Moss House Main Foyer  - University College Birmingham

Coming to Campus:
Higher education students

Information for undergraduate and postgraduate students on coming to University College Birmingham over the summer

Page last updated: Friday 25 June

This page contains information for new and returning higher education students about attending University College Birmingham during the summer. Here you will find important advice and guidelines around coming onto our campus and travelling to Birmingham, as well as information about Covid-19 testing requirements.

We are continuously monitoring guidance from the UK government concerning the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and national restrictions in England, and how this will impact upon students attending the University. Please be aware therefore that the information presented below is subject to change, so you should continue to check for further updates from the University via email and on Canvas. 

Note: If you are a college student at University College Birmingham, please visit our page on Coming to campus: further education students

Latest guidelines on coming to campus

Our university students have been returning to face-to-face teaching over the course of the spring, with the Government having announced that all higher education students were able to return to campus from 17 May.

We have already been making plans and preparations for when teaching resumes after the summer – to find out more, please visit our page on Teaching in the 2021/22 academic year.

Should you need to come onto our campus before then, you will need to undergo Covid testing and follow all safety regulations while on site. For more information, see Covid-19 testing below).

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) (Last updated 25 June)

What safety measures are in place on campus, and what facilities are available?

It’s really important you continue to follow all social distancing and behaviour rules if you come to campus (and indeed everywhere else). Universities including University College Birmingham have had to work very hard behind the scenes to convince the government that students can be trusted to follow the rules, and that letting you return won’t contribute to the spread of Covid-19.

We are confident that the processes we’ve put in place will keep everyone safe, but they only work if everyone follows them, so we encourage you to be patient and sensible.

To make sure you stay safe on campus we’ll need you to follow a few rules. In particular, you will need to wear a mask whenever you are indoors on campus, unless you are eating or have been asked to remove it for a particular part of a class. If you are exempt from wearing a mask, you must make sure you have a card to show this – you can obtain an exemption card by asking your lecturers. You should also get a coronavirus test before you attend.

Full details about our safety measures and regulations on campus, as well as details on which facilities are open for students, are available on our dedicated Covid-19 FAQs page.

If I am studying a practical course but don’t currently feel comfortable coming onto campus, can I complete my studies online instead?

You will need to speak to your Year Manager about whether or not you can do your course online, and if the contingencies put in place cover this.

What if I cannot get back to campus?

If your course is being taught in person but you are not sure you can get back to campus, please let your lecturers know as soon as possible so we can advise you on the options you have.

If you are currently overseas and are concerned about the cost of testing or quarantine on your return, please contact Student Services on financialsupport@ucb.ac.uk – we may be able to help, though it is unlikely we will be able to pay the full cost of testing/quarantine for any students. Please see more information about Travelling to the UK below.

If you are classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (i.e. you were previously shielding because of a letter you received from the NHS) and you are returning to campus, please let us know by emailing covid19@ucb.ac.uk so we can advise you on what to do. Shielding has now ended for most people, so in the majority of cases you should be able to return to campus.

Can I access campus facilities and accommodation?

Our accommodation at The Maltings has remained open throughout the periods of national restrictions over the 2020/21 academic year. Students living in our accommodation must ensure they follow the latest government guidance on mixing with other households – see more information on the GOV.UK website.

Campus-based services, such as the library and IT support, are open in a Covid-secure way for all students who need to use them. You can see more information about the availability of these facilities below.

You are strongly encouraged to take a Covid test before you come onto campus (see Covid-19 testing below).

Full government guidance on the return for students is available here.

What if I don't have IT equipment or space to study at home?

Our IT and library facilities remain available for use by students who do not have IT equipment or space to study at home. You should get a Covid test before the first time you come to the library, and twice a week from then.

The library at The Link will be open from 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday throughout the summer. Camden House is also available if you need to use the computers.

IT staff will be on site if you have any technical problems. Alternatively, you can find phone and contact details for IT support on the Portal. You will also still be able to borrow library books using our click and collect service.

Please note, you should take a Covid test before you use any spaces on campus.

How and when do I need to get tested?

Please see full information on our testing guidelines under Covid-19 testing below.

I need to commute to the University – am I allowed to travel?

You are permitted to travel for education purposes. If in doubt, you should show any public transport inspectors or police your timetable on the Portal.

Where can I find more information?

Further information concerning Covid-19, access to our campus and facilities, as well as tuition arrangements and support services, can be found on our dedicated Covid-19 FAQs page.

What if I have other questions?

If you have any questions about what all this means for you, please speak to your teaching teams in the first instance, or send an email to covid19@ucb.ac.uk.

Teaching and support staff will continue to be available via email and phone to provide you with support and advice if you need it.

Travelling to the UK
(EU/International students)

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, restrictions are currently in place for individuals arriving from outside the UK. We are aware this is causing issues for many students travelling into the country.

All arrivals to the UK (with some exemptions) must now test negative for Covid-19 in the 72 hours before you travel. More information, including details of those who are exempt from needing a test, is available here.

Depending on where you are travelling from, you will need to observe requirements on quarantine and testing upon your arrival – see our Frequently Asked Questions below for more details.

There are some countries from which entry into the UK is currently banned, often referred to as 'red list' countries – you can view the latest 'red list' here. See below for more information about what you should do if your country is affected.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) (Last updated 25 June)

My country is on the government 'red list' - what do I need to do?

If you are planning to travel from one of the countries on the UK Government's 'red list', you are currently not able to enter the UK at all, unless you are a British or Irish national, or have UK residence rights (including if you have settled status under the EU settlement scheme, or Indefinite Leave to Remain).

If you are permitted to enter the UK, you will have to quarantine at a government-managed quarantine hotel for 10 days after you arrive. You will need to book this before you travel – more details are available here.

You will also need to take a Covid test on days 2 and 8 of your quarantine period. This test is from a government-mandated supplier (not University College Birmingham) and there will be a charge – more information is available here.

In addition, you will be required to complete a passenger locator form. Full details can be found here.

Please bear in mind that we do not know how long these requirements will be in place, and it is possible countries on the 'red list' could change, potentially at short notice.

My country is on the government ‘amber list’ - what do I need to do?

As of 17 May, if you are travelling into the UK from a country that is on the UK Government’s amber list (except the Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man), you must still quarantine at a private address, such as your home, hall of residence or another suitable location.

You must quarantine for 10 days and will need to take a Covid test on days 2 and 8. This test is from a government-mandated supplier (not University College Birmingham) and there will be a charge – more information is available here. In addition, you will be required to complete a passenger locator form – full details can be found here.

If you are a resident at The Maltings we can support you to quarantine in these circumstances. Please contact The Maltings on maltings@ucb.ac.uk to discuss the options.

My country is on the government 'green list' - what do I need to do?

As of 17 May, if you are travelling into the UK from a country that is on the UK Government’s ‘green list’, you must take a Covid test on or before day 2 after you arrive in the UK from a government-mandated supplier (not University College Birmingham) and there will be a charge - more information is available here.

In addition, you will be required to complete a passenger locator form – full details can be found here.

Is any funding support available for quarantine/testing?

If you are facing financial difficulties as a consequence of needing to pay for hotel quarantine or Covid testing in order to enter the UK, let us know and we will advise you on available funding.

Please note that it is very unlikely University College Birmingham will be able to help you with the full costs of hotel quarantine.

Covid-19 testing

Before returning to campus, all students with no coronavirus symptoms should take a Covid-19 test. You should not come onto University premises or mix with other students until you have been tested, if you possibly can.

University College Birmingham’s testing centre will be closed over the summer (from 25 June). However, if you know you will need to be on campus during July and August, you should look to get tested in one of the other ways available to you.

You can use the Home Test Ordering Service from the UK Government, which is open to the general public online here. If you are staying in Birmingham over the summer, you can also find information on pop-up lateral flow test collection sites and testing in community pharmacies here.

Even when you have received a negative test, you are still strongly advised to adhere to social distancing rules. If you test positive, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days, as you would with any other Covid-19 test.

Should you have any questions about testing, please email us at covid19@ucb.ac.uk.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) (Last updated 25 June)

What is asymptomatic (lateral flow) testing, and who is it for?

Lateral flow antigen tests detect whether or not Covid-19 is present in your body by using a swab or saliva sample. Unlike a PCR test, they don’t require a laboratory to process the test, so results can be delivered rapidly.

The tests are designed for anyone who is asymptomatic (i.e not showing symptoms of coronavirus). Some people who become infected with Covid-19 do not develop any symptoms yet may still be infectious to others without realising it, therefore the tests can quickly determine the presence of the virus and help individuals act accordingly.

Is it compulsory to get tested?

The UK Government has advised that all students and staff need to be tested twice weekly.

Testing is very strongly advised, as it will help to stop the spread of Covid by people who don't have symptoms – around 1 in 3 people who are infected with Covid don't know they have it, but they can still pass it on. You should be tested twice a week if you are coming to campus regularly or mixing with other people.

Do I need to inform the University about my test result?

You can update your test result yourself on the Portal. If your test is positive, you will also need to email covid19@ucb.ac.uk and let us know.

What happens if I test negative?

If your test result is negative, you can attend classes and campus facilities as required, but should be particularly careful to maintain social distancing and other safety measures.

What happens if I test positive?

If you receive a positive result, you must begin self-isolation immediately for 10 days from when you receive your result.

You should also report your test result to covid19@ucb.ac.uk so we can undertake contact tracing and provide you with advice and support.

If you test positive through a lateral flow test, you must also take a confirmatory PCR test within two days. If you do not, you will need to self-isolate for 10 full days even if you get a negative PCR result. If you book the PCR test within two days of the positive lateral flow test and it provides a negative result, you can return to campus, and close contacts and other household members can stop self-isolating.

What happens if my test result is invalid?

If your test result comes back as invalid, please let us know and then book a new test.

If I test negative, does that mean I definitely don't have Covid-19?

No. The test can’t guarantee that you don’t have Covid-19, as it can take some time for the virus to incubate after you are infected.

By having two tests every week, we increase the chances of identifying the virus if it is incubating. So it’s a good sign that you are not infectious, but it is not absolutely guaranteed. This is why it is important to continue to wear a mask, wash your hands and maintain social distancing, even if you have tested negative.

What happens if I test negative, but discover I am a close contact of someone who has tested positive?

If you are a close contact of a positive case, you would need to self-isolate for 10 days from your last contact with that person. That’s why it’s particularly important that you maintain social distancing, to minimise the chance of you being identified as someone’s close contact.

The virus can take time to incubate, which is why you have to isolate if you are a close contact of a positive case, even if you have tested negative.

Where can I get a test if I am experiencing symptoms of Covid-19?

If you are experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19, do not come onto campus. Instead, you should stay at home and book a different test called a PCR test, available for free at your local testing centre. For more information, visit the GOV.UK website.

If you are struggling to book a PCR test, please let us know by contacting covid19@ucb.ac.uk and we may be able to help.

Should I get tested if I've recently had Covid-19?

If you have tested positive for Covid-19 recently (i.e. within the last 90 days), we do not advise you to get a test. You are very unlikely to be infected again so quickly, and the test may still show you as positive, although you should not still be infectious. You should email covid19@ucb.ac.uk to let us know if you have recently tested positive. You will not need a doctor’s note as we have a record of this.

If your positive test was more than 3 months ago, you will need to continue to get tested.

I am already getting lateral flow tests twice weekly from my employer – can I use those results?

Yes. Please confirm to your lecturer that you have tested negative, as well as sending an email to covid19@ucb.ac.uk.

Do I have to get tested before I can come to classes?

You are very strongly encouraged to get tested, but it is not compulsory. Getting tested is a great way to help ensure you do not risk passing Covid-19 to your friends, lecturers or classmates, and should reduce the number of people who need to self-isolate during term.

I have received a coronavirus vaccine – do I still need to get tested?

Yes. Even if you have received one or two doses of a coronavirus vaccine, you will still be required to get a test, as well as following all the requirements and guidance concerning face coverings, social distancing, hand washing etc.

What support is available if I need to self-isolate?

We encourage all of our students to look out for each other, and to let us know if you need more support. If you live at The Maltings and need to self-isolate, we will be in touch to offer support with ordering food, laundry, parcel deliveries and wellbeing. If you need more details, you can phone The Maltings office on 0121 666 7304.

If you need wellbeing and mental health support, check the Canvas page or contact wellbeing@ucb.ac.uk. For help outside of University College Birmingham, you can also 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.

More detailed information about support services is available on our Covid-19 FAQs page.

Should I get a test before I travel back to Birmingham?

If your local region is offering asymptomatic testing that you can access, please do make use of this before you travel back to University College Birmingham.

I am travelling to the University from overseas – when should I arrive?

You should aim to arrive with enough time before you are required on campus to allow for any quarantine period. If you have already booked flights then let us know what date to expect you by emailing covid19@ucb.ac.uk.

If you are living at The Maltings, we can support you during any quarantine period. Even if you do not need to quarantine, you will still need to get tested when you first attend campus.

Please see ‘Travelling to the UK’ above for more information.

Where can I find more information?

If you have any questions about what all this means for you, please speak to your teaching teams in the first instance, or send an email to covid19@ucb.ac.uk.

Teaching and support staff will continue to be available via email and phone to provide you with support and advice if you need it.

Further information about coronavirus and frequently asked questions for University College Birmingham students can be found on our Covid-19 FAQs page. More information is also available on the GOV.UK website and the NHS website.

Need more information?

For more details about our response to the coronavirus pandemic, including safety measures on campus, updates on our facilities and details of our full range of support services, please visit our Covid-19 FAQs page.

Alternatively, please send an email to covid19@ucb.ac.uk.

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