The latest information and advice for staff, prospective and current students and visitors during the current coronavirus pandemic. The University is closely monitoring developments and will continue to update you on the latest advice and guidance. 

Recent updates

Last updated: Thursday 6 August

Managing your wellbeing  

Constant working and learning online is a challenge as we strive to correctly interpret non-verbal communication. This can be tiring, so this week we share top tips for combating Zoom and Teams fatigue

Campus preparations 

Colleagues University-wide are continuing to prepare campus for the gradual return of staff and students. Our latest film looks at what’s been happening behind the scenes and provides insight into what to expect when you return. 

Surrey Sports Park latest 

Badminton, squash and tennis courts re-opened last weekend and the swimming pool will open from Monday 10 August. If this is what you were eagerly waiting for to reinstate your membership, you’ll first need to re-register your details online with their new booking system, and un-freeze your membership by emailing the Sports Park

Library reopening 

We’re pleased to report that the Library will be reopening on Tuesday 1 September providing access to study spaces, academic skills advice and printed collections. Opening hours will be 8am – 8pm seven days a week and from 21 September the Library will be open 24/7.  

Running events on campus 

Following the Government announcement that certain events may be permitted from October, the University is running a pilot programme of smaller events in September to test if and how we can manage these safely in line with official Covid-secure guidance. To check if your event can go ahead and join this pilot programme please email usMore information and FAQs are available.  

Annual leave 

Before you travel on holiday, you must ensure that your leave is approved by your line manager as per the Annual Leave policy. You should also discuss your return to consider potential impacts and how any work will be covered, such as onsite teaching or other work commitments, in case you are unable to return due to quarantine/isolation requirements and/or cannot work remotely.  

Previous updates

Vaccination trial

We are delighted to have been selected as one of the trial sites for a new Covid-19 vaccine, developed by scientists from Imperial College London and working in collaboration with colleagues from the School of Biosciences and Medicine, Clinical Research Facility. The University is seeking to recruit 40 volunteers (aged between 18 - 75 years old) to take part in the trial.

Face-to-Face research update

The University has issued new guidelines so that research which cannot be conducted remotely and which requires face-to-face interaction will be able to re-start in a managed way, subject to conditions, to ensure the health and safety of everyone concerned.

Business travel requirements

From 1 August 2020, domestic travel (and international travel in exceptional circumstances, subject to the approval of the relevant EB member) is permitted for staff and postgraduate students seeking to travel on University business and at University expense. However, your safety is our priority, and the guiding principle should be that any travel is by exception and for a business critical purpose.

Please consider whether virtual attendance is possible as local lockdowns, travel restrictions or quarantine requirements might impact on your plans. Full details about the University’s domestic and international travel requirements, including booking and approval protocols, are available on the Business Travel pages on SurreyNet.

Virtual graduation ceremonies

Unfortunately our traditional graduation ceremonies could not take place in Guildford Cathedral this year, but this is still a proud moment for our community. While we look forward to celebrating in person with our 2020 graduates next year, it’s been wonderful to see staff and students overcome this obstacle together by toasting their achievements in a series of inspirational virtual graduation events. Thank you to everyone who made this possible.

MySurrey Hive has reopened

All students, including PGRs, can now access MySurrey Hive to use as study space. We will not have staff in the Hive just yet and all student support services will continue to be offered online, but we want to be able to offer you a safe space to study on campus. MySurrey Hive will be open every day, 08:30am-11:30pm.


As you will be aware, the University has been utilising the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) since the beginning of the lockdown period. While the scheme has now evolved and no longer requires a three-week period of absence, we will continue with our current furlough approach and where there is a reduced workload or it is not possible to work, then individuals may be furloughed following discussions with their Line Manager.

Employee Visas

The Home Office has advised that after 31 July 2020 there will be no more automatic visa extensions. If your visa expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 you are expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK. To allow time to make the necessary arrangements, you will be given an extra month’s grace period within the UK, until 31 August 2020.

If travel restrictions persist and you are unable to leave the UK by the 31 August 2020, you should contact the coronavirus immigration team to request additional time, also known as ‘exceptional indemnity’.

If the conditions of the original expired visa allowed the holder to work, study or rent accommodation, they can continue to do so during the grace period. There is no need to advise the Home Office of the holder’s departure if they leave the UK during August.Face mask guidance

The UK Government announced that from Friday 24 July face masks are mandatory in shops, on public transport and hospital environments. The Government is strongly advising that face coverings are worn in any shared indoor environments. We are working on our approach to this and will share more widely soon.

Our hybrid learning approach for September 

We’re all ready to welcome students back to campus, where we’ll be delivering learning in new ways. We’ll be using a hybrid model of teaching, with face-to-face delivery for most seminars, tutorials, workshops and practical sessions, supported by online learning and assessments. Lectures will be recorded and available online.

Listen to our students and teaching staff talking, in our new film about their online learning experiences. You can also read about how hybrid learning will work at Surrey.

Chief Student Officer Lucy Evans has sent a message to current students, and a video message for prospective students explaining our plans.

Accommodation for the 2020/21 academic year

The latest Government guidance permits the formation of new households, allowing new and returning students to move into shared student accommodation and houses in multiple occupation. In line with this guidance we will soon be ready to take campus accommodation bookings for September onwards. We will share details with you soon.

Vice-Chancellor’s end of the academic year message to students

To mark the end of the 2020/21 academic year, Vice-Chancellor Max Lu has sent a message to all students reflecting on this most exceptional of semesters and the future. 

Reopening of campus

Work to safely reopen our campus continues, as outlined in the VC’s message. New Government guidelines for the Higher Education sector to support the reopening of university buildings and campuses will further inform the recovery plan we are implementing – so we’re ready to welcome students in September.

Many buildings have re-opened to specific staff as part of our very gradual, phased re-opening of the campus. You should only access these buildings if you have already been communicated with directly about this. Our timeline for opening more buildings has now been published. This follows the principles set out in our roadmap for recovery. 

We will continue to provide updates on our plans as they develop in light of the latest Government advice and guidance. Please remember that if you can work from home, you should continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Our roadmap to recovery

The University has shared with staff our roadmap to recovery, outlining how we plan to return to campus activities, and our new policy outlining our approach to social distancing, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings. The guiding principle for all staff remains that they should work from home wherever possible.  

The University has set out five core principles for our approach to recovery over the coming weeks and months:   

  • Ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff and students
  • Maintain the quality of our educational experience and research outcomes
  • Protect the long-term financial sustainability of the University   
  • Remain adaptable to the prevailing Covid-19 alert level (including localised lockdown)
  • Adopt innovative Covid-19 ways of working to emerge stronger.

New Library Click and Post service

Students can now request up to 4 books that are currently on the library’s shelves to be posted to them free of charge.

NHS test and trace – please play your part

Preventing any further outbreaks and tracing the spread of the virus is crucial. We all need to play our part to protect ourselves to protect others. As soon as you develop Covid-19 symptoms, you must self-isolate immediately and call 119 or visit the NHS website to book a test to find out if you have coronavirus. Read more about the NHS test and trace system.

Catering outlets on campus

We are also working to reopen catering outlets in a phased way, and will continue to provide updates on the campus services opening times page. Pizzaman and Young’s Kitchen have now reopened.

Staff collecting equipment from campus

We have shared new working from home health and safety guidance which outlines the measures that the University has put in place to support those staff who may need to review their home working environment, including Display Screen Equipment self-assessment and explains how you can make arrangements to collect equipment from campus.

Other UK visa information and support 

Some UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) have reopened for existing customers. Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are temporarily closed because of COVID-19. For visa customers outside of the UK, some UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) are resuming services, where local restrictions allow.

For updates to the status of VACs, contact TLS Contact if you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East; or VFS Global for all other countries. Please be aware, ongoing global restrictions mean some UKVI services will remain closed. Individuals should contact their local VAC to find out the latest status. Where services are resuming, existing customers will be contacted. Some English Testing Centres are also resuming services. Visit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)’s website, the Pearson Test of English website or the LanguageCert website or an individual can contact their test centre for more information.

Covid-19 testing facilities  

The University is supporting with the infrastructure to provide coronavirus testing for Surrey. The Onslow Park and Ride, which the University leases to Guildford Borough Council, will be used as a Regional Testing Centre from Wednesday 28 April. The Surrey Sports Park car park is also being made available for an additional testing facility. Eligible individuals will be able to book tests through the Government’s testing website. 

Surrey County Council has updated guidance on Covid-19 testing in Surrey following the Government's announcement that new groups are eligible for testing:

  • Anyone over 65 with symptoms
  • Anyone with symptoms whose work cannot be done from home (for example, construction workers, shop workers, emergency plumbers and delivery drivers)
  • Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus and lives with any of those identified above.

Key workers at the University can get themselves or immediate family members tested if they believe they have the virus. The general advice section on our coronavirus staff page outlines which staff at the University are defined as key workers.  

Supporting postgraduate researchers disrupted by Covid-19

We have launched a Covid-19 Research & Innovation Disruption Fund to support those Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) whose research has been most disrupted and delayed by factors relating to Covid-19. The full details and new FAQs are available on our Coronavirus web pages.

UKRI funding announcement for PhD students  

The UK Government has announced that UKRI-funded PhD students whose studies have been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic will be provided with additional support. UKRI-funded Doctoral students in their final year will receive an extension to their research with additional grants, known as a costed extension, of up to six months, providing them with peace of mind that they will be able to complete their studies. 

Further UKRI information is available on their website and the Surrey research community can also consult our own updated Frequently Asked Questions.   

Advice on using public transport

We have updated our travel FAQs to share advice from Stagecoach about travelling on public transport. Please be aware that the Government has made it mandatory for passengers to wear face coverings when using public transport in England.

Remember any students or staff currently working for the NHS can now travel free on Stagecoach buses. Just show your NHS ID card when you board the bus.

Current campus parking arrangements

All existing permit holders can use our car parks as normal, free of charge, up until 31 August. If you do not currently hold a permit and are planning to park on campus – even briefly for an authorised visit to collect equipment – please do make sure you email Transport with the date of your planned visit and your vehicle registration.

University contribution to combating Covid-19

We’re proud of the work so many of our academics are contributing to the fight against Covid-19 and its many consequences. We’ve put together an at-a-glance infographic of the highlights. You can always find out more about our amazing work on our Covid-19 research page

We’ve created an at-a-glance graphical summary (PDF) of the work we’re doing to support our communities – locally, nationally and internationally – in the battle against Covid-19. Patrick Degg, Vice-President (External Engagement), has also highlighted Surrey's contribution to our local community.   

Keep up to date with the latest news about the work we are doing.

The University’s research and work has featured in UUK’s #wearetogether campaign, which highlights the work of the HE sector in response to the current crisis.

Surrey Showcase

Take a look at the successful online annual review event we hosted recently. The event features a particularly powerful film about the many contributions we were proud to make to our local community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

International Year of the Nurse and Midwife

To celebrate the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020, we asked our nurses and midwives to share their stories – why they chose their careers and what inspired them to help others. We’ve gathered them together on YouTube. Share your nursing and midwifery story on Twitter using #YearoftheNurseandMidwife and tag @UniOfSurrey.

Respect the rules on social distancing

Please can we ask all students to continue to strictly respect the Government guidance on social distancing, and the current movement restrictions, even as lockdown measures have eased. We must all still play our part in minimising the risk of further outbreaks.  

Centre for Wellbeing support

In these unusual times, it is more important than ever that we all look after our own health and wellbeing and that of those we care for and about. Social distancing does not have to mean isolation. We are regularly sharing advice on ways to protect your physical, mental and emotional health on our designated Wellbeing and Health page, and our Centre for Wellbeing has launched new services:

  • The virtual waiting room is open 10am to 3pm each weekday. One-to-one drop in sessions are available for staff and students via Zoom, to provide a safe space to talk to a friendly person and ask for wellbeing advice. No booking required.
  • An additional virtual waiting room is available for students living on campus to speak to their warden. This service is available daily, between 8pm - 8:30pm. 
  • Contagious Conversations is brought to you by our Surrey Peer Support scheme. Available to all students on Zoom between 2pm and 3pm every Wednesday. A chance to catch up and speak to other students and share any tips.
  • The Centre for Wellbeing is running a series of virtual events and workshops for students and staff, covering a wide range of wellbeing topics from anxiety to self-care. Students can read more about them in the dedicated Wellbeing email we have sent. Staff can read about them on the SurreyNet homepage under What’s On, where you can also find out about a regular Wellbeing Group to encourage staff to connect with one another virtually on their coffee break.
  • Surrey has signed up to the Stand Alone pledge as part of our continued support for students who are estranged from their families. Please remember that we have a dedicated Senior Support Officer and a dedicated Careers Advisor available to support our estranged students. Please contact Javayria Masood for further details.

Report and Support

Please remember that Report + Support is your online tool for reporting an incident of harassment or abuse, and the website is also home to many support resources. You can find information on a range of topics, including mental health, wellbeing, bullying, relationship abuse and addiction.

Inclusive remote communications – particularly for our deaf colleagues

The channels and methods we are using to interact since the Covid-19 restrictions were put in place are presenting a challenge for everyone, particularly for deaf or hard of hearing colleagues. The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Team (who sit within HR’s People, Culture and Inclusion Team) have developed some guidance to support everyone with remote meeting management, general communication and preparation for returning to a physical working environment.

Working in these challenging times: Learning to COPE

We all need to find new ways to cope with our challenging environment, and this means working together to support each other and implement new arrangements that recognise the complexities in our lives and the different pressures we are having to juggle. The COPE Framework encourages us all to think about how we are working together and suggests how we might explore doing things a little differently to make our transition to the ‘new normal’ a bit easier, for ourselves and our colleagues.

New Surrey United group on Teams – helping us stay connected

A new Surrey United group has been launched for staff on Microsoft Teams. You can use the Surrey United Team if you are experiencing a lack of social interaction – or if you would simply enjoy more social contact. All are welcome.

Campus bike hire discounts

Staff and students on campus looking to get out in the fresh air and embrace exercise while practising safe self-distancing can now access discounted subscriptions to the Nextbike scheme. The scheme is being offered during the Covid-19 outbreak to help support physical and mental wellbeing. The bikes and docking stations are thoroughly cleaned by the Geared Up mechanic team.

Keep us informed about your self-isolation

If you are a student self-isolating in campus accommodation, please remember to complete our self-isolation form. It will enable us to support you and ensure you have everything you need during this challenging time: we can help by delivering food parcels to vulnerable self-isolating students, for example. Please do update this if your status changes.

International travel update

From 10 July you will not have to self-isolate if you’re arriving and staying in England from a country or territory on the Government’s travel corridors list. You still have to provide your journey and contact details.

You will still be required to self-isolate if you have visited or stopped in any country that is not on the list in the previous 14 days. More information and the list of countries are in the Government’s travel corridors guidance.

Continue to follow official advice

We are working with Public Health England and we have robust plans in place to limit risk to others. These support the latest general government advice on self-isolation if you have any symptoms of Covid-19, however minor.

Anyone concerned about their health in relation to this development should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service in the first instance. You can also inform yourself with the latest updates from Public Health England.

Support those who are self-isolating

  • Keep in daily contact via messages, email or phone calls
  • Try to avoid even brief face to face contact but if you do have to, limit this to less than 15 minutes and no closer than two metres (three steps away)
  • Help them access food by offering to shop for them or meet online shopping services, leave it outside their door
  • Collect medication from the pharmacy if possible or collect their prescriptions
  • Encourage them to contact their department and if they have not done so
  • Encourage them to eat if they can and drink at least two to three litres of fluid per day
  • Encourage them to call 111 if they are worsening
  • Call Security on 3333 if you are seriously worried about their health.

What to do if you think you might have Covid-19

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms and seek advice from the NHS Covid-19 website. Stay at home if you have either:

  • A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • Your condition gets worse
  • Your symptoms do not get better after seven days

What the University is doing

The University has been developing and delivering a comprehensive action plan since the Covid-19 outbreak first emerged. We are following national and international advice and guidance, working closely with health authorities and Public Health England. The health and well-being of our entire community is our first priority, with a particular focus on those living on campus.

A senior management response team (Silver Response Group) continues to meet frequently to oversee and manage our preparations and response. They are guided by a set of agreed strategic objectives, and the key actions taken will continue to be summarised on this page and in the Frequently Asked Questions pages for different parts of our community, below.  

Latest guidelines

View the latest advice and guidance from: