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.
Teaching and learning
Travelling and quarantine
- Will I have to quarantine when I travel to the UK from overseas?
- Is it possible to reduce my quarantine period by taking a COVID-19 test?
- Is it compulsory for students to receive a vaccine prior to travelling to the UK?
- Is there a specific COVID-19 test centre in each country that students should obtain a COVID-19 test from?
- I am an international student and have accepted my offer but I will be traveling from a 'red list' country; will you be offering any support with quarantining?
- I am an international student and have accepted my offer but I will be traveling from a 'green or amber list' country; will you be offering any support with required COVID-19 testing?
- Will I be required to have a COVID-19 vaccine to study on campus?
- How will I be invited for the COVID-19 vaccination?
- How can I access my second dose if I'm in a different location to where I had my first dose?
- I'm an international student; am I eligible for the vaccination and how will I get it?
- Do international students need to be registered with a GP to get a vaccination?
- Do international students need to pay for the vaccine?
- I'm an international student and I have already received my first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination abroad. What should I do if it is not a vaccine that is being offered in England?
Halls of residence
- How do I find out more about applying for University accommodation?
- Will you support students to quarantine in halls if arriving from overseas?
- Do I have to pay a security deposit?
- What specific social distancing arrangements have you put in place in halls?
- What cleaning arrangements are in place in halls?
- What if I move into halls but decide to move out later in the year?
- Will I still have to pay rent for halls if services on campus are reduced due to government restrictions?
- What happens if I can't arrive to halls when my contract begins?
We have adapted programmes for the 20/21 academic year to account for delivery of significantly increased levels of content online and, as government regulation has allowed, continued to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can in a COVID-safe environment.
The government has advised that students should continue to study online until at least the 17 May ( Step 3 on the Roadmap)unless they are undertaking a placement or practical or studio-based activities that cannot easily be replicated online. Students on these programmes have been notified about any scheduled face-to-face provision.
Most exams will be held online this summer, with a very small number of exceptions where in-person assessment is necessary.
Our dedicated range of specialist support teams continue 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.
This is dependent on where you have been in the 10 days before you arrive in England, and whether you have travelled from a Red, Amber or Green list country. For up-to-date guidance on what you must do when you arrive in England after travelling from abroad, please check the UK government website. Please be aware that the guidance changes regularly and at short notice, so you should consult this page frequently before you travel.
Is it possible to reduce my quarantine period by taking a COVID-19 test?
The government announced a new 'Test to release' scheme from 15 December. This means that people arriving into the UK from countries not on the travel ban list will be able to pay privately for a COVID-19 test to reduce the length of time they need to self-isolate. This is optional and travellers may still choose to self-isolate for the full period rather than pay for a test. If you wish to opt in, you can do this when you complete the Passenger Locator Form prior to travelling to the UK.
Further information on the test to release scheme is available on the UK government's COVID webpages.
If you are planning to travel to the UK from overseas, please carefully check the UK government's published guidance for the most up to date information on what to do when entering the United Kingdom. Please note that this information is subject to change at short notice so you should check regularly before travelling.
For information on COVID-19 testing in the UK and the nearest test centres to the University of Reading, please check our Essentials pages. Our Student Essentials pages are regularly updated with the latest government advice about testing. Please note that if you are travelling to the UK from overseas, you must follow all UK government advice about testing before you travel and when you arrive.
I am an international student and have accepted my offer but I will be traveling from a 'red list' country; will you be offering any support with quarantining?
To help international students with some of the additional costs that they may face, we are pleased to confirm that we have put in place the University of Reading Quarantine Support Package 2021/22. Please consult the Quarantine Support Package 2021/22 website for full details. We can provide assistance if you are a full-time student resident outside the UK and Republic of Ireland arriving from a ‘red list’ country which currently requires you to undertake 10 full days of ‘managed quarantine’ in hotel accommodation on immediate arrival in the UK. The package will also detail full terms and conditions, including details of the process through which claims can be made.
I am an international student and have accepted my offer but I will be traveling from a 'green or amber list' country; will you be offering any support with required COVID-19 testing?
To help international students with some of the additional costs that they may face, we are pleased to confirm that we have put in place the University of Reading Quarantine Support Package 2021/22. Please consult the Quarantine Support Package 2021/22 website for full details. We can provide assistance if you are a full-time student resident outside the UK and Republic of Ireland arriving from a ‘green list’ or ‘amber list’ country, which currently requires you to undertake up to three COVID-19 tests. The package will also detail full terms and conditions, including details of the process through which claims can be made.
We do not have plans to make vaccination mandatory for students or staff.
The UK Government has a vaccination schedule based on age group and health status, and the NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the COVID-19 vaccine once you are eligible. This applies to both home and international students studying in the UK. All students at the University of Reading should follow UK government and university regulations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our community.
The COVID-19 vaccination is being offered to everyone aged 16 or over at local sites run by GPs or community pharmacies, at larger vaccination centres and in some hospitals. Students registered with a GP can book their appointment at a larger vaccination centre, a community pharmacy run site or at some GP run sites through the National Booking Service website or by phoning 119. Please see the full NHS information for students in Higher Education institutions for detailed information.
The NHS has published FAQs on second doses. In general, patients should return to the place they had their first dose to have their second dose. However, it is appropriate for students to receive their second dose in a different location to their first dose due to their circumstances. The National Booking Service has an option to book or re-arrange the second vaccination appointment at a different location to the first appointment.
Anybody aged 16 or over in the UK is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination for free, regardless of their nationality or immigration status.
You will be issued an NHS number by registering with a GP. An NHS number can be found on any letter the NHS has sent you, on a prescription, or by logging in to a GP practice online service. Once you have your NHS number, you can then use the National Booking Service to book your vaccine.
While registration with a GP is encouraged to access the vaccine, individuals can request to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments as an unregistered patient through a local GP practice. During Welcome Week, all new students (including international students) will be given the opportunity to register with a local GP in Reading.
Please note: Students who are not registered with a GP will not be proactively contacted by a local NHS service. We encourage all new students to register with a GP.
Nobody in England has to pay for the COVID-19 vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccination is free of charge and does not count as the kind of care that requires payment.
International students or anyone seeing requests for payment should report this activity to their university and to Action Fraud. More information on COVID-19 vaccine scams is on the Action Fraud website.
If you have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine overseas that is also available in the UK, you should receive the same vaccine for your second dose.
If the vaccine you received for your first dose is not available in the UK, the most similar alternative should be offered as per government advice (see sections on vaccine interchangeability guidance). You should contact your GP to ensure you receive an appropriate vaccine for your second dose.
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 as well as our SportsPark.
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.
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 services and facilities are currently open for students?
The Library is open for bookable study space and Click & Collect and students also have access to a range of alternative study space. For further information please visit our Library webpage.
The Student Services Reception in the Carrington Building remains open if needed for drop-in queries.
Our full range of specialist advice and support services are available remotely, including Support Centres and the Henley Helpdesk, the ISLI Administration team and the Graduate School. Students also continue to have access to all our online Library resources and remote support from our Study Advice team.
Some of our catering facilities reopened for takeaway from Monday 12 April. Outdoor tables are available at Park House, the Dairy, Eat at the Square and Park Eat. Tables at Park Eat must be booked in advance through the Catering website. Visit the hospitality website for more information on individual catering outlets' opening times.
As well as the Marketplace at Park Eat, the Co-Op reopened from 14 April.
The SportsPark is open again for individual exercise. Members will be able to pre-book their gym sessions, individual workout spaces and courts via the SportsPark website.
Halls of residence
Our Halls are open for students who need to be on campus and students have access to their rooms, as well as being closely supported by our Halls Welfare Team.
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.
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 accommodation are open to offer holders who have selected Reading as their firm choice. More information about accommodation can be found on email@example.com.
If you are travelling to the UK from overseas, you should read the latest UK government advice about what to expect when you arrive.
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 our accommodation pages should give you the right information to help you decide.
Yes, you are required to pay a £250 security deposit to accept your halls accommodation contract.
To help you settle in safely and quickly, we have created 'households' within our halls of residence.
For the first 10 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.
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.
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.
We will suspend your rent payments during the 20/21 academic year 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
- all the facilities on the campus on which your course is taught are closed
- 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 remove your belongings and fully 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.
Please note: We are pleased to confirm that we are offering a temporary Halls fee waiver for students with accommodation contracts for Halls of Residence operated by our partner, UPP. This is for students who are not living in their halls room at dates between 6 January and the new extended date of 17 May 2021. Further information and details about this can be found on the Essentials webpages. If you have any concerns or queries, please contact the Accommodation Contract Management Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please also note that Kendrick Hall (operated by our partner Unite Students) has a separate accommodation policy and therefore unfortunately this arrangement will not apply.
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 the COVID-19 pandemic, we've set up a process so you can let us know.
If you will be delayed by more than two weeks after the start date of your Accommodation Contract in January 2021, you must let us know by completing our Accommodation Fee Waiver Form. We will then be able to determine if you may be entitled to a temporary halls fee waiver. Please note we will not consider waiving fees for delays within the first 14 days of the start of your contract.
The Accommodation Fee Waiver Form will be available from 1 December. To complete the form you will have to log onto RISIS using your University of Reading username and password. The form is available from the Action page.
If you do not fill in the form, or do not provide evidence, you will not be eligible for an accommodation fee waiver and you will be charged from the start of your contract.
Please note that Kendrick Hall (operated by our partner Unite Students) has a separate accommodation policy and therefore unfortunately this arrangement will not apply.
Accepted criteria and forms of required evidence for late arrival.
The following criteria, along with required evidence, are provided as a guide for circumstances when a rent fee waiver could be considered due to delayed arrival to your halls room.
(a) Government advice in your home country or the UK that you are advised not to travel
- (evidence: upload screenshot including date from government website including date)
(b) Delay in meeting offer conditions e.g. exam/IELTS results due to the impacts of COVID-19
- (evidence: upload screenshot including date from institution communication or website)
(c) Delay in visa processing due to the impacts of COVID-19
- (evidence: upload screenshot including date from consulate which states appointment date)
(d) COVID-19 symptoms or confirmed diagnosis of the virus
- (evidence: upload screenshot including date with your doctor's confirmation)
(e) Acting as carer
- (evidence: upload screenshot including date with a letter confirming this status)
If you have any concerns or queries, please contact the Accommodation Office at email@example.com.