Your wellbeing and COVID-19

The common symptoms are a recent onset of a new continuous cough or a high temperature (over 37.8C) or a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell. It is critical that everyone knows the possible symptoms of COVID-19 and follows the correct procedures in reporting, self-isolating and testing. This is to ensure that we quickly identify, isolate and restrict further infections.

  • If you start to feel unwell when at home (student or private accommodation) - do not come to campus.
  • If you feel unwell while you are on campus – go home immediately.

In both cases:

Contact student.centre@bucks.ac.uk and explain the situation.

Self-isolate: Public Health England has published guidance on self-isolating at home. You must make sure that those you live with know that they must self-isolate for 14 days in line with the UK Government’s guidance. If you live in University-owned accommodation, we will contact your housemates to instruct them to self-isolate. If you live in private accommodation, please take responsibility for protecting others and controlling the pandemic by making members of your household know what they must do.

Arrange a COVID-19 test using the NHS website or call NHS 119.

Once you have received the results of your test, please email student.centre@bucks.ac.uk to let us know the result.

If you have other symptoms it is unlikely that you have COVID-19. If in doubt contact NHS 111, use the NHS 111 online symptom checker or the NHS COVID-19 App or consult your GP. If you are unwell and you do not have COVID-19 symptoms you should follow notify your course team to tell them if you are not able to attend a learning event (read more here: Bucks Learning Partnership Agreement)

If you test positive for COVID-19:

  • The University Track and Trace team will contact you to identify any close contacts you may have had with colleagues and students on campus
  • Public Health England will work closely with the University to support and advise the University in this process.
  • The NHS track and Trace service will contact you to identify who else you might have had close contact with in a social / non university setting
  • Continue self-isolating and do not attend campus. You can return to campus only after 10 days isolation providing you have not had a fever in the last 48 hrs.

If you test negative:

  • You can come back to campus when you are feeling well enough.
  • If you are well enough to do so, you can continue to study while isolated as our hybrid curriculum model provides online alternatives for face-to-face activity. You should discuss any arrangements and questions with your Course Tutor.
  • This diagram explains the steps that you need to take.

Once we have confirmation that a student or colleague has tested positive for COVID-19, we will instigate a set of measures to identify and notify those students/staff with whom the individual has had recent contact. This will mean that those affected colleagues and students will be instructed to self-isolate to help contain the spread of the virus. We are working closely with the Local Authority and NHS Track and Trace and they will be fully supporting the University over the coming months.

If you live in University-owned accommodation, and a member of your shared household reports to the University that they have symptoms of COVID-19, we will contact you and all the students you live with you to instruct you to self-isolate for 14 days.

It is very important that you comply with these instructions and follow the UK Government’s self-isolation guidelines to protect your fellow students and our University community.

The University has purchased testing kits to provide a faster system for our students and staff.

We are working with a private test company, HALO, which is also supporting a number of other Universities.

These tests are provided for those students and staff who develop COVID-19 symptoms.

The benefit of this new measure is that you and your household can end your isolation at soon as you receive a negative result, meaning there is less disruption for you and your household. However, if you test positive, we can accelerate our track and trace and identify others who need to isolate therefore limiting the spread of the virus.

In all cases, completed tests are sent by priority post or couriered to HALO for rapid results within 24 to 48 hours. This is faster than the current NHS testing and removes the need to book / locate a test centre to attend.

Distribution of test kits will be managed by our University Track and Trace team.

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, contact the Student Centre (student.centre@bucks.ac.uk) and we'll arrange to get a test kit straight to you:

  • Students in University accommodation will have kits delivered to them in hall by our Fresher Helpers. Completed tests will be couriers or priority posted to HALO for processing
  • Students in private accommodation will have kits sent by priority post to their home. Simply complete the test send post it back to HALO in the prepaid packaging provided

Full instruction on how to take the test will be provided.

This is a significant investment by the University to support all our students and staff through this pandemic.

Please note - if you are required to isolate because of foreign travel, because a member of your household has tested positive for COVID-19 or because you have had close contact with a positive case identified through Track and Trace activity, you are still required to self-isolate for the full period even if you take a test and the results are negative. This is because the virus can take up to 14 days to develop.

Unfortunately it is not as simple as that!

If you are required to self-isolate:

  • because of foreign travel
  • because a member of your household has symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19
  • because you have had close contact with a positive case identified through Track and Trace activity

You are still required to self-isolate for the full period even if you take a test and the results are negative. This is because the virus can take up to 14 days to develop.

If while self-isolating you start to have COVID-19 symptoms you should get tested - if you are negative you'll still need to isolate for the full original period requested. If you test positive you will need to isolate for a further period of 10 days from when those symptoms began. There are no short cuts.

If you are not currently isolating for any of the reasons above, and you develop COVID-19 symptoms you must self-isolate and get tested. If you test negative then you can end your isolation. If you test positive you'll need to self-isolate for 10 days until you are better.

Remember, you must notify your tutor and the Student Centre (student.centre@bucks.ac.uk) if you need to self-isolate, if you develop symptoms or if you get test results so we can fully support you.

The Government is encouraging everyone to download and use the new NHS COVID-19 App on our phones / mobile devices. This has a number of key features to help fight the virus:

Trace: The app recognises other users close to you and keeps a temporary record of that contact. If someone with whom you came into close contact later tests positive to the virus, you are alerted and instructed to self isolate. Likewise if you test positive, it alerts those recent close contacts and tells them to so the same. If you receive these instruction via the app, you should self-isolate for the period notified and tell your tutor and student.centre@bucks.ac.uk.

Alert: The app provides regular alerts on the level of the virus in your postal area.

Check-in: You can scan an NHS QR code in venues, cafés  and restaurants to check in. If a positive case is later linked to that location you are alerted if you were in close contact. We have NHS QR codes in the SU Cafés and the Venue and you must check in if 'eating / drinking in'.

Symptoms: You can check any symptoms that you have with the app to see if you may have COVID-19. 4 simple questions relating to the 4 main symptoms (High Temperature / fever, new continuous cough, lose of sense of taste, loss of sense of small.) If you have any of these it will instruct  you to self isolate and get a test. If you do not have these symptom you are unlikely to have COVID-19.

Test: You can use the app to book a COVID-19 Test and receive your results.

Isolate: If instructed to self-isolate through the app, it will remind you with a countdown of how long you have left to isolate and also links to all the current advice and guidance.

Please contact the Student Centre who will be able to advise and support you. Track and Trace contact will be connected to an investigation connected to a case or incident in your personal/family life.

You should self-isolate for the period instructed in accordance with the UK Government’s guidance. If you develop symptoms during the self-isolation period, you will need to contact the Student Centre and let them know that you are now feeling unwell and arrange to get tested yourself (see above).

If you are contacted by the University or NHS Track and Trace and are instructed to self-isolate or are displaying one or more symptoms, you must do so. Please do not leave your flat during this time and do not come to campus or town. You will be aware that the Government is now imposing fixed penalties fines for those who break isolation rules.

You must also immediately tell your tutor and email Student.Centre@bucks.ac.uk to inform them you're self-isolating.

Please do:

  • Order online and get your food delivered. The Reception in your hall of residence will let you know when items have arrived and one of our dedicated Fresher's Helpers in hall will deliver to your door between 7am and 11pm, 7 days a week. The Helpers can also take (stamped) post away for you. See more details on food ordering here.
  • If you are well enough, continue to work from home and attend classes online. Please contact your tutor if you need additional support
  • Contact the Student Centre if you need financial or wellbeing support
  • Get to know your new flatmate
  • Exercise in your flat and take part in online gym sessions.

Please do not:

  • Go out to town for shopping – even for food
  • Go out socialising
  • Leave your flat to smoke or socialise with people in other flats or halls
  • Go on to campus
  • Go to your place of work
  • Go to the gym or park to exercise.
If you need any further guidance or support, please contact the Student.Centre@bucks.ac.uk. Please protect yourself and the wider Bucks community and follow the Government guidance to keep us all safe.

When a case of confirmed COVID-19 has been identified, the University track and trace team will work to identify those individuals (students and University staff) who have had close contact with the confirmed case. The team will discuss their movements and contact ad use University logs and registers to identify others.

NHS Guidelines define a ‘close contact’ as a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 anytime from two days before the person was symptomatic up to seven days from onset of symptoms (this is when they are infectious to others).

This could be a person who:

  • spends significant time in the same household
  • is a sexual partner
  • has had face-to-face contact (within one metre), including:
  • being coughed on
  • having skin-to-skin physical contact, or
  • contact within one metre for one minute
  • has been within two metres of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes
  • has travelled in a small vehicle, or in a large vehicle or plane
  • Where an interaction between two people has taken place through a screen, this would not be considered close contact.

Guidelines advise that the wearing of face coverings or personal protective equipment (PPE) is not a mitigation for close contact and so even if this was being worn at the time, the contact will be considered close contact.  Only full medical-grade PPE worn in health and care settings will be considered as a mitigation

If you have tested positive and are contacted by NHS Track and Trace or the University you'll need to be ready to answer these questions so consider keeping a contact diary or simple record of where you have been to aid any conversation

The Student Union have produced a handy form you can download and use here: https://www.bucksstudentsunion.org/contact-diary/.

In the first instance you should contact your tutor who may be able to resolve your issue easily, or help you get the extra support you need. If you are having technical problems you should contact IT if you can’t find the help you need on its pages.

If you need specific support, contact the Learning Development Unit on ldu@bucks.ac.uk or the Disability Service disability.service@bucks.ac.uk. Or if you are struggling with your mental health or wellbeing we are here for you too. You have several options:

Please contact your tutor or course team in the first instance – it is really important to keep them informed as they can help you. You may also want to contact the Learning Development Unit to help with study skills and/or the Counselling Team to help manage any concerns relating to self-isolation (such as anxiety or loneliness).

You can order online and get your food delivered. The Reception in your hall of residence will let you know when items have arrived and one of our dedicated Fresher's Helpers in hall will deliver to your door between 7am and 11pm, 7 days a week. The Helpers can also take (stamped) post away for you. See more details on food ordering here.

If you are experiencing any financial concerns, explore our bursaries and financial pages on our website and contact the Students’ Union Advice Centre on SUAdvice@bucks.ac.uk.

If you are finding it difficult to secure a food delivery, please contact the Student Information Centre student.centre@bucks.ac.uk who can offer short-term, emergency assistance through our Bucks New University Foodbank. Please note, Foodbank options are limited and we respectfully ask that students attempt to arrange a delivery prior to contacting the Student Information Centre.

This can be a stressful time for many different reasons and all elements of your wellbeing is our priority. All students have access to online support 24/7 from TogetherAll, or the The Multifaith Chaplaincy is available for chats and support, or our counselling service can help, please email counselling@bucks.ac.uk.

The University has a duty of care to safeguard staff, student and visitors at our COVID-secure campuses and accommodation. We expect everyone to play their part and follow social distancing to help reduce the risk of infection in our University community and more widely. Our Student Code of Conduct for this academic year sets out our expectations around student behaviour and the process for managing incidents of student misconduct or breaches of the Code. In particular, we expect students to behave in a responsible manner; act within the law; comply with reasonable instructions; and adhere to health and safety requirements.

The Student Centre will contact you via SMS in the first instance and then follow up email – please follow the instructions given to self-isolate and other information in the email. The Student Centre will be able to advise and support you.

You should self-isolate for the period instructed in accordance with the UK Government’s guidance. If you develop symptoms during the self-isolation period, you will need to contact the Student Centre and let them know that you are now feeling unwell and arrange to get tested yourself (see above)

If they do not have symptoms, unless you have been specifically instructed by the University or by NHS App or NHS Track and Trace, you do not have to isolate.

If that person has COVID symptoms you too will need to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. Contact student.centre@bucks.ac.uk and explain the situation.

The new 3 tier levels introduced by the Government mean that different areas of the county will move between these tiers - medium, high and very high as the COVID-19 infection rate changes.

Each tier has a specific set of new regulations and guidance that is legally enforceable on social gatherings and visits, visiting venues, travel and much more.

Since the tier level of location of the University campuses and accommodation may differ from the tier level of your family home and other areas of the country you to which you may be planning to travel you need to be aware of the status of each and how that will affect what you are permitted to do.

You can use the postcode checker to read more about what you can and can’t do where you live, or an area you’re thinking of travelling to.

I’m living in an area on a different tier to my university campus. What should I do? The Government is prioritising education which means you’ll be allowed to travel to our campuses or placements for your studies, irrespective of the tiers (unless you have symptoms or are self-isolating, of course). If you can, you should walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. Please remember that you’re not exempt from travel restrictions for all journeys, such as social visits, just because you’re a student.

The Government is urging people to avoid travelling in and out of the ‘high’ (Tier 2) and ‘very high’ (Tier 3) alert areas, unless it’s absolutely necessary. Each tier has its own rules on socialising; for instance - people living in Tier 2 can legally travel outside their local area as long as they don’t share accommodation with those outside their household or support bubble, and don’t socialise with people from other households indoors. See the above graphic for more detail on what you can or can’t do, or check the postcode checker.

Under new regulations, people living in areas with higher Covid infection rates (TIER 2/HIGH and TIER 3/VERY HIGH) are not able to travel to Wales and vice versa – unless it is an essential journey. You can find out more about Wales in the Government FAQs.

There are currently no rules against travelling to Scotland from England – or vice versa. However, Visit Scotland requests that if you live in a part of England with tighter restrictions, please only travel to Scotland if it is essential. For up-to-date information about traveling to and from Scotland visit the Government website.

There are currently no official rules against travelling to Northern Ireland from England, however, overnight stays are not permitted either at private homes or hotels. More about the Northern Ireland restrictions can be found here.

The current Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential international travel. If you do have to travel you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days when you arrive back in the UK. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempt from that rule.

Please continue to follow Government and University rules, for instance wearing a face-covering unless you are exempt (if you are exempt, you can pick up a special lanyard from the Student Centre). Please follow social distancing rules, on and off our campuses, and wash your hands regularly. Emma Binnie, our Head of Students and Wellbeing has recorded a message for you with some reminders about how we call all keep each other safe, which you can view here.

As of 10:30am on 26/11/20 we have:
  • 6 Current Students
  • 0 Current Staff

We will get in touch as soon as we know if you or a member of staff have been in close contact with anyone from the University community who has tested positive for COVID-19. You’ll then need to self-isolate. We’ll make sure you have all the information you require, along with how to contact us if you need to speak to someone.

The numbers reported are considered as active cases, where an individual has tested positive for Covid-19 and is in the 10-day isolation period. The figures are not cumulative. All of our data is shared with Public Heath England and the Department of Education.

For context, we have over 5,700 students studying on our campuses and 750 staff members at Bucks New Uni.