COVID-19: accommodation advice for University applicants

University-managed accommodation guidance will help residents to stay safe and responsible while living in halls. Each shared flat will be considered a household and occupants will, therefore, need to follow the latest Government guidelines as a collective.

We have taken extra measures to reduce risks during arrivals and to support those who may need to quarantine. Our accommodation teams will be there to help students overcome any issues that may arise.

 

FAQs

Can I still book a room in halls?

Yes, University-managed halls are still taking bookings via the Accommodation portal. For those considering clearing, we will be taking accommodation bookings as usual once you secure a place.

What extra steps will be taken to keep halls safe?

  • Posters and signage is installed to remind people of the need to maintain social distancing.
  • Hand sanitiser is provided at each block entrance
  • All communal areas are cleaned regularly by the housekeeping team and increased attention is being paid to items that are frequently touched by people such as handles and handrails.
  • Flats will be provided with cleaning materials at arrivals to support you and your flatmates in keeping shared facilities clean eg kitchens and bathrooms (where shared)
  • Students are encouraged to follow distancing guidelines and wash hands when returning to their flat. Guidance will be in place for safe use of reception, mail collection, and laundry facilities.
  • There will be increased staff visibility in halls to reassure students and discuss any concerns with residents.

Will housekeeping services be provided in flats?

Yes, regular housekeeping is in place and students will be made aware of their cleaning days. You’ll be encouraged to observe social distancing whilst the housekeeper is in your communal area.

You can help by tying and bagging rubbish, keeping good hygiene in kitchens and letting us know if you have any concerns

Will I need to self-isolate on arrival at halls

The University is aware that some students from overseas will need to undertake a period of self- isolation on arrival in the UK. For anyone booked in University Halls, this will begin two weeks prior to the general arrival date and residence will be free of charge. 

As you will not be permitted to leave the building, there will be arrangements for the purchase of essential supplies and food as well as a named contact to ensure your wellbeing during the two weeks.

How many will be in my flat and will we have to distance?

Our flats vary in size from studios to 10-bed flats and we are planning to fill all bedrooms. Flats will be treated as a household and therefore you will be able to mix with flatmates.  

The University will be following the government guidelines dependent on the current alert level. Guidance on visitors to halls and mixing within communal areas outside the household will be communicated as they are updated.

Will we all be on the same course in the flat?

The University will group students based on their room preference and lifestyle questions.

How will social distancing be managed?

University flats range from single studios to 10-bed units, each of these will be considered a ‘household’ for social distancing purposes.

As a community, residents will be expected to follow the applicable guidelines from Government at any given point as a minimum. As the alert level and official advice change, Accommodation Services will provide updates to all residents via a range of channels including distanced face to face patrols.

Regular patrols to reassure will be undertaken by accommodation staff between 10 am and 11pm.

We aim to manage through social responsibility rather than sanctions.

How will conduct be managed in halls?

Whilst we expect the community to take care of each other and their own safety we will take the matter seriously and intervene to support students who are concerned about behaviours.

Students responsibilities are formalised in the accommodation licence and the halls support team will be on hand to offer support for any concerns.

Will I need to wear a mask or face covering in the communal areas of my flat or on campus? Do I have to provide my own facemask?

You will be expected to follow Government guidelines, for example on public transport. However, as the flat is your residence we anticipate that household rules will apply. If you wish to wear a mask or face covering this will be respected. We currently have no plans to supply masks or coverings.

What happens if there’s a second wave?

If cases increase during the academic year students will be directed to lockdown in their halls of residence and remain in Plymouth during restrictions. Support will be provided in halls in response to changes in the alert level.

If there is a change to alert level prior to arrivals and Government guidelines prevent travel to University for the start of term, this will be taken into consideration.

When will I arrive in halls?

The exact date of arrival will depend on your contract length and this will be communicated to you at the end of August.

We are making a few changes to keep everyone safe during arrivals. Most importantly the usual main arrivals window will be increased to 5 days to minimise numbers on campus and in stairwells etc.

Can I delay my start date in line with my course? Will this mean I pay less rent?

The licence for your accommodation is 41 or 42 weeks, which is amongst the shortest available in student accommodation. We are unable to offer individual adjustments if you choose not to arrive at this time.

What will arrivals be like? Will there be anyone to help me move my belongings?

Arrivals will be planned over a longer period to enable distancing. The current position is that help will not be available to physically carry luggage and/or enter the flat and you should try to keep your luggage to a minimum. There are many shops for household essentials within a few minutes’ walk of the campus.

It is important that you arrive in your planned slot as this will help manage a safe flow of people through the buildings. If you have particular needs for support through arrivals please contact residencelife@plymouth.ac.uk

Further information about arrivals.   

What social activities will there be?

The complimentary residence life programme including competitions and offers will still be in place although some activities may be adjusted We are planning to increase face to face social opportunities as restrictions are adjusted.

I don’t get on with my flatmates, can I move rooms?

As we expect halls to be full it is very unlikely that we will offer room swaps. People in a flat will be considered to be a household under current government guidelines, which will preclude room moves.

Can friends come to my flat?

Students will be asked to follow government guidelines which are rapidly changing, this will include rules on numbers of households mixing.

What if I develop symptoms? Will I get support to self-isolate?

In line with current guidance you will self-isolate in your flat and if you are tested positive flatmates will also be required to self-isolate as a household. The halls team will provide help and support including assistance with essential supplies and regular contact as well as ensuring you are in touch with University wellbeing services. 

It is essential that all new students register with the University medical practice on arrival.

Do I need to inform someone if I have symptoms?

Yes, you will have contact details for the halls support team and you should let us know as soon as possible if you have symptoms so that we can help arrange testing. You will also need to inform the central University covid reporting system, which will ensure that everyone who needs to know about your condition is informed and can take necessary actions

Under current guidance this will mean that the whole flat is required to self -isolate.

What if my flatmate has symptoms but doesn’t self-isolate?

The halls team will be your first point of contact. We hope that all members of the community will be responsible and in many cases, the symptoms will not be Covid-19 related. However it is important to follow guidance and arrange a test to reassure yourself and flatmates.

If you have concerns that a fellow resident is not following advice we can support conversations and resolve informally wherever possible.

What if I have symptoms and my room requires maintenance?

Emergency maintenance (that which affects safety) will still need to be dealt with and procedures put in place based on the individual circumstance. However, if you are symptomatic, non-essential maintenance may have to wait.

Faults are reported on our app.

Can friends or family from home visit me and stay overnight?

Although occasional visitors are usually permitted under your licence by consent of the entire flat, this is superseded by current government guidelines. Currently, the answer is no but this is under constant review. 

Can I leave if I feel unsafe? Will I still have to pay my rent?

The halls team will do everything reasonable to help you feel safe and ensure the community follows guidelines. Your licence includes the grounds on which you may be released from the agreement.