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.

A 3D medical background with virus cells

Report now

You should use our self-isolation reporting form to:

  • Report symptoms
  • Notify us that you're self-isolating
  • Report a positive test result.

Asymptomatic testing

All students and staff are expected to take a lateral flow test twice a week (every three to four days) to check that you are not carrying Covid-19. This includes those who have been partially or fully vaccinated as you may still get infected and spread the disease.

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 

If your test result is positive, you should self-isolate immediately and notify the University’s Rapid Response team.

You can order a free rapid lateral flow test kit from the UK Government - these can be posted to you or you can collect kits from a number of locations around Guildford.

Due to the current shortage in 'Home Testing' kits the on campus asymptomatic testing facility will temporary reopen on Tuesday 4 January to enable all staff and students to access a lateral flow test. This will be a walk-in facility based in the 'Lounge' at the Students Union Building on Stag Hill - booking is not required. You should only attend this facility if you do not have symptoms of Covid-19. 

Covid-19 (coronavirus)

The main symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19) are:

  • 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 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

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 following international travel.
  • 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.
  • All students and staff must always carry a face covering and wear them in all shared indoor University spaces, whilst moving through buildings and within teaching, learning and study environments, as well as moving around shared occupancy and open plan office spaces. There may also be additional locations where local guidance requests that you do so. Please wear a mask in order to protect yourself and others. 
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home: do not attend work or teaching sessions.
  • 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 NHS website for more information.

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

Walk-through Local Testing Site 

The Department of Health & Social Care and Surrey County Council have enabled the University to host a Local Testing Site. 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.

Free lateral flow testing at home

You can order or collect free lateral flow test packs to conduct your own asymptomatic Covid-19 tests at home. Tests can be collected from a test site or pharmacy, or posted to you for free. If you are displaying symptoms you should not use these tests - please see the report self-isolation page for more information.

Full details about NHS Covid-19 testing are available on our 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

  • Asymptomatic testing

In line with government guidance, the University launched an asymptomatic testing programme to twice a week (every three to four days) testing to check that you are not carrying Covid-19. This includes those who have been partially or fully vaccinated as you may still get infected and spread the disease.

  • Signage

Signage giving advice on Covid-secure behaviours remains in place across campus. It is designed to reduce congestion, ensure safe capacity limits in enclosed spaces, and keep us all safe. Please follow campus signage at all times.

  • 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.

The University recognises the UK Government guidance on the wearing and advice/guidance on the safe use of face coverings.

All students and staff should carry a face covering and wear them whilst moving through University buildings and within teaching, learning and study environments, as well as moving around shared occupancy and open plan office spaces. There may also be additional locations where local guidance requests that you do so. Please wear a mask in order to protect yourself and others. 

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

For details of any of the rules and advice, please read the University’s updated Covid-19 Secure Policy (PDF).


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

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


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.


Please contact University Security for out of hours emergencies.

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.

Self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test (a test that is sent to the lab) on GOV.UK as soon as possible if you have any of these 3 symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

You should also self-isolate straight away if:

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 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 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.

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.

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.

The UK government is currently operating a traffic light system for entering England from abroad. If you are currently overseas we recommend signing up for email updates from the government about travel restrictions as rules can change at short notice.

If you are fully vaccinated, the latest government guidance requires you to:

  • self-isolate
  • take a PCR test before the end of day 2 after you arrive (lateral flow tests will not be accepted)
  • leave self-isolation if your PCR test result is negative
  • hotel quarantine if you are arriving from a red list country.

Rules vary dependant on your vaccination status. If you are not vaccinated you must self-isolate for the first 10 days you're in the UK.

Please make sure you adhere to all guidelines, and allow plenty of time for travel, PCR tests (and results) and self-isolation before your course restarts face-to-face teaching.  

Please notify the University's Rapid Response Team if you are entering self-isolation. You will be contacted 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, which will be able to set you up with a support buddy who can help collect tests and other supplies for you.

The latest government guidance states that you must 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.

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 postgraduate 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.

Please note that if you are planning on returning to the UK following your trip you will need to follow the government's guidance on travelling from overseas, including any required periods of quarantine and Covid-19 testing,

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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


Create account with your 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


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.
  • 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.

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.

You can also arrange time with one of the Chaplains in our Religious Life and Belief pastoral care team. In addition to private sessions, in collaboration with the Students’ Union, Chaplain Duncan Myers is running a weekly support group to give space to students who are bereaved. Further details about the sessions, and links to sign up, are available on Tixtu.

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.

If you or someone close to you has contracted Covid-19, you may continue to need specific support with your mental and physical health, and emotional wellbeing.

If you became ill, you may still be coming to terms with the impact the virus has had on both your body and mind. Supporting your family member, relative or friend following their COVID illness can also pose significant challenges.

The NHS offers a wealth of resources and support for both groups through Your Covid Recovery.

Clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) members of our community

Some individuals may have a high risk of developing severe Covid-19 infection due to specific medical circumstances. Please note that UK government advice and guidance is subject to frequent change.

Those students who are classified as being CEV can contact the University's Disability and Neurodiversity team to discuss their options.

Staff categorised as CEV should discuss options with their line manager or HR Business Manager, and can seek additional advice from HR via the HR Operations Centre.