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Study and Life at Reading – University of Reading

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Study and Life at Reading

These questions cover information about study and day-to-day life at the University of Reading and what measures we have put in place to ensure the safety of our students and staff in light of COVID 19.

I have an offer to study at Reading and I am intending to study on-campus. How are you delivering teaching during the current pandemic?

To create a safe and supportive study environment this autumn term in 2020, we have adapted our teaching, facilities and services to comply with UK government advice relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have designed a blended learning environment, combining face-to-face interactive sessions and online core course content. We believe that this approach offers our students the best quality learning experience in the current circumstances, for students on campus and for those who may need to study remotely temporarily.

Our dedicated range of specialist support teams have continued to offer help and advice, for students on campus and those studying remotely. All students are allocated an Academic Tutor to support their academic, personal and professional development. Students are encouraged to keep in touch with their tutor regularly and can speak to them if they have any queries or concerns throughout their studies.

We are currently working on our timetable for the spring term and we intend to offer as much scheduled on-campus activity as we can safely accommodate while adhering to current social distancing requirements. This is, of course, subject to any change in local or national restrictions.

As with the autumn term, we anticipate that students on most programmes will be able to continue to study at a distance in the spring if they cannot be on campus. However, there are some programmes for which it will be difficult for students to meet their learning outcomes without being on campus in the spring term. We will write to current students and applicants for January 2021 affected by this with more information by the end of November.

Will I have to quarantine when I travel to the UK from overseas?

Some students arriving from outside the UK will need to quarantine (self-isolate in the place you are staying) for the first 14 days. This means you must not go outside for any reason unless absolutely necessary. You could face substantial fines if you do not adhere to quarantine on arrival if you're required to do so.

There are some countries where this requirement is not necessary. For the full and current list of exempted countries check the UK government website.

This list may be changed by the government at short notice so please regularly check these links for the latest advice.

What changes have you made to your campus and facilities to respond to the current pandemic?

We have worked hard to adapt our campus facilities to do everything possible to create a safe environment for our students to study, live and socialise in.

Our Reading campuses (Whiteknights and London Road) are open, along with our Halls of Residence, Support Centres, wider network of specialist support services and Library. Our catering outlets are open, although they have temporarily switched to offering a 'take away' service during the current 'lockdown' in England. Our SportsPark has also closed temporarily, although we intend to reopen once the government confirms this is permitted.

Appropriate social distancing measures have been applied to all of the facilities and services highlighted to protect the health and safety of our whole community. We are keeping our services and facilities under review as the year progresses, informed by government advice, to ensure our students receive the best education and university experience possible.

Reading University Students' Union (RUSU) are continuing to provide their support services online, deliver a range of virtual events, and work with student activity groups to enhance our students' experience.

Is the Library currently open for students?

Our Library and study space remain open, subject to any changes in government advice, with slightly reduced hours. We are also continuing to offer our Click & Collect service.

What support services are available for students during the pandemic?

All students are allocated an Academic Tutor to support their academic, personal and professional development. Students are encouraged to get in touch with their tutor regularly and can speak to them if they have any queries or concerns throughout your studies.

Our specialist welfare support services (including Careers, Financial Support, Disability Advisory Service, International Visa and Immigration Advice, Study Advice, and many more) continue to offer support and advice. These services are available online and, in many cases, by appointment face-to-face on campus.

How do I find out more about applying for University accommodation?

Making sure you have somewhere to live is an essential element of preparing to study at Reading and it is important that you make the necessary arrangements. Applications for halls of residence open for new undergraduates' and postgraduates' in early 2021; our accommodation timeline sets out key dates and information.

Will you support students to quarantine in halls if arriving from overseas?

If you are travelling to the UK from overseas, you should read the latest UK government advice about what to expect when you arrive. You must self-isolate for 14 days when you arrive in the UK, unless you have travelled from one of the countries with exemptions. This list may be changed by the government at short notice so please regularly check these links for the latest advice.

On request we will assist students in facilitating their quarantine with practical measures to enable them to safely move into their halls accommodation at Reading. These items would allow a student to arrive at their residence and to be able to enter quarantine immediately without the need to visit shops (which is prohibited) or receive deliveries.

Our flexible, blended approach to teaching will, in most cases, enable you to start or continue your studies remotely until you can attend face-to-face sessions on campus after your period of self-isolation. Completing your self-isolation in this way will enable you to form your 'household' with your flatmates in the shortest time possible.

If you are living in private accommodation, you should consider bringing essential items such as soap or hand sanitiser with you and arranging an online supermarket delivery of food and cleaning materials for shortly after you arrive. If you have never used an online supermarket delivery, you may wish to download an app for one or two of the local shops (for example, Asda or Tesco) and set up an account so you can easily place an order.

We have also developed a short online induction course, which can be completed alongside your academic studies while you are self-isolating.

If you are unsure about whether on-campus or off-campus accommodation is right for you the accommodation pages should give you the right information to help you decide.

Do I have to pay a security deposit?

Yes, you are required to pay a £250 security deposit to accept your halls accommodation contract.

What specific social distancing arrangements have you put in place in halls?

To help you settle in safely and quickly, we have created 'households' within our halls of residence.

For the first 14 days following your arrival you are asked to focus on forming your 'household'. This means taking particular care to socially distance from anyone who is not part of your household, which includes not going into other flats and not allowing visitors into yours.

If you are living in a flat or house, this will be your household. For corridor style halls your household will usually be those other residents with whom you are sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities. We will ensure clear signs are in place to show which household you belong to.

You should monitor your health closely and check for the symptoms of COVID-19 each day. If you think you have symptoms you must request a test immediately from the NHS website and let us know using the home at halls app or by contacting the Halls Hotline 0800 029 1984.

These arrangements will be reviewed on a regular basis, to follow government guidance and to protect the health and safety of our whole community.

What cleaning arrangements are in place in halls?

We will provide all routine cleaning services to your flat or area so long as it is safe for our staff to do this. Anti-viral cleaning products are used routinely, and our cleaners are trained to minimise infection spread.

There is an enhanced regime of cleaning all 'touch points' such as door handles, stair handrails and lift controls in communal areas.

All routine cleaning of accommodation also includes the enhanced cleaning of  'touch points' such as light switches, toilet handles and controls on cooking equipment.

In the event of a household need to self-isolate, we will not be able to enter your accommodation to clean, but we will provide you with additional cleaning products to help keep your area hygienic. Waste will be removed on request.

What if I move into halls but decide to move out later in the year?

If you change your mind during the year and wish to move out of your accommodation, you will need to complete our Contract Cancellation Form. Please remember that when you accept and sign an accommodation contract, the terms are legal obligations and you will be liable to pay rent instalments in accordance with your agreement with us.

There will be some exceptions to this, and we recognise that some students may be affected by circumstances beyond their control this year. If you would like to move out of your halls room, please do contact us as soon as possible so we can discuss your options based on your individual situation.

Will I still have to pay rent for halls if services on campus are reduced due to government restrictions?

We will suspend your rent payments if you move out of your halls accommodation if the following situations occur and continue for a period of longer than four consecutive weeks:

  • all face-to-face teaching at the University is suspended and all teaching is moved online;
    or
  • all the facilities on the campus on which your course is taught are closed;
    or
  • you are prevented from accessing or using your halls accommodation because of a measure implemented for the prevention or delay of the spread of coronavirus.

If you are unable to vacate your accommodation in these circumstances (for example, because of a government ban on movement) then we will consider suspending rent payments on a case-by-case basis.

If you leave halls while face-to-face teaching is still taking place and campus facilities remain open, you would be liable to continue paying rent under the terms of your contract. Please see our website for further information.

What happens if I can't arrive to halls when my contract begins?

If you have signed up for a halls accommodation contract with our partner UPP for the academic year 2020/21 and are delayed in arriving at the University in the spring term due to circumstances beyond your control arising from COVID, we will be setting up a process so you can let us know.

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