released new guidance for those who are clinically vulnerable from COVID-19. Please contact your Hall Warden and/or Hall Manager if you have any concerns.

Thank you for your patience and kindness

We are so pleased finally to be able to return our halls to something more like their normal operation. There is a lot to be done, so we ask for your patience as we replace furniture and signage next week; it may be the end of the month before all this work is complete.

The next phase of managing the coronavirus pandemic in the UK is centred around personal responsibility and allowing us to make our own informed decisions, whilst respecting the needs and concerns of others in our communities. Let us adopt this spirit in our halls and stay safe, together.

Adrian profile picture

Adrian is a medical doctor, the Student Health & Wellbeing Manager at the University of London and the Warden of Connaught Hall, where he has lived for almost 25 years.
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