2021 at University College Birmingham
Updates and FAQs on coronavirus (Covid-19), our safety policies and information on study and support services
Read time: approx 26 mins
We know these are extraordinary times right now. Here at University College Birmingham, we are dedicated to ensuring that nothing can stop you from achieving your ambitions and fulfilling your future.
Over the last 18 months, we have worked very hard to adapt our campuses and our teaching and support services in order to secure your health and safety while making sure you have the best possible experience studying with us.
University College Birmingham continues to closely monitor the latest advice and guidance from the UK Government and relevant authorities, including Public Health England (PHE), the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). This page is being regularly updated and contains a range of information and frequently asked questions concerning our current policies and what you can expect studying with us this year, helping to ensure everyone stays as informed and as safe as possible.
Page last updated: Friday 20 August
General information on coronavirus (Covid-19)
Covid-19 is an illness which can affect your lungs and airways. The most common symptoms may vary depending on whether or not you have received a vaccine:
- A headache
- A sore throat
- A runny nose
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes within 24 hours (if you normally have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- A headache
- A sore throat
- A runny nose
- Loss of smell – this means you’ve noticed you can’t smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different from normal
Frequently asked questions:
If I have a cough but otherwise feel OK, do I have to self-isolate?
Yes. If your symptoms fit the description of coronavirus, you must self-isolate for 10 days from your first symptoms. You can check your symptoms on the NHS website.
You should also book a test called a PCR test (details are available here). If the test comes back negative, you can then come back to campus. If you test positive, you must complete the self-isolation period.
You should also let us know if you have symptoms by sending an email to email@example.com
If I receive a positive Covid test but don’t have any symptoms, do I have to self-isolate?
Yes. If you test positive for Covid but are not experiencing any symptoms, you must still self-isolate for 10 days from when you took the test.
If you subsequently develop symptoms while you are self-isolating, you must then restart your 10 days of self-isolation from the day your symptoms started.
If someone I live with has symptoms or has tested positive, do I have to self-isolate?
From 16 August 2021, you do not have to self-isolate as long as you have received your second Covid vaccination at least 14 days before you were in contact with the person who is showing symptoms or has tested positive.
If you are unvaccinated or have only had one vaccine dose, you must still self-isolate for 10 days from when the person you live with first developed symptoms, or from when they tested positive.
The person you live with should self-isolate for 10 days, and if they have not yet been tested, they should book a test. If their test result is negative, you can both stop self-isolation. If their result is positive, you both must continue to self-isolate until the end of the 10-day period.
If someone I have been in close contact with has symptoms, do I need to self-isolate?
From 16 August 2021, you do not have to self-isolate as long as you have received your second Covid vaccination at least 14 days before you were in contact with the close contact who is showing symptoms.
If you are unvaccinated or have only had one vaccine dose, you only need to self-isolate if you share a household or support bubble with the person displaying symptoms. If someone has symptoms but you don’t share a household or support bubble with them, you don’t normally need to self-isolate, but you will need to if the person then tests positive.
If someone I have been in close contact with tests positive, do I need to self-isolate?
From 16 August 2021, you do not have to self-isolate as long as you have received your second Covid vaccination at least 14 days before you were in contact with the close contact who has tested positive.
If you are unvaccinated or have only had one vaccine dose, you will need to self-isolate, but the rules on what counts as ‘close contact’ can be complicated, so please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for specific advice. If NHS Test and Trace has contacted you and told you to self-isolate, you must follow that advice. University College Birmingham will tell you if we believe you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive on our site.
I had symptoms and started self-isolating but now I feel OK again – can I come back to campus?
No. You must complete the self-isolation period unless you have tested negative.
If I have been told to self-isolate because I have been in contact with someone who tested positive, can I be tested?
Probably not, unless you develop symptoms. NHS tests (PCR) are only supposed to be given to people who are symptomatic.
In any case, even if you have tested negative, you will still have to complete the self-isolation period, as symptoms can develop later and wouldn’t always be picked up by the test.
How is University College Birmingham currently affected by restrictions due to the pandemic?
Since 19 July 2021, the majority of national restrictions to control the spread of Covid-19 in England have now been lifted, meaning there are no longer legal requirements on social distancing, gatherings or face coverings. However, the UK Government is still advising caution amid the ongoing high prevalence of Covid nationally, and has issued guidance on topics such as increasing close contact gradually and the continued use of face coverings in crowded areas. To find out more, please visit the GOV.UK website.
University College Birmingham has been making extensive preparations for the new 2021/22 academic year, with the vast majority of our courses returning to mostly face-to-face teaching, though some safety measures and guidance will remain in place on campus. However, having developed our online resources substantially during the pandemic, some use of digital platforms is also likely to continue. In addition, we have prepared detailed contingency plans should there be any change in circumstances or reintroduction of restrictions. For more information, please visit our page on Teaching in the 2021/22 academic year.
Further specific information about our services and facilities in the new academic year can be found in the relevant sections further down this page.
What if I am classed as ‘Extremely Clinically Vulnerable’?
If you are considered Extremely Clinically Vulnerable (i.e. you received a letter telling you to shield during a previous lockdown) and you have been attending classes on campus, please let us know by contacting email@example.com.
Individuals classed as Extremely Clinically Vulnerable are no longer required to shield. However, you should continue to take precautions to protect yourself. More advice and guidance is available on the GOV.UK website here.
Am I eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccination?
Everyone aged 16 and over is now being offered the Covid-19 vaccination for free as part of the UK’s national rollout programme. This includes international students, regardless of nationality or immigration status.
Full details about Covid-19 vaccinations for higher education students can be found on the NHS website here.
Where and how can I get my Covid-19 vaccination?
The vaccine is being offered at local sites run by GPs or community pharmacies, at larger vaccination centres and in some hospitals. Local areas may also work with partners to set up temporary ‘pop-up’ clinics at locations convenient for student access.
For more information about how to book your vaccine and other frequently asked questions, please see details on Covid-19 vaccination for students in higher education on the NHS website.
Coming to campus
Health and safety is our top priority for everyone attending or visiting University College Birmingham. Throughout the pandemic, we have implemented a range of safety measures and guidelines for whenever you come to our campus buildings.
We have many staff and students who are at particularly high risk from coronavirus, so even if you don't feel particularly vulnerable yourself, we need you to act responsibly to protect our whole community.
If you are showing any symptoms or are self-isolating, you must stay at home, book a Covid-19 test and contact the University to inform us of your situation (see General information on coronavirus above).
You should also consult the additional information about travel guidance and Covid-19 testing requirements on our ‘Travel and Testing’ pages.
Frequently asked questions:
What safety measures are in place on campus?
We have implemented a range of measures to help maintain social distancing across the University for those who need to attend campus. You should adhere to two-metre social distance wherever possible.
A number of one-way systems are in place at our campus buildings, with floor plans and signage indicating which directions to follow as well as designated entry and exit points – please ensure you follow these systems at all times and use the correct entrances.
Teaching and IT areas have been arranged to allow for the necessary social distancing. All lifts across campus have also been marked indicating the maximum capacity – as space within the lifts is limited, please only use a lift if you can’t use the stairs, to ensure that the lift is available for people who really need it.
Visit this page for examples of what to expect when you come onto campus.
Is hand sanitiser provided?
Yes – we have provided hand sanitiser stations throughout our campus sites.
You should wash your hands regularly, especially when entering any building. You can use the hand sanitiser provided or use soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Do I need to wear a mask/face covering on campus?
Face coverings are strongly encouraged (although not mandatory) whenever you are on campus in a public space, unless you are eating or need to remove them for a particular part of a class.
Please note that face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing, so remember to also keep your distance around other people where possible.
Do I need to get tested to come onto campus?
If you are coming onto campus, you are strongly advised to undergo Covid testing twice a week.
For full information about testing requirements, please see the following pages:
Covid-19 testing: Higher education (undergraduate and postgraduate students)
Covid-19 testing: Further education (college students)
Do I need to have been vaccinated to come onto campus?
We strongly encourage you to get vaccinated before you come back to campus if you possibly can. This will help to reduce the chances of you catching Covid and needing to miss your classes to self-isolate, as well as reducing your chances of being ill. It will also help to protect other members of the University College Birmingham community.
If you’ve not had both vaccinations, you will also still need to self-isolate if you are a close contact of someone who tests positive, which is why it is a good idea to get vaccinated to avoid disruption to your studies and social life.
I have received a coronavirus vaccine – do these requirements still apply to me?
Yes. Even if you have received one or two doses of a coronavirus vaccine, you should still follow all the above requirements and guidance concerning face coverings, social distancing, Covid testing, hand washing etc.
What happens if there are cases on campus?
We have a contact tracing system in place. If you have likely come into contact with someone at University College Birmingham who has tested positive for coronavirus, we will let you know if you need to self-isolate. We will be following guidance from the government and Public Health Birmingham on when to ask groups to self-isolate.
To help us, it is important that you keep your contact details on the Portal up to date so that we can contact you if needed.
Are the library and IT facilities open?
The library at The Link will be available from 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday throughout the summer. It is also possible to borrow library books using the click and collect service.
Camden House is also available if you need to use the computers. There will be IT staff on site if you are having any technical problems. Alternatively, you can see phone and online contact details for IT support here.
For more information, please see the Other support services section below.
Are the campus gym facilities open?
Our gym facilities at Moss House and The Maltings are open. For more information including opening times and membership details, please see our Gym Facilities page.
Are the sports injury clinics open?
Our sports injury clinics will be closed during the summer break.
Is The Spa open?
The Spa will be closed during the summer break.
Is Aspire Aesthetics open?
The Aspire Aesthetics clinic at Summer Row will be closed during the summer break.
Is Restaurant at Birmingham College of Food open?
Restaurant at Birmingham College of Food is currently closed during the summer break. The restaurant will reopen on 6 October.
Is Cakes and Bakes open?
Cakes and Bakes at Summer Row is currently closed during the summer break. The shop will reopen from 6 September.
Are campus cafes open?
The 5th floor cafe at Summer Row is open. Our other campus cafes are closed during the summer break, but will reopen on the following dates:
EatSpace, McIntyre House – Opens 1 September
The Living Room, Moss House – Opens 13 September
The Dining Room, Moss House – Opens 27 September
(The Rooftop Café at Summer Row closed down in September 2020 and will not be reopening.)
Social distancing will remain in place in all catering areas, with reduced capacity in the seating areas. One way systems will also still be in place and must be adhered to.
You are encouraged to continue wearing masks in public spaces within the café but can remove them when sat at your table, while QR codes remain on display for track and trace purposes.
Hand sanitiser is provided, and you are advised to use this whenever using the self-serve coffee machines. We are continuing to serve food in takeaway packaging in most areas, though this is being reviewed on an ongoing basis. Any further updates will be provided in due course.
Where can I find more information?
You can view copies of our Health and Safety Guidance and our Health and Safety Risk Assessments here.
Tuition and online learning
Our intention for the 2021/22 academic year is for our courses to return to pre-pandemic forms of delivery as far as possible, meaning the majority of teaching will be face-to-face.
However, we have developed our online resources substantially during the pandemic, and with much of the world having adapted to working remotely, we consider the use of digital platforms to be good preparation for your future career. As such, we plan to continue some digital or online delivery where possible/appropriate for your course.
Details about our plans for how courses will be delivered in the next academic year from September can be found on this page.
Frequently asked questions:
Where can I find information about accessing online tuition and resources?
If you need help with using IT equipment, we have specially trained mentors who can help you. You can access them by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
What should I do if I don’t have access to IT equipment or the internet?
The library at The Link is available for students who do not have IT equipment or space to study at home, while the computers at Camden House are also available. (See more information under Other support services below.)
If you cannot come to campus and do not have access to IT equipment, please contact Student Services and we may be able to help you (email email@example.com or call 0121 232 4069).
Our city centre accommodation at The Maltings remains open as normal for students at University College Birmingham. Full details about our accommodation, including our Covid-19 quarantine policy, can be found here.
If you require any further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently asked questions:
Are University College Birmingham’s halls of residence open?
Our halls of accommodation at The Maltings remain open, and our Accommodation team can help if you have any questions.
If you need support while you are living in Birmingham – whether at The Maltings or in a private residence – please let us know and we will do our best to help.
Other support services
We have a number of safety measures in place, including one-way systems, regular cleaning patrols and two-metre social distancing within study spaces, as well as hand sanitiser and wipes. Gloves are also available within the library should you wish to browse the shelves, but if you know which items you need in advance, we would encourage you to use our online click and collect system.
One-to-one appointments are available with the Academic Skills Centre (ASC) and subject librarians, either online or by phone. Student services staff are available online, including staff who can support you with your mental health and wellbeing, and trained counsellors.
Our other support services remain available to assist you in a variety of areas, while the Guild of Students continues to provide support for all students at University College Birmingham. Please see the FAQs below for more details.
Frequently asked questions:
Where can I find a study space or PC?
The library at The Link (4th, 5th and 6th floors) is open for all students for quiet, individual study only.
Camden House contains a resource centre with PCs and laptop spaces, as well as access to ITSU technicians for any IT-related queries.
Please use the hand sanitiser and wipes provided before and after using any study spaces and equipment.
How do I use the library click and collect system?
If you don’t wish to use The Link library as a study space and simply want to check books out, we recommend you use our click and collect service.
A member of staff will collect the books from the shelves for you. You will then receive an email to inform you when your order is ready and where to collect the books from.
How do I return books?
Books can currently be returned to the library at The Link using the self-service kiosks on the 4th floor. If you only wish to return books and don’t need to visit the library, there is also a returns point in the reception area on the Ground Floor at The Link.
How do I make an appointment with my subject librarian/CASE/ASC?
The library and CASE/ASC are delivering one-to-one sessions for students via remote appointments. These must be booked in advance.
To book an appointment with a subject librarian, or if you are a higher education student and wish to book an appointment with the ASC, please click here.
For further education students who wish to book an appointment with the ASC at Richmond House, please email email@example.com or call 0121 232 4369.
Please note that availability of appointments may be limited over the summer break.
How do I access health and wellbeing support?
We know that this is a challenging time for lots of people. If you need support, we offer a range of services to help you.
Please be aware that the University’s Health and Wellbeing service (counsellors and mental health adviser) is closed during the summer break and will reopen from 13 September.
All students can access the Canvas course ‘Wellbeing’ for self-help information and links to external services such as helplines, websites and workshops. Alternatively, you can access our Student Assistance Programme.
Student Assistance Programme (SAP)
The Student Assistance Programme (SAP) is a free and confidential* service for our higher education students, designed to help you deal with personal or academic problems that could be affecting your home life, health or general wellbeing.
The SAP provides a complete support network with unlimited access to a 24/7 confidential counselling helpline that offers expert advice and compassionate guidance covering a wide range of issues. This includes the option of structured counselling sessions from trained counsellors over the phone. To speak to a BACP-accredited counsellor for free at any time of day or night, just call 0800 028 3766.
*The service is confidential in almost all circumstances, but very occasionally Health Assured may need to share information about you if they judge that your health, wellbeing or welfare is at imminent risk. More information is available here.
My Healthy Advantage Mobile App
Sometimes it can be difficult to balance the pressures of university with the demands of home life, and when things feel overwhelming, you may need help and support to deal with the practical and emotional challenges you may be facing.
This free Health Assured app offers access to health and wellbeing support at the tap of a finger anywhere and anytime. Support services include:
- Weekly mood tracker
- Support videos and webinars
- Four-week programmes
- Home life support and advice
- Physical and emotional health
- Mini health checks
- Wellbeing videos and webinars
- Medical information
The My Healthy Advantage app is available to download and register on iOS (via the App Store) and Android (via Google Play). To register and gain access, you will require the following MHA ID Code: MHA145988
For other help outside of University College Birmingham, you can call the mental health support line offered by Birmingham and Solihull NHS Trust. The helpline is available on 0121 262 3555 and is open 7 days a week, from 9am to 11pm.
Further support is also available through Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity.
What if I am having other difficulties while studying?
Our Student Engagement Team is available to provide a variety of support, including advice and guidance, mentoring or directing you to our other support teams.
If you are seeking general advice, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more complex issues, you can book an appointment with our engagement team – this will initially consist of a phone call, followed by a meeting online depending on the circumstances.
We encourage all students to join our UCB Community page on Canvas, where you can book your appointment with one of our engagement officers, as well as finding more information about our support teams.
Please note that availability of appointments may be limited over the summer break.
What support is available from the Guild of Students?
As always, the Guild is here to support your academic interests, and we can accommodate safe meetings on campus as well as digital meetings to support, signpost or listen.
For more information about support and activities available through the Guild, please visit the Guild of Students website. You can also use the Live Chat on the website, send a message via the Guild’s social media channels or email email@example.com.
How do I contact other support services (e.g. Finance, International)?
Our support services are always available to provide you with help and assistance wherever needed. In the first instance, please send an email to the relevant team, then staff will pick this up and respond during the working day.
Finance: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 0121 232 4411
IT support: ITSU@ucb.ac.uk
Applying to University College Birmingham
Prospective students can apply as normal for courses starting at University College Birmingham in September 2021 or February 2022. For more information, visit our How to Apply page.
Frequently asked questions:
Can I attend an open day?
We are currently offering a combination of on-campus and online open days. To find out more, please visit our Open Days page.
Should you not be able to attend an on-campus open day, our online open days are packed with everything from insight on your course of interest or 3D tours of our cutting-edge facilities to Q&As with lecturers and the chance to talk to our support services.
Can I visit the campus?
On-site campus tours at University College Birmingham are currently available on a limited basis for prospective students who want to apply for 2021.
For more information and upcoming dates, please refer to our Campus Tours page.
I am an international applicant – will I be able to take an English test with the University?
English tests are currently available online. We will also be offering in-person tests on campus for entry in 2022, and our Admissions team will contact you directly to organise this with you and select the most appropriate option once we have received your application.
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