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Student life in the time of COVID
Whether you’re a fresher, returning student or a postgrad, you’ll no doubt have lots of questions or concerns about how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact your student life. As a responsible adult possibly moving into a new town, you’ll need to know what actions you should take – to keep yourself safe but also fellow students, university staff and the local community, as well as your family and friends when you visit home again.
This guest blog from Public Health England summarises the important public health advice and information to remind you of what you need to know before the university term starts.
COVID: Protect yourself, your university and the wider community – remember ‘Hands. Face. Space’.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Wear a face covering where rules apply.
- Keep a 2m distance.
- Socialise only with your ‘household’ or maximum of 6.
- Get a test and self-isolate if you develop symptoms.
- Use the NHS Test and Trace app.
Moving to your university home.
If you’re moving to a different town or city in England for university, check to see which areas have additional restrictions in place – you could be moving from a low risk area to a higher risk area and there might be extra measures you’ll need to follow. Your university will also be able to give you guidance on their rules and those for the area. It’s also a good idea to get up to speed on the overall advice on staying safe outside your home and find out your new local council so you can keep up-to-date on local guidance.
If you’re heading to a different nation in the UK, be sure you’re aware of the different rules and restrictions in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Rules and guidance vary across all four nations on things like wearing face coverings and the number of people outside your household that you can meet up with. You could receive a fine for not following the rules.
If you’re an international student returning to a UK university from abroad, make sure you provide your journey and contact details before you travel to the UK and you know whether you need to self-isolate for 14 days when you arrive. All the guidance on entering different parts of the UK safely is here.
Both international travel and local restrictions can change quickly and without much warning so it’s worth keeping an eye on the latest guidance while making your travel-to-university plans.
COVID Public health basics: a revision session.
You’ve probably been looking forward to getting back to university, your friends and freedom, or discovering it all for the first time, but it’s essential to keep the public health basics front of mind and always remember ‘Hands. Face. Space’.
It remains vital that we all continue to wash our hands regularly for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser. Try not to touch your face and remember respiratory hygiene lessons from school – ‘catch it, bin it, kill it!’ Keep your distance – 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household. Your ‘household’ will consist of your housemates or flatmates that you share your student home with or if you are living in university halls your university will let you know what makes up your household.
Follow the rules set out by your university on wearing face coverings in lectures and other teaching situations. In other university settings, you should wear a face covering where it’s difficult to maintain a 2 metre distance, such as in corridors and communal areas and in social groups such as student clubs and societies.
To stay safe while travelling try to avoid car sharing and using public transport at peak times. Walk or cycle when it’s possible and safe to do so. These basics will help protect you, university life and local residents, especially those that are more vulnerable.
If you’re a student in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, having previously been shielding, and you have a particular health concern you should seek medical advice or speak to your university.
Safer socialising – max of 6 keeping a 2m distance.
When moving into your student accommodation with others you will be forming a new household which will be a key part of how you will be able to socialise. There are still opportunities to meet new people outside your household and socialise safely at university but remember to keep a 2-metre distance. Also, keep yourself and your friends safe by following the guidance on how many people you can safely meet with in different social situations – currently a maximum of 6 people indoors and outdoors, whether in a beer garden, bar, restaurant or cinema etc. Go out, socialise and enjoy student life but be responsible.
By following this guidance, hand-in-hand with the public health basics set out above, you’ll keep on track with your social life and, as far as possible, avoid getting COVID and having to self-isolate.
Check out our Health & Safety commitments and what we at Host are doing to keep you safe while living with us this year.
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To become more ‘environmentally friendly’, Host is launching the #HostEnvironmentalPledge campaign to encourage responsible behaviour and drive sustainability across our sites throughout the UK and Ireland.
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