Student life and COVID

Image of printer printing 'Keep you distance' stickers used on campus.

Student life is undoubtedly different to previous years. While we all wish that student life could go back to ‘normal’ we all have to follow the information provided by the government and University to keep us, the people around us, and our friends and family safe. In this blog, we will explore important advice from public health advice, information from Reading Borough Council, and the University, to remind you of what you need to know this autumn term.

1. What’s happening in Reading?

Many students joining or returning to university will be from another part of the country or the world. If this is you, then it’s a good idea to make sure you know what’s going on in Reading. Reading Borough Council produces a regular newsletter with updates on what is happening and need to know information.

You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

2. Know the symptoms

Make sure you know the symptoms of COVID-19 and how it’s spread:

If you do have any symptoms, you can book a test on line at GOV.UK or by phoning NHS 119.

CORONAVIRUS If you feel ill with any of these symptoms: Cough fever loss of taste no sense of smell Stay home: stay home for 10 days Book a test: Call NHS Direct 119 or GET MEDICAL HELP IF YOUR SYMPTOMS GET WORSE CALL 111 OR IN AN EMERGENCY CALL 999 If you test positive for coronavirus Stay home: Stay home until you are well Test and Trace: Share your contacts with NHS Test and Trace Service Contact with coronavirus? The NHS Test & Trace Service will contact you Stay home: Stay home for 14 days Book a test: If you feel ill book a test. Call NHS Direct 119 or translations

3. NHS Covid-19 app on campus

If you haven’t already it’s a good idea to download the new NHS Covid-19 app. This is the best way to keep up to date with the latest advice and risk level in different areas in the UK.

The app is part of the large-scale NHS coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and contact tracing programme. It will be used to notify users if they come into close contact with someone who later tests positive for coronavirus. ‘Close contact’ generally means you have been within 2 metres of someone for 15 minutes or more.

To download the app on both Android and iPhone devices, simply visit the Google Play Store or Apple App store from your phone and search for the NHS COVID-19 app.

On campus You will see QR code posters, both in and outside of buildings. This includes catering venues, teaching buildings and classrooms, the Library and social spaces.

On entering each building, you can use the app to ‘check-in’ by scanning the QR code with your phone. Whilst not compulsory, in order to help us manage the risk of coronavirus in our community, we strongly encourage everyone to get into the habit of ‘checking-in’ every time you enter a building or venue with a QR code.

In some buildings, there will be a QR code at the entrance and also inside individual rooms. However, you only need to ‘check-in’ once per building – the additional QR codes are displayed to make it easier for you to do this.

4. COVID-19 dashboard 

The new UoR COVID-19 dashboard provides information on the number of positive COVID-19 test results reported to the University, and advice for students and staff who are self-isolating.

5. Hands, face and space

Wash your hands. It is so important to wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds or more using soap and water or hand sanitiser.

Cover your face. Follow guidance about-face coverings in confined spaces where you cannot maintain a 2-metre distance from other people. This includes retail spaces, take-away venues, museums, places of worship and on public transport, as well as any other areas such as teaching spaces and the Library

Remember that some people are not required to wear face coverings (for example, those with specific disabilities, which may be hidden) and these people should not feel they need to explain themselves to others.

Space. There are still opportunities to meet others, but you must follow government advice. Maintain a 2-metre distance from other people outside of your ‘household’ whenever possible, and only meet with a maximum of 6 people indoors or outdoors.

Remember to enjoy your time but safely and responsibly.

6. What to do if you need to self-isolate

If you develop symptoms of Covid-19, member of your household develops symptoms, or you are asked by the NHS Test & Trace service you will need to self-isolate.

If you have symptoms or receive a positive test result, you, and everyone else in your household need to remain at home. You must not attend face-to-face classes or other events/appointments, go to work or public areas and do not use public transport or taxis.

The rules on self-isolation at university remain the same as the rest of the country. That means staying at your university accommodation and avoiding contact with other people as much as possible, including those you live with.

If you share a student house then your housemates should self-isolate for 14 days starting from the day you became ill. If anyone in your household becomes unwell during the 14-day period they should get tested for COVID-19. If their test is positive they’ll need to self-isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started but if their test result is negative they should continue to self-isolate for the 14-day period.

Self isolation information for residents

What about studying?
How can I get food and essential items?
How can I find support?

7. Home at Halls

Home at Halls provides regular updates for those in halls with a particular focus on the latest COVID-19 arrangements. you can read the halls update Oct 2020.

8. Supporting Our Students (SOS)

Back in spring 2020 the University, in partnership with RUSU, launched ‘Supporting our Students’ (SOS) helping students through the global pandemic and the closure of UoR campuses. Now in October, SOS is back to help by connecting you to a fellow student or university staff member, helping you feel more connected to the UoR community. For students, this could be a chat over email, a cup of tea over video chat, or help finding the answers to some of your queries or worries.

If you feel you would like support, then get involved in SOS by filling out the online form. The scheme is open to all students regardless of your situation.

Support our Students

9. Wellbeing

The past six or so months have been challenging and have impacted many people’s wellbeing. Alongside university support networks and teams, a new online resource, Student Space is here to help make it easier for you to find the support that you need during the coronavirus pandemic.

There are three ways that Student Space is here to help during the pandemic:

  • Access to dedicated support services for students, by phone or text
  • Information and tools to help you through the challenges of coronavirus
  • Helping you find what support is available at your university


10. Collective responsibility to keep our community safe

We aim to create a vibrant and active campus environment for you to live, study and socialise in, while protecting the safety and wellbeing of our whole community. To do this effectively, we need to work together, as well as being flexible and considerate towards each other as we continue to adapt to the changing environment.

Keep date to date with the latest information on the Essentials – Student life in Autumn 2020.


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