Moss House Main Foyer  - University College Birmingham

TRAVEL AND TESTING:
HIGHER EDUCATION STUDENTS

Information for undergraduate and postgraduate students on coming to University College Birmingham from September 2021

Page last updated: Friday 17 September

This page contains information for new and returning higher education students about attending University College Birmingham this September. Here you will find 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 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 Travel and testing: further education students

General guidelines on coming to campus

With the recent lifting of national legal restrictions in England concerning Covid-19, University College Birmingham is expecting to return to pre-pandemic forms of delivery for the vast majority of our higher education courses.

We have made extensive preparations for teaching in the new academic year, as well as contingency plans should circumstances change. To find out more, please visit our page on Teaching in the 2021/22 academic year.

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 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 cannot get to campus?

If you are not sure you can get 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. Individuals classed as Extremely Clinically Vulnerable are no longer required to shield, but you should continue to take precautions to protect yourself – more advice and guidance is available on the GOV.UK website here.

How and when do I need to get tested?

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

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.

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 could cause issues for many students travelling into the country.

All arrivals to the UK (with some exemptions) must 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.

Before arranging to travel to the UK, you must check the UK Government rules for the country you are coming from or have travelled through. Countries and territories are listed as either ‘red’, ‘amber’ or ‘green’, with different quarantine and testing requirements for each list. See our Frequently Asked Questions below for more details.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) (Last updated 20 August)

Do I need to have received a Covid vaccination to study in England?

No. You do not need to have been vaccinated to come to study in England. All students enrolled on courses in the UK are eligible to register for medical services with a general practitioner (GP) and will be entitled to receive a Covid-19 vaccination while here, in the same way as domestic students.

For more information on vaccines for international students, please visit the NHS website.

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 (or if you have been in a red list country in the 10 days before arriving in England), you must take a Covid-19 test in the 3 days before you travel. You will also be required to quarantine in a managed quarantine facility on arrival. These rules apply regardless of your vaccination status.

Before you travel to England, you must book and pay for a quarantine package, which includes your hotel quarantine, transport and Covid-19 testing on days 2 and 8. Full guidance on booking and staying in a quarantine facility is available on the Government website 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.

More information about the Managed Quarantine Service can be found here. Full details about the red list travel rules can be found on the Government website here.

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

If you are travelling into the UK from a country that is on the UK Government’s amber list (or if you have been in an amber list country in the 10 days before arriving in England), you must take a Covid-19 test in the 3 days before you travel, and book and pay for Covid-19 tests to be taken after your arrival. In addition, you will be required to complete a passenger locator form – full details can be found here.

If you have been fully vaccinated under an approved programme, you must take a Covid-19 test on or before day 2 after your arrival in England.

If you do not qualify under the fully vaccinated rules, you must quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days after your arrival. You must also take a Covid-19 test on days 2 and 8. 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.

Full details about the amber list travel rules, including details of approved vaccination programmes, can be found on the Government website here.

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

If you are travelling into the UK from a country that is on the UK Government’s green list (and have not been in a country on either the red or amber lists in the previous 10 days), you must take a Covid-19 test in the 3 days before you travel, and book and pay for a Covid-19 test to be taken on day 2 after your arrival. You will not need to quarantine unless the test result is positive.

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

The above rules apply regardless of your vaccination status.

Full details about the green list travel rules can be found on the Government website 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 coming to campus for any reason, 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. 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 covid19@ucb.ac.uk.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) (Last updated 20 August)

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. 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 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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