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FAQ: What informed our COVID safety measures in halls?

By Adrian 13 Oct 2020

Conversations with residents in our halls in recent days have highlighted the a view amongst some that we are being more restrictive than is necessary with our Safe to Stay programme of COVID safety measures. This view has been reinforced for some people because when they go to pubs, restaurants, bars, and shops, the measures in place there seem to be less restrictive.

Whilst we have been very cautious in our response to coronavirus, all our Safe to Stay measures have been designed to comply with government, regulator, and sector guidance. We have built in more safety than is strictly required - for example, by keeping some of our accommodation empty - but we have not made any of the rules stricter than is required. The one restriction in place that is not required of us is that we are not allowing guests to visit residents. But this rule has been adopted by halls of residence at universities all over the UK, so we are certainly not an outlier in this regard.

In addition to the list below, we have engaged directly, at length and in detail, with the Department for Education, Public Health England, and the Directors of Public Health for Camden & Islington, Westminster, and Newham (the three boroughs where we have halls).

We hope the following list of legal and regulatory sources that we have relied upon in creating our Safe to Stay measures will help everyone understand that we are doing what is required of us and keeping everyone in our halls as safe as we reasonably can.

Guidance and requirements relevant to higher education and/or all workplaces

Higher education – reopening buildings and campuses: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses

Managing COVID-19 in London Higher Education Institutions (PHE, not available online)

Higher education institution outbreak planning: Best practice and common pitfalls (PHE and DfE, not available online)

Principles for managing SARS-CoV-2 transmission associated with higher education: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/principles-for-managing-sars-cov-2-transmission-associated-with-higher-education-3-september-2020

Principles and considerations for emerging from lockdown for UK universities: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Pages/principles-considerations-emerging-lockdown-uk-universities-june-2020.aspx

Office for Students COVID-19 requirements and guidance: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/coronavirus/

London Higher COVID-secure charter: https://www.londonhigher.ac.uk/covid-secure-charter/

Independent SAGE response to principles for managing SARS-CoV-2 transmission associated with higher education: https://www.independentsage.org/independent-sage-response-to-sage-principles-for-managing-sars-cov-2-transmission-associated-with-higher-education/

Independent SAGE statement on universities in the context of SARS-CoV-2: https://www.independentsage.org/group-statement-on-universities-in-the-context-of-sars-cov-2-september-2nd-2020/

Reopening businesses safely: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening/y/hospitality,hotels,offices/over_4/yes/yes/to_work/yes

Health and Safety Executive: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm

Government requirements for self-isolation and household contacts

Guidance on isolation for residential educational settings: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings

Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

Government requirements for close contact quarantine

Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-contacts-of-people-with-possible-or-confirmed-coronavirus-covid-19-infection-who-do-not-live-with-the-person

Government requirements for travel quarantine

https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate-when-you-travel-to-the-uk

Government requirements for social distancing

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing

Core government guidance and requirements relevant to catering

Adapting your food business during COVID-19: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/reopening-and-adapting-your-food-business-during-covid-19

Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/restaurants-offering-takeaway-or-delivery

Guidance for events and hospitality (e.g. social events in halls)

COVID-19 secure guidelines for hospitality: https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/page/UKHospitalityGuidanceforHospitality



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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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