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University of Bath

Student FAQs on 2021 national lockdown

Find answers to frequently asked questions about the 2021 national lockdown. Updated 31 March 2021.

2021 National Lockdown

The UK Government has issued high level rules and restrictions for the national lockdown, which came into force on 4 January and this is now law. We have published information about how we will be operating during this period.

The overall Government guidance states that, unless you are studying a specified course, students "should remain where they are wherever possible, and start their term online, as facilitated by their university until at least Mid-February”. The rules state that, during term time, you should not move back and forth between your home here in Bath and other locations, for example if you have a home elsewhere with family members. You can read the full Government rules here.

We have now received additional Government guidance for universities and students, outlining further details about what we can and cannot do.

The Q&A below outlines our current understanding of the implications of lockdown in an accessible way.

As much as we look forward to welcoming you back to Bath when the rules allow, we must underline that the exemptions are not reasons to return if you would simply prefer to be in Bath currently, and we must follow these laws to help tackle the spread of the virus.

Reason to return: mental health/medical

Can I come back to University for medical or mental health reasons?

Yes, the advice we have received is that you can return to Bath if you require additional support, including for mental health and wellbeing issues.

Of course, if you have an urgent concern about your mental health and need to return, you should do so as soon as you are able and you should also contact our Wellbeing team for support straight away.

If you decide to return to Bath, you should:

  • Follow the Government’s safer travel guidance, and, where available, you should access local community testing programmes to get a lateral flow device (LFD) test before you travel to university.
  • Book your Covid tests on campus before accessing University facilities (e.g. the Library) and you should 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 are in University-managed accommodation, please book a slot to return so we can support you effectively.

Reason to return: study and accommodation

Can I come back to University as I don’t have suitable accommodation or study space elsewhere?

Yes, you can still return to Bath if you are in exceptional circumstances, for example, you are without access to appropriate study spaces, accommodation or facilities elsewhere.

If you decide to return to Bath, you should:

  • Follow the Government’s safer travel guidance, and, where available, you should access local community testing programmes to get a lateral flow device (LFD) test before you travel to university.
  • Book your Covid tests on campus before accessing University facilities (e.g. the Library) and you should 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 are in University-managed accommodation, please book a slot to return so we can support you effectively.

Reason to return: existing travel plans

I have already booked a flight to Bath and cannot change it. Can I still return?

If you cannot change your travel plans without undue cost, you are able to return to Bath.

If you do decide to travel, then you must follow the Government’s guidance for all people travelling to the UK. Before setting out you are advised to:

  • Check any additional entry requirements and restrictions that have been introduced due to Covid-19.

  • All people travelling to the UK must complete a Passenger Locator Form prior to departure. You may not be allowed to board your flight unless you can demonstrate that you have met this requirement.

  • All international arrivals to England, including UK nationals, are required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of arrival.

  • If you are travelling from a country that is on the UK’s Red List then you will need to follow the published arrivals and quarantine guidelines. All arrangements must be booked in advance of travel. Failure to do so may result in a substantial fine and additional costs.

  • If you have travelled from a destination that is not on the red list then there is a separate set of guidelines that you will need to follow. Under these arrangements, you are allowed to self-quarantine in accommodation of your choice provided you declare this on your passenger locator form.. You can e-mail quarantine@bath.ac.uk to book ten days of University accommodation if you are unable to self-isolate anywhere else.

  • All people arriving in the UK are also required, by law, to take PCR test on day two and day eight of their first ten days in the UK. These tests must be booked before departure from your destination.

  • The UK Government is allowing people travelling from countries not on the red list (and who have not been in a red list country for the last ten days) the option to take an accredited coronavirus (Covid-19) test from a private testing provider after five full days (from arrival in the UK) of self-isolation. If a negative result is received then students may end self-isolation from receipt of that result. More information on the Test to Release scheme is available. You can opt-in to this scheme by completing a Passenger Locator Form on arrival in the UK. If you wish to take up this option please contact quarantine@bath.ac.uk and they will advise you on how a suitable test may be organised.

  • People opting to Test to Release are still legally required to take a PCR test on day eight. If any tests (the mandatory day 2 or day 8 tests, or the elective Test to Release test) come back positive then you and any people who you have been in close contact with in the two days prior to taking that test, will be required to self-isolate for 10 days.

  • Failure to comply with any of the government guidelines may result in a heavy fine so we strongly recommend that you take time to read and understand the published guidance relevant to your travel.

If after your arrival in the UK you decide to return to Bath, you should:

  • Follow the Government’s safer travel guidance, and, where available, you should access local community testing programmes to get a lateral flow device (LFD) test before you travel to university. You must complete any period of self-isolation first.

  • Book your Covid tests on campus before accessing University facilities (e.g. the Library) and you should 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 are in University-managed accommodation, please book a slot to return so we can support you effectively.

Reason to return: picking up possessions

Can I return to collect my belongings or to pick up work and study aids?

Government guidance is that students should avoid returning to university to collect any of their belongings which they may have left at their university accommodation over the winter break. However, students can travel back to collect any medical equipment or items required for online learning if it essential.

If you live in University managed accommodation and you have something in your room you urgently require for assessments, we may be able to help you, with your permission. Please contact livingsupport@bath.ac.uk.

Reason to return: Postgraduate Research Student

I am a Postgraduate Research Student (PGR), can I return to Bath and use facilities on campus?

If you are a PGR student who needs to access University facilities to do your work, you can return to Bath.

The law states that you can only leave home for work purposes “where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home”. If you can work from home you should do so wherever possible.

However, research activities that cannot reasonably be undertaken at home can take place on campus. We will be doing our utmost to ensure our PGR students have access to the laboratories and specialist equipment they need.

If you decide to return to Bath, you should:

  • Follow the Government’s safer travel guidance, and, where available, you should access local community testing programmes to get a lateral flow device (LFD) test before you travel to university.
  • Book your Covid tests on campus before accessing University facilities (e.g. the Library) and you should 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 are in University-managed accommodation, please book a slot to return so we can support you effectively.

Covid symptoms/self-isolating

What do I do if I have Covid-19 symptoms or need to self-isolate?

Please follow our ‘Isolate. Test. Tell’ process.

Full information on Covid-19 for our students can be found on our dedicated webpages.

No detriment

What is the University’s position on ‘no detriment’ during Semester 1 assessment?

You can find an update about our ‘no detriment measures’ online.

Support for all students

We appreciate that the current circumstances are really difficult for us all and our Student Services teams are here to support you.

Wherever you are in the world, you can access our wellbeing support whenever you need it. Whatever is on your mind, we’d encourage you to make use of this support and reach out early if you want to talk anything through. We are here to help. We would also like to remind you that you can access our free, confidential service for advice and support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year:

You can also find further information and sources of support on our webpages, including for Student Money Advice, the Disability Service and Counselling and Mental Health.

The Students’ Union Advice and Support Centre offer independent and professional help on academic, housing and personal matters. They’ll support you to understand your options and work with you throughout next steps. Nightline listening and support team are also running their instant messenger and email service.

UPDATED: University accommodation rebate/refund

Updated 23 February: The standard rebate period has now been extended to 8 March 2021, and until 12 April for students who cannot resume in-person learning from 8 March due to Government restrictions

Can I get a rebate/refund for my University accommodation if I’m not using it in January or early February?

As we set out in this Q&A last week, we have been considering the issue of a rent rebate for those of you who are not able to use your University-managed accommodation during the period of national lockdown. We fully appreciate the frustration many of you may be feeling at being unable to return to Bath as early as you were hoping and the impact upon you. We have been liaising closely with The SU and have taken careful note of the strength of feeling on this matter. Given the unprecedented financial pressures placed on the University during this global pandemic, it has been incumbent upon us to very carefully consider the details of this decision.

In recognition of the exceptional circumstances faced at the start of 2021, and with the overall approval of our governing body, the Council, the University will be offering a full rent rebate covering the period of 4 January 2021 until 14 February 2021 to those students in University-managed and Nomination Accommodation who have not been able to use it because of Government restrictions during this period of national lockdown. Therefore, if you are not studying on a programme that currently allows you to return for in-person teaching and you are not using your room, you will not have to pay for your University accommodation for this period.

You will see this refund as a credit in your University account, so you will have a reduced amount to pay for your final period of accommodation over the Spring and Summer. We will do this automatically so you do not need to take further action. However, if you need a refund direct to the payment method used, you need to e-mail accommodation-finance@bath.ac.uk and let us know by 5pm on Tuesday 19 January 2021.

For those of you here in Bath, we also want to make sure you continue to be well looked after by our dedicated teams. Our Covid-secure study spaces on campus and in town are open and bookable, in line with prevailing Government rules, and both in-person and virtual appointments with Student Services are available. In addition, we will be offering delicious and very low cost food from our take away outlets, including a £1 lunch offer from 4 West and the Lime Tree and £2 dinner offers at the Lime Tree in our January sale.

The University is not able directly to affect the rent in the private sector, but we will be liaising with The SU to see what support it can lend to its work raising this issue with landlords in Bath and the local area. For students suffering financially as a result of the pandemic, a special fund has been set up by the University of Bath, and this has already been generously supported – this is the Hardship Fund. The Student Money Advice team are able to provide financial support and advice. If you are facing financial hardship, we would urge you to contact our Student Money Advice Service on studentmoneyadvice@bath.ac.uk or 01225 383838.

Current Government guidance indicates that the majority of students may be allowed to return to their universities from mid-February. Acknowledging that this is a fast-moving situation, we will, of course be carefully monitoring any developments and will advise you if anything changes.

We continue to do our utmost to put your experience with us, including learning and teaching and extra-curricular activities, at the forefront of our priorities. We have been proud of the way our community has supported one another over this difficult period and hope this latest decision will enable you to stay safe where you are over the next few weeks. We look forward to welcoming back those of you who are elsewhere to our beautiful campus and city just as soon as the rules and circumstances allow.