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Be safe on campus and in Bath during the COVID-19 pandemic

Find out how to stay safe and reduce the risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection at the University.

Worldwide, we’ve had to adapt to a new reality – COVID-19 has meant we’ve all had to make changes to the way we live. By working together as a community, we can take steps individually and together, to minimise risk.

We all want to have a great year at Bath, together. We are sharing spaces designed for pre-COVID times, so we need to adapt in a few simple ways. Whether on campus, in shared accommodation, or in the city of Bath, there are a few things we can all do to keep ourselves and others safe.

Be safe. Be kind. Belong...Together

What's changed on campus and in University buildings

We've made some changes on campus and to our buildings to help keep you and others as safe as possible. Find out what we've done and why.

You may notice some changes to University buildings and our campus as we put in place measures to enhance safety and wellbeing. These changes have been based on official government and public health guidance, including Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) guidance.

Our health and safety team have been working on appropriate changes and mitigations for different environments on campus. Different factors need to be taken into account in terms of the locations people are in, how long people are spending together and how close people are together.

Mitigating actions will vary depending on these factors but may include social distancing, adequate ventilation measures, the orientation of work and study spaces and additional measures like the wearing of face coverings.

Some of the changes you will see include:

  • putting social distancing measures in place and repurposed space to allow for this
  • maximising ventilation of spaces and moving the orientation of some work and study spaces
  • staggering the start and end times of in-person teaching sessions when they are permitted
  • installing hand sanitiser stations at building entrances and exits and enhancing cleaning regimes
  • where possible, implementing one-way systems and maximum occupancy restrictions in some areas
  • making bedrooms available on campus for new students travelling from countries that require a period of self-isolation after arriving in the UK
  • securing additional space on campus and in town to ease pressure on buildings and transport
  • making reusable face coverings available to staff and students who need them
  • investing in the ‘Safezone’ app where those who download it can easily send an alert or call for help, and the University can also issue urgent alerts to members of our community
  • developing a booking system for study spaces in University buildings so we can ensure the capacity is managed safely

Social distancing

Physical distancing doesn’t mean losing social connection. But it does mean giving people their space.

For members of our community, this means 2 metres of distance between you and anyone else you’re not living with as a ‘household’ when you're in our teaching or study spaces.

If you’re in other indoor spaces where 2 metres cannot be maintained, such as corridors, we encourage you to wear a face covering where possible.

We understand it’s easy to have a moment where you forget these new rules. But please be prepared for others to gently remind you.

From Tuesday 5 January 2021 until further notice, a national lockdown means that everyone is required to stay at home, except for specific purposes including work, education and exercise.

A diagram showing 2 metre social distancing guidance in public and general teaching spaces

Face coverings

Make sure you know when and where you are legally required to wear face coverings.

Face coverings

There is growing evidence that face coverings provide protection against the transmission of coronavirus. This is thought to be particularly important in stopping the newly reported variant of Covid-19.

Public Health advice is that three ply face coverings are most effective. These need to be put on and taken off carefully, correctly worn and stored properly when not in use in order to be effective. Full details are available on GOV.UK.

Face coverings and the law

The wearing of face coverings is required by law in certain buildings. Make sure you know when and where you are legally required to wear a face covering, for example, on public transport and in shops.

UK government legal requirements may evolve, so please be alert to changes in messages and any new signage at the University.

Face coverings in University buildings

Face coverings must be worn in all University buildings at all times. The only exceptions are:

  • student flats, but not the shared common areas between them such as corridors and stairways.

  • single occupancy offices with one occupant.

  • multiple occupancy workspaces where the number of occupants is within the limit identified in the local risk assessment, the room is being adequately ventilated and 2 metre distancing is being strictly observed. The occupancy limit should be prominently displayed on the doors to each work and study space.

  • other spaces where the local risk assessment has identified that face coverings could pose a significant health and safety risk. These exclusions should be recorded in local risk assessments and all people using the facility made aware of this issue and any alternative arrangements.

Staff working in any of these exempted areas, including when working behind protective screens, are strongly advised to wear face coverings when dealing with anyone visiting the area.

We will keep this under review and update you if the situation changes.

Exemptions for individuals

There are limited circumstances, for instance for health, age or equality reasons, where people are not able to wear face coverings.

We support the hidden disabilities sunflower lanyard as a method for those who wish to discretely indicate that they are exempt from mask use. If you need one, please drop into Student Services in 4 West to collect one or email them to request one be sent to you at your Bath address.

If people cannot wear face coverings for these reasons, please be kind and considerate.

We understand it’s easy to have a moment where you forget these new rules. But please be prepared for others to gently remind you.

Ordering a face covering

The Central stores still has a supply of free reusable, three-ply face coverings, as well as clear face coverings to enable communication with people who may need to lip read for purchase. These can be ordered for by departments for distribution to staff and students. Please contact Central Stores.

Keep our campus clean

One important way we can help protect ourselves and each other is to wash our hands thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds, every time you arrive at the University or get home, blow your nose, sneeze or cough, use the toilet, or eat or handle food.

Please use the hand sanitisers at the entrances and exits to buildings.

We are also providing sanitiser and paper towels so you can wipe down study spaces before and after you use them. Please help our community to stay safe.

A diagram about washing and sanitising hands regularly and wiping surfaces when possible

Covid-19 symptoms, testing and self-isolating

If you or a housemate have COVID-19 symptoms, you will need to self-isolate, seek a test and let the University know. Make sure you know about the government's guidance for people living in university accommodation.

COVID-19 symptoms can include a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

Of course, you should only travel to Bath if you are free from COVID-19 symptoms and are not self-isolating.

If you, or any of the people you live with, develop symptoms of COVID-19, you should isolate from others and seek a PCR test straight away. If you are a student tell us if you have symptoms of Covid-19 so we can support you. If you are a member of staff please inform your line manager straight away.

Find out how to get a free NHS PCR test to check if you have coronavirus. If you have a home test kit, read the instructions carefully and watch the short film on how to take a coronavirus self-test swab. If you are a student living in University accommodation, you must not come to the post room and collect or drop off the test. Call Security on extension 5349 (from a mobile 01225 385349) and they will arrange secure drop off and collection. If you need to travel to a testing site for a Covid-19 test Security can help you with transport in a Covid-secure vehicle, call extension 5349 (from a mobile 01225 385349).

If you do not have symptoms, you should take a lateral flow test before returning to Bath or to campus. Book your Covid tests on campus before accessing University facilities (e.g. the Library) and limit contact with others until you receive a negative test result. If you choose not to get a test, you should self-isolate for 10 days, unless you have had a positive PCR test result in the previous 90 days. You can read our FAQs on testing on our webpages.

If you have Covid-19 symptoms or have received a positive PCR test result, you must stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started.

If you live in the same household as someone with Covid-19, you must self-isolate for 10 days. The 10-day period starts from the day the first person in your house developed symptoms or, if they do not have symptoms, from the day their test was taken.

If you are self-isolating, government advice is very clear about what you can and cannot do:

  • do not go to work, university, or public places – study or work from home if you can
  • do not go on public transport or use taxis
  • do not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home
  • do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family, except for people providing essential care
  • do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one

Meeting with others safely and what living in a household means

Make sure you understand who you can and can't meet with and where it is ok to gather in groups.

People living in a household do not need to observe social distancing with each other. So, family groups, those sharing University flats and in kitchen groups, or students living with housemates off campus are considered to be in households.

If anyone within a household has symptoms of COVID-19 or is tested positive, the whole household must self-isolate following NHS guidance.

In University accommodation, you cannot have visitors from other household groups in your flat or room to minimise risks to yourself and other residents.

Students living with housemates off campus should abide by government guidance. From Tuesday 5 January 2021 this means:

  • You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household - meaning the people you live with - or support bubble.
  • Single adult households – in other words adults who live alone or with dependent children only – can continue to form an exclusive ‘support bubble’ with one other household
  • You can exercise or visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, your support bubble, or 1 person from another household

Outdoor public places include parks, beaches, countryside and public gardens. You cannot meet in a private garden.

Government guidance is that you must not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time.

Travelling to campus

The current government advice is to stay at home. Only travel to campus if you are an essential worker and/or cannot work from home.

Transport in the hilly city of Bath can pose a challenge at the best of times. We’ve been working with the local council and bus operator to plan COVID-secure routes between campus, town, and residential areas.

There are walking and cycling routes between the city and campus which will benefit your health as well as the environment.

Buses are likely to be operating with reduced capacity, and wearing face coverings is mandatory, with limited exemptions.

The bus drivers and marshalls will be doing their best to keep Bath moving. We ask that all members of our community are mindful, patient, and kind in our interactions with fellow passengers and bus drivers.

We strongly recommend staff and students do not practice car sharing, both for public health reasons and because if one person in the car were to test positive then all those in the car would become contacts and be required to self-isolate.

For more information please visit our Travel Advice page.

Take care of our local community

We know that our students and staff feel lucky to count Bath as their home or workplace.

It is a welcoming and beautiful city and we all want to carry on playing our part to be good neighbours and citizens.

Please be aware that some local residents may be vulnerable due to health conditions, they may have caring responsibilities or be working long hours as key workers.

We ask that all members of our community are mindful, patient and kind in our interactions with local residents.

In this way, we can build a community of mutual respect as good neighbours and work together to help keep one another safe.

The Student Community Partnership aims to help manage any issues which may arise related to university students living in the city of Bath. Contact the Student Community Partnership for more information.

Keep in contact

It’s only natural that changing our ways and living with restrictions can cause tension, frustration and anxiety. Working and studying virtually also has its challenges. Now more than ever, we need to talk. If you're a student, you can contact:

If you're a member of staff, you can:

An image saying, 'Please get in touch, we're here to help.'

Quarantine after travelling to the UK

If you come to the UK from another country, you might need to go into quarantine (also called 'self-isolation') for ten days from the day you arrive.

Unless you have travelled from within the UK or from a country that is on the exempt list as it’s part of a travel corridor with the UK, you will have to self-isolate (or ‘quarantine’) for 14 days once you arrive in the UK.

Government rules on self-isolation are clear. You:

  • should self-isolate in one place for the full ten days, where you can have food and other necessities delivered, and stay away from others
  • should not have visitors, including friends and family, unless they are providing emergency or medical assistance
  • cannot go shopping or visit public areas

If you have arranged to self-isolate in University accommodation, you cannot move about campus, we will get food delivered to you and help if you have urgent requirements.