February 2022

2022 at University College Birmingham

Updates and FAQs on coronavirus (Covid-19), our safety policies and information on study and support services

Read time: approx 20 mins

We know these are extraordinary times right now. Here at University College Birmingham, we are dedicated to ensuring that nothing can stop you from achieving your ambitions and fulfilling your future.

Over the past two years, we have worked very hard to adapt our campuses and our teaching and support services in order to secure your health and safety while making sure you have the best possible experience studying with us.

University College Birmingham continues to closely monitor the latest advice and guidance from the UK Government and relevant authorities, including the National Health Service (NHS), the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). This page is being regularly updated and contains a range of information and frequently asked questions concerning our current policies and what you can expect studying with us this year, helping to ensure everyone stays as informed and as safe as possible.

Page last updated: Thursday 24 February (includes new UK isolation rules)

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General information on coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 is an illness which can affect your lungs and airways. The most common symptoms may vary depending on whether or not you have received a vaccine:

If you are unvaccinated, the main symptoms of coronavirus are:
  • A headache
  • A sore throat
  • A runny nose
  • A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes within 24 hours (if you normally have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

 

If you are fully vaccinated, the main symptoms of coronavirus are:
  • A headache
  • A sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • A runny nose
  • Loss of smell – this means you’ve noticed you can’t smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different from normal

 

 

If you have any symptoms of coronavirus, you should not come onto campus. You should stay at home and contact us by email at covid19@bigbeararea.com as soon as possible. You should also follow the latest NHS guidance on what to do next, including obtaining a test.

Frequently asked questions:

If I have symptoms of coronavirus but otherwise feel OK, do I have to self-isolate?

From 24 February, you are no longer legally required to self-isolate if you have symptoms of Covid-19. However, testing remains available for symptomatic individuals and it is still recommended that you book a test – details are available here. You can also check your symptoms on the NHS website.

If you test positive, you are no longer legally required to self-isolate. However, the advice from the UK Government remains that you should stay at home and avoid contact with others as much as possible for at least five days after a positive test, and we would encourage you to follow this. You can test yourself on the fifth and sixth days and, provided both tests are negative and you do not have a high temperature, you can resume your normal routine. While you are isolating, we will continue to support you remotely with online materials and meetings with your tutors or other staff.

If I receive a positive Covid test but don’t have any symptoms, do I have to self-isolate?

From 24 February, if you test positive, you are no longer legally required to self-isolate. However, the advice from the UK Government remains that you should stay at home and avoid contact with others as much as possible for at least five days after a positive test, and we would encourage you to follow this. You can test yourself on the fifth and sixth days and, provided both tests are negative and you do not have a high temperature, you can resume your normal routine. While you are isolating, we will continue to support you remotely with online materials and meetings with your tutors or other staff.

If someone I live with has symptoms or has tested positive, do I have to self-isolate?

From 24 February, you are no longer required to self-isolate if someone you live with is symptomatic or has tested positive.

If someone I have been in close contact with has symptoms or tests positive, do I need to self-isolate?

From 24 February, you are no longer required to self-isolate if someone you have been in close contact with is symptomatic or has tested positive.

How is University College Birmingham currently affected by restrictions due to the pandemic?

The majority of national restrictions to control the spread of Covid-19 in England have been lifted, meaning there are no longer legal requirements on social distancing or gatherings.

University College Birmingham has undertaken extensive work to ensure our campus remains safe throughout the 2021/22 academic year, with the vast majority of our courses offering mostly face-to-face teaching, though some safety measures and guidance will remain in place on campus. However, having developed our online resources substantially during the pandemic, some use of digital platforms is also likely to continue where this is in the best interest of our students. In addition, we have prepared detailed contingency plans should there be any change in circumstances or reintroduction of restrictions. For more information, please visit our page on Teaching in the 2021/22 academic year.

Further specific information about the current availability of our services and facilities can be found in the relevant sections further down this page.

What if I am classed as ‘Extremely Clinically Vulnerable’?

If you are considered Extremely Clinically Vulnerable (i.e. you received a letter telling you to shield during a previous lockdown) and you have been attending classes on campus, please let us know by contacting covid19@bigbeararea.com.

Individuals classed as Extremely Clinically Vulnerable are no longer required to shield. However, you should continue to take precautions to protect yourself. More advice and guidance is available on the GOV.UK website here.

Am I eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccination?

Everyone aged 12 and over is now being offered the Covid-19 vaccination for free as part of the UK’s national rollout programme. This includes international students, regardless of nationality or immigration status.

Full details about Covid-19 vaccinations for higher education students can be found on the NHS website here.

Am I eligible to receive a Covid-19 booster vaccine?

Everyone aged 16 and over who has had a second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at least three months ago can now get a booster dose.

Individuals who are classed as immunosuppressed or who are over the age of 75 are also being offered a fourth Covid-19 vaccination, six months after their booster jab.

Where and how can I get my Covid-19 vaccination or booster?

Vaccines are being offered at local sites run by GPs or community pharmacies, at larger vaccination centres and in some hospitals. Local areas may also work with partners to set up temporary ‘pop-up’ clinics at locations convenient for student access.

For more information about how to book your vaccine and other frequently asked questions, please visit the NHS website.

For more details on eligibility for a booster and how to book a booster vaccine, please see the booster information page on the NHS website.

Coming to campus

Health and safety is our top priority for everyone attending or visiting University College Birmingham. Throughout the pandemic, we have implemented a range of safety measures and guidelines for whenever you come to our campus buildings.

We have many staff and students who are at particularly high risk from coronavirus, so even if you don't feel particularly vulnerable yourself, we need you to act responsibly to protect our whole community.

If you are showing any symptoms or are self-isolating, you should stay at home, book a Covid-19 test and contact the University to inform us of your situation (see General information on coronavirus above).

Frequently asked questions:

What safety measures are in place on campus?

During the pandemic, we have implemented a range of measures across the University for those who need to attend campus.

All lifts across campus have been marked indicating the maximum capacity – as space within the lifts is limited, please only use a lift if you can’t use the stairs, to ensure that the lift is available for people who really need it.

We have also provided hand sanitiser stations throughout our campus sites. You should wash your hands regularly, especially when entering any building. You can use the hand sanitiser provided or use soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Do I need to wear a mask/face covering on campus?

Since 27 January, following updated guidance issued by the Government, face masks/coverings are no longer mandatory on our campus. However, we support anyone who wishes to continue wearing a face covering whenever you are indoors on campus, and we can provide a disposable face mask if you require one.

Do I need to get tested to come onto campus?

As of 24 February, you are no longer required to undergo twice-weekly Covid testing before you attend campus. If you do still wish to get a test, more information is available here.

Do I need to have been vaccinated to come onto campus?

We strongly encourage you to get vaccinated before you come back to campus if you possibly can. This will help to reduce the chances of you catching Covid and needing to miss your classes to self-isolate, as well as reducing your chances of being ill. It will also help to protect other members of the University College Birmingham community. 

What facilities are open on campus?

During term-time, our facilities are open as normal, including study facilities, practical training facilities and campus cafes.

If you wish to check opening times or further details, more information is available on the pages below:

Details of other services on campus can be found in the Other support services section below.

Where can I find more information?

You can view copies of our Health and Safety Guidance and our Health and Safety Risk Assessments here.

Travelling to the UK (EU/International students)

If you are travelling to University College Birmingham from outside the UK, you should be aware of any restrictions for individuals arriving into the country, as well as travel rules for your own nation.

For the latest details, please see our Travel to the UK Guidance, or visit the GOV.UK website.

Frequently asked questions:

Do I need to have received a Covid vaccination to study in England?

No. You do not need to have been vaccinated to come to study in England, but if you are unvaccinated, you must test negative within 48 hours of your intended travel date and on or before the end of day 2 after you arrive in England.

All students enrolled on courses in the UK are eligible to register for medical services with a general practitioner (GP) and will be entitled to receive a Covid-19 vaccination while here, in the same way as domestic students.

For more information on vaccines for international students, please visit the NHS website.

What do I need to do if my country is included on the UK Government’s ‘red list’?

Full details about any countries currently included on the UK Government’s ‘red list’, and instructions on what to do if you are travelling from a ‘red list’ country, can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Tuition and online learning

Following previous disruption caused by the pandemic, our courses have now returned to primarily face-to-face teaching, though we will continue following the latest guidance from the UK Government and have prepared detailed contingency plans should there be any reintroduction of restrictions. More information is available here.

Although face-to-face teaching has resumed, we have developed our online resources substantially during the pandemic, and with much of the world having adapted to working remotely, we consider the use of digital platforms to be good preparation for your future career. As such, we will continue some digital or online delivery where possible/appropriate for your course and where this is in your best interests.

Frequently asked questions:

Where can I find information about accessing online tuition and resources?

You can access online tuition and resources through your Canvas page. If you are struggling to access Canvas, please contact your tutor or the DICE team (email dice@bigbeararea.com or call 0121 232 4237).

If you need help with using IT equipment, we have specially trained mentors who can help you. You can access them by contacting studentengagement@bigbeararea.com. You can also access additional IT support, resources and advice on the Portal here.

What should I do if I don’t have access to IT equipment or the internet?

During term time, the library at The Link is available for students who do not have IT equipment or space to study at home, while computer facilities are also available across our campus sites.

If you cannot come to campus and do not have access to IT equipment, please contact Student Services and we may be able to help you (email s.services@bigbeararea.com or call 0121 232 4069).

Accommodation

Our city centre accommodation at The Maltings remains open as normal for students at University College Birmingham. Full details about our accommodation can be found here.

If you require any further information, please contact maltings@bigbeararea.com.

Frequently asked questions:

Are University College Birmingham’s halls of residence open?

Our halls of accommodation at The Maltings remain open, and our Accommodation team can help if you have any questions.

If you need support while you are living in Birmingham – whether at The Maltings or in a private residence – please let us know and we will do our best to help.

Other support services

Our other support services remain available to assist you in a variety of areas including mental health and wellbeing, while the Guild of Students continues to provide support for all students at University College Birmingham. Please see the FAQs below for more details.

(Please note: Availability of our support services and facilities may differ outside of term time.)

Frequently asked questions:

How do I access health and wellbeing support?

We know that this is a challenging time for lots of people. If you need support, we offer a range of services to help you.

All students can access the Canvas course ‘Wellbeing’ for self-help information and links to external services such as helplines, websites and workshops. Alternatively, you can access our Student Assistance Programme.

 

Student Assistance Programme (SAP)

The Student Assistance Programme (SAP) is a free and confidential* service for our higher education students, designed to help you deal with personal or academic problems that could be affecting your home life, health or general wellbeing.

The SAP provides a complete support network with unlimited access to a 24/7 confidential counselling helpline that offers expert advice and compassionate guidance covering a wide range of issues. This includes the option of structured counselling sessions from trained counsellors over the phone. To speak to a BACP-accredited counsellor for free at any time of day or night, just call 0800 028 3766.

*The service is confidential in almost all circumstances, but very occasionally Health Assured may need to share information about you if they judge that your health, wellbeing or welfare is at imminent risk. More information is available here.

 

My Healthy Advantage Mobile App

Sometimes it can be difficult to balance the pressures of university with the demands of home life, and when things feel overwhelming, you may need help and support to deal with the practical and emotional challenges you may be facing.

This free Health Assured app offers access to health and wellbeing support at the tap of a finger anywhere and anytime. Support services include:

  • Weekly mood tracker
  • Support videos and webinars
  • Four-week programmes
  • Home life support and advice
  • Physical and emotional health
  • Mini health checks
  • Wellbeing videos and webinars
  • Medical information

The My Healthy Advantage app is available to download and register on iOS (via the App Store) and Android (via Google Play). To register and gain access, you will require the following MHA ID Code: MHA145988

 

University College Birmingham Health and Wellbeing Team

Our health and wellbeing service is open and is available to provide counselling, wellbeing advice and support for students with mental health conditions.

To book an appointment, you need to register with the service by requesting a registration form via the Student Portal under ‘Student Services’, or by sending an email to wellbeing@bigbeararea.com. Once you have submitted your registration form, you will be contacted by email with a date and time for your assessment.

 

Other services

For other help outside of University College Birmingham, you can call the mental health support line offered by Birmingham and Solihull NHS Trust. The helpline is available on 0121 262 3555 or 0800 915 9292 and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more details, visit the Trust’s website.

Further support is also available through Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity.

What if I am having other difficulties while studying?

Our Student Engagement Team is available to provide a variety of support, including advice and guidance, mentoring or directing you to our other support teams.

If you are seeking general advice, you can send an email to studentengagement@bigbeararea.com. For more complex issues, you can book an appointment with our engagement team.

We encourage all students to join our UCB Community page on Canvas, where you can book your appointment with one of our engagement officers, as well as finding more information about our support teams.

What support is available from the Guild of Students?

As always, the Guild is here to support your academic interests, and we can accommodate safe meetings on campus as well as digital meetings to support, signpost or listen. 

For more information about support and activities available through the Guild, please visit the Guild of Students website. You can also use the Live Chat on the website, send a message via the Guild’s social media channels or email guildinfo@bigbeararea.com

How do I contact other support services (e.g. Finance, International)?

Our support services are always available to provide you with help and assistance wherever needed. In the first instance, please send an email to the relevant team, then staff will pick this up and respond during the working day.

Financeucbstudentfinance@bigbeararea.com, or call 0121 232 4411

Internationalinternational@bigbeararea.com

IT supportITSU@bigbeararea.com

Registryregistry@bigbeararea.com

Admissions: admissions@bigbeararea.com

Applying to University College Birmingham

Prospective students can apply as normal for courses starting at University College Birmingham in 2022. For more information, visit our How to Apply page.

Frequently asked questions:

Can I attend an open day?

We are currently offering a combination of on-campus and online open days. To find out more, please visit our Open Days page.

Should you not be able to attend an on-campus open day, our online open days are packed with everything from insight on your course of interest or 3D tours of our cutting-edge facilities to Q&As with lecturers and the chance to talk to our support services.

Can I visit the campus?

We offer campus and accommodation tours for prospective students who want to apply for 2022 study.

For more information and upcoming dates, please refer to our Campus Tours page.

I am an international applicant – will I be able to take an English test with the University?

English tests are currently available online and on site. Our Admissions team will contact you directly to organise this with you and select the most appropriate option once we have received your application.

Any other queries?

If you have any questions concerning the above guidance or need to know more about how your studies may be affected, please speak to your teaching teams in the first instance, or you can send an email to covid19@bigbeararea.com.

More information is also available on the GOV.UK website and the NHS website.

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