General advice for students, staff and visitors

Advice and information about coronavirus Covid-19 that is relevant to everyone. If you have immediate concerns for your own health please call NHS 111 or use the NHS online coronavirus service.

Report now

If you have symptoms (a high temperature/new continuous cough or a loss of taste/smell), however mild: STAY HOME, SELF-ISOLATE, NOTIFY US, REQUEST A TEST.

Covid-19 (coronavirus)

Typical symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. For the latest information see the UK Government guidance on Covid-19.

There are general principles everyone can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • All staff and students should self-isolate immediately and report any of the following to the Rapid Response Team if you:
    • develop symptoms (high temp/new continuous cough/loss of taste or smell), no matter how mild
    • receive a positive Covid-19 test result
    • have been contact traced and told to self-isolate
    • are required to isolate due to arriving from a non-exempt country or a high-risk area
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people and maintain social distancing
  • Wear a face covering
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home: do not attend work or school
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment
  • If you are worried about your symptoms, please call NHS 111. Do not go directly to your GP or another healthcare environment

You can visit the Public Health England blog for more information.

Our Rapid Response team is in place to advise those with Covid-19 symptoms on how to get a test, and to support people who receive a positive test and need to self-isolate. Full details are on our Request a test and report self-isolation page.

We know that symptomatic testing and contact tracing is an important tool to help keep our colleagues and students safe, and the Rapid Response team is a key part of our commitment to reducing the chances of transmission amongst those immediately around us. 

  • The University's rapid results tests

The Rapid Response team offers free onsite Covid-19 tests to symptomatic students and staff. To request a test, please simply complete the reporting form. You can read our full FAQs on our request a test and report self-isolation page.

  • Walk-through Local Testing Site 

The Department of Health & Social Care and Surrey County Council have enabled the University to host a Local Testing Sites. This walk-through testing facility is situated in the GSA car park, and is open for staff, students and the local Guildford community.

We are proud to play our part in supporting the local community and our own staff and students. This walk-through testing facility is in addition to the regional drive-through testing facility at the Onslow Park and Ride.

Full details about NHS Covid-19 testing are available on our Request a test and report self-isolation page.

We have developed comprehensive plans in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. All of our planning and decision-making has been informed by risk assessment, following the guidance from the UK Government and the Health and Safety Executive, together with our own University policies.

  • Rapid Response team

The University has implemented a Rapid Response Team to provide guidance and support to our staff and students about self-isolation and scheduling free onsite Covid-19 tests for those who are experiencing symptoms.

  • Asymptomatic testing

In line with government guidance, the University launched an asymptomatic testing programme to help ensure students could travel home safely for the winter break and then resume their studies in person in Semester 2.

  • Signage

Bespoke Covid-secure signage – including wall and floor markers outlining social distancing requirements, one-way flows to reduce congestion and occupancy protocols in lifts, laboratories and teaching rooms – has been installed across campus, as well as signage indicating the need to keep hands clean and the requirement to wear a face covering.

  • Enhanced cleaning/hygiene protocols

In addition to more frequent and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of touch points, toilets and kitchen facilities, we have also installed over 200 disinfectant wipe dispensers in teaching areas, social spaces and large offices, and more than 450 perspex screens at many teaching lecterns, computer labs, catering facilities and reception points. Where necessary, and following our risk assessed protocols, colleagues in EFCS will use disinfectant fogging machines to clean larger areas.

  • Social distancing

In accordance with UK government guidance, the University has taken action to reconfigure spaces to create appropriate social distancing at 2m (where this is viable) or at 1m with added risk mitigation measures in place. All measures have been implemented following formal risk assessment.

  • Face coverings

Everyone is required to wear a face covering in all University shared indoor spaces, including while moving through buildings and within teaching, learning and study environments. There are a number of exceptions which can be found in the face covering section of the University Covid-19 policy.

Although we expect that most people already have their own face coverings, the University has provided all staff and students with a high-quality face covering.

As part of the building re-opening procedures, following UK government guidance the EFCS maintenance team have already taken steps to improve ventilation, including increasing fan speeds and stopping the recirculation of air in mechanical ventilation systems. Please familiarise yourself with the actions you can take every day to support good ventilation in your areas of work.

  • Risk assessment of measures

The University Health and Safety Directorate has undertaken a number of reviews of potential precautionary/risk mitigation measures, such as the use of face visors/shields and temperature screening for the detection of Covid-19.

Based on the current research and evidence available, the use of temperature screening does not provide any significant benefit and may reduce personal responsibility. It is therefore not recommended for use at the University. If you are unwell, we need you to stay at home.

Face visors/shields are classified as PPE (personal protective equipment) and may be required when working in very close contact with others and whilst also wearing a PPE face mask. These may be recommended/provided following a specific risk assessment.

You can read the full details of the Covid-secure measures that we have implemented in the University Covid-19 health and safety policy.

The University recognises the UK Government regulations on the wearing and advice/guidance on the safe use of face coverings and we have arranged for all staff and students to receive one reusable face covering.

It is a requirement to wear a face covering in all shared indoor University spaces, including whilst moving through buildings and within teaching, learning and study environments. Although not an exhaustive list, here are some common examples:

  • In a University vehicle when necessary to travel with a passenger
  • In a meeting, when it is absolutely necessary to meet face-to-face, and at least 2 metres distance between seated attendees cannot be achieved
  • When walking through buildings and corridors
  • When in one of the catering outlets (can be removed if you are seated to eat/drink)
  • Walking round an open plan office
  • During a fire evacuation and at the assembly point
  • Collecting or delivering post from/to Central Distribution
  • In a kitchen or pantry*
  • In a toilet/washroom facility*

*If these areas are located in your home (i.e. University residence) then wearing a face covering is required if you are self-isolating and only within the common areas of your shared flat.

In some exceptional circumstances a face covering will not be required: these circumstances are outlined in the face covering section of our Covid-19 University policy. Please be mindful and respectful towards members of our community who may not be able to wear a face covering and that their reasons for this may not be visible to others. If you are exempt from wearing a face covering, you can choose to adopt the Surrey Sunflower as a visual cue if you wish.

At Surrey we’re committed to cultivating an inclusive community and supporting the needs of people with hidden disabilities and/or invisible illnesses, and we are pleased to launch the Surrey Sunflower initiative.

Wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower discreetly indicates to people around the wearer (including staff, students and colleagues) that they may need additional support, understanding or a little more time. It aims to increase awareness of the, often invisible, adjustments that people with hidden disabilities may require. Without a visual cue, it can be difficult for people with invisible illnesses to communicate certain adjustments, or to not be questioned or challenged when they do.

Members of our community with hidden disabilities and/or invisible illnesses who wish to adopt a visual cue will be able to collect a Surrey Sunflower lanyard, pin badge or wallet card from a number of points across campus:

  • Stag Hill Reception (at Senate House)
  • Manor Park Reception
  • Wellbeing Centre Reception
  • Library helpdesk
  • The Hive

Please remember: unless you are exempt due to exceptional circumstances, you must wear a face covering in indoor spaces including MySurrey Nest, MySurrey Hive and the Library. You must also follow social distancing instructions, and either sit on your own or only sit in a group with members of your household.

Those who do not follow these Covid-secure rules will be issued with a ‘Suspended Fine’ as a disciplinary warning that this behaviour is not acceptable. Anyone who breaches the rules for a second time will be issued with a fine of a minimum of £100.

We thank the students who are playing their part to look after each other and use our spaces respectfully, and we hope to see all students following the rules so that we can keep spaces like the Nest open for everyone to enjoy safely.

Wardens

Students experiencing any issues in of a breach of the Covid-19 rules within accommodation should report this to their Warden providing details (date, time, location). In addition, students should also use any of the following reporting processes.

University Security

Monitored 24/7, you can report all security issues including:

  • Emergency support across all campuses
  • Crime or incident reporting
  • Anything that is causing you concern for your safety

Emergency phone: +44 (0)1483 683333 / ext 3333
Phone: +44 (0)1483 682002 / ext 2002
Email: security@surrey.ac.uk

Anonymous reporting

Monitored 24/7. You can use the anonymous reporting form to report all security issues including:

  • Noise
  • Theft
  • Drug use
  • Any other antisocial behaviour.

Report + Support

Abuse, bullying, harassment, hate crime and sexual misconduct are never ok.

You can use Report + Support (anonymously or with your contact details) for the following incidents:

  • Bullying and harassment
  • Hate crime
  • Sexual harassment and sexual assault
  • Physical assaults
  • Relationship abuse and stalking
  • Concerns about mental health and wellbeing
  • Drug/alcohol abuse and/or addiction

We appreciate that for many reasons people may not feel comfortable reporting with their contact details. Therefore this online form also allows you to report anonymously, however please bear in mind that we will not be able to offer you direct advice, as we will not ask you for any personally identifiable details.

Campus cleaning and maintenance

Monitored 7am - 6pm, Monday to Friday. You can report all cleaning and maintenance issues including:

  • Cleaning problems within accommodation.
  • Maintenance problems or requests.
  • Issues across campus in academic, study or social areas.

Online: Estates and Facilities student helpdesk

Phone: +44(0)1483 689230

Email: efmenquiries@surrey.ac.uk  

Please contact University Security for out of hours emergencies.

Consumable Replenishment

  • Alcohol gel, antiviral wipes, blue roll and antiviral spray supplies are checked and replenished daily Monday to Friday. If you run out of supplies between checks, please get in touch.
  • Monitored between 6am - 11pm, Monday to Friday. You can request for items to be replenished, please let us know what you need and the location.

Email: housekeeping@surrey.ac.uk

Please contact University Security for out of hours emergencies.

The University is supporting a number of different ways for tracking movement around campus to assist us, the NHS and Public Health England (PHE) should we need to carry out contact tracing. This forms a central part of the government’s coronavirus recovery strategy, which seeks to help the nation return to normal as soon as possible for as many people as possible, in a way that is safe and protects the NHS and social care sector.

We would ask you to use as many of these as possible to help keep you and the wider community safe:

  • NHS – If you haven’t already, please download the NHS Covid-19 app. This will act as a digital diary for you to register and record places you’ve visited on campus. This is the fastest way to see if you're at risk from coronavirus - and the faster you know, the quicker you can alert and protect your loved ones and community.
  • Campus density heatmap – To help you make informed decisions about which places to visit on campus at particular times, our density heatmap allows you and others to see which areas on campus are quiet, moderately busy or busy. The heatmap is also available through the MySurrey app.
  • Tap&Go – Tap your University card as you enter a venue, to help the University support the NHS and PHE in the event of needing to trace contacts.

We all need to play our part to protect ourselves and to protect others. As soon as you develop Covid-19 symptoms, you must self-isolate immediately and notify our Rapid Response team using the reporting form

You can read more about the NHS test and trace system.

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

The University has a Rapid Response team who can support students or staff with Covid-19 symptoms to get a test: please complete the reporting form. For medical advice and information, phone NHS 111, visit the NHS online coronavirus service or use the NHS Covid-19 App. You can book a NHS test online, via the app or by calling 119.

You'll find specific advice about how self-isolation works in accommodation on our students page, and you can also read about how to access our support services on our dedicated MySurrey self-isolation support guide.

For advice about how self-isolation works for employees, please visit our staff page.

You are required to self-isolate in these circumstances:

  • If you have any symptoms of coronavirus 
  • If you've tested positive for coronavirus
  • If you live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive
  • If someone in your support bubble has symptoms or has tested positive
  • If you're told by NHS Test and Trace that you've been in contact with a person with coronavirus
  • If you’re arriving in the UK from a country not currently on the travel corridor list 

Staff and students are required to report to the Rapid Response team if they are self-isolating. If you develop symptoms, they can give you support and advice about how to book a Covid-19 test. Please remember you must continue to self-isolate while you wait for your results.

You are required by law to self-isolate; fines for those breaking the rules start at £1,000 and increase to £10,000 for repeat offenders.

The University is fully supportive of those who have been advised to self-isolate. Staff and students are required to report to the Rapid Response team if they are isolating because of any of the reasons above.

Report Now

Staff and students who are experiencing symptoms will be offered a free NHS Covid-19 test.

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 111 online or call NHS 111.

Students should also visit our dedicated MySurrey self-isolation support guide to find full details of how we can support you throughout your 10 days of self-isolation, and the next FAQ tells you about our exercise areas for self-isolating students. You should also contact your Academic Hive and relevant module leaders to arrange temporary online learning access.

If you are self-isolating, please follow the advice given by Public Health England. You can also find out more about staying at home and the Government's guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus (Covid-19) infection.

The University has been advised by Public Health England and the Department for Education that we can provide an outdoor space for self-isolating students who do not have symptoms and have not tested positive for Covid-19.

We have created 22 dedicated outdoor exercise areas across Stag Hill, Manor Park and Hazel Farm to help our self-isolating students look after their physical and mental wellbeing, so that they can access fresh air even when in isolation.

You can use one of these exercise areas if you are self-isolating because:

  • You have been identified as a potential close contact, but have not tested positive for Covid-19 yourself
  • You have been identified as a potential close contact, but you do not have any Covid-19 symptoms
  • You have travelled from a country that requires you to self-isolate on arrival in the UK

Please note, if you have Covid-19 symptoms or you have tested positive for Covid-19, you must remain indoors and therefore unfortunately you cannot use these areas.

Make sure you wash your hands before leaving your room or flat and using the areas, as well as afterwards, to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Please click below to view the map of our exercise areas by campus – you will need to use the area that has been assigned to your accommodation block:

These spaces are only for self-isolating students and must be used in a Covid-secure way, so there are a number of basic rules that we ask you to follow. Please remember students should only use this space for independent exercise and not engage in activities with other students outside of their self-isolating household.

Follow the advice you have received from NHS 111 and let the Rapid Response team know you are being tested/have tested positive so that we can support you.

Report Now

You can read about the next steps on our request a test and report self-isolation page.

In addition, anyone can contact Security on +44 (0)1483 683333 if they need immediate assistance.

If you become unwell while on campus and develop symptoms, no matter how mild (high temperature/new continuous cough/loss of taste or smell), you should:

  1. Self-isolate immediately and notify the Rapid Response team, who will contact you to advise you on next steps and ensure you have the support you need.
  2. If you are showing symptoms, request a free Covid-19 test. You can do this by reporting to the Rapid Response team.

Report Now

If a member of staff or friend has helped someone who was taken unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, PHE advise that they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell with symptoms consistent with coronavirus infection.

If a friend or colleague develops symptoms, they may want to tell people they've been in close contact with in the past 48 hours that they might have coronavirus.

Examples of close contact include:

  • close face-to-face contact (under 1 metre) for any length of time – including talking to them or coughing on them
  • being within 1 to 2 metres of each other for more than 15 minutes – including travelling in a small vehicle
  • spending lots of time in your home, such as cleaning it

If your friend tells you they might have coronavirus, you do not need to self-isolate unless you're contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service or the University. But you should take extra care to follow social distancing advice, including washing your hands often and you must avoid individuals who are at high-risk of contracting Covid-19 (for example, because they have pre-existing medical conditions, such as respiratory issues).

If you have had close contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19, you should stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days from the day you were last in contact with the person – it can take up to 10 days for symptoms to appear.

Staff and students should self-isolate immediately and notify the Rapid Response team, who will contact you to advise you on next steps and ensure you have the support you need. If you are showing symptoms, the Rapid Response team can arrange a free test. 

Report Now

You can find more advice on the NHS website.

Lockdown restrictions and asymptomatic testing

Following the announcement that England has entered a national lockdown, you can read about our Semester 2 teaching plans on the student page of our coronarvirus website.

If we experience a rise in infection rates, or there is an increase in infection rates in the local community, we will work with our local Health Protection Team and the Director of Public Health to determine the most effective measures that will help reduce transmission. In certain instances, decision-making may be referred to the national level, and the government’s Local Action Committee command structure may recommend some level of restriction to Universities in such areas.

We have robust contingency plans in place which will enable us to continue to deliver educational excellence if we are subject to new restrictions. These include different approaches to teaching delivery, depending on the level of restriction, but our aim will be to continue to offer face-to-face teaching for as long as it is safe to do so, within our hybrid education model. Should we be advised to do so, we can move to fully online teaching for a limited period for most courses.

Effective from Tuesday 5 January, the UK government placed England in a national lockdown to reduce transmission of the coronavirus.

The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. You can read about what you can and can’t do during the national lockdown in the government’s National lockdown: Stay at Home guidance.

All staff and PGR students should now work from home where possible, unless their work requires them to be on campus. Please visit our staff page for advice about childcare.

We are offering rent credits to those students who have not been able to return to their University-managed accommodation. Please visit our Student page to read full details in the Accommodation FAQs.

Students can read a full update from Chief Student Officer Lucy Evans about our teaching and learning plans for Semester 2 and the introduction of a safety net policy.

We will remain flexible and adapt to guidance when issued, but our hybrid learning approach remains to offer students as much face-to-face teaching in a Covid-secure environment as possible. Teaching in Semester 2 will begin as ‘online-only’ for all taught students who are not already participating in face-to-face teaching, and we intend to stagger the return to face-to-face teaching as outlined in the latest update from Chief Student Officer Lucy Evans.

Student support services are in place as before (online and in-person), with the Library, Library+ in AC03, MySurrey Hive and MySurrey Nest available for study.

Only those students on specific programmes undertaking face-to-face teaching should return to campus. In accordance with the new legislation all other students should stay at their vacation accommodation until at least mid-February and not return to campus.

In exceptional circumstances where you may need to return to campus you should do so in a safe and Covid-Secure way and we will ensure that you have the support that you require. A number of catering options, together with all student support services including the Library, MySurrey Hive and Nest, study spaces and Academic Hives, will continue to be open (face-to-face and online) as usual for all students, and dedicated silent study rooms will be available for students to book to undertake exams in the Library and MySurrey Hive.

There will continue to be support for students in University accommodation via the Residential Wardens and the Peer Supporters. We know that many of you have questions related to your on-campus accommodation and we are working through these and will update you shortly.

You may travel home once between 3 December 2020 and 7 February 2021, and you will form part of that household for the duration of your stay. However, you should not travel back and forth between your family home or vacation address and your term-time address. If students have already travelled back to campus after the winter break, they should remain on campus and not travel home. You can find out more about this in a letter from Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan

We understand that the situation in the UK and abroad is changing. If you have travelled to your home (outside the UK) and find that you cannot return due to restrictions preventing travel, then we will be flexible with your studies where we can.

In recognition of potential travel issues for many of our students, we have introduced Late Arrival Points for students returning and arriving on campus for Semester 2. Please visit our Student page for full details.

Some individuals may have a high risk of developing severe Covid-19 infection due to specific medical circumstances. UK government advice and guidance is subject to frequent change but current information can be found here.

On Tuesday 5 January 2021, England entered a national lockdown. During this time, the UK government advises everyone who has been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable to shield by staying at home, to protect themselves from exposure to coronavirus.

Those students who are classified as being CEV will be permitted to study online where possible: please contact the University's Disability and Neurodiversity team to enquire about studying from home.

Staff categorised as CEV, having notified HR earlier this year and provided the supporting NHS shielding letter, should now work from home if they can. Those unable to work from home should contact their line manager or HR Business Manager to discuss options. Where there is no shielding letter, but the member of staff considers themselves to be at high risk, in line with UK Government guidance they should contact their GP and/or Consultant where appropriate to seek advice and supporting documentation. They should also seek advice from HR via the HR Operations Centre with a view to possible referral to Occupational Health to consider any potential risks and any further measures that should be considered to minimise risk for an individual.

Those not defined as CEV but who are at higher risk from coronavirus, or living with somebody categorised as CEV, should continue to take extra care in following advice and guidance around hygiene protocols and social distancing. 

A huge thank you to more than 5,300 students and staff who took part in our end of term asymptomatic Covid-19 testing programme. 

In line with the latest government directive, all students and staff on/attending campus are now expected to book a regular asymptomatic Covid-19 test (at Surrey Sports Park) at least once every week. You should take a test when first returning to campus, and then this needs to be followed up with regular weekly tests.

Book your test here

Participation in asymptomatic Covid-19 tests for those who do not have symptoms is important because:

  • You might be infected but not know – help break the chain of transmission
  • You can protect those you live with 

You should not participate in asymptomatic testing if

  1. You have Covid-19 symptoms (please self-isolate, notify the University’s Rapid Response team and book an NHS test).
  2. You are already self-isolating (either due to testing positive or being identified as a close contact) - you must not break your self-isolation to get a test.
  3. If you have recently (within 90 days) tested positive for Covid-19, you are likely to have developed some immunity, and therefore a repeat LFD test is unlikely to be necessary within this period. If having recently tested positive for Covid-19, you choose to have an LFD test as part of this programme, please ensure the LFD test is not taken whilst still within your period of isolation following the last confirmed test, which if symptoms persist could be longer than the typical 10-day period for confirmed cases.

All staff and students, including returning international students, commuter students and those who remained at their term-time accommodation over the winter break should be tested regularly when they return to campus. The more people that get tested, the better we can mitigate the transmission of Covid-19 and the faster we can get back to doing the things we love.

You are expected to get tested at least once a week, ideally three days apart (and no more than 7 days apart), even if your test result is negative. If your test result is positive, you should self-isolate immediately and notify the University’s Rapid Response team who will advise you about how to get a confirmatory PCR test (from Wednesday 27 January a confirmatory second test will no-longer be required).

Yes, you can get more than one test per week. The advice is that you should take tests no earlier than 3 days and no more than seven days apart, so please do continue to book tests within that time frame.

We are reviewing the number of booking slots available after 15 February, and we will update this shortly, when further dates and times will be available.

Yes, the Covid-19 vaccine can substantially reduce the risk of becoming ill with the virus, but some people may still get infected and even be able to spread the disease. Therefore all members of our community, including those who have received the vaccine, are required to participate in the asymptomatic testing programme.

Commuting students are encouraged to book an asymptomatic test on the first day that they return to campus. We understand that this might be the first day that their face-to-face teaching starts. If they are not able to book a test on that date, they should book one for the next available test date. 

Local authorities will also be offering asymptomatic community testing, so commuting students could alternatively try to arrange a test through their local authority before travelling to campus.

The Government is gradually expanding community testing to all local authorities across England, to offer Covid-19 tests to people who do not have symptoms. This list, which is updated regularly, shows the local authorities who are currently rolling out community testing. If it is more convenient for you to access regular asymptomatic testing in your local area rather than using the University’s testing site, you can do so. 

If you are already taking a regular asymptomatic Covid-19 test at least once a week (for example, as part of a healthcare placement), you do not need to also take asymptomatic tests at the University's testing site. However, if you are currently being tested less frequently (e.g. every 2 weeks), please book additional tests to ensure that you are taking at least one test every week, between 3-7 days apart.

Mandatory Covid-19 testing

Passengers arriving from all international destinations will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test result before departing for England. The new rules took effect at 4am on Monday 18 January and apply to returning UK nationals as well as foreign citizens.

Passengers will need to produce a test result taken less than 72 hours before boarding planes, boats or trains to the UK, and could be fined £500 in border spot checks without a negative result. 

Please note: Travel corridors were suspended 4am, 18 January 2021, which means that if you arrive in England from anywhere outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days, even with a negative Covid-19 test.

Passengers will still be required to fill in a passenger locator form and be subject to national lockdown restrictions.

Test to Release scheme

The Government has issued advice for international arrivals explaining that passengers arriving into England can now choose to pay for a private test and potentially shorten their self-isolation, as part of their ‘Test to Release’ scheme.

Anyone wishing take a private test 5 full days after leaving the non-exempt location in order to release themselves from self-isolation on receipt of a negative result, is advised to book a test with a private test provider

The guidance states that you cannot use tests provided by the NHS under this scheme and you can be fined if you use a negative NHS test result to end your self-isolation period early. This means that you cannot use one of the University’s asymptomatic tests to try to end your self-isolation early.

If you choose to book a private test, please note that you must still self-isolate immediately if you develop Covid-19 symptoms or are told to isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app. This applies even if you have had a negative test result under the Test to Release scheme and had stopped self-isolating. If you are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app before you take a test under the Test to Release scheme, you should:

  • Cancel your test
  • Continue self-isolating for 10 days from when you were last in contact with the person who tested positive for coronavirus

Asymptomatic testing for international students

Even if you received a negative pre-flight Covid-19 test, you are still required participate in the University's asymptomatic Covid-19 testing programme, as you will have been in close contact with other travellers during your journey. Please complete your 10-day self-isolation period first, and then take one of the University’s asymptomatic tests before you start your face-to-face teaching on campus, and continue to do so at least once at week.

You will receive a confirmation email with more information. This will remind you to:

  • Take your student ID with you
  • Take a device with you i.e. your phone, tablet or laptop
  • Wear a face covering
  • You may have to queue outside, so please make sure you are dressed appropriately for the weather.

Testing will take place at Surrey Sports Park.

If you develop symptoms before your test, please do not go for the asymptomatic test. Instead you should self-isolate, notify the University’s Rapid Response team and book an NHS test on site near to the GSA building or using other NHS options.

SSP map
  • Follow the signs to the asymptotic testing site, which is located towards the left side of the main entrance of the Surrey Sports Park building by the tennis courts. (Please note: this is a different location to the drive-through Regional Testing Site in the Onslow Park and Ride car park near the Surrey Sports Park).
  • Upon arrival you will be asked to self-register your personal details on a registration portal.
  • Trained staff will be on-site to give you guidance about how to self-administer a nose and throat swab. This video from the Department of Health and Social Care explains what to expect.
  • Your test sample will then be processed by a trained operative, which usually takes 20-30 minutes.. 
  • If you require transport to the Asymptomatic Testing Site, the local Stagecoach bus service runs from Stag Hill to Surrey Sports Park. You can also use one of the eight NextBike UK docking stations across Stag Hill and Manor Park. 
  • If you are not able to get to Surrey Sports Park due to having a disability or medical condition, please email covid19testing@surrey.ac.uk and we will explore alternative options with you to enable you to get to the asymptomatic testing site.

The University will not receive your test results. The NHS will notify you about your result via SMS and/or the email that you provide during the registration process on the day. You can expect to receive results very quickly – sometimes within minutes of the results upload, but typically in a couple of hours.

If you test positive, please notify the University's Rapid Response team so that we can support you.

You must follow the rules on self-isolation and notify the University: 

  • If you test positive you are legally required to self-isolate at your current address for 10 days. Please notify the University's Rapid Response team so we can support you. You are advised to take another test to confirm the positive result which should be done at the Local Test Site next to GSA (from Wednesday 27 January a confirmatory second test will no-longer be required). 
  • If you test negative, but have been identified as a close contact you must self-isolate at your current address for a period of 10 days. Please notify the University's Rapid Response team.  Providing you have no symptoms, after 10 days you can resume regular weekly asymptomatic testing. 

You are required to get tested at least once a week, ideally 3 days apart and no more than 7 days apart:

  • If you test negative and you are not a close contact of someone who has tested positive, please book another test in the next 3-7 days, and continue to take one or two tests every week.
  • If you receive an invalid test result you should make another booking to be retested.

Book your test here

Asymptomatic testing in universities are using Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs) – a clinically validated throat and nasal swab antigen test that does not require a laboratory for processing and can turnaround results at the location of the test very quickly.

The LFD detects a Covid-19 antigen that is produced when a person is infected with Covid-19 – it is not an antibody test. The test is simple to use and you will usually be notified of your result within a couple of hours.

Travel advice

Visit our students and staff pages for specific advice if you are on a study or work placement abroad, an exchange or on a work trip.

It is now mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport and when using indoor public transport hubs, as an added layer of protection will help to keep you and others safe when travelling. 

You can travel on public transport as long as you have not been informed by NHS Test and Trace that you need to self-isolate and that neither you or a member of your household has Covid-19 symptoms. 

If you are using public transport you should follow the safer travel guidance. This includes wearing a face covering unless you are exempt, planning your journey in advance to avoid busy times and routes, washing/sanitising your hands regularly, and keeping your distance while travelling where possible.

If you have been identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive (a housemate for example), but you test negative for coronavirus (Covid-19) via the mass testing programme, you can return home if you wish to do so, taking into account the risk of transmission to your family, but you must continue self-isolation at home for a period of 10 days.

You should travel home via private transport wherever possible – but if you have no other option than to use public transport, you should strictly follow the safer travel guidance for passengers, for instance by observing social distancing measures, wearing a face covering and washing your hands thoroughly and regularly during the journey. South Western Railway have issued some helpful rail travel guidelines too.

Remember, if you test positive, you must not use public or private transport. You must self-isolate in your current accommodation for 10 days.  

Stagecoach has compiled some helpful advice for passengers to consider before using public transport on their frequently asked questions page.

There are other social distancing measures in place for added safety, so you can download the 10-steps to staying safe when you travel document (PDF).

We have also received guidance from train operators SouthWestern, Great WesternSouthernGreat Northern (PDF) and Thameslink (PDF).

The University follows the advice of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)  in respect of International Travel advice during the Covid-19 pandemic and all students and staff should make themselves aware of the current advice for any destination to which they wish to travel.

All staff and post graduate students seeking to travel on University business should then follow the detailed instructions and advice on SurreyNet. Student study abroad and placement students are directed to this travel advice.

Returning to the UK: Mandatory Covid-19 testing

Passengers arriving from all international destinations will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test result before departing for England. The new rules will take effect from 4am on Monday 18 January 2021 and apply to returning UK nationals as well as foreign citizens.

Passengers will need to produce a test result taken less than 72 hours before boarding planes, boats or trains to the UK, and could be fined £500 in border spot checks without a negative result.

Please note: Travel corridors were suspended 4am, 18 January 2021, which means that if you arrive in England from anywhere outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days, even with a negative Covid-19 test.

Passengers will still be required to fill in a passenger locator form and be subject to national lockdown restrictions.

Test to Release scheme

Passengers arriving into England now have the option to take a Covid-19 test from a private testing provider (at your own expense) after 5 days of self-isolation, with a negative result releasing the traveller from the need to continue to self-isolate. Guidance is available here, and there's more information for international students in the FAQ section above.

If you are an international student and are planning to travel home or to University, you should adhere to Public Health England advice whilst in England to ensure you are travelling safely. You should not travel if you have symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19) or are part of a household group which is self-isolating. Some countries may require proof of recent Covid-19 testing for entry.

Can I get a pre-flight Covid-19 test to travel overseas?

Please note, the lateral flow antigen tests used in the University's asymptomatic testing programme are not valid as a pre-flight Covid-19 test. You will require a PCR swab test. Government guidelines explain that you should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country.

Tests are available from a number of different places – we would advise that you buy from a recognised retail supplier such as Boots or Lloyds pharmacies.

When arranging any test, you should follow advice from your airline and check the requirements of the country you are travelling to (read the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office foreign travel advice). Consider the time it will take to process your test and get your result.

Will the University pay for this?

Anyone travelling independently should fund their own travel costs. If you are struggling to pay for the cost of such a test in order to travel home, then please do contact our Money team, who can give you advice and guidance, and may also be provide support through our Hardship Fund.

Overseas travel

If you do travel overseas, you should also consider whether you need to self-isolate when you return, and are advised to check any restrictions in the country you are travelling to, and whether you will also need to undertake a period of self-isolation in that country.

Please note: Travel corridors were suspended 4am, 18 January 2021, which means that if you arrive in England from anywhere outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days.

You should also consider how you will access course materials overseas should you choose to travel home – please speak to your tutor or course lead to confirm arrangements for online learning before you travel. You should be aware that travel advice may change while you are overseas, and you are advised to regularly check all relevant GOV.UK guidance pages for updates.

Students travelling to the EU should also consult relevant guidance regarding the UK and EU transition.

Mandatory Covid-19 testing

On your return, passengers arriving from all international destinations will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test result before departing for England. The new rules will take effect from 4am on Monday 18 January 2021 and apply to returning UK nationals as well as foreign citizens.

If you are a resident or visitor travelling to the UK, you must:

  • Provide your journey and contact details up to 48 hours before you’re due to arrive in the UK, by completing the public health passenger locator form
  • The FCDO travel advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice, so check the FCDO travel guidance for specific information about the country you are travelling from before you depart.
  • If isolation measures apply, you must self-isolate for the first 10 days you’re in the UK. Please note: Travel corridors were suspended 4am, 18 January 2021, which means that if you arrive in England from anywhere outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days, even with a negative Covid-19 test.
    Please follow government guidance on how to implement this, and notify the University and notify the University's Rapid Response Team. The Rapid Response Team will contact you to advise you on next steps and ensure you have the support you need. If showing symptoms, request a free test. You can do this by reporting to the Rapid Response Team.

Report self-isolation or request a test

If you are a student or member of staff abroad (to study, for a work placement or a work-related trip) the expectation is that you would have applied for cover under the University’s Group Travel policy, via Travel Cert, which covers standard risks for travel.

If you are abroad and need advice on insurance please contact the University’s Insurance Officer at insurance@surrey.ac.uk or call +44 (0)1483 689008. If outside working hours, please contact our insurers directly on +44 (0)20 8608 4100 (or email rsa@healix.com) for medical and emergency assistance or +44 (0)330 102 4093 (or email glasgow.accidentalandhealthclaims@uk.rsagroup.com) for non-medical/general claims quoting the University’s Group Travel policy number RTT306251.

If you have travelled abroad to visit friends or family, then you would not be covered by the above insurance, but you should have personal travel insurance, and should contact your provider if your travel arrangements are affected.

If you have made plans to travel for work, study or a placement which need to be cancelled, please be aware that cancellation is only covered by insurance when in line with current FCDO travel advice restrictions. Please therefore discuss the optimal timing of your cancellation with the Insurance Officer and your Head of Department.

View more insurance information for staff on SurreyNet.

Please advise your family or friends to check travel restrictions in the country they are travelling from, and also to check the current FCDO travel advice.

Wellbeing and welfare support

It's so important that we all look after our health and wellbeing. We offer a diverse range of services for our students and staff to ensure you feel well and supported throughout your time at the University. Our support is free and confidential, and we offer advice for mental, emotional and psychological issues.

Covid SupportOur University coronavirus enquiries helpline is available to offer practical advice and guidance on how to keep yourself and others safe and well throughout the pandemic. 

coronavirusenquiries@surrey.ac.uk

01483 685510

Monday – Friday 9am-5pm

Peer Support Our peer supporters can provide listening and support to all students. They can offer you support and guidance from a student perspective.

7pm – 9pm 7 days a week

Visit the MySurrey page to book a video call or email peersupport@surrey.ac.uk

Disability and NeurodiversityOur team provides support to all students with a disability or neurodiversity needs.

disability@surrey.ac.uk or 07970 647721

WardensWardens are here to support students’ welfare within the residences and provide advice and guidance on how to look after yourself and your flatmates.

Visit MySurrey to find out how to contact your warden via email.

Virtual Warden Receptions: For support and advice in residences, you can speak confidentially to a Warden each night between 8 – 8.30 pm Click here to go to the Virtual Warden Reception.

NightlineA listening service run by trained University of Surrey students. You can ask questions and talk to them about any problem, big or small, in confidence. 

7pm – 7am Monday – Friday

For contact details please log in to the Union website.

Student SpaceWellbeing resources and advice to help students through the challenges of coronavirus including confidential telephone, text and email support.

Hours of availability for telephone, text or email support vary. Visit the Student Space website for more details.

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.

Mental health

Mental wellbeing is about your thoughts and feelings and how you cope with the ups and downs of everyday life. Right now might feel nothing like ‘everyday life’ and more like a very difficult or stressful time, but there are still many things you can try that could help your wellbeing.

On 29 March, in recognition of the unprecedented challenges that the outbreak and extended periods of self-isolation can pose, Public Health England published new online guidance setting out principles to follow to help people to manage their mental health during this difficult time, such as:

  • Maintaining contact with friends and family via telephone and video calls, or social media
  • Keeping a regular daily routine 
  • Focusing on a hobby or learning something new
  • Looking after your sleep
  • Managing your media and information intake

To learn more about these topics and lots more, please take the time to read the full guidance at your leisure.  

We recognise that many people are feeling anxious or concerned about their wellbeing and the risks being posed by the current outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19).

Here are some tips on how you can help ease your worries around Covid-19:

1. Recognise where the fear comes from

It’s completely normal to fear something that we are unfamiliar with. Our bodies react with a “fight or flight” response when a threat, like coronavirus, is identified which helps us to ensure that we are ready to react to or defeat that threat.

Sometimes though, we respond disproportionately to threats that don’t require a ‘fight or flight’ response. In the case of coronavirus a rational and measured approach is much more appropriate, taking away the messy complications of panic.

2. Curate and limit your newsfeed

In the world of 24/7 rolling news and social media updates it can be easy to get drawn into speculation and hype. Consider turning off automatic news alerts on your phone and limiting the amount of time you spend online.

3. Stay connected to your support network

Seeking out support from others is key in helping us to function during times of stress. Personal relationships can help us to maintain perspective and elevate mood as well as providing helpful distraction.

Consider checking in with others who you know may be struggling. If you can’t see someone in person, video calls, telephone and text work just as well.

4. Take practical steps and develop an action plan

Often a feeling of being ‘out of control’ is at the root of anxiety. These times it is helpful to recognise what you can control and put into action.

We can follow the advice of WHO and PHE by washing our hands thoroughly and regularly. We can try to avoid touching our face with our hands, but can also maintain our normal routines where possible.

5. Retain perspective

Yes, Covid-19 is serious and the outbreak is concerning however amongst all the noise it is useful to remember that there are reasons to be reassured.

Scientists are discovering more and more about the virus as time goes on, vaccines and treatments are being researched and people are recovering.

6. Practice good self-care

Eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep and engaging in activities that help to reduce your stress levels are key to helping you remain as healthy as possibly - physically as well as psychologically.

Try to avoid unhelpful coping strategies such as smoking, increased alcohol consumption or other drugs. In the long term these can worsen your physical and mental health.

7. Seek professional help

If your mental health is being significantly impacted upon then you may want to seek professional help. The Centre for Wellbeing is well set up to support staff and students, and there are a number of other services that you can access for free:

For some, working from home may be part of the normal routine, but for others it is something totally new to get to grips with. Either way, it’s unlikely that most of us have experienced working from home for such a long duration before. 

Here are some top tips that have been put together by the University’s Disability and Neurodiversity Team:

  • Get up at your usual time 
  • Stick to your normal pre-work routine (i.e. have breakfast and get dressed) 
  • Try to stick to set work hours 
  • Take regular breaks and stretch your back, legs and arms 
  • Go for a walk 
  • Have lunch in a different room to where you work 
  • Keep hydrated
  • Listen to music 
  • Meditate if that’s something that works for you

We also recommend packing away your computer/laptop and anything else relating to work at the end of the day, if you have the space.  

Centre for Wellbeing is a counselling and mental health advice service, providing students with emotional and mental health support. Available Monday to Friday, 8am – 5pm.

All services are available remotely (via telephone or video call).

If you are concerned about having enough privacy during your appointment, a certain number of rooms are available at the Centre for Wellbeing for you to use while accessing remote or phone sessions. Please contact the Centre for further details.

Mental Health Crisis Line        NHS helpline staffed by professionals experienced in working with people with mental health issues. They can offer support and advice in times of distress.        

Available 24/7

0800 915 4644            

ShoutA free text service for anyone in crisis. It’s a place to contact if you’re struggling to cope with issues such as suicidal thoughts, abuse, self-harm or relationship difficulties.

Available 24/7

Text ‘Shout’ to 85258

TogetherallFree, anonymous online community where members can support one another. Access peer support forums, self-guided courses and creative tools to help you express yourself.

Available 24/7

 

www.togetherall.com

 

Create account with your @surrey.ac.uk email

SamaritansSamaritans offer a free, confidential listening service. Whatever you are going through, you can call them any time.

Available 24/7

116 123

Papyrus HOPELINEUKPapyrus is a specialist telephone, email and text service giving support, practical advice and information to young people who are feeling unable to cope with life.

Weekdays 9am – 10pm

Weekends and Bank Holidays 2pm – 10pm

Text 07860039967

Email pat@papyrus-uk.org

Call 0800 068 4141

Virtual Safe HavenSafe Haven is a Guildford-based mental health drop-in centre for people in crisis, however if you are self-isolating they are also able to provide a virtual service.

6pm – 11pm daily

 

Access video chat

 

Anxiety around the current situation is completely natural, and to be expected in such unknown circumstances.

You can contact the Centre for Wellbeing team to book an online appointment if you want to talk through anything with a professional, but you might also want to explore these alternatives:

  • This video, strongly recommended by the Centre for Wellbeing team, uses ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) to deal with the fear, anxiety and worry around the Covid-19 outbreak.
  • Look at this positive picture showing how we can shift our mindset to a positive outlook during this time.
  • Headspace and Calm are both offering free meditation to help those struggling with anxiety or stress. 
  • There's also a vast range of self-help material on the Centre for Wellbeing web pages.

Bereavement, which is a difficult experience under any situation, is taking place under very challenging circumstances during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The Centre for Wellbeing can offer help and advice around bereavement, with an online session with one of our trained counsellors. There is also a selection of self-help information online.

Cruse Bereavement are inviting anyone bereaved by the virus to contact their helpline on 0808 808 1677. The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays) with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings when they are now open until 8pm.

We are all capable of developing dependencies on more or less anything that makes us feel good. In the short term, using alcohol and drugs often make people feel good and this is why they are used, because people feel a benefit from them. In small amounts this often does not cause issues for individuals but how do you know if it’s getting out of hand?

A good place to start is to ask yourself - why am I using this? Is it because I’m bored? Is it something I use to reward myself? Is it because it’s a habit I’ve just got in to? Did I witness this as a coping strategy from others? Am I trying to escape negative feelings such as stress? Do I feel I miss out socially if I don’t use this?

The current Coronavirus lockdown is especially difficult for people already battling addictions or who are in recovery from addiction because support meetings have been cancelled and normal service provision have been impacted. We recommend Surrey Drug and Alcohol Care who have a 24 hour helpline where you can speak to someone if you are concerned about your alcohol or drug use and want to explore this further. Please call them on 0808 802 5000.

Whether you’ve had sleeping problems before Covid-19 or if they’ve only started recently, there are some steps that you can take to try to improve your sleep at this time.

 

Structuring your days

Having a routine can help to provide a sense of normality even in unpredictable times. Routine is the guardian of good sleep, as it helps to keep our body-clock in synch with the 24-hour day.

 

Don’t work from your bed

Sleep experts emphasise the importance of creating an association between your bed and sleep. If it is at all possible don’t work from your bed.

 

Daylight

Exposure to light plays a crucial role in helping our bodies regulate sleep.

If you can, spend some time outside in natural light. Even if the sun isn’t shining brightly, natural light still has positive effects on circadian rhythm. Also, where possible, open windows and blinds to let light into your home during the day. 

Please also be mindful of screen time. The blue light produced by electronic devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, and computers, has been found to interfere with the body’s natural sleep-promoting processes. Where possible, avoid using these devices for an hour before bed.

 

Find time to relax

Finding ways to relax can be an invaluable way to help improve sleep.  Breathing exercises, stretching, yoga, taking a bath, and quiet reading are just a few examples of relaxation techniques that you can build into your routines.

Another strategy to manage stress during this pandemic is to avoid becoming overwhelmed by Covid-19 related news. For example, you can try: 

  • Bookmarking one or two trusted news sites and visiting them only during a limited, pre-set amount of time each day. 
  • Cutting down the total time that you spend scrolling on social media.
  • Scheduling phone or video calls with friends and family and agreeing in advance to focus on topics other than the pandemic. 

 

Food and drink

Keeping a healthy diet can promote good sleep. In particular, be cautious with the intake of alcohol and caffeine, especially later in the day, as both can disrupt the quantity and quality of your sleep. 

 

Support

The Centre for Wellbeing has a number of sleep related elf help resources that can be found here:

https://wellbeing.surrey.ac.uk/help/sleep/i-have-recently-been-struggling-sleep

Please also remember that although the Centre for Wellbeing building is closed, the team are maintaining usual business hours. If you are having difficulties managing sleep or feel that you would benefit from support about other issues affecting your mental health you can contact them via 01483 689498 or centreforwellbeing@surrey.ac.uk.

At this time of social distancing and isolation, social media can be an invaluable tool for keeping in touch with friends, family, and the wider world. But be mindful of how it makes you feel. If spending time on social media exacerbates your stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, take steps to limit your engagement.

Top tips for staying healthy on social media

• Limit time spent on social media
• Think before you post
• Tailor your accounts to create a more positive experience and don’t be afraid to report, block or unfollow.
• Avoid comparing yourselves to others and remember social media doesn't always reflect the reality of what is going on in a person's life!
• Have the self-awareness to take a break when/if it starts to negatively influence your mood and perspective
• Show compassion for others to create a more positive environment for yourself and others

Many people will come through the pandemic unscathed without lasting negative effects on their mental health, but it’s really important to be mindful that some people will be seriously affected by the traumatic experiences of both the virus itself and/or the lockdown and/or loss of livelihood. For some, this may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.

People respond differently based on many contributing factors, but it is really useful to have an awareness of some of the most common responses:

  • Nightmares
  • Memories or pictures of the event unexpectedly popping into your mind
  • Avoiding anything that will remind you of it
  • Getting angry or upset more easily
  • Not being able to concentrate or sleep
  • Difficulty being on your own when you were previously independent

Helpful things to remember:

  • Be patient and give yourself time - it can take weeks or months to process these life altering events.
  • Don’t bottle up your feelings. Find ways to express your feelings appropriately whether with friends, family or journaling. Expressing your emotions is an important part of recovery.
  • Try to treat yourself like you would a good friend who has gone through a similar experience. Imagine how you would treat them and what you would say to them to help and support them. Then turn the same level of understanding and compassion towards yourself.
  • Really focus on doing the things that bring you pleasure and aim to improve your overall health and wellbeing.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help if your symptoms continue.

Emotional wellbeing

We appreciate that the current situation may be negatively impacting on your emotional wellbeing so please read on for some helpful tips and hints.

We have all been forced to dramatically restrict our daily contact with friends, family, course mates and work colleagues. Here are some fun ideas to help you keep in contact with them:

  • Say hello and good morning to everyone – using Teams, Whatsapp, or whatever suits your team. It’s also nice to say goodbye when you log off for the day.
  • Important at all times of the year: take your lunch break! If you usually have lunch with friends or colleagues, set up a Teams or Zoom chat and have your lunch together.  
  • Chat about things that aren’t just about Uni or work – share recommendations for TV series to binge watch, books to read and games to play! 
  • Most importantly – check in with each other and be there (virtually) for those close to you.
  • Download ‘Houseparty’ from the app store – it lets you have group video calls and play different games and quizzes with each other in real time. 
  • Plan ‘nights in’ with your friends – use video calls and watch films all at the same time, or do activities with each other over the internet. 
  • Give your friends a virtual tour of where you live and introduce them to any housemates or pets that you have! 

  • Oakleaf are live-streaming one wellbeing related activity per day, such as Tai Chi or Mindfulness, via a group chat.
  • Mental Health Mates are offering a hybrid of socially distanced meet ups and zoom.
  • Togetherall - the message boards there are VERY active at the moment, with lots of people using them to connect/chat/exchange ways of managing anxiety/low mood etc. 

The University Chaplains are hosting online sessions and services on the Students’ Union Facebook channel. Watch the previous videos and find new ones. You can also contact the Chaplain’s directly

It’s good every now and then to remember that there is still lots of positivity in the world. Check out the following links and images, and remind yourself of these whenever you are having a tough moment:

  • An inspiring blog post called Hope Will Not Be Cancelled, recommended by a member of the Centre for Wellbeing Team. 
  • In the battle against global warming, scientists say that the number of people staying in their homes has caused levels of air pollutants and warming gases to fall. In fact, it's down almost 50 per cent on this point in time last year! BBC newsround put this on a list with some other positive news stories – take a look! 
  • Elsewhere, in Venice fish, swans and other wildlife are returning to the canals whilst the city is on lockdown.
  • Please remember that whilst we must adhere to #StayHomeSavesLives, #mypandemicsurvivalplan can provide some general light-hearted Twitter silliness.

With everyone indoors, relational patterns are having to be navigated like never before; if we add the uncertainty, we are all experiencing, this is a recipe for anxiety, tension and stress. We've outlined a few strategies to help this time of lockdown run a little smoother.

  • Invite all members of the household to a ‘living together’ meeting. This doesn’t need to be formal, perhaps share a pizza or a have a meal together to keep the mood light.
  • Ask each member of the household to write a list of their needs for the next week. It is important to keep the timescale short; this means people focus and it also avoids feelings of being overwhelmed.
  • Once everyone has completed their list of needs, listen to each other without interrupting, however unrealistic, at this stage just listen. Everyone deserves the time and respect to be heard. 
  • Now ask everyone to rank their top three most important needs. (For example, 1: I need to feel safe in the home, 2: I need one hour of alone time per day, 3: I need to have no shouting)
  • The next process is discussion and negotiation. Explore how everyone in the household can support each other. The art of negotiation is compromise; if you are wanting an hour of alone time, can you reduce that to 30 minutes for the sake of household harmony? If an individual releases tension by shouting at others, can they do this into pillow, so they don’t distress the whole household?
  • The discussion and negotiation phase takes time, don’t rush it or you’ll find you may have to repeat the entire process. It’s important everyone feels heard, their views are respected, and they have had the opportunity to share all they would like too.
  • Hold in mind that the aim of the above is to live together with ease at a difficult time, remind each other of this if the negotiation and compromise breaks down.
  • Now review and confirm. Outline the discussion points and the needs that everyone has discussed, negotiated and compromised on. At this point minor ‘tweaks’ can be made, but no new needs are to be added. Remain focused on everyone’s top 3 needs. 
  • Agreement – this is the important part. Everyone agrees to what has been discussed in the review and confirmation stage.
  • Now you have a plan, be patient with one another, this is a new experience which can take time to settle into. In the early stages of implementation, simply remind each other of the plan and reconfirm the aim – living together with ease.
  • I don’t necessarily agree that sanctions or punishments are helpful; if the plan is not working or is difficult to stick too repeat the process. This time ask individuals to reflect on how they can soften their needs to help others in the household.

This is designed to address specific behaviour of one or more members of the household:

  • Outline the behaviour that requires adjustment (shouting at family members)
  • Be very specific as to why this behaviour needs to change (Your shouting is making your young brother cry and become unsettled)
  • Share the impact of this behaviour (Your younger brother becoming upset means that I then spend time soothing him, which means dinner is delayed for everyone)
  • Discuss how this behaviour needs to be addressed and how the solution to this (Shouting in the house is not acceptable, a raised voice is not accepted- rather, tell others you have something to say and we will make time to listen. This will happen within 10 minutes) Be as creative as possible here; children often surprise us with their open minds and inspiring ideas.
  • Sanctions or punishments are rarely helpful – praise, focused attention and quality time with a parent or family member can be better.

Physical health

It is important to remember that the mind and the body are linked, so it is vital that we all take care of our bodies to ensure good mental and emotional health.

Lockdown has been particularly challenging for those who frequently combine a range of different exercises in any given day, but there are many ways you can still get your exercise in.

Get out for a walk around campus or your neighbourhood, but please remember to keep the recommended two metres from others as outlined in the social distancing guidance. Set a different route each day - you might find places you never knew about!

If you are staying at home, you can find free and easy 10-minute work outs from Public Health England and #StayInWorkOut tips from Sport England. Surrey Sports Park also share lots of inspiration for home exercise on their Facebook page, and there is a new challenge on Surrey Moves called ‘Stay In, Work Out’.

If formal exercise isn’t for you but you still want to remain active, remember that exercising at home can come in many forms:

  • Dancing to music
  • Skipping
  • Going up and down stairs
  • Sitting less – if you notice you’ve been sitting down for an hour, just getting up or changing position can help.

We recognise that pausing face-to-face teaching and learning might be proving quite a challenge. It may not be easy to regulate your own studying and to utilise online lectures and seminars to their full potential, but here are some tips to help you learn successfully from online lectures – and to do it healthily.

If you are self-isolating and therefore aren’t able to go out to buy food, ask a friend or family member to go for you and drop the groceries outside your front door. If this isn’t an option, you can call the Surrey County Council (SCC) community support line if you need help with picking up shopping, prescription collections or just someone to chat with by telephone to reduce feelings of isolation. 

If you are healthy and want to support others in your community, SCC can also provide advice on where to register your offer of help. 

Take a look at SCC’s dedicated web pages for further information or call 0300 200 1008 (Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm).

If you begin to feel unwell, please ensure that you maintain a safe distance from others (ideally two metres) and that you practise good hand hygiene measures by washing your hands and using hand sanitiser.

Please 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

And remember that our security team is available 24/7 on +44 (0)1483 68333 if you require emergency assistance.

More of us are working from home right now so we have produced some new guidance to ensure that you achieve the best possible workstation set-up to protect your musculoskeletal health.

When using a computer or laptop, a suitable workstation should ideally consist of a stable chair, desk, and separate mouse and keyboard. Your desk should be as clear as possible, with adequate lighting and no trailing cables. It is recommended that your home workstation is set up in the same way as your office workstation as far as reasonably practical. If this isn’t possible, then this guidance will help you to achieve the best possible workstation set-up. 

You may find it helpful to repeat the DSE Training on SurreyLearn to remind yourself about workstation set-up and good work practices.

Constructing meals

One simple approach could be to look at meals as consisting of three elements:

  • Protein (red),
  • Carbohydrate/fibre (yellow)
  • Fruit and/or vegetables (green).

You could call this the ‘power of three’. These rules mean you can be totally flexible as to what foods will serve as these three elements, and allow you to adapt to what is available at home and/or in the shops. •

  • The protein element does not need to be chicken or eggs, but can be other lean meats, fish, beans/pulses, nuts/seeds or plant-based protein products (e.g. soy-based tofu). Try to limit the processed meats and vegetarian equivalents where possible.
  • For the carb/fibre element, this can be pasta, rice, bread, corn/maize, potatoes or other root vegetables and other cereals. Try to choose some wholegrain varieties as well, especially as these tend to be more likely to be left on the shelves!
  • For the fruit and veg element, this could be anything available, either fresh, frozen or tinned. The more variety the better! Fruit and veg also serve as excellent healthy snacks for adults and children alike.

Meal patterns

With most of us staying at home, including working and looking after children, it can be easy to lose structure in the day and structure around eating. Where possible, try to stick to regular meal times with a fixed pattern. For most people this is traditionally breakfast, lunch and dinner, but where your meal pattern may deviate slightly, try to maintain the pattern you had before lockdown.

It is important not to let meals, snacks and drinks stretch out late into the evening even if you are going to bed later than usual. Also be mindful of how much you are eating overall, not just at mealtimes but also snacking in between meals.

You probably to have more opportunity to eat than usual as you are most likely working in close proximately to your kitchen and eating out of boredom.

To conclude, it is important to be aware of how lockdown is affecting our eating habits but it is even more important to be kind to ourselves right now. Listen to your body’s hunger signals and remember that’s it totally okay to allow yourself treats in moderation.