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Accommodation

How we stay safer, together

By Adrian 19 Sep 2021

At the University of London, we are a community of students and staff who:

  • look out for one another
  • respect one another
  • show patience and understanding
  • act with kindness and compassion
  • and always try to do the right thing.

We are all working together to achieve our academic goals and maintain our collective wellbeing. We are also part of a wider local, national and global community. It is important that we support each other in these extraordinary times.

If we can keep coronavirus infections down, both in our halls and in our local community, we will help keep vulnerable people safe, avoid any more lockdowns, and keep social, recreational, and academic facilities open.

By living in our Intercollegiate Halls, you are committing yourself to adhere to our Safer, Together COVID-19 Community Agreement which is set out in detail below. 

Seven simple safety tips

  • Wear a face covering in busy or crowded indoor spaces
  • Meet in well-ventilated places with a flow of fresh air from outside (meeting outdoors is best)
  • Minimise close social contacts and keep a safe distance from people outside of our immediate friend group
  • Get fully vaccinated as soon as possible
  • Test for COVID-19 regularly – twice a week, every week – and always before attending large events or long-distance travel
  • Use the NHS COVID-19 app and check in to venues and events
  • Self-isolate - if we have symptoms or test positive, if we're an unvaccinated close contact after travel, where required



Have you been vaccinated?

Everyone attending university this year is strongly advised to get vaccinated before travelling to uni. If you're not yet vaccinated, please consider getting your immunisations before you travel. If that's not possible, get vaccinated as soon as possible after arrival in London. 

From October 2021, the law in England will change to mean that you can only go out to nightclubs and some other venues if you are fully vaccinated.

If you’re not yet fully vaccinated, we ask that you take whatever next step is needed for you to have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Could you “grab a jab” or book a vaccination appointment right now?

Respect – Kindness – Patience – Compassion – Understanding

The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for all of us: physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. Things are starting to return to normal, but we're not there yet. Please remember that everyone will have dealt with the stress of the pandemic in different ways. The experiences of people from different parts of the world have been very different. Some people are more vulnerable to the virus than others; some people feel more anxious than others; some people have lost loved ones to coronavirus and may be grieving; everyone is living a life right now that is different from the one they might have imagined before the pandemic. 

Respect, kindness, patience, compassion and understanding are core values for our University of London community. Let's all continue trying to live these values as best we can. 

Recent and upcoming changes

July - August

  • Public Health Matters new blog post about how to stay safe as COVID-19 restrictions ease
  • Travellers arriving from amber list countries who have been fully vaccinated in Europe or the USA do not have to quarantine. More information
  • France is no longer a special case. Travellers from France should now follow the normal amber list rules. More information
  • People who have been fully vaccinated in the UK and people under 18y 6m do not have to self-isolate following contact with someone who has COVID-19. More information
  • Montenegro and Thailand moved to the red list on 30 August. The Azores, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Switzerland are now on the green list.

September: Test before you travel!

If you will be moving to your hall from within the UK, please do an asymptomatic test within the 24 hours before you travel.

Having a negative asymptomatic lateral flow test means that you're unlikely to be infectious. You can gain maximum reassurance for yourself and the greatest safety for others by doing one test 4 days before you travel, and a second test 24 hours before you travel. We hope that by ensuring everyone is not infectious on the day they arrive, we will be able to host a normal program of welcome activities and events without the risk of cancellation due to an outbreak in halls.

If you are arriving from overseas, you will be required to show evidence of a recent negative test to enter the UK.

14 September: Winter plan published

The UK COVID-19 Winter Plan has been published by the government. This gives us some idea about what may lie ahead as we settle into the autumn term. There is also a government contingency framework outlining scenarios for which education settings (including universities) should be prepared. 

Whilst these documents do not necessarily give students guidance on what to do, we are sharing them as part of our commitment to ensure you are fully and reliably informed about anything COVID-related that might affect you, now or in the future.

From 4am on 4 October

The international travel rules for arriving in the UK are changing:

  • instead of a three-tier red, amber, green system, there will be a simpler "red list" and "rest of the world";
  • fully vaccinated travellers from more countries will be exempt from quarantine on arrival in the UK.

Read more

From the end of October

There will be some exemptions to the requirement for a negative PCR test before travelling to the UK. 

Read more

Everything you need to know

Click on any heading below to read more.

COVID-19 Community Agreement: How we keep one another safe

Everyone in our halls community is always required to...

Everyone in our halls community is requested to...

  • Get fully vaccinated as soon as possible
  • Test for coronavirus twice a week, every week
  • Download and use the NHS COVID-19 app
  • Wear a face covering in any indoor space if it is busy or crowded
  • Try to eat with the same group of friends most of the time
  • Normally socialise outside or in a room well ventilated with air from outside
  • Avoid more than 2 people in a lift at one time
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Wipe shared surfaces and equipment before and after use
  • Treat others with kindness and compassion, and assist where needed

Everyone in our halls community is recommended to...

  • Stay up to date with information from the governmentNHS and University; the Mayor of London also maintains a useful page specifically for London, including requirements for using public transport in the city
  • Wear a face covering in communal areas and corridors
  • Minimise close social contacts as much as possible
  • Keep a safe distance of 2 metres from other people wherever possible
  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser
How to self-isolate in halls

You will need to self-isolate:

  • if you have symptoms of coronavirus or if you test positive;
  • if you have been in close or household contact with someone who has coronavirus, during their infectious period;
  • after travel from or through countries on the government's amber list. 

There are some exemptions:

  • You do not have to self-isolate as a close or household contact of someone with COVID-19 if you have been fully vaccinated in the UK, with a UK-approved vaccine; if you are below the age of 18 years 6 months; if you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial; or if you are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons.
  • You do not have to quarantine after travel from an amber list country if you have been fully vaccinated with a UK-approved vaccine in the UK, USA, or a recognised European country and you have an acceptable form of proof of your vaccination status; or if you are under the age of 18 and a resident of the UK or a recognised European country.

Tell us as soon as you know that you need to self-isolate

Government rules about self-isolation

There are different rules depending on why you have to self-isolate:

Please stay in your room

When you are self-isolating, you must stay in your own room. You should only leave your room for a valid permitted reason:

  1. If you share a bathroom, to use designated shared bathroom facilities.
  2. To evacuate the building if the fire alarm sounds, or other emergency.
  3. To obtain medical care or essential medicines.
  4. To post your COVID-19 PCR test.
  5. Other limited reasons (see the three links above for "Government rules about self-isolation").

Any time you do leave your room, please wear a face covering, wash or sanitise your hands frequently, and do not stop to socialise with anyone. 

Don't allow anyone else into your room

While you're self-isolating, no one else should enter your room. 

Bathroom facilities

  • If you share bathroom facilities, we will use a poster to mark out one toilet cubicle and one shower cubicle for the use of people who are self-isolating. Please wear a face covering during your visit to the bathroom, only use the cubicle that is set aside for your use, and thoroughly clean any surfaces you have touched before you leave the bathroom, using the wipes provided. 
  • If you have an en suite bathroom, we will deliver toilet tissue to your room at the same time as the waste collection, once a week on Tuesdays (see below).

Self-catered kitchen facilities

If you are in self-catered accommodation with a kitchen that you share with others, please arrange with them a time so that you can always use the kitchen last, so no one else will be using it. A WhatsApp group chat would be a great way to organise this. Wear a face covering while you are in the kitchen and thoroughly clean all surfaces and utensils when you have finished. Please take your food to your room to eat. 

Please see the government guidance: How to limit close contact with others in the household in you have COVID-19.

Pantries in catered accommodation

In catered accommodation, you should not use the pantry while you are self-isolating. 

Outdoor exercise

If you are self-isolating because you have symptoms or a positive test, you should not go outside for exercise.

If you don't have symptoms or a positive test, then you may use the Hall garden to exercise, as follows:

  • Wash or sanitise your hands immediately before leaving your room and again when you re-enter the building from the garden area.
  • Wear a face covering the whole time you are out of your own room.
  • Go straight to and from the garden, not using any other social areas or visiting other residents.

Use delivery services instead of going out

Please order food and other essentials online, for delivery to your hall, instead of going out shopping. You might find this list of delivery companies useful.

Support for you (including meal deliveries)

Check out the section below, Support for you during self-isolation

What to do if you have symptoms of coronavirus

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a new, persistent cough
  • high temperature, and/or
  • loss/change of your sense of taste/smell.

What to do

If you are unwell with any one or more of these symptoms, please:

1. Self-isolate in your room - see section above, How to self-isolate in halls.

2. Seek and follow medical advice.

3. Tell us that you are self-isolating.

4. Order a free NHS COVID-19 PCR test.

5. Tell us your test result  as soon as you get it.

6. Tell your close contacts and household contacts they might need to self-isolate.

  • If you share a self-catering kitchen with other people, tell them they need to self-isolate at least until you get your PCR test result. If your PCR is. negative, they will be able to end self-isolation; if it's positive, they should continue to self-isolate for 10 full days. They can see the section below, "What to do if you live with someone who has coronavirus (household contact)".

7. Remember to tell your college/university as well. Most institutions have either an online form or a dedicated email address for reporting self-isolations and test results.

What to do if you have a positive coronavirus test

If you receive a positive coronavirus test result, please:

1. Self-isolate in your room - see section above, How to self-isolate in halls.

2. If this was an at-home rapid self test:

3. Tell us that you are self-isolating.

4. See the UK government guidance for self-isolation.

5. Tell your close contacts and household contacts they might need to self-isolate.

6. Remember to tell your college/university as well. Most institutions have either an online form or a dedicated email address for reporting self-isolations and test results.

What to do if you live with someone who has coronavirus (household contact)

What does live with someone mean?

For COVID-19 purposes, you live with someone if you share a bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen with them. Sometimes this is called sharing a household. If one person in the household has coronavirus, everyone else in the household is a household contact.

  • Catered en suite accommodation: You don't live with anyone; no one is a household contact for you. Because the small pantries in our catered accommodation are not food preparation areas, they don't count as a kitchen.
  • Catered accommodation with shared bathroom: Your household is the floor or wing on which you live. Because the actual sharing of facilities in this context is minimal, it will not usually be necessary for the entire household to self-isolate if only one or two household members have coronavirus.
  • Studio flat or self-contained flat with your own kitchen: You only live with your partner and/or children (where applicable).
  • Self-catered accommodation with a shared kitchen: Everyone who shares the kitchen is one household and they live together. This mostly applies in Garden Halls (Hughes Parry Tower and Townhouses), Handel Mansions, and Eleanor Rosa House. In Hughes Parry Tower for example, one floor is one household; in the Townhouses, one house is a household. 

Requirements if you live in catered accommodation

If someone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus or a positive test, you will not normally need to take any action unless you are also a close contact of the person. A close contact means you were within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes, or within 1 metre for more than a minute (see section below, "What to do if you are a close contact of someone who tested positive").

Requirements if you live in self-catered accommodation

If someone with whom you share a self-catering kitchen has symptoms of coronavirus and/or a positive test, and if you are not exempt (see below for exemptions) you will need to self-isolate for 10 full days from when the person first developed symptoms (or from the date they did the test, if they don't have any symptoms).

If they just had symptoms but then go on to have a negative test, then you will be able to end your self-isolation early (as this means their symptoms were caused by something other than coronavirus).

1. Self-isolate in your room - see section above, How to self-isolate in halls.

2. Tell us that you are self-isolating.

3. See the UK government guidance for self-isolation.

4. Remember to tell your college/university as well. Most institutions have either an online form or a dedicated email address for reporting self-isolations and test results.

5. Arrange to have a free NHS PCR test whether or not you have symptoms.

  • You should arrange to have this test as soon as possible within your 10 day self-isolation period, so that NHS Test and Trace can identify the people that you have been in contact with. Taking a test will help find as many people with COVID-19 as possible and, by tracing your contacts, help reduce the spread of infection to others.
  • Don't arrange to have a PCR test if you have previously received a positive PCR test result in the last 90 days, unless you develop any new symptoms of COVID-19. It is possible for PCR tests to remain positive for some time after COVID-19 infection. 
  • This test must be a PCR test. Don't use a lateral flow rapid antigen test.  
  • If your PCR test result is negative, you should still stay at home and self-isolate to avoid putting others at risk. This is because you could still become infectious during the 10 day isolation period.
  • If your PCR test result is positive, see the section above, "What to do if you have a positive coronavirus test". You will need to start a further full 10 day isolation period, regardless of where you are in your original 10 day isolation period. This means that your total isolation period will be longer than 10 days.

Exemptions

You do not have to self-isolate as a household contact if any one or more of the following apply:

  • you have been fully vaccinated in the UK, with a UK-approved vaccine;
  • you are below the age of 18 years 6 months;
  • you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial; or
  • if you are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons.

Even if you are vaccinated, you can still be infected with COVID-19 and pass it on to others. So although you may be exempt from having to self-isolate, you should:

  • Arrange to get a free NHS  PCR  test as soon as possible, unless you have tested positive within the last 90 days.
  • Reduce close contact with people, especially in enclosed spaces, for 10 days.
  • Wearing a face covering indoors.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is clinically vulnerable.
  • Take part in twice weekly LFD testing (in addition to, not instead of, an NHS PCR test).
What to do if you are a close contact of someone who tested positive

What does "close contact" mean?

  • Face-to-face contact, including being coughed on or having a face-to-face conversation within one metre.
  • Being within one metre for one minute or longer.
  • Being within two metres for more than 15 minutes.

You can be a contact any time from two days before the person who tested positive developed their symptoms (or, if they did not have any symptoms, from two days before the date their positive test was taken), and up to 10 days after, as this is when they can pass the infection on to others.

How will you know if you are a close contact?

  • The person who tested positive may message or call you directly.
  • The UoL Trace team may email or call you.
  • NHS Test & Trace may call you.
  • The NHS COVID-19 app may alert you. 

What to do if you are notified that you are a close contact of someone with coronavirus
unless you are exempt - see below for exemptions

1. Self-isolate in your room - see section above, How to self-isolate in halls.

2. Tell us that you are self-isolating.

3. See the UK government guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person.

4. Remember to tell your college/university as well. Most institutions have either an online form or a dedicated email address for reporting self-isolations and test results.

5. Arrange to have a free NHS  PCR  test whether or not you have symptoms.

  • You should arrange to have this test as soon as possible within your 10 day self-isolation period, so that NHS Test and Trace can identify the people that you have been in contact with. Taking a test will help find as many people with COVID-19 as possible and, by tracing your contacts, help reduce the spread of infection to others.
  • Don't arrange to have a  PCR test if you have previously received a positive  PCR test result in the last 90 days, unless you develop any new symptoms of COVID-19. It is possible for PCR tests to remain positive for some time after COVID-19 infection.
  • This test must be a PCR test. Don't use a lateral flow rapid antigen test.  
  • If your PCR test result is negative, you should still stay at home and self-isolate to avoid putting others at risk. This is because you could still become infectious during the 10 day isolation period.
  • If your PCR test result is positive, see the section above, "What to do if you have a positive coronavirus test". You will need to start a further full 10 day isolation period, regardless of where you are in your original 10 day isolation period. This means that your total isolation period will be longer than 10 days.

Exemptions

You do not have to self-isolate as a close contact if any one or more of the following apply:

  • you have been fully vaccinated in the UK, with a UK-approved vaccine;
  • you are below the age of 18 years 6 months;
  • you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial; or
  • if you are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons.

Even if you are vaccinated, you can still be infected with COVID-19 and pass it on to others. So although you may be exempt from having to self-isolate, you should:

  • Arrange to get a free NHS  PCR  test as soon as possible, unless you have tested positive within the last 90 days.
  • Reduce close contact with people, especially in enclosed spaces, for 10 days.
  • Wearing a face covering indoors.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is clinically vulnerable.
  • Take part in twice weekly LFD testing (in addition to, not instead of, an NHS PCR test).
Support for you during self-isolation

Planning in advance

We put together a checklist to help you prepare in advance for any future self-isolation period. See the section below, "Planning ahead to maximise your resilience".

Meal deliveries

  • Catered residents: We will deliver three meals per day to your room, every day for the full duration of your self-isolation. Please note that breakfast and lunch are delivered together at the same time.
  • Self-catered residents excluding Eleanor Rosa House: If you're self-isolating with symptoms or a positive test, we will deliver three meals per day to your room, every day for the full duration of your self-isolation. If you are self-isolating as a contact, or in quarantine after international travel, we will deliver meals for the first three days of your self-isolation; this should allow you time to arrange a supermarket delivery. Please note that breakfast and lunch are delivered together at the same time.
  • Eleanor Rosa House residents: We can provide you with a three-day emergency supply of food upon request. Please contact your Hall Management team for details.

Mail and shopping deliveries

If you are expecting a delivery, please phone the reception for your hall and let them know. We will try to bring your delivery to the door of your room as soon as possible.

Waste collection

We will collect waste from your room every Tuesday and Friday morning, as well as leaving you with a new supply of bin bags. The housekeeping staff will knock on your door and stand back, leaving a trolley or bin outside the door. Please put your waste into the bin or trolley. If the staff knock and there is no answer, the collection will be attempted on the next collection day.

Toiletries and sanitary products

The Hall Management team in each hall has a small supply of basic toiletries and sanitary products. Please contact your Hall Manager if you need an emergency supply.

If you live in an en suite room or flat, we will deliver toilet tissue to your door once a week on Tuesdays, at the same time as the waste collection.

Daily online or telephone check-in

If you're self-isolating with symptoms or a positive test, the duty Resident Advisor will offer you an online or telephone 1:1 check-in every evening to make sure you're doing ok. You're also welcome to join the group call for those who are contact isolating or travel quarantining.

If you're self-isolating as a contact, or in quarantine after travel, the Warden's team will publish the details for a daily online group call you can join so there will always be at least one guaranteed time when you can speak with other people every day during your self-isolation or quarantine.

Pastoral and wellbeing support

There is always someone available in your hall to help.

We also want to let you know about some other services that could be helpful:

  • The university or college where you study offers a range of support services for students. 
  • The University of London subscribes to London Nightline - a service that offers confidential listening and support for students.
  • Student Space by Student Minds has a service dedicated to supporting students with mental and emotional issues related to COVID-19.
  • The Senate House Library Wellbeing Collection provides a variety of supportive resources for members, covering a wide range of issues and themes. Many of these resources are available online.
  • Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.
  • The Mix is a support service for young people. They can help you take on any challenge you’re facing - from mental health and money, to finding a job, break-ups, and drugs. You can contact them via their online community, on social, through their free, confidential helpline or use their counselling service.
  • See our list of some other great services that can provide free urgent/crisis support over the phone, online, and/or by text.

And finally, some NHS resources:

International travel: What to do before you arrive in the UK

We strongly recommend reading the full UK government guidance as the rules change frequently. We do our best to keep this page up to date, but please treat our guidance as general advice only. If there is any conflict between our guidance below and the instructions on the government website, please follow the government rules.

Some travel rules are changing from 4 October.

7-10 days before you are due to travel to the UK:

  1. Check if the countries you will be travelling from or through are on the UK government's red, amber, or green lists.
  2. If you will be travelling from or through any amber list countries and you have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 * in the UK, Europe, or USA, tell us that you will need to quarantine when you arrive in halls.
  3. Arrange a COVID-19 test to take in the three days before you start your journey to the UK.
  4. Consider making an order of essential items to be delivered to your hall on the same day that you arrive. If you are moving into self-catered accommodation, this should include a food delivery. Remember, if you will be quarantining on arrival, you won't be able to go out to the shops.

* To be considered fully vaccinated, you must have been vaccinated with a UK-approved vaccine and have acceptable proof of your vaccination status. Please see the government guidance for full details.

1-2 days before you are due to travel:

  1. Take your COVID-19 test and, assuming it is negative, ensure you will be able to show the result when you arrive at the UK border.
  2. Book and pay for COVID-19 tests to take after arrival in the UK (the number of tests and where they may be taken depend on whether you are travelling from or through red, amber, or green countries, and if you are vaccinated).
  3. If you will be required to quarantine when you arrive in the UK, consider if you would like to book and pay for an additional "test to release" COVID-19 test, to be taken on day 5 after arrival. If your day 2 and day 5 tests are both negative, you would be able to end your quarantine early.
  4. If you are travelling from or through a red list country, you will have to book and pay for your stay in a government quarantine hotel.
  5. Complete a UK passenger locator form. 
International travel: What to do when you arrive in the UK

We strongly recommend reading the full UK government guidance as the rules change frequently. We do our best to keep this page up to date, but please treat our guidance as general advice only. If there is any conflict between our guidance below and the instructions on the government website, please follow the government rules.

Some travel rules are changing from 4 October.

ALL PASSENGERS

  • At the UK border, you will need to show your passenger locator form and evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of your arrival at the border.

If you have travelled from or through a RED list country

  • You will need to show your booking for a government quarantine hotel. Your transport to the quarantine hotel will be arranged as part of your quarantine hotel package.

If you have travelled from or through an AMBER list country (and no red list countries)

  • If you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the UK, Europe, or USA and you have acceptable proof of your vaccination status with a UK-approved vaccine, you will be able to follow the rules for GREEN list countries below.
  • If you are not fully vaccinated as above, you will need to show evidence of your pre-booked tests to take on days 2 and 8 after arrival in the UK. If you have opted into the test to release scheme, you must also show evidence of your pre-booked test for day 5. You must travel directly from the airport to the place where you will be quarantining.

If you have travelled from or through only GREEN list countries

  • You will need to show evidence of your pre-booked test to take on day 2 after arrival in the UK. You will not have to quarantine.
International travel: What to do when you arrive at your hall of residence

Guidance for anyone who needs to quarantine upon arrival

You will need to quarantine upon arrival at your hall if you have travelled from or through any amber list countries and you have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the UK, Europe, or USA

  • Please wear a face covering when you check in to your hall and sanitise your hands.
  • Ask the staff member checking you in to confirm that your name is on on the list of quarantining residents.
  • Please proceed straight to your room, wearing a face covering at all times when in the reception area, corridors, lift, or stairs.
  • Complete your required period of quarantine by following our guidance above, How to self-isolate in halls
  • Download the NHS COVID-19 app.
  • Remember there is plenty of support available. See the section above, Support for you during self-isolation.

We strongly recommend reading the full UK government guidance as the rules change frequently. We do our best to keep this page up to date, but please treat our guidance as general advice only. If there is any conflict between our guidance below and the instructions on the government website, please follow the government rules.

Some travel rules are changing from 4 October.

International Travel: Free stay for travel quarantine before 12 September

Students who need to quarantine are recommended to move into halls no later than 1 September

If you have to quarantine upon arrival in your hall in September 2021, we want you to still be able to enjoy the full welcome experience that our halls are famous for!

The main arrivals day this year is Sunday 12 September*, and that's when we will be starting our programme of social events and icebreakers to help everyone get to know people in halls and start building a vibrant, supportive, inclusive community.

Of course, this will mean arriving at your hall earlier than 12 September so that you can complete your quarantine before the social programme kicks off. So that you can do this without incurring additional expense, we are offering up to 14 nights' stay free of charge provided you meet the following criteria:

  • you must move into your hall on or before Wednesday 1 September*; and
  • you must have travelled from an amber list country; and 
  • you must be required to quarantine upon arrival, and adhere to the quarantine requirements in full.

The last night available free of charge is the night of Saturday 11 September*. No free nights are available from 12 September onwards. We hope this will mean that cost will not be a barrier to our international students being able to join in our welcome activities on Sunday 12 September.

To take advantage of this offer, please contact the Accommodation team at info.halls@london.ac.uk. We will be able to help you best if you already have your flight booked and so can be definite about your arrival date.

Please note, the earliest possible arrival date for Connaught Hall and Nutford House is 23 August; for other halls, the earliest possible arrival date is 15 August.

* The main arrivals day for Handel Mansions is Monday 20 September. So for Handel Mansions only, the latest you can move in and take advantage of this offer is Thursday 9 September, and the last night available for free is Sunday 19 September.

Apps: How and why to download and use the NHS COVID-19 app

Everyone in our halls community is recommended to download and use the NHS COVID-19 app

The NHS COVID-19 app, available to download for free, is the fastest way to see if you’re at risk from coronavirus. The faster you know, the quicker you can alert and protect your friends and community.

The NHS COVID-19 app is the easiest and fastest way to order a coronavirus test. It also has a number of tools to protect you, including a symptom checker, contact tracing, local area alerts and venue check-in. It uses proven technology from Apple and Google, designed to protect every user’s privacy.

No identifiable information from the NHS app will ever be shared with the University of London or the college/university where you study.

Download the NHS COVID-19 app. 

You will need to have a compatible Apple or Android smartphone that has Bluetooth switched on.

Apps: How to get an NHS COVID Pass

Everyone in halls eligible for an NHS COVID Pass is recommended to download the NHS app

An NHS COVID Pass shows your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination details or test results. This is your COVID-19 status. You may be asked to show your pass to travel abroad, or at events and venues in the UK asking for proof of your COVID-19 status. From autumn 2021, nightclubs and some other entertainment and sports venues in England will be required by law to restrict entry to people with an NHS COVID Pass.

You can get a digital NHS COVID Pass using the NHS App or NHS website.

Please note the NHS app for the COVID Pass is different from the NHS COVID-19 app.

You will need an NHS login to use these services. You'll be asked to create one if you do not have an NHS login already. To get an NHS login, You must be registered at a GP surgery in England or receiving NHS services in England.

We strongly recommend that everyone living in halls registers with a GP in London. See our separate post to find out how to register with a GP in London.

Regular testing: How often should you get tested for coronavirus?

Everyone in halls is requested to do a free, rapid COVID-19 test twice a week, every week

About 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others.

You should do a rapid test twice a week (every 3 to 4 days) to check if you have the virus.

If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading. This can help keep you and your friends safer, and your studies on track. By reducing the risk of large outbreaks, regular testing can help ensure there won't be any more lockdowns and keep all our hall facilities open as normal. 

Please remember that lateral flow rapid antigen tests are only suitable for people who don’t have symptoms of coronavirus. They are not suitable to use as the day 2, day 8, or day 5 "test-to-release" COVID-19 tests after international travel. 

You should definitely do a test before attending any large events (whether in halls or elsewhere) and before long-distance travel.

Regular testing: How to get a test

Everyone in halls is requested to do a free, rapid COVID-19 test twice a week, every week

You have three options for getting your supply of free COVID-19 asymptomatic tests:

Option 1: Order a free pack of 7 tests to be delivered in the mail

Option 2: Pick up a free pack of 7 tests from a pharmacy or local test site

Option 3: Pick up a free pack of 7 tests from the University of London at Stewart House

How to use the test kits

The pack of tests includes full instructions about how to perform the test yourself at home. It's really straightforward and quick to do. You can also view an instructional video here.

Please remember that lateral flow rapid antigen tests are only suitable for people who don’t have symptoms of coronavirus. They are not suitable to use as the day 2, day 8, or day 5 "test-to-release" COVID-19 tests after international travel. 

Regular testing: How to report your test result

Everyone in halls is requested to do a free, rapid COVID-19 test twice a week, every week

It's important to report your rapid test result to the NHS as soon as possible after doing the test. Reporting your result helps the NHS monitor the spread of the virus, combat the virus and save lives. It also enables support to be given to communities across the UK. It's just as important to report a negative test result as it is to report a positive result.

Report your test result to the NHS here.

If your result is positive, check out the section above, "What to do if you have a positive coronavirus test".

Vaccination: How to get vaccinated against coronavirus + FAQs

COVID-19 vaccines are available free of charge for all adults in the UK. Everyone in our halls community is strongly recommended to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.

If you are not already fully vaccinated, please take the next step now towards getting your vaccine. Maybe this means looking up a "grab a jab" walk-in vaccination site, or maybe it's booking a vaccination appointment. Whatever you need to do - can you do it right now?

"Grab a jab" - walk-in, no appointment needed

You can get a COVID-19 vaccine from a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site without an appointment. You do not need to be registered with a GP or bring any ID. Find a walk-in NHS vaccination site here.

Booking a vaccination appointment

If you are registered with a GP, you can book a vaccine by calling 119 or using the online national booking service.

If you are not registered with a GP, we strongly recommend getting registered. However, you can request to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments as an unregistered patient through a local GP practice. GP practices should support unregistered patients to access the vaccine.

Frequently asked questions 

What do I do if I am registered with a GP in my hometown, but not where I study, or vice versa?

If you are registered with a GP practice, you can book your vaccine appointments online through the national booking service at a location that is convenient for you, or book a first dose through your GP and a second dose in a different location through the national booking service.

How can I access my second dose if I am in a different location to where I had my first dose?

The national booking service has an option to book or re-arrange the second vaccination appointment at a different location to the first appointment.

If you had a first dose in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, but is in England at the time of you second dose, you may:

  • book a second dose through the national booking service (if you are registered with a GP in England and therefore have an English NHS number);
  • register with a GP in England and book an appointment that way; or
  • approach a local GP and ask to be vaccinated as an unregistered patient.

Can I be vaccinated before my first health or social care placement starts?

All adults in the UK aged 18 or over should be offered a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 19 July 2021. If you start working in the NHS or in social care and you have not been vaccinated, you should be offered the vaccination through the occupational health department or your organisation. The second dose should not be brought forward in these circumstances.

What if I am eligible for my first dose in England, but will be abroad for my second dose (e.g overseas placement)?

Contact the health service in the country where you are resident at the time the second dose is due.

How can I obtain a COVID vaccine certificate?

There is information on GOV.uk here about COVID vaccine certification.

Are international students eligible for the vaccination?

Anybody aged 18 or over in the UK is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination for free, regardless of your nationality or immigration status.

Do international students need to pay for the vaccine?

Nobody in England has to pay for the COVID-19 vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccination is free of charge and does not count as the kind of care that requires payment.

Do international students need to be registered with a GP to get a vaccination?

While registration with a GP is encouraged to access the vaccine, you can request to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments as an unregistered patient through a local GP practice.

How do I get an NHS number as an international student?

Approach your local GP practice, saying you would like to register for the purposes of receiving the vaccine.

How can I get a vaccine as an international student?

You should register with a GP and get an NHS number. However, it is possible to request to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments as an unregistered patient by approaching a local GP practice. Visit nhs.uk/register for more information on GP registration.

If you have previously received NHS treatment, you will be able to book your vaccination via the national booking service.

You will need to reference your NHS number. Use this tool to find your NHS number if you do not know it.

What should I do if I’ve received my first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination abroad, and it is not a vaccine that is being offered in England?

If you received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine overseas that is also available in the UK, you should receive the same vaccine for your second dose. If the vaccine you received for your first dose is not available in the UK, the most similar alternative should be offered. Contact a GP to ensure you receive an appropriate vaccine for your second dose.

Where can I find more information?

Visit nhs.uk/covid-vaccination for more information about the COVID-19 vaccination.

Staying safe: Hand washing

Everyone in our halls community is recommended to clean hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser.

Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day. Regular hand washing is an effective way to reduce your risk of catching illnesses, including COVID-19.

It is particularly important to wash your hands:

  • after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose
  • before you eat or handle food
  • after coming into contact with surfaces touched by many others, such as handles, handrails and light switches
  • after coming into contact with shared areas such as kitchens and bathrooms
  • when you return home

Where possible, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you do need to touch your face (for example to put on or take off your face covering), wash or sanitise your hands before and after.

This video shows how to wash your hands properly:

And this (fascinating!) video shows why it's important to use a good hand washing technique:

Staying safe: Face coverings

There is evidence that effective face coverings can reduce the risk of transmitting and getting COVID-19.

Everyone in our halls community is recommended to wear a face covering in all public or communal areas, including corridors and stairs.

Everyone is requested to wear a face covering in any area that is busy or crowded.

Everyone is always required to respect the needs and concerns of others in relation to hygiene and distancing.

This means being aware that others may be more vulnerable to or more anxious about coronavirus. We can be patient, kind, and respectful. It might mean putting on a face covering if somebody asks us to. 

Other places where you may be required or expected to wear a face covering include:

  • your university campus;
  • hospitals and GP surgeries;
  • public transport, including stations, trains, buses, and taxis;
  • many shops, including major supermarkets;
  • air ports and planes.
Staying safe: Allowing space between yourself and others

Everyone in our halls community is recommended to keep a safe distance from other people wherever possible.

Everyone is requested to avoid crowded spaces.

COVID-19 is spread by close contact between people. Keeping a physical distance between ourselves and others is an effective way to reduce transmission of the virus. Some ways we can all do this in halls include:

  • avoiding crowded spaces;
  • maintaining 2 metres distance from others in a queue;
  • leaving some space between seats.

Everyone in our halls community is always required to respect the needs and concerns of others in relation to hygiene and distancing.

This means being aware that others may be more vulnerable to or more anxious about coronavirus. We can be patient, kind, and respectful. It might mean letting the lift go up with just one or two people inside, and waiting for the next one.

Staying safe: Minimising close contacts

Everyone in our halls community is recommended to minimise close social contacts where possible.

Everyone in catered halls is requested to try and eat with the same group of friends most of the time.

The social experience at university is important. It's natural to form new friendships and to want to spend time with others. To help keep everyone safe, we can try to socialise with the same group of friends. For example, we can arrange to go to meals with the same few people most days. As well as reducing the chances of an asymptomatic person transmitting the virus to many others, this could also make contact tracing easier and mean that fewer friends have to self-isolate if one tests positive.

Staying safe: Fresh air and ventilation

Everyone in our halls community is requested normally to socialise outdoors if possible, or to ensure indoor spaces are well ventilated. 

To reduce the risk of catching COVID-19, or passing it on, minimise the amount of time you spend indoors with people you do not live with. Meet outside if possible. If you do meet indoors, make sure the space is well ventilated.

What's the risk and how can you reduce it?

The risk is greater in small rooms as the concentration of virus in the air can build up more quickly than in larger areas. Letting fresh air into indoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particles and prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

When someone with COVID-19 breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release particles (droplets and aerosols) containing the virus that causes COVID-19. While larger droplets fall quickly to the ground, aerosols containing the virus can remain suspended in the air. If someone breathes in virus particles that are suspended in the air, they can become infected with COVID-19. This is known as airborne transmission.

In poorly ventilated rooms the amount of virus in the air can build up, increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19, especially if there are lots of infected people in the room. The virus can also remain in the air after an infected person has left. Bringing fresh air into a room and removing older stale air that contains virus particles reduces the chance of spreading COVID-19. The more fresh air that is brought inside, the quicker any airborne virus will be removed from the room.

How to ventilate a room well

If windows have openings at both the top and the bottom (such as sash windows), using just the top opening will help incoming fresh air warm up as it mixes with room air, reducing cold draughts. In warmer weather, use both the top and bottom openings as this will help provide even more airflow.

Opening windows and doors at opposite sides of the room or home will also provide a good flow of fresh air (this is known as cross ventilation).

If possible, maintain openings throughout the day to allow a constant flow of fresh air. The weather can affect the amount of air that flows through openings and so these should be adjusted to balance warmth with the amount of ventilation, where possible.

Staying safe: Safer travel

Everyone in our halls community is recommended to follow the tips below for safer travel.

Test before you travel

  • Current guidance is that everyone should take a coronavirus test twice a week, every week.
  • It’s a great idea to do a test 3 days before you travel and another on the day of travel. Rapid tests are not perfect, but this testing schedule should give you the best assurance possible with lateral tests that you are not infectious.
  • See section above, "Regular testing: How to get a test".

Plan ahead and check before you travel

  • Some public transport routes are still not completely back to normal, so check your route and book tickets in advance in possible.
  • If you’re travelling overseas, be sure to check the entry requirements of the country you are travelling to. You might need to provide a negative test result at the border, or meet other requirements for entry.

Don’t travel if you…

Maintain hygiene and social distancing when travelling

  • Wear a face covering on public transport and at stations and airports.
  • Keep 2 metres distance from anyone you don’t live with.
  • Sanitise your hands frequently.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue then throw away the tissue and clean your hands.
  • Open a window for ventilation if possible.

More advice

  • You can find out more about safer travel on the UK government website.
Planning ahead to maximise your resilience

Everyone in our halls community is recommended to make a personal plan in case self-isolation is required

It's a good idea to be prepared in case you need to self-isolate. Why not write out a quick plan or checklist now, so you know you are ready should the need arise? Try answering these questions:

Do you have a 10-day supply of essential toiletries and sanitary products?

  • If not, could you get some extra on your next shop?
  • Could you keep a small supply in a box under your bed "in case of emergency"?

Do you have a 10-day supply of any regular medicines?

  • If not, could you order or buy a new supply now? 
  • Could you always make sure to get more when you're down to the last 10-14 days?

Do you have some drinks and snacks that could last for 2-3 days, while you organise a supermarket delivery?

  • Could you add some to your "in case of emergency" box?
  • Would it be worth adding in some treats to brighten your self-isolation days up a little?

Do you have a mutual aid agreement with one or two friends?

  • If not, could you talk with some friends about this today? You could all agree to help look out for one another if one or more of you have to self-isolate - e.g. by going shopping, bringing deliveries to your room, doing emergency laundry.

Do you have 10 days of clean clothes?

  • If not, do you need to buy a few cheap items? Or do a wash more regularly?

Who could you keep in touch with by phone, chat, or video call?

  • Could you make a plan to check in with somebody at least daily, if you had to self-isolate?
  • Real-time, active, "live" chat is much better than passive social media interactions for beating away any feelings of loneliness. 

Do you have the number for your hall reception saved in your contacts?

If you smoke, do you have an emergency supply of a nicotine replacement product?

  • This could make self-isolation much more bearable!

What else is important to you on a daily basis?

  • Are there things you can do now to ensure you could continue to do these things in your room during self-isolation?

If you worked through this list, you should be well prepared in the event that you have to self-isolate. And of course, whatever happens, the halls team will be there to support you.

What might change if there is an outbreak in your hall

Working together, we can all help prevent outbreaks and make any new restrictions less likely.

An outbreak is technically defined as two or more epidemiologically linked cases occurring in the same hall within 14 days. The University has to report possible outbreaks to the local public health authorities, who advise on how to manage the situation.

Some likely changes if the number of people with COVID-19 in one hall rises above 1% of the hall population are listed below, in rough order of severity (the measures lower on the list would only be implemented if case numbers were high and rising, and only on instruction from the public health authorities).

  • Organised in-person social and recreational events may be postponed. 
  • Common rooms and study spaces may be temporarily closed.
  • It may become a requirement to wear face coverings in communal areas.
  • Seating capacity in dining areas may be temporarily reduced.
  • The facility for residents to host guests and visitors may be temporarily suspended.
  • Gatherings of more than a certain number of people may be prohibited.
  • Access to some facilities may be made dependent on having a recent negative coronavirus test.
  • The laundrette(s) may be temporarily closed.
  • Catering may be moved to a take-out only service or a delivery-only service.
Your wellbeing

It's important that we all take care of our physical and mental wellbeing during challenging times.

Here are just a few ways to explore personal wellbeing and get help. You're always welcome to talk with a member of the halls team for more.

Wellbeing content right here on CampusLife

We have a growing collection of articles all about wellbeing and highly recommend taking a look.

Resources like this can help us reflect on what our own needs are, see if we might enjoy or benefit from some of the things that others find helpful, find new ways of enhancing our own wellbeing, and learn about support services that we can turn to for more help.

Some sources of support and advice

  • The Warden's team are available in your hall to offer general wellbeing and pastoral support. They are normally available in the evenings and at weekends. You can contact your Warden by email or call your hall reception to get in touch with the duty Resident Advisor if you need to speak with someone urgently. 
  • The university or college where you study offers a range of support services for students. 
  • The University of London subscribes to London Nightline - a service that offers confidential listening and support for students.
  • Student Space by Student Minds has a service dedicated to supporting students with mental and emotional issues related to COVID-19.
  • The Senate House Library Wellbeing Collection provides a variety of supportive resources for members, covering a wide range of issues and themes. Many of these resources are available online.
  • Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.
  • The Mix is a support service for young people. They can help you take on any challenge you’re facing - from mental health and money, to finding a job, break-ups, and drugs. You can contact them via their online community, on social, through their free, confidential helpline or use their counselling service.
  • See our list of some other great services that can provide free urgent/crisis support over the phone, online, and/or by text.
  • Every Mind Matters offers expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.
Emergency evacuation when you are self-isolating

How do I evacuate the building when I’m self-isolating?

If there is a fire alarm or you are asked to evacuate the building by a member of staff, you must leave immediately, even if you are self-isolating. Make your way to a designated assembly point via the nearest fire escape route. Please wear a face covering and keep 2 metres distance from others.

Assembly point

You should not gather with everyone else at the main assembly point. Instead, please assemble at the alternative assembly point listed below for your hall. Once you get to the assembly point the halls staff will support you. Please continue to keep 2 metres distance and wear your face covering whilst outside.

COLLEGE HALL

Assemble on the corner of Malet Street and Torrington Place (corner of Waterstones).

CONNAUGHT HALL

Assemble on the corner of Tavistock Square and Gordon Square.

ELEANOR ROSA HOUSE

Assemble opposite the Westbridge Hotel on the corner of Stratford High Street and Ward Road. 

GARDEN HALLS

Assemble on the corner of Cartwright Gardens and Hastings Street.

HANDEL MANSIONS

Assemble on the corner of Hunter Street and Handel Street.

INTERNATIONAL HALL

Assemble on the corner of Lansdowne Terrace and Guildford Street.

LILLIAN PENSON HALL

Assemble outside the Mercure Hotel.

NUTFORD HOUSE

Assemble on the corner of Castlereagh Street.

Some ways to think about risk

There is no combination of interventions that can eliminate all risk. It is also not possible to put in place interventions for every area of risk – at least not while maintaining some kind of normal work, study, and social life. But small things can make a big difference. 

The individual efforts that each of us make multiply the efforts made by everyone else.

Working together, we can make our community much safer.

If you're in a small room with a person who has coronavirus, wearing a face covering probably won't prevent you from breathing in some virus. But it will reduce the "dose" of virus that you inhale. This might mean that you don't get sick at all, or it might mean you experience a milder illness than if you had not worn a face covering at all. And if you both wear a face covering and open the window wide, the benefits of each intervention multiply the benefits of the others. You won't be risk-free, but you will have reduced the risk as much as is practically possible. 

It might be best if you didn't have to touch any shared surfaces or equipment. That's not practical. But we can reduce the number of surfaces everyone touches; if there is virus in the environment, reducing the number of contact surfaces will reduce the dose of virus that we pick up. Again, this might prevent infection altogether, or it might just reduce the severity of illness. Either way, we win.

So... be a multiplier.

Take sensible, active steps to reduce the coronavirus risk for yourself and everyone.

Working together, we can all be safer.

Where to find more information

Department for Education helpline

The Department for Education has a helpline to answer questions about coronavirus related to education. Higher education staff, students and parents can contact the helpline as follows:

Their opening hours are:

  • 0800 to 1800 Monday to Friday
  • 1000 to 1600 Saturday and Sunday.

Major revision history

5 August 2021 - First published

9 September 2021 - New information about how to get a vaccine

14 September - Winter Plan referenced



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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