Information for college students on coming to University College Birmingham from September 2021
Page last updated: Friday 17 September
This page contains information for new and returning further education students about attending University College Birmingham this September. Here you will find advice and guidelines around coming to our campus, 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 how this will impact upon students attending our College. Please be aware therefore that the information presented below is subject to change, so you should continue to check for further updates from the College via email and on Canvas.
General guidelines on coming to campus
National legal restrictions in England concerning Covid-19 have now been lifted and all further education courses at University College Birmingham have resumed face-to-face teaching.
When you come to our campus, 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 20 August)
What safety precautions do I need to follow when travelling to campus?
Although all legal restrictions surrounding social distancing and face coverings have been lifted in England, the UK Government is urging continued caution in order to reduce the risks of catching or spreading Covid-19 – even after you have received a vaccine.
For anyone travelling to University College Birmingham on public transport, government guidance still recommends that people continue to wash hands regularly and wear face coverings in crowded areas. (Note: You should remove your face covering if asked to do so by a police officer or other relevant person.) In addition, you may wish to check with your operator regarding any policies they may have in place.
It is also recommended that you wear a face covering when travelling in a private vehicle (e.g. a car) with people you do not live with or usually meet.
Do I need to get a Covid test before I come onto campus?
Yes, you should get tested before you come onto our campus. You should not come onto College premises or mix with other students and staff until you have been tested, if you possibly can.
What safety rules/measures are in place on campus, and what facilities are available?
Full details about our safety measures, regulations and requirements on campus, as well as details on which facilities are open for students, are available on our dedicated Covid-19 FAQs page.
What if I have other questions?
If you have any other questions, please speak to your teaching teams in the first instance, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before coming to campus for any reason, all students with no coronavirus symptoms should take a Covid-19 test. You should not come onto College premises or mix with other students until you have been tested, if you possibly can. If you are coming more than once a week, you should be tested at least twice a week.
You can collect Covid tests from inside the entrances to Summer Row and McIntyre House. One box of tests should last you two-and-a-half weeks, based on testing yourself twice a week. We will be running the test collection sites between 10am and 3pm from Monday to Thursday until further notice. You don’t need to book a time to collect – simply drop by whenever you are passing and one of our student ambassadors will be happy to supply you with a box of tests and tell you everything you need to know about how to test yourself.
You can also use the Home Test Ordering Service from the UK Government, which is open to the general public online here. If you are living in Birmingham, 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 email@example.com.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) (Last updated 20 August)
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 my parents need to give permission for me to be tested?
No. As long as you are aged 16 or over, you are able to consent to be tested yourself.
However, we encourage you to show this information to your parents or guardians, so they know that you are being tested.
Do I need to inform the College 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 to 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 tests twice weekly from my employer – can I use those results?
Yes. Please confirm to your tutor that you have tested negative, as well as sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm only coming onto campus as a one-off, or once a week – do I need to get a second test?
If you're only coming onto campus as a one-off, then as long as you get tested before you attend, you don't need to be tested again if it is not convenient, unless you wish to do so for peace of mind.
If you are only visiting campus once a week, you will only need one test, but if you are working or mixing with people during the rest of the week then we advise you to get a second test if you can.
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. You should also continue to follow 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 need wellbeing and mental health support, check the Canvas page or contact email@example.com. 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.