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January lockdown in England

By Adrian 05 Jan 2021

The Prime Minister addressed the nation last night to announce a new national lockdown in England. The lockdown restrictions will become law in the early hours on Wednesday 6 January, but everyone should follow the new guidance starting immediately. The restrictions will be reviewed on 15 February.

The full guidance on what you can and cannot do in law is set out here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home. Scroll down the page for information about what the restrictions mean for life in the intercollegiate halls.

We all have both a legal and moral duty to follow the lockdown requirements in full. The coronavirus is surging in the UK, driven in part by the new variant of the virus which is up to 70% more easily transmitted. There is a serious and imminent threat that healthcare services will be overwhelmed, with hospitals running out of critical care facilities and oxygen supplies; and this is also impacting on care for other conditions such as cancer and heart disease.

There are 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. Even if you are young and medically fit, the risk of developing severe COVID-19 illness not zero - and there are reports that more young people are needing critical care treatment for coronavirus. But 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.

It is imperative that we all play our part to reduce transmission of the virus - for ourselves, for our friends and families, and for our communities.

Summary of national lockdown rules

You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:

  • shop for necessities;
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot do so from home;
  • exercise with one other person, no more than once per day;
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally allowed to form one;
  • seek medical help or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm;
  • attend education or childcare - for those eligible.

University provision will remain online until mid-February for all except future critical worker courses.

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the part of the city where you live.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential.

Meeting others

You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally allowed to form one).

You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.

You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.

Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.

Universities

Students on the following courses should return to face-to-face learning as planned and be tested twice upon arrival or self-isolate for ten days:

  • Medicine & dentistry;
  • Subjects allied to medicine/health;
  • Veterinary science;
  • Education (initial teacher training);
  • Social work;
  • Courses which require Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) assessments and or mandatory activity which is scheduled for January and which cannot be rescheduled (your university will let you know if this applies to you).

Students who do not study these courses should remain where they are and start their term online, as facilitated by their university until at least mid-February. This includes students on other practical courses not on the list above.

If you live at university, you should not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time.

Students should expect to follow the guidance and restrictions.

In the intercollegiate halls

  • The halls will remain open as normal to provide a safe and supportive home for you.
  • The Warden and Resident Advisors in your hall are available to help with any wellbeing, social, or personal concerns.
  • You should follow advice from your university about when to return to halls.
  • Follow advice from your university about arranging asymptomatic testing.
    • It is expected that every student will have two tests before returning to face-to-face study.
    • As an intercollegiate halls resident, you are also eligible to use the University of London testing facility at Student Central: https://london.ac.uk/test-and-trace
  • If you are returning from overseas, you may need to quarantine for 10 days when you arrive. See here for information and support: https://campuslife.london.ac.uk/search?query=travel+quarantine.
  • Stay in your own room/flat as much as possible. Minimise contact with anyone else. Keep in touch with friends remotely.
  • You must always wear a face covering in public/shared/communal areas including:
    • dining room (except when seated in a socially distanced layout);
    • reception;
    • corridors and stairs;
    • common rooms, games rooms, and TV rooms;
    • laundry;
    • bathrooms;
    • pantries and kitchens (except when seated in a socially distanced layout).
  • Keep a safe distance of 2 metres from other people.
    • This includes other people from within your type 2 household.
    • Do not move furniture in common rooms and other shared spaces.
  • Guests and visitors are not allowed.
  • You may not lawfully socialise - indoor or outdoors - with anyone who is not a member of your household.
    • This means that you are not allowed to socialise with residents from other floors or flats in your hall.
    • The only exception is that you can exercise outdoors with one other person from outside your household, no more than once per day. This must be in a public outdoor space; if your hall has a private garden or courtyard, it does not count as “outdoors” for legal purposes under the lockdown.
  • Social gatherings of more than six people are not allowed.
    • All six people must be from the same household.
    • Face coverings must be worn for type 2 household gatherings.
    • Social distancing of 2 metres must be maintained.
    • Exceptions apply in Garden Halls Townhouses and Hughes Parry Tower type 1 households: gatherings of more than 6 people are allowed here, provided everyone is from the same household and the gathering takes place within that household (e.g. in the shared kitchen).
  • In catered halls, the dining room will continue normal service.
    • You must only share a table with others from your household.
    • You must not move tables and chairs.
    • You must wear a face covering except when seated.
  • Clean your hands more often - wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitiser (which we have provided in all shared spaces):
    • when you enter the building;
    • after using the bathroom;
    • before eating or preparing food;
    • before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Wipe down surfaces and other items in shared areas before and after you use them (e.g. in common rooms, pantries, shared bathrooms). This includes items such as vacuum cleaners, table tennis bats, pool cues, and video game equipment. We have supplied suitable wipes in all common areas.
  • Catch coughs and sneezes with a single-use tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve at the elbow. Then wash or sanitise your hands.
  • Talk to other residents and try to find one or two “bug buddies” in your hall who can support you if you need to self-isolate or quarantine later. This could be a reciprocal arrangement, and would typically involve, going out for any urgent shopping and bringing up post, parcels, and restaurant deliveries to your room.

What to do if you develop symptoms of coronavirus

If you develop a new, persistent cough, fever (high temperature), or loss/change in your sense of taste/smell, follow this guidance: https://campuslife.london.ac.uk/what-to-do-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms_131019.

It is essential that you self-isolate and let us know at once using this form: https://bit.ly/uolselfisolation.

Finally...

With vaccines being rolled out, we all hope this lockdown will be one final push to contain the virus, protect the NHS, and save lives. We are here in the intercollegiate halls to support you (see here for more about support services: https://campuslife.london.ac.uk/health-and-wellbeing/support).

The staff and RAs are living and working through this lockdown alongside you. We understand the sacrifices that everyone is being asked to make: we’re making them too, and we know it isn’t always easy.

But we can do this together.

Please follow this guidance, talk to us if something isn’t right, tell us if you need help, and support one another. Every little thing we do for one another counts.

More information

You can find all our COVID-19 content at campuslife.london.ac.uk/tags/COVID-19.

There is a quick summary at campuslife.london.ac.uk/covid19-guidance-start-here_122007.

We also recommend that you stay up to date with guidance from the UK government and the NHS.

Adrian profile picture

Adrian 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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